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CONTEMPORARY ISSUES – Book Sample
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE – POLYGAMY
Muslims are often accused of being promiscuous because polygamy is legal in Islaam.
- Islaam did not introduce polygamy. Unrestricted polygamy practiced in most human societies throughout the world in every age. Islaam regulated polygamy by limiting the number of wives and establishing responsibility in its practice.
- Monogamy of the West inherited from Greece and Rome where men were restricted by law to one wife but were free to have as many mistresses among the majority slave population as they wished. In the West today, most married men have extramarital relations with mistresses, girlfriends and prostitutes. Consequently the Western claim to monogamy is false.
- Monogamy illogical. If a man wishes to have a second wife whomhe takes care of and whose children carry his name and he provides for he is considered a criminal, bigamist, who may be sentenced to years in jail. However, if he has numerous mistresses and illegitimate children his relation is considered legal.
- Men created polygamous because of a need in human society. There is normally a surplus of women in most human societies.1 The surplus is a result of men dying
in wars, violent crimes and women outliving men.2 The upsurge in homosexuality
further increases the problem. If systems do not cater to the need of surplus women it will result in corruption in society. Example, Germany after World War II, when suggestions to legalize polygamy were rejected by the Church. Resulting in the legalization of prostitution. German prostitutes are considered as workers like any other profession. They receive health benefits and pay taxes like any other citizen. Furthermore, the rate of marriage has been steadily declining as each succeeding generation finds the institution of marriage more and more irrelevant.
- Western anthropologists argue that polygamy is a genetic trait by which the strongest genes of the generation are passed on. Example, the lion king, the strongest of the pack, monopolizes the females thereby insuring that thenext generation of lion cubs will be his offspring.
- Institutional polygamy prevents the spread of diseases like Herpes and AIDS. Such venereal diseases spread in promiscuous societies where extra-marital affairs abound.
- Polygamy protects the interests of women and children in society. Men, in Western society make the laws. They prefer to keep polygamy illegal because it absolves them of responsibility. Legalized polygamy would require them to spend
on their additional wives and their offspring. Monogamyallows them to enjoy extra-marital affairs without economic consequence.
- Only a minority will practice polygamy in Muslim society. In spite of polygamy being legal in Muslim countries, only 10-15% of Muslims in these countries practice polygamy. Although the majority of men would like to have more than one wife, they cannot afford the expense of maintaining more than one family. Even those who are financially capable of looking after additional families are often reluctant due to the psychological burdens of handling more than one wife. The family problems and marital disputes are multiplied in plural marriages.
- Conditions have been added for polygamy in many Muslim countries. For example, in Egypt, the permission of the first wife must first be obtained.This and similar conditions are a result of colonial domination. No woman in her right mind will give her husband permission to take a second wife. Such a condition, in fact, negates the permission given by God in the Qur aan.
- Others have accepted polygamy on condition that it not be for “lust”. That is, if the wife is ill, or unable to bear children, or unable to fulfill the husband s sexual needs, etc., taking a second wife is acceptable. Otherwise it becomes “lust” on the husband s part and is consequently not acceptable. The reality is that “lust” was involved in the marriage of the first wife. Why is it acceptable in the case of the first and not the second? As has already been pointed out, men are polygamous by nature. To try to curb it by such conditions will only lead to corruption in society.
- Feminists may object to this male right by insisting that women should also be able to practice polygamy. However, a woman marrying four husbands would only increase the problem of surplus women. Furthermore, no child would accept his or her mother identifying the father by the “eeny meeny miney mo” method.
- The question which remains is, “If God is good and wishes good for His creatures, why did he legislate something which would be harmful to most women?” Divine legislation looks at the society as a whole seeking to maximize benefit. If a certain legislation benefits the majority of the society and causes some emotional harm to a minority, the general welfare of society is given precedence.
Muslims are often accused of forcing their daughters into marriage
- Islamic law requires that females must give their permission before they are married. Prophet Muhammad said, “The permission of virgins should be taken and their silence is their consent. “3 On one occasion a woman came to the
Prophet and informed him that her father had married her off without her permission. He offered to annul her marriage, however, she did not accept his offer saying that she only wanted to confirm her right. A previously married woman has the right to choose for herself.
- 2. Muslims are encouraged to help their children find suitable marital partners since males and females are raised separately in society. Women are spared having to look for their own mates.
- From a Western perspective, where teenagers are often required to leave home and go out to work and look after themselves, it would seem ludicrous for parents to later on suggest whom they should marry.
- It has become a practice among some Muslims to force their children to marry their cousins. For Muslims in the West it becomes a means to help their family members also reach the West. Consequently, there have been a number of cases reported in the newspapers in England of the Home Office rescuing Muslimgirls from forced marriages at the airport. There are also many Muslim girls who have run away from home rather than be forced to marry relatives in villages in Pakistan or India. Such girls are being given new identities by police authorities and will likely lose their Islaam in the process.
The Muslim woman is considered oppressed since she must have her father s permission to get married.
- Islaamic law requires the permission of a woman s father for her marriage to be valid. Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said, “The marriage of any woman who marries herself without her guardian’s consent is invalid. “4
- From a Western perspective in which teenagers are required to leave home and fend for themselves, it would seem unthinkable that the father s permission would be needed for marriage.
- The Muslim woman lives a sheltered life. She is not used to dealing with men outside her blood relatives whom she cannot marry (mahaarim). The father will be more capable of judging the young man objectively. The young woman could easily be fooled or sweet-talked as she tends to be more emotional in her judgement.
- If the guardian refuses proposals for illegitimate reasons like the persons tribe, race, color, status, the young lady has the right to seek redress from the court. If he judge concludes that the father is wrongfully preventing his daughter from marriage, he may take the guardianship from the father and act as the girls guardian.
The Prophet has been accused of being a pedophile due his marriage to ‘Aa ishah at the age of 9.
- Pedophilia involves adults taking advantage of children by purchasing sexual favors from them. British and German sex tourists being caught in Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines are not seeking marriage but only sex from child
prostitutes or impoverished people willing to give their children away for a few pennies.
- The age of consent for women set in the West varies from 14 to 18. These ages were arrived at by democratic vote and have no actual relationship to the woman s ability or inability for sexual relations or marriage. Consequently, what is considered legal sex in France may be considered rape in England.
- Islaam sets the age of marriage at puberty, as it is the natural dividing line between childhood and adulthood. Menstruation indicates that a young girl has reached childbearing age. This age may vary from country to country, but it is discernable and not arbitrary.
- Most societies around the world sanctioned child marriages up until this century. It was not introduced by Islaam but regulated.
- Islaam stipulates that a girl or boy married before puberty will not live with their spouse until they have attained puberty. Furthermore, they have the right to cancel or proceed with the marriage when they reach puberty.
- ‘Aa ishah was seven when she was married off to the Prophet and she came to live with him when she reached puberty at nine.
- Women abused as children usually have difficult times coping as adults. They are often unstable and psychologically handicapped. ‘Aa ishah became the leading female scholar of her time and conveyed to the next generation an enormous body of Islaamic law. She was known to be the fourth most prolific narrator of the Prophetic traditions of all of the Prophet s followers.
MARRIAGE TO NON-MUSLIMS
Muslim males are allowed to marry non-Muslim females but Muslim females are only allowed to marry Muslim males. This is often cited as discrimination and one of the symbols of oppression of Muslim females.
- Muslim males are not allowed to marry any non-Muslim female. Only Christians and Jews (People of the Book) and not any other religion. This is due to the fact that the scriptures held sacred by Christians and Jews do contain large portions of revelation even though the texts have been distorted and changed. Consequently, in honor of the revelation still remaining in these texts, permission was granted to marry their women. However, the condition of chastity is added to the permission mentioned in the Qur aan. Consequently, only a woman whois either a virgin, divorcee or widow can be married. This means that the common practice of Muslims from the East coming to Europe and America and finding blue eyed blondes in discos for wives is quite illegitimate. Finding chaste females in the West is more difficult than finding the proverbial “needle in the haystack.” By mid teens, virginity is looked at as a fault rather than a virtue.
- The reason for allowing men and not women is in order to protect the woman s religion. If a Muslim man requested his Christian wife not to bring alcohol or pork
in his house and that she not wear mini-skirts or kiss his friends, she could comply without affecting her religious teachings. However, If a Christian husband requested his Muslim wife to purchase alcohol and serve him pork, to wear mini- skirts and kiss his friends since it is his custom to kiss the wives of his friends. It is natural for a wife to try to please her husband. In the case of the Muslim wife, that could lead to the destruction of her faith.
- Marriage to non-Muslims is discouraged in situations where Muslims are weak or in the minority in order to safeguard the religion of the children. If a Muslim man marries a non-Muslim woman in the West and their marriage ends in divorce, or the man dies, the courts will award custody of the children to the wife who will likely raise them as non-Muslims. However, if they were married in a Muslim country, the Sharee’ah would not give the children to a non-Muslim mother. They would instead be given to either the husband or his relatives in order to insure they receive a Muslim upbringing.
RAPE IN MARRIAGE
In the West, a woman may charge her husband for rape and he may be prosecuted and jailed. If the husband desires sexual relations and she does not and he insists itis considered rape. The wife has the right to say no.
- Men and women are considered equal according to Western standards. No one has the final authority in marriage. Consequently, when the spouses differ and neither one backs down, the end result is divorce.
- Men are considered the head of the family and the final decisions are in his hand. This has been the natural order in the vast majority of societies in world, ancient and modern. The man s responsibility is to provide food, clothing and shelter for his wife and her responsibility is to obey him as long as his requests are permissible according to Islaamic law.
- Women and men have different capacities for sexual relations. A woman may have relations without having any desire at all. For example, prostitutes may have sex with a large number of men, one immediately after the other, for money. Whereas, a man may be incapable of having sex if he has no desire at all.
Consequently, the Prophet instructed women to come to their husbands
whenever they are called upon5 but he did not instruct men vise versa. Thus, in Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said, “When a man calls his wife to
satisfy his desire, she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven. “6 And he was also quoted as saying, “If a woman refuses her husband’s bed and he passes the night angry with her, the angels will curse her until the morning. “7 Islaam, a woman is obliged to give herself to her husband and he may not be charged with rape. Of course, if a woman is physically ill or exhausted, her husband should take her condition into consideration and not force himself upon her.
VIOLENCE IN MARRIAGE
The finger is often pointed at Muslims as being wife beaters since Islaamic law permits hitting wives.
- Domestic violence is not unique to Muslim societies, it is wide spread throughout the world. In fact the rate of violence is far higher in Western countries in which it is illegal for husbands to hit their wives. The reason being the extended family structure s role in domestic disputes. In the West, the family is reduced to what is commonly referred to as the “nuclear family”; the husband, wife and kids. Consequently, relatives have little or no concern in domestic disputes. In Muslim communities, the relatives are encouraged to interfere, to protect the rights of their daughter, sister, niece, aunt, or cousin. Families often live together, or in the same vicinity and family contact remains strong.
- The West s attitude toward corporal punishment has changed drastically since Dr. Spock [not of the Enterprise] published his seminal work in the 50 s on the rearing of children. His book became a standard, not only for parenting, but its principles became standards for educational institutions. His view was that children should be treated as little adults. They should be reasoned with, and advised, but not hit. In the same way that, as adults, one would not hit another adult in order to get them to follow instructions, nor would they be hit for disobeying orders, children should not be struck. As a result, the use of corporal punishment in schools was abandoned. It had already been stopped in prisons in favor of reform. The consequence in schools is that teachers became hostages in the hands of their students. A number of cases of students attacking teachers occurred in the late sixties and seventies. As a result, most inner city schools in America have metal detectors at their gates in order to disarm students.
- Islaam recognizes corporal punishment for major crimes; 100 lashes for fornication, 80 for drunkenness and slander, etc. Furthermore, regarding children, the Prophet said, “Teach your children the prayer when they are seven and
spank them for it at the age of ten. “8 There are limitations, in that the Prophet prohibited hitting in the face, even in the case of animals.
- It is true that the Sharee’ah does permit a husband to hit his wife. Allaah stated that in the Qur aan (Soorah an-Nisaa, (4): 34)9. The Prophet also said, “You
have rights over your women that they do not allow anyone you dislike into your home. If they disobey you, you may spank them. And the woma n’s right on you is that you clothe her and feed her justly, according to your means. “10 However, that permission is under special conditions and with severe limitations. A husband is
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