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already has a husband and resents seeing any other woman having access to his companionship and protection, or sharing with her his support and kindness. But what is the feeling of the other women who have no husbands or reliable companions? Should we just ignore their existence and believe that they have no right to any kind of security and satisfaction? And if we ignore them, will that solve their problem or give them any satisfaction? How would this very wife feel and react if she were in a position similar to that of the companionless women? Would she not desire to belong and to be respected and acknowledged? Would she not accept a half cup or a half husband, as it were, if she cannot have it full? Would she not be happier with some protection and security, instead of being deprived of it altogether? What will happen to her and her children, if the dear husband becomes attracted to or by one of those “ surplus” women over a social cocktail or a dancing party? What will become of her if he deserts his family or neglects his responsibilities to make time and provision for the new attraction? How would she feel if she comes to know that the only man in her life is having some affairs with other women and maintaining another person in secret or frequenting another spare sweetheart? Such a man is not only a loss but also a menace. He is mean and wicked. Granted! But is this curse going to help anyone involved ? Such a man is no longer, in reality, a husband of one wife. He is a mean hypocrite, but the harm is done, and the soul is injured. It is the woman - the legal wife as well as the illegal companion – who suffers from a state of affairs of this kind. Is it not better for both women involved to equally share the man’ s care and support, and have equal access to his companionship and be both equally protected by the law?. It is to protect all parties concerned, to combat unchastity, to prevent such harm and save souls from injuries that Islam benevolently interferes and allows the married man to remarry if there is good reason or justification 2. In some instances of marriage the wife may not be capable of having any children for some reason or other. To have a family life in the full sense of the word and contribute to the preservation of the human kind, the presence of children is fundamental. Besides, it is one of the major purposes of marriage, and man desires by nature to have children to preserve his name and strengthen the family bonds. In a situation like this a man has one of three ordinary alternatives: (i) to forget it and suppress his natural desires for children; (ii) to divorce his childless wife through a course of separation, adultery or otherwise; and (iii) to adopt children and give them his name None of these alternatives fits the general outlook of Islam on life and nature. Islam does not encourage or approve suppression of anyone’ s legitimate desires and natural aspirations. It helps to realize those aspirations and desires in a decent and legal way because suppression in such a case is not part of its system. Divorce under these circumstances is not justifiable, because it is not the wife’ s fault that she cannot have children. Besides, divorce is the most detestible thing in the sight of God and is permissible only when there is no other alternative. On the other hand, the wife may be in need of the support and companionship of her husband. It will be cruel to let her go when she is in need and desperate, and when she has nobody particularly interested in her, knowing that she is unable to give birth Adoption is also out of the question, because Islam ordains that every child must be called by his real father’ s name, and if the name is unknown, he must be called a brother in faith (Qur’ an, 33:4-5). This, of course, does not mean that a child who has no known father or supporter should suffer deprivation or lack of care. Far from it. It means that adoption as practiced today is not the way to give that child secure and prosperous life. No one can really and fully substitute for the actual father and mother. The daily course of events, the complicated procedures and cases in courts, and the disputes between families attest that adoption never solves a problem. How many cases are there in courts today where the real parents are demanding the return of their children who have been adopted by strange families and introduced to different environments? How long can a normal mother or father see his child in a strange

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II