Commenting on a case, in which a Muslim Cleric (maulvi) has been accused of coercing an unmarried Girl marry a married man, a judge in Rohini court at New Delhi said:
Islam Allows polygamy, it doesn’t Encourage it. Kuran allows Polygamy in special circumstances and hence doesn’t encourage it.
The Judge declined to give any relief to the accused, Maulvi Mustafa Raja, and unceremoniously rejected the plea, that Sharia Law allows a Muslim man to go for four marriages at a time.
Islam Allows polygamy, it doesn’t Encourage it… Really?
A decade ago, I read a small book, by Sheikh Anwar, entitled Islam. The book was banned in India, as it was critical to how Clerics interpreted Islam. After the book’s release, some Cleric in some Muslim country even issued a Fatwa, which read: A pious Muslim if finds this man, reduce him to 7 pieces (if my memory serves me correctly).
At one place in the book, Anwar states that: Islam do allow polygamy. And this is a fact, and is not some tweaked fact emanating from some faulty interpretation. But Islam allows Polygamy only for the capable. That’s if a man doesn’t have resources or wisdom to take well care and equal care of all his wives; he shouldn’t marry even second time. That apart, the special circumstances also include, Wife getting ill to an extent that she can’t take part in conjugal relations or has turned infertile. But to marry again, the man has to take the consent of the former wife.
I assume that Islam allowed Polygamy as its founder and immediate flag bearers, more than often, found themselves in such a situation, where a helpless woman needed support. This actually happens with most of the prophets and founders of missionary religions. Since they are emancipators, they are flocked for help, by both men and women. For instance, many still believe that Christ had a wife (or had conjugal relations) and children from that marriage.
But, the founders of religions are much enlightened men; and can recommend polygamy as the need of the hour. But normal mortals are not that enlightened; or judicious. They are guided by Carnal desires. Hence the mindset with which Prophet allowed something, is absent now.
Everyone, ruled by carnal desires, wants to keep wives. He’s many a times not even bothered how he will feed the wives and the children. Even a daily wage worker or Rickshaw puller, sees it his right.
This increases the difficulties of Muslim women in multiple wives households. And in most occasions, left with no options, they have to work to fend themselves and their biological kids. Clerics are freely quoting Sharia law, but they are not quoting it judiciously.
If Clerics do see merit in what Islam prescribes, then they should apply the most important of all eligibility criteria perfectly. That’s if a person is not capable of supporting a Wife well and equally; he shouldn’t marry second time.
But, this is not easy. As Capability is Both Money-wise and Wisdom-wise. For instance, a man may be Rich, but he may not have the wisdom to respect women. In that case he can’t treat his wives well and equally; he may even ill treat those who have gone out of favor Even if he has resources to do so.
Hence, irrespective of what Clerics say — Islam Allows polygamy, hence it Encourages it.
And this needs to be changed. As it’s not helping Muslim women. They are getting a double whiplash, as economically they are more or less dependent on their husbands; and they have literally NO rights in a marriage. And if their husband wants to marry the second time; they have no option, but to consent it. To better, Indian Muslim Women’s lot, a common law for all Indians may be a good option. End of polygamy has worked for Hindu women, it will work for Muslim women as well.