18 September, 2021

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Why More Than One?

By Suha Cassim –

Suha Cassim

There is a debate about the “nefarious effects” of Polygyny.. but the debate is not within the community rather it is imposed on us. Often, our society weigh in on many social issues..prostitution, gay marriage, capital punishment, unfaithfulness in relationships or some other social issues. My aim is to enlighten the reader on the  reasons that it Polygyny is allowed in Islam. Those opposing Polygyny  do not represent the majority of the Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Polygyny is the most common and accepted form of Polygamy, entailing the marriage of a man with several women but Islam restricts that to 4  wives and with strict conditions; and in this country Polygyny is practised by a very small percentage of the Muslim population. But it is allowed.

Benefits

Allah is the All Wise who has has sent down the Quran and chosen His  Messenger to guide us – who are we to even think of changing Allah’s laws? (Thashkheer is to put aside our intellect and our logic when it  comes to the obedience of ALLAH swt and the sunnah of Rasoolulah sal.) Our duty is to teach and reform faulty human behaviour and not change Divine Law. The basic requirement of a believer is to obey ALLAH and His Messenger; solutions to any eventual issues are to be found in the Quran and Sunnah.

The practice of polygyny gives that man who has not been granted children, a reason not to divorce his first wife. Ageing wives can therefore retain the dignity of the married estate and remain with her husband and the family they love.

A wife who does not feel like intimacy due to pregnancy or childbirth or menopause, will not be under pressure since he will have other perfectly acceptable options within the marriage. Also, if the husband and wife  collectively decide that the man should take on a second wife because the first wife is unable to bear children, what objections can any critic lay

on them? What moral authority do they have over any husband and wife who have decided their own collective happiness? No critic should raise questions from any presumed role of a moral high ground.

The importance our laws place on marriages contracted only between two people, tempts us to think that monogamy is the natural human state. The reality could not be further from the truth.

Scientific research has verified while monogamy is the expected societal norm, it is relatively unusual against the back drop of human history.  Only 20% of the societies sampled, considered monogamous unions to be normal and desirable.

In Western countries, that ban Polygyny, LGBTQ marriages are legalised, recognized and protected by law. There does not even seem to be an argument then, to limit polygynous marriages..

Why did Gay men and women fight for the right to be married? In the main it was economics. Like Polygynous marriages, it provides partners with certain automatic legal protection that include inheritance, pension rights, hospital visitation rights, custody rights, access to family insurance and many more.

Polygynous marriages extend these protections automatically to all spouses within a marriage, regardless of their position in the family. So long as one can support multiple wives and children from them, then  it’s probably the preferable legal position (rather than satisfying desires with illicit relationships that have terrifying life long consequences). Questions of jealousy, desire, and so forth, are important from a  subjective perspective, but irrelevant from a legal evaluation of the issue.

Michael Price’s hypothesis that monogamy supports co-operation and, as a result, has spread from the West to other regions was tested by using five measures of societal success against 156 contemporary nation states, of which 84 are monogamous and 72 are polygamous. Among other conclusions, “Price found that 64% of monogamous societies only 25% of polygamous societies had liberal democracies.” But not all monogamy is politically imposed, as evinced by its existence among small-scale band and tribal societies. “Ecologically imposed monogamy” arises when men lack the resources needed to support multiple wives ..

(Sanderson 2001: 333).

The intended change in the law banning Polygyny in Sri Lanka is firstly a  total infringement of our fundamental and religious rights. No Government has the right to change our personal Muslim laws and  injunctions given in our religious scripture and are already in place. This will bring social changes that will give rise to serial monogamy – i.e. people who marry and divorce multiple times. It will change the social  structure and construct that is Divine. For the man who wants a new relationship he will simply divorce his wife and avoid any economic obligation.

Essentially serial monogamists ‘use the law to gain the benefits of a polygynous relationship’ without being subject to the restrictions and duties of marriage, including escaping what should be lifelong  commitments to the children they have with their disposable spouses.

On the flip side the Polygynists are criminalised for wanting to take lifelong responsibility for the wives they have loved and the children they have created, while serial monogamists are permitted to celebrate  wedding after wedding, discarding their previous relationships on the scrapheap of life. While divorce is now an accepted part of our life and  the world over, up to 50% of first marriages end before the death of a spouse and often failure rates are high for subsequent marriages. It is quite right that the stigma that used to surround divorcees and their children has disappeared but it leaves us, with an unpalatable situation where society sees nothing wrong with the serial monogamists!

As a nation that has accepted divorce, or living together without marriage, turning a blind eye to the LGBTQ groups although such relationships are illegal in Sri Lanka, it stands to reason that there is no longer any reason or any excuse to continue to victimize the Muslims and their Divine law.

There are four objectives given in the Quran for marriage: Protection against physical, moral and spiritual ailments, continuation of human life, companionship and peace of mind, Growth of relations of love and compassion.

However, Allah The Most High, has explicitly mentioned in the Quran in  Sura Nisa: verse 3: “And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or  three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. (3)”

Monogamous or polygynous, the objective of marriage in Islam remains the same.

Islam gave women rights which were not dreamt of, by the rest of  the world, when humanity was in total darkness. It ensured the protection of the female, be it wife, mother, daughter or sister. While there are behaviours whose value judgements hold no place in decent society and cannot be condoned or supported by the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, this does not give any credence or necessity to abolish and modify, simply an allowance, a tolerance that has been permitted but with strict conditions in the Quran and explained clearly by our beloved Prophet sal.

Finally and the most important fact is that we are forbidden to make any changes to the Quran which is the Divine Word of God.

As a believing Muslim, I am working for my hereafter. And we are not  alone in that.. As such we have to ensure that God’s words, His Commands and Prohibitions are not jettisoned for the sake imported customs.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    Rather than argue about a book that few non-Muslims have read, why not have a look at it. Unlike Christians and the Old Testament, most Muslims believe this stuff because they are too frightened to question it having been brainwashed from infancy. https://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/

    • 3
      2

      Svenson

      “Muslims believe this stuff because they are too frightened to question it having been brainwashed from infancy.”

      I understand your point of view isn’t it similar to Sinhala/Buddhists being frightened to question their origin, Mahawamsa, Origin of their language, origin of racism in this island, ……………….. origin of perverted history, …….?

      • 3
        0

        NV, the Sinhala Buddhists can question their origins if they want to without fear, because they are not threatened with eternal fire. The Tamils and Muslims can do so too. However I am afraid…..that you have tried to compare two different things.

    • 7
      2

      Svenson,
      It’s not only Muslims who are brainwashed. All religions brainwash their followers.

      • 3
        2

        OC, how little you know.

        • 1
          1

          S
          OC’s was a slight overstatement.
          Do religions permit questioning the faith?
          As a rule, each religion prevents the believer from considering other possibilities for his/her salvation.

          • 2
            2

            SJ only Buddhism permits questioning everything.

            • 4
              1

              Dear Svenson; if I may add some thoughts on the topic,
              .
              Buddhism is though recognized as a religion, Buddhism based on non-violence is not a religion. – it is more a philosophy.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religio
              :
              The meaning of the term ” religion” is connected with the relationship of human-god. But buddhism is not regarded as one is directly connected with a god.
              :
              So that is the reason, such questioning is permitted in buddhism.
              :
              Further to this – “BUDDHAGAMA” which is practised in SRILANKA is not buddhism based on ” true teachings of lord buddha”. If they would have been pracitising it in right manner, the crime rates should long have been minimal.
              That is not the case. And please see it by yourself… how devious the people have turned ou tto be. They go after JATHAKA stories and get caught by any easy tricks being played by predators on them.

              • 2
                1

                Dear LM, most of what you have said is exactly right but the real practice does still exists in the country in the many meditation centres and monasteries. There, the enquirer may be surprised to know that refuge in the Buddha Dhamma and Sangha is not refuge in the man Gautama Buddha, his teaching or his order of monks. It is refuge in the human ability (Sangha) to use awakened attention (Buddha) to see Reality (Dhamma).

            • 2
              1

              Svenson,
              “SJ only Buddhism permits questioning everything”
              Why is it then that propagating Mahayana Buddhism is not allowed in Sri Lanka? If your contention means that Buddhism is not practised here, I will accept your statement.

              • 2
                0

                Buddhism is not a centrally organised religion. People practice what they think is ‘true’ Buddhism in many ways. Propagating Mahayana Buddhism is not allowed because of the Government and probably the Mahanayakas. They too are practicing what they think is ‘true’ Buddhism.
                .
                In actual fact the Buddha himself never taught ‘Buddhism’ which was a term devised by Western scholars. You could say that he wasn’t even a Buddhist. The Buddha taught the way out of Suffering and there are some people (monks and laymen) who do practice what he taught.

                • 0
                  1

                  Svenson,
                  So Sinhala Buddhists are not true Buddhists? Say it out loud, please.

                  • 1
                    0

                    Depends on what you mean by Sinhala Buddhists doesn’t it?
                    .
                    If you mean the rabble rousing yellow robed thugs out on the streets, then they may think they are true Buddhists but I don’t. Do you?

                    • 1
                      0

                      Svenson,
                      Totally agree with you.

            • 0
              0

              The Buddha saidthat one should question every thing.
              But there is a code of conduct for Buddhist clergy there are guidelines for Buddhists of all kind.
              Will anyone contest the rules of Vinaya?
              I think that Buddhism has about the most rational religious framework. But religious practice is something else.

      • 3
        1

        OC,
        .
        exactly the truth. Look at how our BPs returned to power.. is that not through brained washed mechanisms. All was public secret about MEDAMULANA rascals… having broken all records in comminting high crimes. Nevertheless, media was able to bury almost everything. but ballige puthas only focused on getting their high crime investigations exonerated/discharged….. see what else, they have achieved so far… for the public nothing, but for them all what they targeted at.
        :
        OC, please take good care of you – death toll are on a rapid increase by hour now.
        :
        God bless srlanka !

        • 1
          1

          LM,
          Thanks for your good wishes. I am fully vaccinated. So far no trouble.

  • 8
    0

    Suha Cassim:

    “A wife who does not feel like intimacy due to pregnancy or childbirth or menopause, will not be under pressure since he will have other perfectly acceptable options within the marriage.” What a patriarchal statement. Indeed he has all the options in the male-centred institution of polygyny.
    .
    What happens when a wife, not affected by any of the conditions mentioned above, does “feel like intimacy,” but that night the husband finds one of his other wives more arousing? He always gets what he wants. The women have no say. And they have to compete with each other for their sexual fulfillment. What a bad deal in this day and age, when women are fighting for gender equality, sexual equality and empowerment. Contrary to what you say, polygyny is not a fundamental right of Muslim, or for that matter, any women. It is in fact a blatant violation of women’s human rights. It is gender equality that is a fundamental human right, and the necessary foundation for a successful marriage and a prosperous society.

  • 3
    0

    Madam Suha
    How is the time sharing arrangement usually worked out?

    Soma

    • 2
      0

      S
      Have you tried having an extramarital relationship?
      It is easier than that.

      • 3
        0

        Extramartital relatiionships are very common in the country today than 2 decades ago.
        .
        Almost 50% of married couple fall on to devorced catergory sooner than later through either get devorced or live being separate.
        :
        I know this from my circles down there. This I also spoke with those known to me, bear the same view.
        :
        Men struggle not being able to control their testesterone mirror. Reports say, that srilankens are top among sex searchers on cyber world.

      • 1
        0

        SJ
        Not so easy. I am being refused on the basis that I am already married.
        Costs are proportional to the square of the age difference.

        Soma

  • 1
    4

    Polygyny May be necessary where there are More women than Men in a country. Quite a number of countries were left with more women than men after the word wars. A country having more men and less women will be short of population increase, as the number of children born will be according to number of fertile women . One man can produce 10 children with 10 women but one women with 10 men can only produce one child at a time. Hence think of the practical side of it?

    • 2
      0

      KV
      You assume that all people need to be married.
      Love finds its way somehow.
      Sex and close relationship are not restricted to marriage.
      Then think of the LGBT population.
      The world is not as any religion demands it to be.

  • 1
    2

    Svenson

    Read the book Michael Hart improve your litracy

  • 1
    1

    RBH59
    It’s just a single man’s opinion, it means nothing. Besides, what does ‘most influential’ really mean? Adolf Hitler had an influence on all of Europe. Was he then the most influential European?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_H._Hart
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_100:_A_Ranking_of_the_Most_Influential_Persons_in_History

    • 0
      1

      It’s just a single man’s opinion, it means nothing

      The rank on “greatness” measures, how the course of human history most changed due to the actions of that person to Spiritual and political Leader & Hitler is for war

  • 1
    0

    Going by the comments it looks like many are against polygamy.
    .
    My conclusion:
    Any man who argues against polygamy is a fool as well as any woman who agrees to it.
    .
    Islamic polygamy is like sharing an ice cream by four people.

    Soma

  • 0
    1

    Soma

    Islamic polygamy is like sharing an ice cream by four people.

    Islamic polygamy It is sharing 4 ice cream with one man

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