Wives Rather Than Mistresses (Polygamy necessity of the age)


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  • Wives Rather Than Mistresses (Polygamy necessity of the age)


  • Chapter Three

    EASILY ‑ REFUTABLE OBJECTIONS

     

    Opponents of polygamy do, in fact, regard the practice from only the single viewpoint of wives regardless of hundreds of millions of lonely, wretch women dotted everywhere around the world. This has vividly been demonstrated at discussions I have had with hundreds of men and women from countries as widely apart as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, France, Germany, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the US, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia and Egypt of course.

     

    Keeping another wife is highly detrimental, and does gross inequality, to the first wife, many polygamy opponents polled by me do plead. They argue that a polygamist's wife loses a half of her husband to a second wife, two thirds to a second and third wives, while retains only a quarter of her husband if he keeps three other wives besides her.

     

    They also allegedly say that a husband, married to more than one wife, cannot mete out justice to them. They cite, out of context, a verse of the Holy Quran, saying, "You are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire", intentionally skipping the rest of the verse saying, "But do not turn away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as if were) hanging (in the air). If you come to a friendly understanding, and practice self‑restraint out of Allah's fear, Allah is oft forgiving and Most Merciful".[1]

     

    On the pages to follow an interpretation of the aforesaid verse will be given, including diverse opinions as given by commentators, in order to shed light upon the provisions set forth by the verse which run on a collision course with the standpoint made public by polygamy opponents.

     

    However, an alleged detriment done to the first wife has, above all, to be refuted. It is not true that only getting married to another wife does gross injustice to the first one, as they falsely claim, since she must have assuredly realized that it is Islam which so empowers him ‑ so long as the wives kept at one time are not in excess of four.

     

    Therefore she has no right whatsoever to bar him from marrying another wife, or other wives, unless she has, beforehand, attached a relevant condition when writing out the marriage contract. She is not empowered to make a marital tie only monogamous, whereas Allah has bestowed upon husbands, when financially secure and physically able, a license of polygamous marriages.

     

    Second, Allah, as the ultimate law and Shari'a giver, has only restrictively made access to polygamy, making it absolutely incumbent upon a polygamist to administer justice to all wives kept at a time. A wife under a practice as such restricted will never be stripped of her husband, should the latter get married to another or others. He is obliged to equally provide for all wives, and to justly distribute everything among them including equally staying overnight with each one of them. Although a wife in such a position will have less of her husband, she will not be losing him, once and for all, to a mistress or more.

     

    Third, life necessitates that each of the two spouses should partially sacrifice their desires to their mutual interest, to the community's public interest or even to the other spouse's benefit if one spouse is really in love with the other. Islam abhors egocentricity, calling for altruism rather than hideous egotism.

     

    Nowadays, millions of husbands travel abroad for one year or more in pursuit of their livelihoods, leaving behind their wives and children. Much to our surprise, those lamenting that a wife of a polygamist will have less of her husband do not ever utter any objection to a wife totally stripped, for ages, of her husband who is always away earning his livelihood abroad. Conversely, they promote such a practice as a major hard‑currency earner for the government, even at the expense of wives.

     

    The fact that hundreds of millions of husbands are recruited in the armed services all over the world, leaving their wives and children behind for the sake of defending one's nation, has not ever provoked a public outcry that men should be kept beside their families rather than sent to the army; or is it a question of only dismantling Allah's Shari'a?

     

    Some other men leave on trade mission, or for studying at universities in other nations, with the married of them having, as a matter of course, to leave alone wives until they have completed studying in a few years' time. However, opponents of polygamy do not object, despite the fact that a polygamist husband goes back to his wife's bosom in a day, two days or even a week; while a husband on a trade or studying mission is away for at least a year, or even years as exhibited above?

     

    One more significant fact has to be taken into account; namely a wife is not always available for making love to. In the wake of childbirth, during a forty‑day post‑birth bleeding period, an intimacy (sexual intercourse) is absolutely forbidden. The husband himself may be taken ill, keeping away from the nuptial bed for sometime as a result; he wife, in her turn, may also develop any sort of disease which tends to estrange her from her husband for a while too. This is the natural course of matters, which cannot be bypassed or obstinately ignored. Not least to be forgotten is menstruation, which keeps flowing from a week to a forth night in some cases, sending husbands away from any intimacy until it totally stops flowing.

     

    In a nutshell, there is no such a husband who is glued to his wife all the time. Even a healthy residing husband has at present to bum the midnight oil for a stepped‑up income for his family, in which case he is always back home so late at night. Therefore, the fact that not so many husbands are solely devoted to entertaining wives has to be inarguably conceded. Consequently, polygamy should not thus be exaggeratively magnified as exacting a heavy toll of gross inequality on the first wife.

     

    Fourth, which is preferable if a married man is enamoured of another woman: should he divorce the first one ‑ in which case she may be ill, aged or infertile ‑ or he had better retain her in wedlock and let her enjoy the same privileges as the other wife, or other wives, on a par?

     

    Fifth, is it not more graceful and honorable for a husband to marry the woman whom he is enamoured of, rather than taking her as only a concubine in darkness stripped of any rights, together with her guiltless would‑be offspring who would otherwise end up in orphanage if the father is not allowed to marry their mother?

     

    Sixth, if officially‑released statistics in many parts of the world have already substantiated a claim that women more than doubly outnumber men, with persisting war claiming more lives and sending much wider apart the already gaping discrepancy between the numbers of both genders, how can this grave disequilibrium be offset And what a gloomy fate is there in store for hundreds of millions of poor, miserable ladies who have lost the spouse who maintained the family, or stand an increasingly dimming chance of picking up husbands in view of scarcity of men, of whom millions have perished in rabid, unbarring war?H Should we illegitimately abandon them unmarried, just because a fewer wives are so womanly egocentric that they cannot stand the notion of their husbands being shared by others? Or should we leave them openly susceptible to homosexuality, taking lovers beyond wedlock or inhibition and deprivation?

     

    Legislation, while catering to diverse community needs, should always keep in mind an indispensable balance between apparently ambivalent interests of rival community classes, such as a balance struck between employers and employees as well as between landlords and tenants. Hence, great Islam substantially envisages a social balance between a wider majority of the unmarried women, on the one hand, and the married ones, on the other. It is not fair, in Egypt, as an example, to let the scales heavily tip in favor of eight, or even ten, million wives against ten million other women and girls who eagerly await a fair share of life. It is almost fair, merciful and humanitarian to let them share husbands with those married women for enjoying nuptial life, sympathy and care.

     

    There is one more point brought up by opponents of polygamy. They allege that a man's sexual desire cannot only be curbed through polygamy. However, this is an obviously fallacious claim, running counter to reality and the natural course of things. If a man has two, three or four wives he fully quenches, in most cases, his emotional and sexual desires, becoming much less susceptible to sinning.

     

    Most important of all, polygamy is not intended only for quenching lust. As mentioned above, psychologists underline quenching an ardent desire for emotion as more significant than merely catering to one's instinctive sexual need. Making love should not be the only target of marriage. Emotional tranquility, passion, mercy, begetting good offspring, social coherence by marriage relationship, as well as taking care of, and providing for, women and children are all qualities which are far and beyond having sex in order to curb a galloping desire. Moreover, men are as diverse in virility ~ they are in gluttony.

     

    Above all, polygamy, as a system recognized by Islam, is not required to raise people to the lofty ranks of chaste, infallible angels who worship Allah all the time and do as ordered; nor has the great Islamic Shari'a made it imperative on Muslims to thus upgrade themselves. We are, in the first place, fallible human beings. However, what Shari'a really targets is to as much spare society prospective evils as possible: a Muslim should thus be armed with all ways and means that will urge him to lower his eyes and keep his genitals from sin. Allowing polygamy is one such means, with the condition of imperatively maintaining equality among all wives. The situation so created by granting easier access to polygamy tends to help wives, in turn, to adhere to clarity, purity, lowering eyes and preserving genitals from adultery.

     

    Nevertheless, some will act perversely. A case in point is when the modem state makes jobs available, but some, despite legitimate job availability, take perverse delight in larceny, theft or drug trafficking to make illicit gains. The modem state is only attempting a cutback, as much as it can, on those acting perversely, and this is exactly what the wise Islamic Shari'a envisages. To reduce the number of offenders of Allah's orders has always been an awesome goal of the Sharia. (Empowering husbands to have more than one wife, under certain conditions and controls, is a means to the end of reducing those sexually offending). To absolutely eliminate offending is impossible in the mundane world of fallible human beings who can not resist being entrapped into sinning, although, of course, those, grappling with the evil‑abetting soul, who repent and return to Allah's fold are the morally best.

     

    It is still noteworthy that there are estimated tens of millions of widows and divorcees who keep rummaging around for a sustainer who will act the compassionate father to their children, even though he is not at all involved in any nuptial role, with the actual reality supporting this.

     

    Faults allegedly made by some polyg4mists should not, by any means, reckoned to be true Islam. To remedy such faults cannot be achieved by scrapping polygamy itself Rather, making people more knowledgeable about an indispensable need for administering justice and all‑round piety and fear of Allah is the salubrious remedy. Again, an aberrant pattern of behavior by some polygamists should not ever be reckoned as true Islam, simply because it swerves from its straight moral path.

     

    In fact, what the commons do by meting out injustice to women and unequally treating children is the immediate consequence of a grave lack of correct Islamic tenets. Moreover, media make things all the worse by disseminating moral I y‑ subversive notions and values which run on a collision course with great Islam.

     

    So nervously a young gentleman wondered: where in the first place is that polygamy you are talking about, while most youths cannot manage to have a job, modest flat or Mahr (money paid by the groom to the bride in Islam) to pay to only one woman to marry? He went on wondering: a youth like us keeps scrimping for ten years on average in order to ultimately propose marriage to hardly one girl, so how do you demand youth to take another wife?

     

    To answer this question is much simpler than our friend thinks, whom we have to excuse for what he said in view of the fact that youths are gravely financially strapped in an economic crisis‑ridden Islamic world, and for which we supplicate Allah to mightily lift it.

    A talk of polygamy should, axiomatically, be addressed only to those so capable, rather than low‑income nascent young gentlemen, for whom we supplicate Allah to support, and provide for, from a source they could not have imagined. Capability is thus indispensable for anyone wishing to marry, monogamist or polygamist be he.

     

    Capability is identified as a multi‑faceted quail. involving the following:

    firstly, enough solvency to provide for wives and children alike;

    secondly, physical strength. An ill husband is not perceived of as having many wives, while he cannot make his first wife sexually satisfied by catering to her legitimate instinctive sexual desire. Therefore, a would‑be polygamist should be capable of having reasonably enough intimacies to make his two or more wives sexually satisfied.

    thirdly, there should be psychological strength to fairly deal with wives on the part of a would‑be polygamist. So, he should as much resist as possible his heartily slant towards a particular one of them. Equally providing for, staying overnight with, and even playing and entertaining wives should be sternly applied. His slanted approach to a particular one of them, if there is such a slant, should be made invisible and imperceptible so that he may not hurt the feelings of the other wife or wives.

    In our belief, a polygamist husband should put on a par all of his wives, even in terms of the number of intimacies. This is as close an approach as possible to the spirit of the Islamic great legislation, which regards in a very bad light unfairness or inequality in terms of anything. He should even regard, or smile at, them equally ‑ this is closer to piety and fear of Allah. If he assuredly realized that he would not be fair enough when dealing with his wives, he should inevitably then suffice himself with only one wife and divorce the other wife or wives. May Allah then provide the divorcee with another husband, who will, over flowingly, show her compassion and love.

     

    Strange enough is one certain objection against polygamy, which is falsely pleaded as putting at stake the entire family and increasing children at a time when the government has heavily been trying to pare down the growth of population to head off a claimed imminent population explosion.

     

    Those who so claim are putting the cart before the horse, as it is a ban on polygamy, which, on the contrary, erodes the very entity of society and family. As exhibited by figures, unmarried girls have been stepping up in number that they are, by manifold, in excess of married women. Against such a backdrop, if polygamy is not granted easier access, sex‑motivated perversity, homosexuality, psychological disorders, suicide, prostitution and taking mistresses and concubines will be rampant along the lines of Europe's demoralized communities. As for an increase in the number of children on account of polygamy, it should be made known, beyond the slightest doubt, that whatever soul Allah has ordained to be created, will accordingly be created and given access by Allah to this mundane world despite whatever objection or resistance by whomsoever.

     

    All there will be that a respectably‑born legitimate child ‑ whose legal birth by a second, third or fourth revered and well‑beloved wife is being fiercely resisted ‑will instead be born illegally as a love child and be taking his way down the street or to an orphanage, becoming in a few years' time a hardened, professional criminal posing a grave menace to the core of social stability and security.

     

    Now with the situation so far reviewed, do polygamy opponents still regard this consequence as better than the previously explained result generated by legitimate polygamy? One more thing has to be ultimately spelt out: if human massiveness is managed to be properly cultivated, brought up and refined, it will generate an effective and useful force along the lines of China, Japan and the rest of Asian tigers.

     

    However, why can not a woman be a polygamist wife, just as a polygamist husband? This is, of course, a highly naive and funny question at the same time, because it overlooks the nature of things and what Allah has lodged into the entity as well as the physical and psychological structure of a woman, who is thus created by Allah to be drastically different from a man. From a point of view, it is impossible to identify an embryo's lineal descent when a wife is sleeping around within the same period of time. A situation thus created will be that of absolute chaos freakily involving lineal descents as well as social and legal ties. For example, whom will this infant, thus born, be an heir to? Who is going to accept him as husband when he cannot identify himself as having so and so father or such and such tribe or family? Who, out of those with whom his mother has been sleeping around with, will be in charge of taking care of, and providing, for him?

     

    From another standpoint, modem science has exposed a lot of killer diseases which women susceptibly develop when semen by diverse men flows into the same womb ‑including, Allah forbid, uterus and vaginal cancers as well as AIDS.

     

    That a wife should exclusively have one husband is an eternal and immaculate system introduced by Allah, the Sustainer of the entire universe, which if flouted, will certainly wreak unbearable and unprecedented havoc upon humans. It is only one husband who should ejaculate sperm into a wife's womb, and claiming otherwise only signals fault and inevitable annihilation.

     

    One more thing has to be ultimately clarified: how can a multitude of men go into the bedroom of one and the same wife? By Allah, dumb animals do desist from such a pattern of behavior, so a human, whom Allah has honorably preferred to other creatures, had better desist from indulging himself into such a quagmire?

     

    Prophet Muhammad's Traditions Concerning His Daughter Fatima

    Most polygamy opponents attempt to take advantageously the incident of Prophet Muhammad's (Peace be upon him) declining to allow his cousin companion and son‑in‑law Ali son of Abu‑Taleb ‑ who was married to the prophet's (peace be upon him) daughter Fatima ‑ to marry the daughter of Amre son of Hisham, whose running epithet was Abu‑Jahl (literally: "the Ignoramus"). They inarguably plead that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), when refusing to let Ali take another wife besides Fatima, has invalidated the originally valid and permissible principle of polygamy, or has at least conceded detriment as taking a heavy toll on the first wife when the husband takes another wife, or wives.

     

    To invalidate the argument those polygamy opponents say, we have, first of all, to fully cite the prophet's (peace be upon him) hadith (saying) to know the reasons for which he has so declined.

     

    The hadith reports Ali son of Abu‑Taleb as having proposed marriage to Abu‑Jahl's daughter while he was married to Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The reporter of the hadith, identified as Al Miswar son of Makhrama, says, "I heard Allah's prophet address his audience from his pulpit, and I was adult enough at the time. He (peace be upon him) said (Fatima belongs to me and I fear that she may be tempted out of her faith). The reporter of the hadith then cited Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as highly commending one of his in‑laws from Abd‑Shams clan. The prophet (peace be upon him) said "He faithfully talked to me and honored what he promised me to do" referring to Abu‑Al‑Aas son of Al Rabi'i (and I do not forbid what Allah has made permissible, nor do I make permissible what Allah has forbidden. But, by Allah, never will the prophet's daughter be meeting at the same place with the daughter of Allah's foe).

     

    In the same hadith, though otherwise reported in different versions, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "The offspring of Hisham son of Al‑Mughira have requested my consent to marry their daughter off to Ali son of Abu‑Taleb. But, hereby, I decline to give consent, then I decline to give them consent, then I decline to give them consent, unless Ali son of Abu‑Taleb so wishes to divorce my daughter and marry their own. My daughter belongs to, and is part and parcel of, me: whatever is hurting to her is equally hurting to me; and what exacts a toll on her equally exacts a toll on me".

     

    In the following lines we will be reviewing the elucidation of the aforesaid hadith, which has been reported by Imam Muslim, (one of the biggest authors of hadiths collections) as interpreted by Imam Al‑Nawawi.

     

    Imam Al‑Nawawi explains as follows:

     

    (Jurists have stated: this hadith carries a prohibition of anything harmful to the prophet ‑ peace be upon him ‑while alive by any means or under any circumstances, even if this harm is generated by a matter which is originally permitted. Prophet Muhammad ‑ peace be upon him ‑ has made it publicly known that it is permitted to marry Abu‑Jahl's daughter by having said, "I do not forbid something which is originally permissible". However, he has forbidden that both women be married by the same husband at one and the same time for two reasons. The first reason was being that this was detrimental to Fatima, and as such it was detrimental to the prophet ‑ peace be upon him ‑; whoever harms him brings down on him the wrath of Allah. So, he ‑ peace be upon him ‑ has thus forbidden such a marriage for his full compassion for both Ali and Fatima. The second reason was being he feared for his daughter being tempted out of faith because of womanish jealousy.

     

    The hadith has also been explained otherwise. The hadith, thus understood, is not intended to forbid marrying the two by Ali, but simply means that the prophet ‑ peace be upon him ‑ knew beforehand from Allah that they would not be married by Ali ‑ as Allah revealed to him further events. As others put it, it was probable that the prophet ‑ peace be upon him ‑ forbade marrying them both by Ali because one is daughter of the Messenger of Allah

    And the other is daughter of the foe of Allah, thus adding such a marriage to the women listed by the Holy Quran as forbidden to marry, in which case his saying "I do not forbid anything which is permissible" should be explained as that he does not say anything which offends Allah's rulings or teachings. If

    Allah permits something, he cannot forbid it; if He (Allah) forbids it he (the prophet) cannot allow it nor can he remain silent about it ‑ as remaining silent about it could signal consent and permissibility. Jurists thus conclude the explanation of the hadith.)

     

    If we have the right to add anything, we have to assert that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has obviously identified the reason for his declining to let Ali son of Abu‑Taleb marry the other woman, in addition to Fatima, as having been that the other girl was the daughter of Abu‑Jahl ‑ the tyrant whose running epithet during his life was the foe of Islam. He savagely and brutally fought Islam until the moment he gave up the ghost at the very end of sinful and villainous life. Consequently, the daughter of Allah's foe must not have been dealt with on a par with that begotten by Allah's beloved prophet and His mercy sent to mankind.

     

    Moreover, it could not have been acceptable that the daughter of Allah's last messenger ‑ who belongs to him as well as part and parcel of him as he, peace be upon him, described her on a lot of occasions ‑ be placed in a position of profanely vying for a husband's heart, which, naturally, entails mutual jealously as well as being locked in heated bantering and argument as the case is in most households. Allah's prophet and his daughter must have been loftier than that cheap clash, involving women in every society and at any time, to win husbands' hearts.

     

    In addition, Muhammad's daughter presumably sets an example for all women of mankind to follow. In her capacity as such, she must have been safeguarded against any rival women, so that she might be totally devoted, together with her father, to the noble call for peace and Islam.

    A special mention has to be made of the fact that there are certain provisions which exclusively apply to Allah's prophets and messengers‑ and their sons and daughters subordinately. Being central to the Islamic faith, such provisions have to be carefully observed. We firmly believe that Fatima is a sister to all Muslims, as her mother, late Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) is the mother of all the faithful believers as shown by the Holy Quran itself. Fatima's father, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), is closer to believers than themselves, and as such he is regarded as the father of every Muslim, be it male or female.

     

    Therefore, if his daughter Fatima has been a sister to all female Muslims, she should not be combined in marriage with any of her sisters, either by Ali ‑ as his two wives ‑ or by anybody else. And since Fatima is an exception case covered by a special ruling or provision, no other case which is not covered by the Quranic text referred to should be made analogous to her.

     

    Ultimately, it is not ever legal that Allah's messenger flouts or invalidates a provision, like polygamy, even though Allah has revealed verses of the Holy Quran in acknowledgement thereof. To say that the prophet has flouted or invalidated such a provision is to centrally undermine the tenets of Islam and criminally call into question Prophet Muhammad's deeds.

     

    [1] Verse number is 129, the surah of Women.

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