Polygamy: Pro-West or Pro-Islam?

I would like to share one article wrote by ex-mufti of Perlis Dr. Mohd Asri about polygamy. For those anti-polygamy please read this article with ur open minded and enjoy reading it!

DR.MAZA on Minda Tajdid, Feb 26, 2009

I spent a long time thinking of writing about the topic of polygamy in this column. After this, surely some of my long time enthusiastic female readers will withdraw themselves or feel uncomfortable. If I may, I would like to still touch on this topic to counter the logic presented by the secular feminists who attempt to judge this issue using western mentality.

In general, the Western community regards that it is normal for a man to have a kept woman or a mistress. Furthermore, it has become a trend in the West for couples to live together just like husbands and wives outside of a legal marriage. To change or multiply the number of mistresses one has is not considered peculiar.

In spite of that, their thinking and law does not agree to a man having more than one wife or to be specific, practice polygamy. To them, polygamy is full of elements that degrade women or is brim with factors related to men’s voracious lust. On the other hand, having a kept woman or extramarital affair with a woman is not degrading or does not represent the voraciousness of lust.
The exploitation of every curve of a woman’s body by their media is also, to them, a symbol of a woman’s liberation and freedom. As for a Muslim woman who willingly covers their body, they see it as the symbol of oppression or disaffirmation of a woman’s right.

It is unfortunate that the ‘reckless liberal’ mainstream currently haunting some quarters, our country not excluded, who display themselves as the advocators of women’s right have swallowed this western way of thinking and consequently, they turn the issues of polygamy and hijab as their targets to attack.

Back to the issue of polygamy, what has always been brought up is that it denies women of their rights or degrades women whereas the difference between a second or third or fourth wife and a kept woman is enormous.

Other than the issues of halal and haraam seen through the eyes of the religion, a woman that is legally a wife has legal rights over her husband, rights to receive financial support, rights over bloodline, children, justness in allocating days and wealth, rights to be respected and loved, rights of not to be abandoned when the husband gets bored of her and various more.

As for a mistress who is being ‘used up’ secretly or openly, she can be abandoned without words when the man gets bored of her and be devoured when he has the lust for her. She does not have any rights that she can lay claim to under the sanctity of a marriage.

They pour scorn on polygamy but regard the practice of keeping mistress as a normal phenomenon. Polygamy, in their eyes, brings forth injustice among women. They should be asked if the practice of having mistresses is fair to women. Also, is ‘married life’ outside of wedlock an honor to women?

Majority in the Western society believe that Islam is the only religion that permits polygamy whereas originally, a Christian man was allowed to have as many wives as he wished since Bible did not put a limit to the number of wives one could have. It was only in the recent centuries that the church limited a man to have only one wife.

Polygamy was also allowed in Judaism. This is as reflected in the Law of Talmud where it is narrated that Prophet Abraham had three wives and Prophet Solomon had one hundred wives. The practice of polygamy continued in Judaism until Rabi Gersorn Ben Yehudah (960-1030) issued an order that prohibited it. However, the Jewish Sephardic community who lived among the Muslims continued to practice polygamy up until 1950. Yet, in the West, the pragmatic trend of life that they created has replaced the religion.

When Islam allows polygamy, as in other cases, it also asserts its rules and disciplines. Good manners and justness is obligated to not only those who are polygamous but it is also incumbent on the monogamous to act virtuously and justly towards his wife.

If negligence exists in a polygamous marriage, it does not mean that polygamy is bad but it is because of the wrong attitude being employed by those involved in it. How many of those who are monogamous but abuse their wives, irresponsible towards their families and many more? Just because their actions are wrong, is monogamy then to be prohibited? This proves how muddled the thinking of the liberal cluster is.

A lot of married women sent emails to me stating that they cannot accept it if their husbands want to practice polygamy. Yes, that is a feeling commonly shared by most women. Even more when their husbands have not been performing their husbandly duty properly even before practicing polygamy.
When Allah and His Messenger allow polygamy, surely there is wisdom behind it. Polygamy is a medicine that is consumed when needed and is left untouched when it is not needed. In its history, polygamy has been proven to save a lot of women who lost their husbands such as the widows of soldiers who died for the ummah. They might still be young and needed protection. If it was left to the bachelors, they usually only looked for maidens to be their wives. Who then would shoulder this responsibility of protecting the widows? Commonly, stable and mature men are capable to handle them and most of these men are already married.

I see that in our country, polygamy is capable to help women who have just embraced Islam of which, in most cases, there are no bachelors that can care for them well enough.

Women, just like men, are susceptible to illness and sexual shortcomings. If a husband fails to perform sexually, the wife has the right to request for the marriage to be dissolved. If the wife is sexually deficient, it is not proper for a weak and sick woman to be abandoned. However, at the same time, the husband’s desire has to also be acknowledged. Polygamy can resolve all that.
Similarly, if a wife is incapable to conceive, is it proper for the husband to divorce her? Polygamy is the solution for the desire to have progeny. Because of that, Islam allows polygamy because it is a remedial solution.

Probably, some wives are incapable to meet the ‘strong’ sexual desire of their husbands. Polygamy is also the solution to this burden. Sometimes, there are men who have the credibility that qualify them to have more than one wife to whom he will be able to provide just and equal treatment.

Therefore, in the history of Islam, polygamy that was practiced by the prominent figures of Islam brought forth goodness in the field of knowledge, expanded family and bloodline. There are many more wisdoms behind polygamy which will make up a very long list. Regrettably, the pro-West or ‘liberal Muslims’ cluster assert that their objective in opposing polygamy is to protect women as if, to them, those who are not first wives are not women. Each individual whose gender is female, including the ones who are becoming second, third or fourth wives, is considered as women and not only first wives. Their feeling and need too falls under the basic and rights of women that has to be respected.

I have once stated that sometimes the system of Islam can be likened to a drugstore in which various kinds of medicines are available to treat all kinds of illness. Just because some of the medicines being sold do not match with our illness, we shall not think that those medicines must be destroyed. Polygamy is a remedy for an illness that matches its prescribed symptoms which include prevention of adultery and helping women. Those who do not have the need for this remedy, they are not asked to consume it.

Polygamy is also a solution for the desire to love that gets out of control. In this era, it is so easy for a man to get a woman using the haram way. When there is a man who wishes to get married, even though by means of polygamy that can lead him to face many risks, I feel that he has to be respected since he has the conscience of the duty he is obligated upon towards women.

It is just that, unfortunately, polygamy has been misused by men who are irresponsible and in the end, contaminate that blessed institution. To make it worse, the anti-polygamy group only highlights the bad examples and disregards the abundant good examples. Respectable and capable men should come forward and display the good examples in implementing polygamy. As for those who are incapable and incompetent, do not consume this medicine since it is not prescribed for you.

Bahasa Melayu version