Page 129 - Islam In Focus

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On the other hand, no one can pretend that all married men are happy, successful and
satisfied with their marriages. Whether it is his own or his wife’ s fault, the unhappy
husband will look for some other kind of companionship and consolation from
somebody else. This is made easy for him when women outnumber men. If he cannot
get it through honest channels, he will get it by other means with the result of immoral
and indecent intimacies, which may involve illegitimacy, abortion and other endless
troubles. These may be ugly and bitter facts, but they are real and acute problems.
They have to be solved in a way that will secure the individual, male or female, and
protect society.
The solution which Islam offers in this respect is a permission to the unhappy and
dissatisfied husband to marry a second wife and live with her openly in a responsible
way with equal fulfillment of all obligations to the first wife and to the second.
Similarly, it helps unmarried women satisfy their needs, realize their longings and
fulfill their ligitimate aspirations and natural desires. It gives them a permission to
associate with men by marriage and enjoy all the rights and privileges of legal wives.
In this way Islam does not try to evade the question or ignore the problem. It is
realistic and frank, straightforward and practical. The solution which Islam offers is
legal, decent and benevolent. Islam suggests this solution because it can never tolerate
hypocrisy in human relations. It cannot accept as legal and moral the attitude of a man
who is by law married to one wife and in reality has unlimited scope of intimacies and
secret relationships. On the other hand, it is deadly opposed to adultery and cannot
condone it. The penalty of adulterers and adulteresses can be as severe as capital
punishment, and that of fornicators can be as painful as flogging each of them with a
hundred stripes. With hypocrisy, infidelity and adultery forbidden, there is no other
alternative except to allow legal polygamy. And this is what Islam has done with the
above –mentioned regulations and conditions.
If some people think it unacceptable, they have to resort to the other alternatives
which Islam does not accept or particularly favor. And if some other people can
control themselves and exercise self- discipline in every aspect, they do not need
polygamy. The main concern of Islam is to maintain the dignity and security of the
individual, and to protect the integrity and morale of society
Now anybody can ask himself as to what is better for a society of this kind. Is it
commendable to let chaos and irresponsible behavior ruin the very foundations of
society, or to resort to and implement the Islamic resolution? Is it in the interest of
society to ignore its acute problems, to tolerate hypocrisy and indecency, to condone
adultery and secret intimacy? Is it healthy to suppress the legitimate desires and
natural longings of man and woman for companionship, the suppression which cannot
be effective in reality and which would only drive them to illegal and indecent
outlets? Whether the question is considered from a social or moral or humanitarian or
spiritual or any other point of view, it will be realized that it is far better for the
society to permit its individuals to associate on a legal basis and in a responsible
manner, with the protection of the Law and under the supervision of the authorities
Even if we look at the matter from a feminine point of view, it will be clear that by
this very resolution, Islam assures the woman of due respect, secures her rights and
integrity, recognizes her legitimate desire for decent companionship, gives her room