Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Monogamy and polygyny

The question remains why a male-dominated society should be so opposed to polygyny when such a large number of its married members practice a form of it by engaging in illicit or casual relationships. Some males self-righteously assert that monogamy is maintained to protect the rights of women. But, since when has the western male been concerned about women's rights?

Western society is riddled through and through with socio-economic practices which oppressed women and led to the upsurge of women's liberation movements in recent years, from suffragettes of the early nineteen hundreds to those of recent times. The reality is that monogamy protects the males right to play around without any responsibility, since the incidence of infidelity among them is usually much higher than among females.

The introduction of birth control pills and easy access to abortions opened the door to illicit sex and, resultantly, the female became tempted to join in on the 'fun'. In spite of her natural and general inclination towards meaningful relationships, she became caught up in the so-called sexual revolution. However, she is still the one who suffers from the side effects of the pill, coil and the loop or the trauma of abortion in much the same way as she suffered in the past - the shame of childbirth out of wedlock.

Meanwhile, the male continues to enjoy himself worry-free, aside from the recent plagues of venereal disease, herpes and AIDS, which are now causing many to reassess their sexual habits. Males in general, continue to be protected by monogamy, while prostitutes, call girls, mistresses, secretaries, models, actresses, store clerks, waitresses and girlfriends remain as their playground.

The fact is that polygyny is vehemently opposed by male-dominated Western society because it would force men into fidelity. It would encourage them to take socio-economic responsibility for the fulfilment of their polygynous desires and provide protection for the weaker members of society, women and children, from mental and physical abuse. Some might argue that if the stigma of illegitimacy were removed, the problem could be solved without having to resort to the legalisation of polygyny.

However, every child has a natural desire to know its parents and the resulting chaos in ancestry could easily lead to incestuous relationships. Females have a vested interest in institutional polygyny because of the obvious socio-economic protection it provides, for the preponderance of females in the world is an established fact. The death-rate at birth is much higher for boys, and women as a whole live longer than men; not to mention the large numbers of men who die daily in various wars around the world.

Thus, although the ratio may vary from country to country, the results are still the same - women outnumber men. This apparent imbalance has been further aggravated by the fact that homosexuality appears to be more frequent among men than among women. Hence, there are more females competing for a diminishing number of males. Consequently, there will always remain a large segment of women unable to fulfil their sexual and psychological needs through legitimate means in monogamous societies. Their presence in an increasingly permissive society also contributes to the breakdown of Western family structure.

A strong family structure is an absolute requirement for a strong and healthy society. And the only way that the family can remain strong and responsive to the needs of its male and female members is through the Islamic form of marriage, of which polygyny is a part.

The Monogamous marriage system, clearly, does not take into consideration the real needs of human society. It limits possibilities for both men and women while claiming to protect the latter. Instead of providing protection for women, it provides a hypocritical shield for men to hide behind while favouring a wife to the detriment of a girlfriend or vice versa. Islam has a complete marriage system, which takes into account all the human variables and provides men and women with viable options.

To deny the validity and legality of polygyny is tantamount to denying the comprehensiveness of the Islaamic marriage system and the wisdom of the Divine Decree. It is not possible that everything in life should happen according to our feelings and desires. Nor is it possible to live without experiencing pain.

On the contrary, Allaah has stated in the Noble Quran that Muslims shall be tested. He says what means: "And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient." [Quran 2:155] and: "Do the people think that they will be left to say: 'We believe' and they will not be tried?" [Quran 29:2]

Neither tests nor pain, whether physical or emotional, can be avoided in this life. Nor can any aspect of the Islaamic system be negated merely to justify a particular individual's or group's opinions. Although polygyny may be painful for some women, it is also beneficial for other women and society as a whole. Muslims must accept the whole of Allaah's message and submit to the fact that Allaah's Wisdom is superior to our opinions.

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