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

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.

You must be to comment.
  1. Batman

    The question is, why do women marry men knowing that they are already married?

    Islam is the only religion which discourages polygamy, and encourages marrying only one, commanding men with more than one wife to treat them all equally, which is next to impossible.

    Before the Holy Quran was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygamy and men had many wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them.

    In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.

    Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives.

    In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.

    Polygamy is allowed in Judaism. The practice of polygamy continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

  2. Anurag Mahale

    Well written…hopefully drives home the point..The thoughts put forward by the ‘scholar’ are scientifically baseless for the most part..his observations did nothing but teleported me 2000 yrs back to Arabia ( however not much has changed there in this regard even today)

  3. Rabab Khursheed

    Batman, what’s your point? are you trying to justify one evil by another? lets not even call it an eveil, eveything that you said was said by the same scholar, word by word. so its clear you havn’t even seen the video. if you had, you would have had something better to say…

  4. Anurag Mahale

    That’s Zakir Naik commenting under the guise of batman..????????

  5. Nancy Albert

    Polygamy is a three-legged stool for men to sit on. One leg is the extra sex-starved bachelors who maraud and slaughter their way to get/enslave a wife, one leg is the total degradation of women to the status of a beast, so they can be beaten into submission. The third leg is the loot the Muslims get when they destroy the villages they attack, or charge a tax (jizyah) on unbelievers, kidnap and bribe.

  6. Truth

    I like the above question. Why do women marry men who are already married? Women are just as responsible for whatever little polygamy exists, but of course, they will never take any responsibility or blame for their actions.

  7. Sameer

    Yes, in these times it is easy to get ur article published by saying something against Islam. Try something else & get ur article published. Then we will see how much talent you have.

  8. Abdul

    A good law is one which takes into account rarest of the rarest case. So today in present situation, polygamy will be liked by none. Yes, many people are misusing it. But in different times & different situation, polygamy may not be that bad.

  9. Hameed

    You may not like Zakir Naik or may not find him convincing enough, but he is doing a great job. His talks are hard hitting & he is better than many other scholars. It is also because u r very cleverly missing his main points & unnecessarily stretching useless details.

  10. Ahmad Shaikh

    I can counter you on all your counter arguments put against the scholar. Then you will counter me again. This cycle will go on because you seem to be following different sect. People with open mind can understand what the scholar is trying to say & will most probably agree with him too. But those who are closed minded will negate him like you no matter whatever reasoning he may offer.

  11. Zaheer

    It is not hypothetical situation where women outnumber men. This had actually happened during the times of war in the past. And this may happen any time in future too. You may be against marriage but most of women (however successful & independent they may be) marry because they want to have children & start family & they want to be taken care of. Even today, it is still very difficult for women to spend all their life alone. So, in that “hypothetical” situation life of a large number of women will be miserable if monogamy is practised strictly.

    You were also talking about sending women to war. I want to ask who is stopping them? Also why have separate games & teams in sports. Let them qualify in men’s team & compete against men.

    Although polygamy is allowed in Islam, it is not compulsory to be polygamous. For your information, Muslims are less polygamous than others in India.

  12. Ajax

    The reason why Muslim women are able to marry a man who already has one wife is because Islam doesn’t forbid it.
    The reason why married Muslim women are not able to take additional husbands is Islam doesn’t allow it.
    Muslims are meant to follow Islam. A Muslim woman is as free to marry a married man as she is to marry a single man.
    A women might prefer a 1st class married man to a second or third class single man.
    If you do not want to marry a married man, don’t. That is your choice, But what some westernised women find very hard to understand is some women chose things they themselves will not.
    Not all women are brown women with uncovered hair who wish they were white.

  13. Ajax

    Polygamy is allowed because Allah allows it.
    It is allowed in the scripture of all religions. But people of other religions lie against their God, to pretend it isn’t allowed.
    Some munafiq wished Muslims would lie against Allah too, to forbid what Allah allows.
    These Munafiq choose to do so to try and please people of no religion and Shaytan himself.
    But we shouldn’t follow their example.
    Good is what Allah says it is, and evil is what Allah says it is.

  14. Ajax

    Nancy Albert
    No polygamy, the people who get upset with polygamy are unfit men who women do not like and lesbians.
    They would wish women didn’t have the ability to marry the best men even if they were already married.
    They wish this because such women would be stuck with unfit men and women if that wasn’t an option.

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