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constitutions and social standards do not approve polygamy, Islam came to be enforced, to be lived, to be practised, and not to stay in suspense or be considered a mere theory. It is realistic and its outlook on life is most practicable. And that is why it permits conditional and restricted polygamy; because had it been in the best interest of humanity as a whole to do without this institution, God would have certainly ordered its termination. But who knows better than He? There is a variety of reasons for which Islam permits polygamy. One does not have to imagine such reasons or make hypotheses. They are real and can be seen every day everywhere. Let us examine some of these reasons 1. In some societies women outnumber men: This is especially true of industrial and commercial regions, and also of countries that get involved in wars. Now if a Muslim society is in this category, and if Islam were to forbid polygamy and restrict legal marriage to one wife only, what would the unmarried ones do? Where and how would they find the naturally desirable companionship? Where and how would they find sympathy, understanding, support and protection? The implications of the problem are not simply physical; they are also moral, sentimental, social, emotional and natural. Every normal woman – whether she is in business or in foreign service or in the intelligence department – longs for a home, a family of her own. She needs some one to care for and some one to care for her. She desires to belong socially and familially. Even if we look at it from a strictly physical point of view, the implications are still very serious, and we cannot just ignore them; otherwise, psychological complexes, nervous breaks, social disgust and mental instability would develop as legitimate results of leaving the problem unsolved. Clinical evidence of this is overwhelming. These natural desires and sentimental aspirations have to be realized. These needs to belong, and to care, and to be cared for, have to be satisfied somehow or other. Women in such a situation do not usually transform their nature or lead an angelic course of life. They feel that they have every right to enjoy life and obtain their share. If they cannot have it in a legal and decent way, they never fail to find other channels, although risky and temporary. Very few women can do without the permanent and assured companionship of men. The overwhelming majority of unmarried women in such a society find their way to meet men. They put up lavish parties, organize social cocktails, attend business conventions, pursue outgoing roads, and so on. The results of this desperate hunting is not always moral or decent. A certain married man may appeal to some woman, and she would try to win him legally or otherwise. Also, some woman may attract a certain man, who might be demoralized or depressed for some reason or other. Such a man will try to have some intimate relationship with her in the open or in secret, in a decent manner or otherwise, in a legal form or just by common law. This would certainly have serious effects on the family life of the married man involved, and would ruin from within the morale and social morality of society. Wives would be deserted or neglected; children would be forsaken; homes would be broken, and so on. The woman who meets a male companion under such circumstances has no security or dignity or rights of any kind. Her male companion or professional lover could be with her, maintain her and frequent her residence with gifts and readiness to shower on her all expressions of passionate romance. But what assurance has she got? How can she stop him from walking out on her or letting her down in times when he is most needed and his companionship is most desired? What will prevent him from calling off this secret romance? Morality? Conscience? The Law? Nothing will help; morality was given a death blow when they started this kind of intimacy; conscience was paralyzed when he indulged in this relationship against all regulations of God and man; the Law of society does not recognize any intimacy except with one’ s only wife. So, the male can enjoy this easy companionship as long as he wishes, and once his feelings cool off he can go to meet another woman and repeat the same tragedy without regulated responsibilities or obligations on his part. The woman who has had this experience may still be attractive and appealing, or

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II