Page 132 - Islam In Focus

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or surgery, their husbands were experiencing fresh romance with other women. The
sister or friend of the sick lady is the most frequent character in such a play. With all
noble intentions, perhaps, she comes to help her sick sister or dear friend and look
after the children or just after the house temporarily, and from there on things develop
and get complicated. When there is a sick wife at home or in the hospital, the husband
feels lonesome and depressed. The other woman around the house – whether the
wife’ s sister or friend or anybody else, takes it as part of her help to show the husband
some sympathy and a bit of understanding, which may be sincere and honest or may
be otherwise. Some men and women exploit this simple start of sympathy and use it
to the end. The result is a broken heart here or there, and probably a broken home too
Problems of this kind are not imaginary or even rare. They are common among
people. Newspapers deal from time to time with such problems. Court files also bear
witness to this fact. The act of man in this respect may be called mean, immoral,
indecent, vicious, etc. Granted! But does this help? Does it change the fact or alter
human nature? The act is done, an offense is committed repeatedly, and an acute
problem is calling for a practicable and decent solution. Should the lawmakers satisfy
themselves with an outright condemnation of such a man and his acts? Should they let
him ruin his own integrity and destroy the moral foundations of society? Should they
allow hypocrisy and immorality to replace honesty and faithfulness? Outright
prohibition and condemnation have not stopped some men from committing the
offense or quickened their conscience. On the contrary, they have made room for
hypocrisy, secret infidelity and irresponsibility in the face of which the law and
lawmakers are helpless
Now Islam cannot be helpless. It cannot compromise on moral standards or tolerate
hypocrisy and infidelity. It cannot deceive itself or man by false and pretended
satisfactions. Nor can Islam deny the existence of the problem or simply resort to
outright condemnation and prohibition, because that does not even minimize the
harm. To save a man of this kind from his own self, to protect the woman involved –
whether she is the wife or the secret friend – against unnecessary complications, to
maintain the moral integrity of society, and to minimize evil, Islam has allowed
recourse to polygamy with the reservations and conditions mentioned above. This is
to be applied as an emergency measure and is certainly much healthier than nominal
monogamy and irresponsible relations between man and woman. Men and women,
who find themselves in a desperate state or in a difficult entanglement, may resort to
this solution. But if there is any fear of injustice and harm to any party, then
monogamy is the rule
4. Nature itself requires certain things and actions of man in particular. It is man who,
as a rule, travels a lot on business trips and stays away from home for various periods
of time, on long and short journeys, in his own country and abroad. No one can take
the responsibility of ascertaining that all men under such circumstances remain
faithful and pure. Experience shows that most men do fall and commit immoral
offenses with strange women during the period of absence from home, which may be
months or years. Some people are weak and cannot resist even the easily resistible
temptations. As a result, they fall into sin, and that might cause a break in the family.
This is another case where restricted polygamy may apply. It is much better for a man
of this type to have a second home with a second legal wife than to be free in
committing immoral and irresponsible offenses. This is even much better for the wife