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Polygamy - To Mothers of Orphans Only


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AceOfHearts
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« on: July 13, 2009, 12:24:23 pm »

Polygamy - To Mothers of Orphans Only

No where in the Qur'an is it allowed to marry more than one wife for personal satisfaction. The verse regarding polygamy is set in the clear context of taking care of orphaned children. It specifies the only reasoning behind marriage to more than one woman:

Surah 4 - An-Nisa (Women), Verses 1 to 4
 
يأيها الناس اتقوا ربكم الذي خلقكم من نفس واحدة وخلق منها زوجها وبث منهما رجالا كثيرا ونساء. واتقوا الله الذي تساءلون به والارحام. ان الله كان عليكم رقيبا
People, be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate and from the pair of them spread countless men and women. Be mindful of Allah, in whose name you ask one another of what is in the womb, Allah is always watching over you. (4:1)

.واتوا اليتامي اموالهم ولا تتبدلوا الخبيث بالطيب. ولا تاكلوا اموالهم الي اموالكم, انه كان حوبا كبيرا
Give orphans their property, do not replace their good things with the bad, and do not consume their property with your own. That is a serious crime. (4:2)

وان خفتم الا تقسطوا في اليتامي فانكحوا ما طاب لكم من النساء مثني وثلاث ورباع. فان خفتم الا تعدلوا فواحدة او ما .ملكت ايمانكم ذلك ادني الا تعولوا
If you fear that you will not be just/equitable to the orphans, then marry as permissible for you, women, two, three or four. But if you fear you will not be equitable, then one or to whom you are committed to by oath. That is better so that you do not deviate from the right course. (4:3)


Firstly, the verse of 'polygamy' is clearly embedded within the context of taking care of orphans. Where 4:3 is the 'verse of polygamy', the issue of orphaned children starts from 4:2.

Secondly, reading 4:3, we notice the verse begins by laying a clear condition, "If you fear that you will not be just/equitable to the orphans, then marry...". The underlined word "then" is the translation for the word "fa / ف". This term used to mean "in that case / so / then" is connecting the two portion of marrying more than one woman, and being more equitable to orphans, in a conditional manner. Even to an un-trained reader, it is very obvious to notice that Allah is stating here that the verse is 'permitting' another marriage only in order to be more "just / equitable" to orphaned children, in other words, to take care of orphaned children better. Orphaned children who have lost their father need care when their widowed mother is unable to provide for them. How can marrying again solve the problem of helpless orphaned children who are not provided for (e.g. food and shelter)? Ofcourse, it is by marriage to the widowed mother to whom the orphans belong to - who is also is in need of provision.

The discussion of orphans and their care continues well into Surah An-Nisa further emphasising that marriage to more than one woman is only permitted in the unique case stated very explicitly within the verse itself. The next few verses following the 'verse of polygamy' 4:3, are shown below for readers information:

واتوا النساء صدقاتهن نحلة. فان طبن لكم عن شئ منه نفسا فكلوه هنيئا مريئا
And give women their property willingly, and if they remit any of it to you of their own will, then you may take it with a clear conscience (non-literal). (4:5)
 
ولا تؤتوا السفهاء اموالكم التي جعل الله لكم قياما وارزقوهم فيها واكسوهم وقولوا لهم قولا معروفا
And do not give the immature ones their money which Allah has entrusted to you, and spend on them from it and clothe them, and speak to them in goodness. (4:6)
 
وابتلوا اليتامي حتي اذا بلغوا النكاح فان انستم منهم رشدا فادفعوا اليهم اموالهم. ولا تاكلوها اسرافا وبدارا ان يكبروا. ومن كان غنيا فليستعفف ومن كان فقيرا فلياكل بالمعروف. فاذا دفعتم اليهم اموالهم فاشهدوا عليهم, وكفي بالله حسيبا
Test orphans until they reach marriageable age; then if you find they have sound judgement, hand over their property to them. Do not consume it hastily before they come of age. If the guardian is well off, he should abstain from the orphan's property, and if he is poor he should use only what is fair. When you give them their property, call witnesses in, but Allah takes full account of everything you do. (4:7)

 
And the Qur'an continues to address the orphans care and protection. It is striking just how much Allah emphasises on the protection of such children.
 
Believing men marry only once by default

From Quranic point, believing men should marry only once as normal practice. We know this due to a few reasons. One of them is that Allah states:

"Marry those who are single among you and those of your male and female servants" (Qur'an 24:32)

Polygamy involves marriage to a man who is not single. Also, marriage is generally encouraged in the Qur'an. Marrying once in the 'normal manner' fulfils this, as in 24:32 - yet what is in 4:3, is stated in exceptional terms: in terms of orphaned children's care.

Also notice that in 4:3, Allah has explicitly stated that believing men should only be married to one woman in the circumstance shown, and it is better this way:

"...then marry as permissible, women, two, three or four
[i.e. widowed women with children in need of provision]. But if you fear you will not be equitable, then one. That is better so that you do not deviate from the right course" (4:3)

Thus, a single marriage is the norm. Marriage to a widow in the interest of caring for orphans is the exception the verse is making.

Understanding of  "if you fear you will not be equitable/just, then one / فان خفتم الا تعدلوا فواحدة "

The verse reads "فان خفتم الا تعدلوا فواحدة / if you fear you will not be equitable/just, then one". Thus, a stipulation clearly laid in the verse, is the issue of equitability and fairness between existing wife and subsequent marriage to mothers of orphans. We need to pay special attention here due to what many traditionalists have claimed in their literature. Since traditionalists' motive is to establish that men can marry any women up to four for personal desire / satisfaction, they try to impose a very shallow and biased understanding of what constitutes 'fair / equitable' in the verse. They claim that as long as a man can provide food, housing, clothing (i.e. material provisions) to equal amounts to all wives, he is being equitable and just. They say in that case he is meeting the requirement of the verse and can marry more than once up to four. Thus they have passed "fatwas" (verdicts) where they state that "permission" is not necessary from first wife for the husband to marry more wives (to any women). In other words, even against the first wife's happiness, the husband can marry again. Many such traditional so called Muslims have done just that and bought depression upon their first wife.

This is an understanding lacking wisdom and knowledge. Because to be 'just' and 'equitable' is not only about providing material provision, it is also about being just to someone emotionally. If we take two people and emotionally torture one, then that is unjust - to consider simply providing material provision to equal level to be part of equality is pure ignorance - it is also about what you are doing to someone on the inside.

Thus, if the first wife is against the idea of her husband marrying a second time (even to take care of orphaned children, to a widow), then her wish must be respected to comply with the verse (the section "if you fear you will not be equitable/just, then one"). If the husband marries against her wishes, then he is emotionally harming her (and is being 'unjust'). Supposing the second wife-to-be is happy with the man's second marriage while his existing wife is angry and upset, then this is not being 'just' or 'equitable' between the two since one will be made happy and the other angry and upset.

Such shallow and thoughtless derivation of Quranic verses by these traditionalists portray a worrying element in their own marital relationships - since we see that consideration of human beings' emotions, the wife's feelings or thoughts are completely overlooked and neglected, and an emotionless interpretation is spread. The reasoning for this is as stated, their preconceived motive of justifying marrying more women for personal or sexual gratification. Ideas of women's role as an obedient sexual tool for 'hyper-sexual' men is spread widely through extra-Quranic sources in the name of true religion, and is not based on the Quranic religion. In the Qur'an, the relationship between husband and wife is stated in following terms:

"One of His signs is that He created for you spouses like your selves so that you may live with them with affection and mercy - there are signs in this for people who reflect". (Qur'an 30:21) 

Understanding of "...marry as permissible for you / فانكحوا ما طاب لكم"

Allah has prohibited marriage between close relative members:

"And do not marry whom your fathers had married, except what has already been done. It is a lewdness, and an abhorrence, and a evil way. Forbidden for you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and the sisters of your father, and the sisters of your mother, and the daughters of your brother, and the daughters of your sister, and your foster mothers who suckled you, and your sisters from suckling, and the mother-in-laws, and your step-daughters who are in your lodgings from your women with whom you have already consummated marriage; if you have not consummated the marriage then there is no sin upon you; and those who were married to your genetic sons. Also (forbidden) that you have two sisters together, except what has already been done. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Qur'an 4:23)

So when Allah says in 4:3:
 
"If you fear that you will not be just/equitable to the orphans, then marry as permissible for you (انكحوا ما طاب لكم), women, two, three or four." (4:4)

"Marry as permissible for you / فانكحوا ما طاب لكم " is referring to restrictions laid to whom marriage is permissible. These restrictions still apply, even in the case of a widowed woman in need of provision for her children. It may be that a believing men cannot marry a widow or does not want to for whatever reason. it is important to bear in mind as believers, that it is not necessary to marry a widowed women to be charitable and kind to her. Through out the Qur'an, being charitable and looking after the needy and especially fellow believers have been shown as a clear attribute of those who love Allah and follow the Qur'an.

Most so-called Muslims simply do not look at the Qur'an and simply accept what they hear or read in textbooks about the Qur'an. By studying the actual verses, we have noticed striking points, which have been deliberately hidden away from Muslims by the clergy.

Deceptive Methods Used

The traditionalist preachers of this verse use many tactics in an attempt to establish their desired interpretation, that is that men can marry any women up to four wives. Some of the common tactics are as follows:

* In a translation, inserting the word "other" in a bracket so that the verse reads "marry (other) women", in order to disconnect the condition stated in the actual Arabic Qur'an. The word "other" is ofcourse, not in the actual Qur'an (rather the contrary "fa ف" is used to link the two together, "If you fear that you will not be just/equitable to the orphans, then ("fa ف") marry as permissible for you", women, two, three or four.")

* In speeches and sermons, they deliberately omit the first half of the verse, which stipulates the condition. They begin quoting the verse from "marry as permissible, women, two, three or four" after telling the audience that men can marry four wives, any women (not widows), for any reason.

* And general 'brainwashing' of Muslims into thinking that the Qur'an can only be understood / interpreted by special scholars - they shall not question what they read, and the majority is correct.

In conclusion, we have deduced the following from the Qur'an:

1) Marriage to more than one woman is not for personal or sexual gratification at all. It is permitted only to mothers of orphans in the interest of taking care of orphaned children, who otherwise, would not have basic provisions such as food, shelter etc.

2) Even if it is in the interest of taking care of orphaned children, the first wife's happiness and opinion takes priority and the believing husband will not marry the widowed woman.

3) Though only mothers of orphans who are in need of care and protection is allowed, "Marry as permissible for you / فانكحوا ما طاب لكم" is referring to only those such widowed women who are permissible for marriage.

There have been many men in modern days who, in the name of being a "Muslim", marry against their first wives wishes and there are first wives who are depressed due to inconsiderate nature of the husband who married against her will. These men are in violation of all the teachings of the Qur'an described in this article. Not only did they marry against their first wives will, the women they married are not widows with young children. Their intention was purely for self-satisfaction.

True believing men abide fully by the sublime morals of the Qur'an. In cases where the actual Qur'an is followed thoroughly, without deviated teachings that go contrary to Quranic teachings, all believers on this path lead a peaceful and content lives.

"But when the righteous are asked, 'What has your Lord sent down?' They say, 'all that is good'. There is good in the world for those who do good, and the abode of the Hereafter is even better. How excellent is the home of the righteous!" (Qur'an 16:30)


http://www.quranicpath.com/verses/polygamy_islam.html
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 03:23:36 pm »

This is a nice and perceptive piece which I had read earlier at brother's website. 
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2009, 04:30:00 pm »

.... and as i preceive it, the same ethics can be applied for widows and divorcees as well, right?
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2009, 04:40:29 pm »

.... and as i preceive it, the same ethics can be applied for widows and divorcees as well, right?

Salam Br. Persian,

Can you elaborate on what you mean?
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 11:58:43 pm »

walaykum salam brother.  Sorry, my wordings were a bit confusing.  Mothers of orphans are automatically widows as well.  Let me put it this way,,,, widows without children, divorcees or single women in financial hardship who need support can also be taken as wives (I mean more than one) by a man who is confident to taking care of their financial and emotional needs.  As we know, except for Ayesha (ra), all of the Prophet's (pbuh) wives were widows, and with the exception of Khadijah (ra), they were all from considerably poor families.  But I don't think all of them were mothers of orphans.  Therefor, being the mother of orphans means being a widow as well but being  a widow does not necessarily imply being mother of orphan or orphans.  It's correct that in Islam monogamy is the ideal and polygamy the provision - and with the help of your article I think I could clarify that the provision of polygamy should be accompanied by the cause of supporting needy women.  That's generally the basis of it.  And as you have hinted as per my understanding, financial support must also be accompanied by love & affection for the wives in a polygamous marriage.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2009, 12:59:19 am »

Salams brothers and sister

It's a well accepted truth that Islam allows polygamy only when there's a solid reason and it musn't be kept a secret from the other wife or wives.  The vivid instructions in the Quran of a man's dealings with his wife makes this point very clear.
 
Also, we know that trusting the Prophet's (pbuh) ethical approach in the matter, the Quran allows him to take more than 4 wives for the same purpose of supporting resourceless women (verse 50 of Surah Al-Ahzab refers to this issue) and as br. Pt stated, almost all of the Prophet's wives were widows and financially hard pressed.   The Prophet (pbuh) had, I think, 8 or 9 wives in all.  However in those days 9 wives weren't considered many nor unusual by any means.  And of course the Prophet (pbuh) kept the trust that Allah Almighty had bestowed on him by supporting all his wives as best as he could in accordance with his very simple standards and being extremely kind and gentle with all of them.  I think it would be right to say that apart from Khadija, all his marriages were of convenience.  Hence, except for Khadija, he (pbuh) didn't have a family with any of his other wives, not even Aisha.  From his 9 wives the Prophet had only 7 children.  Six were from Khadija and one son named Ibrahim from one of his wives, Marya, who died in infancy.  Both his sons from Khadija also died in infancy.  So actually, the Prophet (pbuh) was left with only 4 children, all daughters.
 
Also I would wish to add a point on polygamy which many overlook.  Well, if you ask me personally that if my husband decided to make me a co-wife, would I agree?  My answer would be no.  That's my personal approach.  Some other woman might say yes.  That doesn't mean that I'm a worse Muslima than her or she's a better Muslima than me.  We are both exercising our rights.  Just as a husband is entitled to take a second wife under certain circumstances, similarly his wife is entitled to accept or reject his decision.  Some women may agree, some may not.

But I would like to shed some light on that other side of polygamy.  I will do so by citing the example of someone I know personally.
 
There's a sister friend of mine who, some years ago when she was single, fell in love with a married Muslim man with 2 or 3 kids.  Both loved each other very much.   The guy was financially very stable and could support her without making his first wife and kids go through any financial sacrifices.  Besides, the sister was also well off and didn't really need much financial support from him.  She was quite willing to be on her own financially, but to satisfy her desire of love in a Halal way, wanted to marry the guy and become a co-wife, live separately of course and was also willing to allow her husband to spend 5 days a week with his first wife and wanted just 2 days with him for herself.  It suited both of them fine.  But the first wife didn't agree and raised a big commotion.  Well, to make a long story short, the sister and the man she loved had to quit their plans for marriage.  He went back to his family and I presume he was sad, but she was totally miserable.  For almost 10 years she didn't get married to anyone else.  Then she had an arranged marriage with someone which didn't last for more than 3 or 4 years and they had one child.  She's divorced now and still misses the guy she couldn't marry. 
 
So ..... now, just concentrate on this scenario.  If the first wife had agreed, she wouldn't lose anything financially.  Yes, emotionally she would have to share a bit but that was unbearable for her so she did not give her husband permission to re-marry.  That's fine and in accordance with our laws.  But what I mean to say is, concerning the sister who was dumped, her entire life was virtually ruined.  If the first wife had allowed her husband into a polygamous marriage, it would have been a little tough for her emotionally (and probably she would have gotten used to it with time), but she wouldn't have lost as much as the other sister did.  Hence, this way, the first wife protected her rights as a woman.  But then, what about the other sister?  She too is woman and she suffered so much and is still suffering emotionally.   What about her rights to be happy?
 
Therefore, in my opinion, before lambasting polygamy by only looking at it from one side of the fence, we should look at it from both sides even if it jeopardizes anyone's personal interest.  That's because this issue is about realism.  Financial support to widows and needy women is a good concrete reason for polygamy which has to be combined with affection.  But sometimes just falling in love sincerely can also become a worthy reason. 

And only Allah knows best.
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 05:56:31 pm »

Br. pt and sister cat, both of u have raised some very good points.  I too think that the logic of br. ace's article can also be applied to widows, divorcees or single women in the same predicament i.e. who are financially is a difficult situation with hardly anyone or no one to support them and who also do not have the capacity to earn enough to live on their own. 

You also quoted a very thought-provoking story of your sister friend, sister cat.  Reflecting carefully and realistically on the end result of that episode, it tells us that if that man had taken her as his second wife, both the women would get a share of happiness and both would also have to give up a little for each other -- though in this case your friend would have to give up more as per her own decision.  Indeed that was very nice of her.  Sad that the idea still wasn't accepted by the first wife.  Thus, the man was compelled to keep only his first wife.  With that, one woman got all the happiness while the other got nothing.  I absolutely agree that in this case a polygamous marriage would realistically have made the situation more balanced for both women, if both decided to co-operate along with the man.
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 08:30:04 pm »

walaykum salam brother.  Sorry, my wordings were a bit confusing.  Mothers of orphans are automatically widows as well.  Let me put it this way,,,, widows without children, divorcees or single women in financial hardship who need support can also be taken as wives (I mean more than one) by a man who is confident to taking care of their financial and emotional needs.  As we know, except for Ayesha (ra), all of the Prophet's (pbuh) wives were widows, and with the exception of Khadijah (ra), they were all from considerably poor families.  But I don't think all of them were mothers of orphans.  Therefor, being the mother of orphans means being a widow as well but being  a widow does not necessarily imply being mother of orphan or orphans.  It's correct that in Islam monogamy is the ideal and polygamy the provision - and with the help of your article I think I could clarify that the provision of polygamy should be accompanied by the cause of supporting needy women.  That's generally the basis of it.  And as you have hinted as per my understanding, financial support must also be accompanied by love & affection for the wives in a polygamous marriage.

Peace,

The condition is laid very clearly in the verse وان خفتم الا تقسطوا في اليتامي, that is in order to take care of orphaned children. You cannot permit any needy women, divorcees/widows - then that is practically just like permitting polygamy in all cases. The Qur'an is necessitating the scenario of orphaned children as a reason for possible polygamy, this is very clearly stated in the verse.

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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 09:14:09 pm »



Peace,

The condition is laid very clearly in the verse وان خفتم الا تقسطوا في اليتامي, that is in order to take care of orphaned children. You cannot permit any needy women, divorcees/widows - then that is practically just like permitting polygamy in all cases. The Qur'an is necessitating the scenario of orphaned children as a reason for possible polygamy, this is very clearly stated in the verse.




Peace to you too brother.  I am aware that the particular verses you are referring to deals with orphans.  However the entire Quran says still more.

I'll have to think and research over what you said.  It appears to me like an incomplete tafsir.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2009, 10:38:06 pm »

Br. Ace, you are twisting matters to please your own perception.  I don't know why you keep doing that with the Quran.  I definitely agree more with br. persian.  Not that it's anything tough to figure out especially with the general instructions of the Quran before us.  It's not an "incomplete" tafsir as stated by br. persian, rather I perceive it as primarily incorrect.  The verses of Surah An-Nissa quoted by br. ace are regarding orphans in sufficient detail so they also include the issue of marriage as stated.  And yes, the purpose of marrying orphan females is to support them financially, to love them and to be equitable.  It doesn't refer to "mothers of orphans."  It simply refers to orphans.  A mother of an orphan is obviously a widow (that's common sense) and she doesn't need to be called "mother of orphan."   Besides, widows and divorcees or any single female can also be needy like any orphan.  They are also entitled to be supported through polygamy with proper intentions.

The Prophet (pbuh) had a monogamous as well as polygamous marriages.  All his wives were not orphans nor were they all "mothers" of orphans.   But yes, most of them were widows.  So that way, br. ace's logic would imply that the Prophet did something against the Quran.  It goes without saying that that's absurd and offensive!  Moreover, the Quran explicitly says that the Prophet was given additional permission for marriages compared to other men.  

O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - Al Ahzab 33:50

The verses of Surah An-Nissa quoted in the original post of this thread are to be taken at face value within the context it deals with (that is, orphans) but these verses do not imply that only "mothers of orphans" are to be involved in polygamous marriages.   In fact those verses are about orphans in general and the instructions regarding marriage refer to female orphans.  Can't widows without children or any single female without child be needy?  Br. ace's interpretation would imply that Allah is discriminating between orphan females and other needy females.  We know that is totally wrong.  We humans can discriminate.  Allah never discriminates.  

If polygamy was only for orphan females and no one else, it would be an important dictate and Allah would have categorically stated not to have polygamous marriage with any woman unless she's an orphan, just like the Quran has plainly, in clear terms, forbidden or rejected  all those issues that are Haram in the sight of Allah.  The Quran does NOT anywhere say that polygamy must only be practiced with orphan women.  You are constructing your own tafsir which is okay, but this one just isn't measuring up with the contents of the Noble Quran.

Waalaikum salam / peace be on you.
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AceOfHearts
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2009, 07:36:00 am »

I have read everyones reply. I have made one addition to the article, which is a verse I forgot to add. I am including the change below for reference.

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From Quranic point, believing men should marry only once as normal practice. We know this due to a few reasons. One of them is that Allah states:

From Quranic point, believing men should marry only once as normal practice. We know this due to a few reasons. One of them is that Allah states:

"Marry those who are single among you including the righteoous ones from your male and female servants" (Qur'an 24:32)

Polygamy involves marriage to a man who is not single. Also, marriage is generally encouraged in the Qur'an. Marrying once in the 'normal manner' fulfils this, as in 24:32 - yet what is in 4:3, is stated in exceptional terms...

Peace.
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 12:33:21 am »

"Polygamy involves marriage to a man who is not single."

Of course I'm sure everyone knows this.


"From Quranic point, believing men should marry only once as normal practice. We know this due to a few reasons. One of them is that Allah states:

"Marry those who are single among you including the righteoous ones from your male and female servants" (Qur'an 24:32)"


We also know that polygamy is a provision, not a compulsion. 

However, the above verse 24:32 is not necessarily about monogamy please.  It's simply advising single pious people that they are permitted to marry their slaves and maids.  This could be either a monogamous or polygamous marriage .. depending upon the situation.  If those slaves or maids are orphans then it can also mean polygamy as per your own views and as per Verse 4:3.

"And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them of His bounty. Allah is of ample means, Aware."  24:32


"yet what is in 4:3, is stated in exceptional terms..."

Yes I agree Vere 4:3 is specifically about orphans.  In your original article you gave the impression that it's the general norm.  That's why it sounded wrong to me.

Peace
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 12:40:03 am »

Please check reply here on board after corrections.
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2009, 02:21:10 pm »

"And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them of His bounty. Allah is of ample means, Aware."  24:32

Yes, I would also not construe this verse specifically as a dictate for monogamous marriage. 

I perceive it a commandment basically to abolish class distinctions for marriage which existed greatly in those days and still do at present in many communities. 

Allah has conveyed the ideology in another verse of the Noble Qur'aan that a believing slave is better than a free disbelieving man of high status & wealth.  Similarly a believing bonded woman is better than a disbelieving free woman.

Thus, the theme of verse 24:32 is to primarily convey that pious believing men and women can marry amongst the poor and bonded ones, if they too are pious and believing.  Wealth and social status is no barrier for marriage.  The only barrier is disbelief.
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