Polygamy in Islam-02

How did Islam Condition Polygamy?

The widely known condition for polygamy in Islam is justice, as it was the one mentioned in the very same verse that allowed polygyny “marry women as appeals to you, two, three, or four women; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one” Women:03. Yet, it was not the only condition in Islam to enable polygyny; the following was in the list:

- A man is expected to fulfill all his duties toward his first wife, offering her good living conditions, emotional and sexual satiety, and prior to him thinking of a second wife, he should be capable to satisfy all these needs for both the current and the wife to be.

- The wife has the right to include monogamy as a condition in her marriage treaty, plus any other conditions related to place of living, quality of living …etc. as far as she does not ask for unlawful act, the husband once accepted her marriage shall abide by all the conditions, including monogamy.

- She holds the right of knowing about her husband’s marriage, and she has the right to get divorced, preserving all her rights. Otherwise, she can give a period to assess the impact on her and her quality of life before taking a decision.

- Equity, in terms of time, quality of living, caring and sharing to each of his wives are all prerequisites.

- Emotional equity was not mandated, as it is uncontrollable by man. However, its expression into manners and even words is requested to be under the equity roles.

Apostle and Polygyny:

Why Apostle Muhammad practiced polygyny, having nine wives at a time?

Maybe we should detail the marital life of Muhammad (pbuh) before we answer this question, as it will leave us with some useful remarks.

- He married “Khadija” when he was 25 years old; “Khadija” was 15 years older, as she was approaching the 5th decade of. He lived with her for as long as 25 years before she died. Afterward, he married to “Sawda” who was in her early 50s as well, and he consorted with her alone for another 3 years. Summing this period to the first, we can figure out he lived until the age of 53 in monogamic marriages.

- Two years after migrating to Medina, he married the daughter of his best friend and disciple, “Aisha” who was around 10 years old. Many of the orientalists had commented massively on his marriage to “Aisha“ in that age. Knowing it was a common social practice by this time in Arabia, we find Muhammad (pbuh) has only followed the socially acceptable roles, and this shall need no justification.

- Then, when “Khanis ibn Hozafa” martyred in ”Ohod” combat, Muhammad (pbuh) proposed to his widow “Hafsa”. Who was the daughter of his major disciple “Omar ibn El-Khattab”.

- His cousin martyred as well in “Ohod”. Muhammad married his widow “Zainab” who lived with him 3 months before she died in the 3rd year after migration. 12 months later, he married “Um Salamah” who was also a widow of one of “Ohod” martyrs, she informed the apostle before marriage that she had already reached menopause, this did not change his proposal.

- Afterward, he married “Zainab bent Gahsh” after his adopted son had divorced her. He was around 59 by this time and she was around 35. Nearly 1 year after, he married “Gwairya” who was captured as a war prisoner after her clan was defeated by Muslims; it was then when he freed her and proposed to her. Also married “Safyah”, who were a Jew, from Medina, after conquering her tribe in similar situation to the one of “Gwairya”. Then as we mentioned earlier in chapter II, he married “Om Habiba”, after her husband died in Ethiopia.

- Upon receiving her as a slave-gift from “Cyrus”, he married “Mary the Copt” after giving birth to his son “Ibrahim” according to Quranic role, which sets free the slave who gives birth to her master. Finally, he married “Maymouna” who proposed to Muhammad wishing to marry him around the 7th year after migration.

- Then, a verse was revealed to him prohibiting his marriage any further “Thereafter women are not lawful to you anymore, neither to take other wives in exchange for them, though their beauty please you” The Clans: 52. This verse was revealed after Islam had limited no. of wives to four. Muhammad (pbuh) was exempted from this condition as his wives –considered as spiritual mothers to Muslims, who were not supposed to marry after him, so divorcing them shall lead to their loneliness for rest of their lives, while other women divorced (above four) were eligible to have other spouses. Accordingly, we find the exemption of Muhammad (pbuh) from the “reduce to 4” role benefiting the best interest of his wives, maybe more than his best interest.

With all due respect, to the justifications lead by jurists to reason the apostolic multiple marriages, we find nothing to justify in this matter! We perceive the matter in its temporal and social framework, to find nothing illogic or drifted to need justifications. Was Muhammad (pbuh) the 1st Apostle of God who practices polygamy? No, “Solomon” and “David” did before him and in much more intense practice. Was it socially acceptable for an Arab leader by this time to have multiple wives? We dare to say it was the only normal thing, as polygamy, until a very near era, was perceived among Arabian clans as a sign of nobility and leadership.

Accordingly, all what we say here is, there is no case to defend neither irrational to rationalize! We could never ask an Arab leader in the 7th century to live with the modesty standards as perceived now in the 21st century! Muhammad (pbuh) lived the best moral and lifestyle model of a nobleman and a leader in his temporal terms according to his society norms and trends. He was superior to his pears from moral perspectives before Islam. Otherwise, he lived their life as one of them.

Is Polygyny Eternal?

Tunisia is a Muslim country who allows no polygamy by its civil laws. Shall we call this unlawful governmental regulation from Islamic standpoint? Many of our priests had attacked this civil law in Tunisia, but we see it violating no role in Islamic approach to life. Islam stated the upper limit to be four, without stating a lower limit, so there is a room for legal regulations to control within what Islam had allowed. If we assumed medicine has discovered a harm of eating camel’s meat, while Islam had limited only pork meat. Can a Muslim government decide legal prohibition of camel products based on its medical harm? Surely, it can, and it applies to marriage too, as the government can state upper limit of four, three, two or simply one, as far as all lies within the framework of Islam guidance.

However, we see this matter better to be up to couples as a matter of personal freedom, where the world “consensus” is a key word that distinguishes righteousness from wrong. In a world that accepts group sex practices as far as it is built on consensus, we do not see any logic to prevent a 2nd marriage, as far as the man, his first wife, and the new spouse are all accepting the polygamy situation. Having a plenty of options for what is right usually minimize the incidence of falling to wrong deeds which supports polygamy as an option. Shall anyone perceive polygamy as an uncomforting system? The solution is very simple, he/she can ignore this option and insist monogamy as a prerequisite in marriage.

Therefore, polygamy was an option in Islam, everyone can ignore it and live in a monogamy fashion. Only whoever find it the best way-out from a severe social paradox, and as far as all parties agrees to it, can use it. In this we visualize Islam showed more flexibility to meet the various needs in different societies.


ايوية said...

لاول مرة افكر فى الموضوع من الجانب دة
جانب الانتقام
انتظر باقى الموضوع بفارغ الصبر مستمتعة جدا بالقرائة وبالاراء الى بتقولها

اسكندراني اوي said...

لك كل التحيه في انتظار الباقي

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

why you deleted the other blog?

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

dear eyad
i really like your analysis for this critical issue, and the rich condensed information it includes

but what i have noticed, is that you start to set the first reason for a man to re-mary, or get into an affair : lack of motherly feeling... so it is us after all!

mmm why then men fight for their superiority!!! are these feelings known to men, or implanted in the subconcious

thanks for the post, and cant wait for the rest

د /إياد حرفوش said...

عزيزتي آية،
في انتظار رأيك بعد ان تم الموضوع

عزيزي اسكندراني قوي
و لك مني كل التقدير و التحية، في انتظار رأيك بالموضوع بعد ان تم

عزيزتي ايجيبسيانا
مدونة القلب و سنينه لحقت بقلبها في رحاب الله، و نعم يا صديقتي، رغبة الرجل في التعدد هي تعبير غير مباشر عن محورية المرأة في هذا الكون، و ليس محورية الرجل كما يظن الكثيرون، بانتظار رأيك بعد ان تم المقال