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desirous. She may even look for another man and give it a second trial. But will this give her any security or assurance or dignity or right? She will be running in the same vicious circle all the time hunting or hoping to be hunted. Her burden will grow heavier and heavier, especially if there are children involved. Yet in the end she will be forgotten. That does not befit human dignity or feminine delicacy. Any woman in this situation is bound to become either a nervous wreck or a rebellious revenger and destroyer of morality On the other hand, no one can pretend that all married men are happy, successful and satisfied with their marriages. Whether it is his own or his wife’ s fault, the unhappy husband will look for some other kind of companionship and consolation from somebody else. This is made easy for him when women outnumber men. If he cannot get it through honest channels, he will get it by other means with the result of immoral and indecent intimacies, which may involve illegitimacy, abortion and other endless troubles. These may be ugly and bitter facts, but they are real and acute problems. They have to be solved in a way that will secure the individual, male or female, and protect society. The solution which Islam offers in this respect is a permission to the unhappy and dissatisfied husband to marry a second wife and live with her openly in a responsible way with equal fulfillment of all obligations to the first wife and to the second. Similarly, it helps unmarried women satisfy their needs, realize their longings and fulfill their ligitimate aspirations and natural desires. It gives them a permission to associate with men by marriage and enjoy all the rights and privileges of legal wives. In this way Islam does not try to evade the question or ignore the problem. It is realistic and frank, straightforward and practical. The solution which Islam offers is legal, decent and benevolent. Islam suggests this solution because it can never tolerate hypocrisy in human relations. It cannot accept as legal and moral the attitude of a man who is by law married to one wife and in reality has unlimited scope of intimacies and secret relationships. On the other hand, it is deadly opposed to adultery and cannot condone it. The penalty of adulterers and adulteresses can be as severe as capital punishment, and that of fornicators can be as painful as flogging each of them with a hundred stripes. With hypocrisy, infidelity and adultery forbidden, there is no other alternative except to allow legal polygamy. And this is what Islam has done with the above –mentioned regulations and conditions. If some people think it unacceptable, they have to resort to the other alternatives which Islam does not accept or particularly favor. And if some other people can control themselves and exercise self- discipline in every aspect, they do not need polygamy. The main concern of Islam is to maintain the dignity and security of the individual, and to protect the integrity and morale of society Now anybody can ask himself as to what is better for a society of this kind. Is it commendable to let chaos and irresponsible behavior ruin the very foundations of society, or to resort to and implement the Islamic resolution? Is it in the interest of society to ignore its acute problems, to tolerate hypocrisy and indecency, to condone adultery and secret intimacy? Is it healthy to suppress the legitimate desires and natural longings of man and woman for companionship, the suppression which cannot be effective in reality and which would only drive them to illegal and indecent outlets? Whether the question is considered from a social or moral or humanitarian or spiritual or any other point of view, it will be realized that it is far better for the society to permit its individuals to associate on a legal basis and in a responsible manner, with the protection of the Law and under the supervision of the authorities concerned Even if we look at the matter from a feminine point of view, it will be clear that by this very resolution, Islam assures the woman of due respect, secures her rights and integrity, recognizes her legitimate desire for decent companionship, gives her room in society where she can belong, and provides her with opportunities to care for someone dear and to be cared for. This may sound unpleasant to a woman who

Islam in Focus  
Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

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