Page 104

allow hypocrisy and immorality to replace honesty and faithfulness? Outright prohibition and condemnation have not stopped some men from committing the offense or quickened their conscience. On the contrary, they have made room for hypocrisy, secret infidelity and irresponsibility in the face of which the law and lawmakers are helpless Now Islam cannot be helpless. It cannot compromise on moral standards or tolerate hypocrisy and infidelity. It cannot deceive itself or man by false and pretended satisfactions. Nor can Islam deny the existence of the problem or simply resort to outright condemnation and prohibition, because that does not even minimize the harm. To save a man of this kind from his own self, to protect the woman involved – whether she is the wife or the secret friend – against unnecessary complications, to maintain the moral integrity of society, and to minimize evil, Islam has allowed recourse to polygamy with the reservations and conditions mentioned above. This is to be applied as an emergency measure and is certainly much healthier than nominal monogamy and irresponsible relations between man and woman. Men and women, who find themselves in a desperate state or in a difficult entanglement, may resort to this solution. But if there is any fear of injustice and harm to any party, then monogamy is the rule 4. Nature itself requires certain things and actions of man in particular. It is man who, as a rule, travels a lot on business trips and stays away from home for various periods of time, on long and short journeys, in his own country and abroad. No one can take the responsibility of ascertaining that all men under such circumstances remain faithful and pure. Experience shows that most men do fall and commit immoral offenses with strange women during the period of absence from home, which may be months or years. Some people are weak and cannot resist even the easily resistible temptations. As a result, they fall into sin, and that might cause a break in the family. This is another case where restricted polygamy may apply. It is much better for a man of this type to have a second home with a second legal wife than to be free in committing immoral and irresponsible offenses. This is even much better for the wife herself; when she knows that her man is bound by legal regulations and moral principles in his intimacy with another woman, she is most likely to be less irritable than when he enjoys the same intimacy otherwise. Naturally she does not like her man to be shared by anybody else. But when she is confronted with a situation wherein the man has the choice to be either legallly responsible and morally bound, or illegally and immorally associated with someone else, she would certainly choose the first alternative and accept the situation. However, if she is harmed or her rights are violated, she can always refer to the law or obtain a divorce if it be in her best interest By applying Islamic polygamy to this case, the man’ s integrity, the second woman’ s dignity and the moral values of society would be more safeguarded. These cases need no elaboration. They are factual elements in daily life. They may be rare, but rarer is the practice of polygamy among Muslims. Those Muslims who resort to polygamy are much rarer than the infidel husbands and wives who live in monogamous societies Although it is risky and contingent on many prerequisites, as explained earlier, polygamy is far better than negligence and infidelity, hypocrisy and insecurity, immorality and indecency. It helps men and women to solve their difficult problems on a realistic and responsible basis. It brings down to a minimum many psychological, natural and emotional complications of human life. It is a precautionary measure to be applied in the best interest of all parties concerned. Yet it is no article of Faith in Islam nor is it an injunction; it is merely a permission from God, a solution of some of the most difficult problems in human relations. The Muslims maintain that legal and conditional polygamy is preferable to the other courses that many people take nowadays, people who pride themselves on nominal marriage and superficial monogamy To complete the discussion one has to examine the marriages of Prophet Muhammad. These marriages are no problem for a Muslim who understands the ideal character of

Islam in Focus  
Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

Advertisement