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I have always wanted to write about the subject of polygamy in Islam to remove confusion and to respond to the enemies of Islam,but I did not do for lack of time, and difficulty in expressing myself in English, especially in delicate issues. But the secret marriage of Khairat El-Shater, the deputy Egypts Brotherhood leader prompted me to write.
The marrage of Khairat is not the first, and so it's based on the wrong understanding of the third verses in Surat Al-nisaa, taken out of text and out of the historical circumstances in which it was revealed.
Let us read the first three verses in Surat Al nisaa,
- يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
- وَآتُواْ الْيَتَامَى أَمْوَالَهُمْ وَلاَ تَتَبَدَّلُواْ الْخَبِيثَ بِالطَّيِّبِ وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَى أَمْوَالِكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حُوبًا كَبِيرًا
- وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تُقْسِطُواْ فِي الْيَتَامَى فَانكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاء مَثْنَى وَثُلاثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَلاَّ تَعُولُواْ
Polygamy is allowed upto four with the condition of dealing justly with the Orphans. Therefore polygyny should not a rule but an exception, but even schoolars who say: polygyny is not a rule but an exception, failed to explain the relation between Polygamy and the Orphans subject to justice and unjustice.
According to the hadeeth, the verses is instruct Gardians who wants to marry an orphan for her money and beauty without giving her a fair premium and in her dowry to marry other women up to four.
This understanding is confirmed by the fact that all the wifes Prophet Mohammad married after Khadeeja were widows, except Aysha
"First of all, marriage in one of its phases is a legal contract between the wife and the husband. Both partners have the right to add any condition that they think it will help them to protect their future life. So, if a woman thinks polygamy is against her interest, then she has the full right to announce her objection during the marriage contract as a condition and a right for a valid contract or else it will be nullified. Based on that, the husband has to commit to that condition or he would have no right to keep her as a wife if she decides to get divorced and was approved by the Islamic court, especially if divorcing the husband is controlled by the wife."
During my life time I attended so many marriages, but never saw a Shiek asking the the man or the girl about any special condition he or she wants to add to the marriage contract.
Surah: 4 verse: 3 states:
Muslim theorists and early scholars that have studied polygamy attributed to it several justifications. None of these, how-ever, are implicitly or explicitly mentioned in the Quran. The Prophet’s monogamous marriage to Khadijah bint Khwailed lasted for twenty-four years. It was only after her death that Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) became polygamous, when he married up to eight or nine times, all of whom, with the exception of Aisha bint Abu-Bakr, were widows.
Traditional justifications for polygamy vary. One sets polygamy as a solution to economic and social needs, where a financially-capable man sponsors and cares for more than one needy woman. The problem here is the assumption that women can not be independent or self-reliant. Another justification is when a man’s first wife becomes barren or sick. Yet another certifies that since a man’s biological factors bring about unconstrained sexual de-sire, he should be given license to marry several wives.
All these arguments have no authentic basis in Islam and should therefore not be ratified.
In fact, the only verse allowing men to take up to four wives is the one cited above, which clearly indicates that polygamy was permitted to ensure the welfare of orphans.
Looking at what some progressive thinkers have to offer in this respect, Amina Wadud of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) interprets the polygamy verse as being mainly concerned with justice. Wadud sees the origins of polygamy (IN ISLAM) linked to the treatment of orphans and believes that men were given the responsibility of managing the welfare of orphaned children- if they were incapable of doing so in a just manner they could take them as wives to avoid any «unjust mismanagement.» She argues that monogamy is preferred in light of both verses
(4:3)and (4:129), and adds that polygamy could be self-defeating if the husband-father is split between families. Similarly, Geraldine Brooks, the Australian author and journalist, argues that verse
(4:3)restricts the number of wives a man can take at one time, and that in any case polygamy is not favored in the Quran. She equates polygamy to slavery in that respect:: «As with polygamy, the wording of Koran
[Its not true that Quran permits slavery. Slavery is mentioned in Quran as a fact on ground, paved the way for their freedom. Read Surat al-balad telling us the story of Adam and Adam's Sons (وَوَالِدٍ وَمَا وَلَدَ ) that God created Adam, the only free creature, free to extent that he disobeyed his Lord, telling us how the children Adam enslaved each other, urging us to storm the barrier (فَلا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ ), asking; What's the barrier (وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ ), answering: (فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ ) Freeing a slave.]
Shahrour defines “orphan” as a juvenile who has not reached puberty, has lost his or her father, and lives with his or her mother.
«And if you fear that you will not deal fairly by the Orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four….»
Shahrour refutes the interpretation of this verse suggesting the man should marry the orphans: he holds that “women» can not be orphans as they have reached puberty.
While we should not expect unanimity among scholars of Islam on the issue of polygamy, or any other issue for that matter, exploring the flexibility of our heritage exposes the differences- sometimes irrec-oncilable- between a man and a woman’s vision of the rights and role of women in Islam.
The inclusion of women in reinterpreting Islamic texts can go a long way in bringing about much needed social and legal reform. Eliminating gender discrimination rooted in outdated interpretations of Islam will not only help lift us from our dependence on males in our personal affairs. It can help reduce the rampant poverty across the Muslim world. Education, training, and job opportunities for women, for example, not only enhance her financial situation but also her health and that of her family. Studies by international development organizations suggest that a small investment in poor areas produces better results when entrusted to a woman.
Islam has been used in many cases to introduce a fundamentalist ideology that is highly restrictive of women’s rights. The fact is that Islamic- particularly family- laws formulated by men centuries after the death of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) are still effective and strongly reflected in legislation today, placing women at a distinct disadvantage. Quranic interpretations are susceptible to social, historical, or gender biases.
Shari’a was formulated by men between the l0th and the l2th centuries, long after the Prophet’s death, and presented to Muslims as authentic teachings. Since then, some of the original values of Islam have been altogether abandoned or manipulated. Ijtihad can help us retrieve those values and enhance our lot as women. We have been given a mechanism to lift our-selves out of the degraded, dependent and intolerable status we find ourselves in. Let’s use it.