Islam The Only Way To ALLAH


The Islamic view of the fundamental equality of sexes has been already stated in the section on "Religion of Unity" and an impartial historical appreciation of the problem proves beyond all doubt that it was "Islam which removed the bondage in which women were held from the very dawn of human history and gave them a social standing and legal rights such as were not granted them in England till many centuries later." (Lady Evelyn Cobbold, in "Pilgrimage to Mecca"). But the widespread propaganda of the enemies of Islam in connection with polygamy necessitates a specific statement in that connection.
          In the first instance, polygamy was not invented by Islam, nor was it made in any way obligatory. It had existed in pre-Islamic societies since time immemorial with the sanction of religion and had been practiced even by those who were accepted as holy personages as for instance, we find in the Old Testament. There it was governed by no law whatsoever, and so also it was in the Arabian society at the advent of Islam. What Islam did was to regulate it and to subject it to such severe restrictions as to make it prohibitive except in cases of emergency. Indeed, monogamy has been the ideal and polygamy only an exception in Muslim Society. This fact is fully borne out by the present as well as the past history of the Muslims and has been admitted by all fair-minded critics of Islam. For instance, William Kelly Wright says: "Most Mohammedans in all ages have had only one wife." (Philosophy of Religion, New York, 1935).
                                      Islam is a natural religion and it takes a very serious view of sexual vices and social ills. Consequently, it was very natural for Islam to permit limited and restricted polygamy for the maintenance of social health in all those situations where it is the only natural remedy. For instance, when war alters the natural sex ratio, giving to women preponderance over men, there are only two alternatives, namely, widespread prostitution or polygamy. Islam prefers the latter to the former in the interests of moral health and social wellbeing of womanhood. Similarly, if the first wife is sterile or suffers from any incurable disease, there are only two possible alternatives, namely, either the first wife should be divorced and a fresh wife taken or she may continue in her status undisturbed along with a second wife. The former course would mean distressing, spinsterhood for the first wife while the latter course would provide to her an honourable normal life without temptation to evil. Polygamy can also become a necessity in a medically incurable case of the hypersexed male who, in most cases, would look to more than one woman for the satisfaction of his biological need. In all such cases, the Islamic permission of polygamy with all its responsibilities and restrictions would be a definitely healthier course than the hypocritical adherence to the formal monogamy.            
     Polyandry (i.e., the marriage of one woman with several husbands) is not permitted in Islam because psychologically it is unsound, sociologically it is impracticable and biologically it is most dangerous for the physical health of the persons concerned. Certain primitive tribes who practice polyandry are infected with the plague of venereal diseases.
               Speaking on polygamy, Dr. Annie Besant says: "There is pretended monogamy in the West, but there is really polygamy without responsibility; the ‘mistress’ is cast off when the man is weary of her and sinks gradually to be the ‘woman of the street’, for the first lover has no responsibility for her future, and she is a hundred times worse off than the sheltered wife and mother in the polygamous home. When we see thousands of miserable women who crowed the streets of Western towns during the night, we must surely feel that it does not lie in western mouth to reproach Islam for polygamy. It is better for a woman, happier for a woman, more respectable for a woman, to live in polygamy, united to one man only, with the legitimate child in her arms, and surrounded with respect, than to be seduced, cast out into the streets, perhaps with an illegitimate child outside the pale of law, unsheltered and uncared for, to become the victim of any passer-by, night after night, rendered incapable of motherhood, despised of all."Another critic of Western social order observes: "The law of the state, based upon the dogma of the Church, which makes it a criminal offence for a man to marry more than one wife, by that same provision makes it illegal for millions of women to have husbands or to bear children…It is untrue that monogamy was advocated by Jesus Christ… whether the question is considered socially, ethically or religiously, it can be demonstrated that polygamy is not contrary to the highest standards of civilisation ….. The suggestion offers a practical remedy for the western problem of the destitute and unwanted female: the alternative is continued and increased prostitution, concubinage and distressing spinsterhood"