Polygamy: The “Fruit-Vendor’s” logic and the Islamic view – Part 3 [Archives:2008/1202/Culture]

October 27 2008

Hanan Al-Wadee
For the Yemen Times

Reflecting on an incident from her childhood, Hanan Al-Wadee, researcher with an M.A. in Human Rights, confronts polygamy from a religious point of view.

The attempt of portraying and understanding Prophet Muhammad as sexually obsessed- God forbid- through the story of his marriage to Ayisha and Zainab Bint Jahsh, or his polygamous marriage in general without considering the details, reasons and the surrounding political, economic and social circumstances is the result of an ignorant perception of some people, or an intentional vicious attempt to distort Prophet Muhammad's image by others.

The one who seeks the truth will attain the perception of polygamy in its elevated image, as was provided by Islam. He will find out that the Prophet's marriages, which were almost confined to achieving mere legislative or social goals, illustrate in an unquestionable way that second marriage was not founded to serve men's sexual purposes. It is a heavy social burden that men are not obliged to undertake, and before undertaking it they should hesitate a thousand times, because it is not a source of delight and happiness, especially when a man knows the degree of psychological harm that will be done to his first wife regardless of what noble purpose justifies his second marriage, and how serious the punishment for not achieving equality between wives, which is a condition that God provided for the second marriage to be completed.

Although sex is the number one reason that justifies polygamy, the fruit-vendor logic provides other reasons, including that a man can marry without a reason and with neither the knowledge nor the consent of his first wife, as if the wife was a creature that did not deserve the minimum level of respect. By marrying someone else without reason, her partner, friend and the father of her children causes a rift and destruction to their relationship, which is described by God as a garment; the closest to our skins.

How will I discuss the “without a reason”” reason? Some might say that nowhere in the religion does it oblige him to marry for a reason and notify his first wife. On the other hand