Letters and Editorials 6822 Views by AMEER TARIN

Is Polygamy a social need?

Briton´s Baroness of Pakistani background Sayeeda Warsi, focused mainly on British Pakistani Muslims, shows a deep concern about the Muslim polygamophiles and holds politicians, mainly Labour, responsible for being unable to address the problem due to "cultural sensitivities". [Mail online May 20, 2012]. She is of the opinion that the Labour Muslim vote bank is pushing polygamy legislation hard to highlight the social need as fundamental human right from within UK and European Parliament. Warsi, in particular, stresses the point that British Pakistani Muslims would easily take advantage of benefit system and exploit the uneducated women of Pakistan and elsewhere.

The trend of practicing polygamy on the increase, if true, is not supposedly prevalent only among Muslims but non-Muslims as well. The residents of Canada’s Bountiful, reported by Cat Koo BBC News 23 November 2010, part of a fundamentalist breakaway Mormon sect believes that a man must marry at least three wives in order, one day, to enter heaven. Koo further says that "British Columbia has been criticised for allowing polygamy to flourish, but part of the reason for the failure to prosecute is the link with religion - under the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the freedom of religion is guaranteed as a constitutional right."

In the State of Utah, reported by Aidan Radnedge [Metro Nottingham UK May 3, 2012], Joe Darger is married to his three wives Valerie, Vicki and cousin Alina and lives happily with his wives and children. The 42-year-old sisters are in polygamous marriage having their own bedrooms visited alternately by Joe each evening. The three wives and their husband, as reported, have co-written a book “Love Times Three” to prove the point that polygamy, a way of life, will step closer to being an accepted lifestyle.

Islam strictly forbids sexual contact with women outside wedlock and the concept of mistresses, girl friends, living together or visit to the sex shops etc is regarded abnormal and sinful. Prophet Muhammad taught Muslim fighters that should they fall martyrs in the cause of God they would not leave their women and children without support. Though polygamy has been part of the society even before and after the advent of Islam, it is sinisterly seen by adversaries and critics, as one of the controversial question in the family system of Islam and projected as barbaric. All that Islam did is to restrict and make it organised, civilised and dignified.

The permission for polygamy is conditional and an observance of several factors and circumstances. If man fails to fulfil those material and moral conditions, the person is not eligible to take more than one wife. Additional responsibilities to fulfil marital contractual obligations and restrictions are imposed to treat all spouses equally, justly and fairly. The spouse(s) have a right to reject an arrangement if this is understood to be an impediment to lead a normal and uninterrupted life. Marriage is a legal contract between husband and wife and partners have the right to add any condition that they think will help to protect their future life. So, if a woman thinks polygamy is against her interest, then she has the right to renounce such a marriage contract. The marriage to more than one wife, in exceptional circumstances, can have reasons like women birth ratio outnumbering men or in some cases economic situation of women individually.

Historical analysis concludes that the Prophet stood for monogamy and counselled its observance, however, polygamy is not allowed if it becomes a source of intolerant behaviour and carelessness. The husband who misuses it basically flouts the law, and in such a case the ´impious is the problem and not the law itself´.



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