January 15, 2011

Monogamy, its not for everyone.

Whether its online or offline I hear women and sometimes men (both Muslim and non Muslim) decry the allowance of polygamy in Islam.  Saying that a Just God would not allow such a thing because its demeaning to women.  I think when followed accordingly its a very Just and awesome institution.  I know that Allah swt hates injustice and has made it forbidden upon Himself. The polygyny I see around me most definitely does not resemble what Allah swt has made permissible nor what the Prophet (saw) and his companions (ra) practiced.

But that doesn't mean an institution should be ban simply because there is a possibility of abuse because human beings are so creative they can abuse just about everything.  From adopting children, becoming foster parents, dating etc., etc. and it would be insane to ban adoptions, ban foster parents and ban anything else that is abused.  Its kinda like a never ending cycle because whatever you ban people will find a way to get around it.

Anyway, on to the post.  Another thing I hear is that if God truly knew His creation He wouldn't allow such a monstrosity to exist.  Ok, I'll entertain that thought. Lets say for argument sake polygyny was indeed forbidden in Islam and the only allowable relationship was monogamy.

What would happen to a man who does INDEED have a strong libido? and please don't tell me that men don't, SOME DO.  Should he have his wife and his mistresses on the side?  Should he suck it up and stay with this one woman even though he is not happy, she knows it, the children know it.  So what then? 

What about a woman who cannot have children because she is unable to conceive and the man truly wants children of his OWN.  Should he divorce her and pursue his dream since he can only have one wife at a time? Or as women we would demand he stayed with his wife even though he would be unhappy.  I get a lot of feminist really pist off with this suggestion because they say it lowers women to the status of breeders.  But these same women believe a woman SHOULD pursue her dream of having children if it is her husband who is unable to conceive.  This also lowers men to the status of breeders and I believe that if men ONLY had one choice then women WOULD be lowered to a status of breeders vs non breeders.

Who would marry a woman like that if a man only had one slot?  Doesn't she deserve to have someone love her and take care of her?  Wouldn't it be unfair to the man?  It would also be detrimental to society if women were left out to dry like this as can be clearly seen when we abandon the sunnah in the Muslim majority countries.  In a perfect world she would find a man she finds attractive and desirable to take care of her in a monogamous setting.  In a perfect world men would keep their promises and not change their minds so often.  We don't live in a perfect world and despite what some men will say to get their way, there is always that possibility of him wanting some in the future.  HE is only human, his desires, likes and dislikes change over time.  And if he does indeed change his mind later but he loves his wife and wouldn't want to divorce her and take away her status as a wife but he wants children that leaves him and his wife in limbo doesn't it?  You can always count on people wanting choices and not being limited. 

What about women who positively DO NOT want to have children shouldn't they be married?  if we lower women to the status of breeders most men would pass on her.  Marriage in Islam encompasses much more than just procreation, it is important to the deen, to raising healthy families, its halal companionship that will catapult them in to jannah or hellfire...

What about women who don't want to deal with their husbands every day and prefer to have it both ways?  Have the companionship of a man, the status and comforts that come with that and keep their independence?  Like being FREED from him on certain days so she could be herself and not have to worry about ANYTHING or feel the pressure that she has to be his be-all end-all. 

What about the women who are in love with married men?  If he is not allowed to marry her then she will only become a mistress without rights, her children wont be recognized or inherit from their father.  Would the fact that he cannot go through in a halal manner stop him? probably not since most of us fall victim to our nafs on a daily basis but we hold others to incredibly high standards.  There is no halal solution for him or her.

As a Latina I see this A LOT in my community (happens in every community but my experience is with my own).  I see wives tormented wondering if every time their husband are going out they are cheating with their mistresses. I see mistresses looked down upon by the community as sluts, I see children not recognized and go fatherless. I have seen men try to give these women status and fail. I have seen men relish this situation because they don't have to assume responsibility. After all, she is a slut for wanting to be loved and taken care of by the man of her choosing. How fair is that to her?  Would there ever be a dignified future for her?

btw In my community back in El Salvador there wasn't a single marriage where men were faithful to their monogamous vows.  In the Latin community in the USA I came across ONE family where the husband had not cheated on his wife and sadly it wasn't my mother's marriage to my stepfather.  ALL of my moms friends knew of their husband indiscretions and also children from the women they were STILL seeing and although it was a bitter pill to swallow they had come to terms with it.  It was actually the first thing they talked about when they got together. However, you try to give these men and women a halal option that would force these men to be accountable to Allah and provide status to all the women and children involved and they revolt.  As long as he can't marry the b*tch, they were ok.

What about widows with children?  and I HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! When people say "lets support her financially" a woman is not a charity case. She is a woman with needs, expectations and fancies.  Her libido does not die and get buried when her husband dies.  She deserves to start a life however she pleases either being in a monogamous setting or in a polygamous setting and be recognized.

We need rules and not everyone will be happy with the outcome 100% of the time. I think Islam gives humanity options, option to be monogamous or polygamous with restrictions.  We need to be aware that whenever we look at something it is tainted by our own views due to our upbringing or our society's standard and therefore we need to step back and realize Allah swt is a Just and forgiving and if we don't understand it then we need to take a closer look. Ask Allah swt to clarify the matter for you and give you understanding of the deen. 

If monogamy was the only relationship allowed the argument you would hear from the same people who think polygyny is just plain wrong.
WELL, If Allah swt truly knew His creation, He would know that whims and desires of His creation and that some people are not equipped to handle monogamy.  A Just God would not force people in to a ONE SIZE FITS ALL situation and expect them to be happy.
So the real issue after this long post is that their problem is not polgyny. Its really with Allah swt as the only Lord, Islam as a religion and Muhammad (saw) as the Messenger.

{edit} Knowing His creation Allah swt gives us ways out of our indiscretions with halal alternatives (monogamy, polygamy, divorce etc.). Instead of living in sin and fall further victim to our desires He gave us options.  Whether we like them or not, whether we practice them properly or not. The options are there and we will held accountable for partaking in them on the day of Judgment.

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