How This Islamic Scholar Justified Polygamy Was Absolutely Absurd And Derogatory To Women

Posted on March 16, 2016 in Society

By Rabab Khursheed:

Sakharam Bhagat, 66, poses with his wives, Sakhri, Tuki and Bhaagi (L to R) inside their house in Denganmal village, Maharashtra, India, April 20, 2015. In Denganmal, a village in Maharashtra state, some men take a second or third wife just to make sure their households have enough drinking water. Becoming what are known as "water wives" allows the women, often widows or single mothers, to regain respect in conservative rural India by carrying water from the well quite some distance from the remote village. When the water wife, who does not usually share the marital bed, becomes too old to continue, the husband sometimes takes a third and younger spouse to fetch the water in metal pitchers or makeshift containers. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui PICTURE 8 OF 29 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "WATER WIVES OF MAHARASHTRA"??SEARCH "WATER WIVES" FOR ALL IMAGES - RTX1F2OI
Image credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui.

So, I came across this query and its answer (on Women’s Day. The irony!), which was basically an explanation as to why polygamy is allowed in Islam. Setting aside the fact that a lot of practices in every religion are baseless, let me delve into why making polygamy an option only to men is actually about power play between the two sexes.

I do not have anything against polygamy or, to be fair, polyamory in general, but the difference is the matter of choice given to women. By only giving one person the privilege of choice and not the other, you are very clearly shifting power onto one side. The defense that follows is that we may not know who the father is if the woman is polygamous, but if the man is, we will. For crying out loud, it takes two to tango, and besides, women are child bearers, the ultimate nurturers. Wouldn’t they want to have many more children than men? That was me speaking illogically, by the way. I’d wish you would buy it like you buy all the other ‘logic’ fed to you (read sarcasm).

Coming to the explanations given by that scholar on the topic, the one that really hit me was that of the population ‘crisis’. You know, more women, less men, we have all heard it. He gives us two choices in a hypothetical situation where every man in the world is married. One option being to marry a married man, and the other was turning into public property. If you have seen the video lecture, he is actually demanding a woman in the audience to answer then and there what her choice would be.

I hope you are not missing the point he is putting across, that is, a woman can only be validated if she is with a man, either married or as public property. That is her worth. Why are there only two options, the second one being absurd, to be honest? I mean, if I were never to get married I wouldn’t suddenly turn into public property.

What I could make out was that by public property he meant a mistress/prostitute/girl to practice sex on/*insert appropriate (read inappropriate) stereotype* which again is an identity attached with pleasuring men (This could also be a choice made by women, but making it the only option? Nope).

And he also says that the male child has a higher mortality rate than female. And that the female has a higher immune response to diseases. Well, why not send women to war instead then? Scared they would get more powerful?

To us poor women folk, it is pointed out that there is an increase in homosexuality in men, which further tramples our dreams of being in a one on one relationship with a man whilst conveniently ignoring that lesbians also exist, which again reflects a subconscious belief that women need men to be happy.

He also blatantly states that if women were to be polygamous, sexually transmitted diseases would be more prevalent. Any reasonable person would know that this is absurd. STDs are transmitted both ways. I’m not going to even try to explain this.

Finally, birth control in religion, if you look carefully, is more a political agenda than anything else. The more your clan grows, the stronger you are considered. Here, again, it is made a compulsion taking away the power of choice.

If all of this makes sense to you, then my job is done. I urge you to follow whatever religion you may want to, but be wise. An unconscious mistake that you make affects several others around you. We have been given the gift of analysis for a reason. Do not let it go to waste.