Wives Rather Than Mistresses (Polygamy necessity of the age)


  • bookcover

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


  • Chapter One

    PRE‑ISLAM POLYGAMY

    It is not Islam that has ushered in polygamy. As historically confirmed, polygamy has been known since ancient times ‑ a phenomenon as old as mankind itself With polygamy having been a commonplace practice since Paranoiac times, Ramses II ‑ Pharaohs' most celebrated King (reigned 1292‑1225B.C.)‑ Kept eight wives, and scores of concubines and female slaves who gave him more than one hundred and fifty sons and daughters. Temple walls, with the names of wives, concubines and children inscribed on them, stand vividly in witness of the practice. Beautiful Queen Neferteri was the most celebrated of Ramses II's wives, followed in rank and order by Queen Asiya Nefer otherwise known as Isis Nefer, who bore him his son King Merenbetah. Merenbetah was to ascend to the throne later following the death of his father and elder brothers.

     

    History books give an account of Moses' Pharaoh as having kept several wives, including Asiya (May Allah be pleased with her), who was his female cousin too. Having failed to give him any children, she held Moses to her bosom when her maids picked him up from a box floating in the Nile River.  The Holy Quran relates her story in the surah (chapter) of the "Narration" as follows, "(Here is) a joy of the eye, for me and for you: do not slay him. It may be that he will be of use to us, or we may adopt him as a son".[1]

     

    Polygamy was not less commonplace during Abraham's era than it had been in ancient Pharaonic times. Hajar, Prophet Abraham's second wife, gave birth to Ishmael, who would have been slain, and who is the forefather of all Arabs. His first wife Sarah gave Prophet Abraham Ishaq. (Peace be upon them all).

     

     Prophet Yaaqub (Jacob) kept two sister wives, who were his maternal uncle Laban's two daughters. In addition to the two wives, named Liya and Raheel,[2] Prophet Jacob had two female slaves, owned by him and with them he used to have legitimate intimacies as this practice has long been known when the female slaves are owned by the master. The four women Prophet Jacob kept ‑ the two wives and two female slaves ‑ gave him the so-called tribes (eleven sons). It was his wife Raheel who gave him his son Yusuf, and later gave him Benjamin. She was Prophet Jacob's most beloved woman he legitimately kept.

     

    Prophet Dawud (peace be upon him) kept several wives and numerous female slaves. His son Solomon, also a prophet, had a lot of wives and female slaves.

     

    In this context, we should not let go unheeded the malicious rumors and gross lies deliberately mongered by Jews about Prophet Dawud.

     

    Enamoured of the wife of one of his military commanders, Prophet Dawud is falsely claimed to have sent him to his death at the battlefront and married his widow.

     

    Having been as despicable as such, the lie has been vehemently dismissed as absolutely ungrounded by major interpreters of the Holy Quran, including Ibn Katheer.

    Imam Ibn Katheer has further branded the purported incident as a lie interpolated by Jews, which should be brushed aside.[3]

     

    A belief in the infallibility of prophets (peace be upon them all) is an invariable principle of true faith. To regard chastity, and noble manners, of prophets with the least skepticism is to be outspokenly infidel ‑ we seek refuge with Allah that we should not be one of those casting doubts on chastity of prophets.

     

    Prophets Dawud and Soliman had many wives and scores of female slaves sexually enjoyed. Hence, one can not perceive that either one of them still needed more women to satisfy his sexual desires. Moreover, it is not less imperceptible that it was Prophet David, who had been known to observe fasting every other day, should resort to mean trickery by getting rid of his senior commander to fill in his place with his widow.

     

    Polygamy was also widespread in pre‑Islam Arabian peninsula.

     

    Imam Al‑Bukhari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, according to an authentic chain of narrators, that when Ghilan of the Thaqif tribe (a companion of the prophet) embraced Islam he had ten wives. Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him), said to him, 'Select four legal wives of them".

     

    Abou Dawoud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported in his collection of prophetic Traditions, that Umayra of the Assad tribe said, "When I embraced Islam, I had eight wives. When I told prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) he said, "Keep four of them".

     

    Al Imam A]‑Shafi'y (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Nawfal son of Mu'awiya Al‑Dailamy said, "When I embraced Islam, I had five wives, so Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) said to me, "Keep four wives ‑ whomever four you like ‑ and divorce the remaining one".

     

    Imam Al‑Bukhari reported in the Book of Niqah (Wedlock) that Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) made a bond of brotherhood between Abdul‑Rahman son of Awf and Saad son of Al‑Rabi Al‑Ansari. Al‑Ansari had two wives, so he very generously offered to give Abdul‑Rahman half his wives and property. Abdul‑Rahman replied, "May Allah bless you with your wives and property. Just kindly show me the market and I can manage my affairs".

     

    Polygamy was frequent among Slavic, who now account for Russians, Serbs, Czechs and Slovaks, dotted all along Lithuania, Estonia, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria.

     

    Germans and Saxons also widely practiced polygamy. (Germans and Saxons are the two major races to which almost all the population of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and England belong). Pagans in Africa, India, China, Japan as well as other southeast Asian regions have always been polygamists.

     

    Dr. Muhammad Fouad Al‑Hashemi confirms "the Church as having recognized polygamy up to the 17th century".[4]

    None of the four gospels is known to have explicitly barred polygamy. It so happened that some European peoples, dictated only by non‑polygamy pagan traditions, barred the practice of keeping more than one wife. (Only some peoples were known to have barred polygamy, since most European peoples ‑ as mentioned before ‑ practiced it on the largest possible scale). When that anti‑polygamy minority converted to Christianity, it clamped the traditional polygamy ban down on the rest of Christians. As time passed by, Christianity was increasingly, falsely though, believed to have essentially barred polygamy. It is only an old tradition clamped by some down on the others throughout ages.

     

    Opponents of polygamy are invited to pick up the gauntlet ‑ if they can ‑ and produce any single religious text out of any of the New Testament four gospels, which prohibits polygamy. As to the Old Testament, otherwise known as Torah, it involves explicit texts that polygamy was an accepted practice in the creeds of Abraham (Allah's friend), Isaac, Jacob, Dawud, Soliman as well as other prophets sent to the Children of Israel (peace be upon them all as well as upon our Prophet Muhammad).

     

    Even socially, sociologists and historians, including Westermark, Hubihos, Hiller and Genburg, note that polygamy was widely known only to peoples who had attained a considerable amount of civilization. Having settled down at river valleys as well as rainy regions, and converted to organized cultivation and grazing, rather than hunting, collecting forest fruit and primitive farming, those peoples adopted polygamy as a widely‑accepted social system. At an earlier more primitive phase, it was family unity and monogamy, which were the prevalent social values.

     

    Those historians and sociologists, quoted above, go even further to announce that a world of more civilization tends to be heraldic of wider‑scale polygamy. The account given by those scientists‑ who are all non‑Muslims ‑stands in testimony of the validity of polygamy, as introduced by Islam, and strongly refutes the argument of those fallacious opponents of polygamy who plead that it has long been outdated.

     

    Therefore, polygamy had been, as so far exhibited, a commonly ‑accepted practice even before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy to all mankind. However, polygamy as such was absolutely unrestricted, as the number of wives or concubines ‑ as shown by examples ‑ was limitless. A polygamist was not required to fairly treat his wives, nor had he to do them any justice, as later stipulated by Islam.

     

    So, if Islam, which is as great, merciful and just as it is, has ordered that wives be treated on a par with each other, put the number of wives kept by a husband at one time at a maximum of four women and banned polygamy if injustice is feared on the part of the husband ‑ why do some come out and object to the practice so ignorantly and over stringently? Does it stand to reason that when heaven descends mercy upon us we throw it back to the most Beneficent and most Merciful?

     

    Pre‑Islam community was brimful of diverse forms of injustice, crime and enormities covertly and overtly alike.

    It was a woman who would always be victimized. A husband would always spend most of his time in the bosom of prostitutes, recognized by red flags raised over their tents, and would go back home only when he is fatigued, having run out of money and physical strength. In the meantime, a wife did not dare to raise her voice in objection.

     

    Another husband would stay for several months in a row with a wife of his, whom he considers the most beautiful of all, conferring gifts and enormous money exclusively on his children by her, with the other wife or wives ‑ let alone their children ‑ never daring to articulate a single word in resistance to this gross inequality.

     

    So what if Islam has permitted polygamy making it restrictively hinging upon justice, mercy as well as marital duties and tribute to all wives and children on a par with each other ‑ why do we reject it and assail with abusive words the divine legislation, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the entire religion.

     

    Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but the hearts in their chests.

     

    [1] The surah of "Al‑Qasas", or Narration, verse 9.

    [2] Combining two sisters as wives had until then been acknowledged and has later been explicitly banned by the Quran.

     

    [3] Ibn Katheer in his book the "Interpretation of the Holy Quran", the interpretation of the Surah of Sad, verses from 21‑25.

     

     

    [4] He himself converted to Islam from Christianity ‑ refer to the book named "Religions on the Scales" page 109.

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