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Islam and Polygamy | Bilah Philips & Jameela Jones | PDF


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Islam and Polygamy | Bilah Philips & Jameela Jones | PDF

  1. 1. POLYGAMY INISLAAM ABUAMEENAHBILALPHILIPS and JAMEELAHJONES t),{*Ilddfb-tjJf s.tri,ri_ .l"+tiJYJ{isl3'li c jiJ+ 4l+.+ ri'r$&Pd'
  3. 3. @ Cooperative0fficefortall&GuidanceatBuraiydah,1999 KingFahdHationalLibraryCataloging-in-PublicationData Philips,Belal Polygamyinlslam- Buraiydah. 112P.,12X 17 cm. lsBN 9960- 783- 57- X 1-Polygamy l-Title 254.1dc LegalDepositno. 0268/20 ISBN:9960-783-57-X
  4. 4. CONTENTS Preface:SecondEdition Preface:First Edition Transliteration I Institutional MonogamY EarlyChristianswerePolYgYnous Self-denialasaWayof Life MonogamyProtectsMales 2 Marriage in Islaam MarriageSuperiorto Transient Relationships Rightsof MarriagePartners TheGreaterResponsibilityof Males A Wife'sDuties Obedienceto Husbands MuslimWomennotlike Non-believing Women 3 Ta'ad-dud:Polygyny Legalityof Polygyny WontenOutnumberMen MaleSex-driveandTheVeil Conditionsfor PluralMarriages 4 Divisionin Plural Marriages The Principleof Eqality i iii v I 2 3 5 l0 ll 12 19 2l 26 32 33 34 38 39 46 50 52
  5. 5. BeginningDivision Time Division A Wife'sRight to Time Time Rightsof aNew Wife ConjugalRights Making-upTime Givingup Division Rights ResidenceRights SpendingandClothingRights Gifts Conclusion Indexof Hadeeths Bibliography 54 56 59 62 64 66 7l 73 '!7 78 81 93 99
  6. 6. PREFACE: TIIIRI} EDITION Sinceits publication in 1985,this work continuesto be one of the only books of its kind in English devoted solely to the highly controversial topic of polygamy in Islaam. As such, the steadily increasing demand for copies among both Muslims and non-Muslims has netessitatedthe undertaking of a third reprint. How- ever, rather than merely reprinting the original, we decided to improve each reprint for the readers' benefit. The rninor changesof the secondedition havebeen incorporated in this edition along with further general improvements. All Hadeeths (statements of the prophet t g D have been carefully authenticated. The few unreliable (Da'eef) traditions remaining in the text have been identified as such in the footnotes and will - God witling - beremovedfrom the book in sub- sequent editions. The Hadeeths have also been thoroughly referencedto existing English translations of the Hadeethclassicswith the help of brother lftekhar Mackeen.Thus, the Englishreadermay now more eas- ily engagein further researchon the topic from English referenceworks. An index of Hadeethsmentioned in the text has alsobeen added in order to facilitate later useof the text. Besidetheseadditions, there have also been some cosmeticchangesto both the text and the cover designin an attempt to rhakethe book mor€ visu- ally attractive.As to the title, it hasbeenchangedfrom -l-
  7. 7. "Plural Marriage in Islaam" lo "Polygamy in Islaam" basedon the recommendationsof some readerswho suggestedthat the subjectmatterof the book would be more obviousat a glanceusingthe well-knownterm "polygamy". It is hopedthat theseimprovementsand changes will be appreciatedby the readersand that the educa- tional goalsof the book be achievedin its further and widerdistribution. Lastly,it isour prayerthatAlmightyGod, Allaah, add these humble efforts to clarify the messageof Islaamto our scaleof gooddeedson theDay of Recom- pense. Abu AmeenahBilal Philips December,1990/ l4f l AH - l l -
  8. 8. PREFACE: FIRST EDITION Let it be known that we are not suggestingthat polygamybe the lifestylefor everyMuslim, nor should anyoneenter a polygamousrelationshipanticipatinga bed of roses.Polygarnyis a complicatedaspectof mar- riage in Islaamin which the welfare of the community supercedesthe desiresof the individual (woman). Now- adays,polygamyis usuallyviewed as a right that man hasbut shouldnot take,or asalaw thatisoutmodedand in need of being abolished. Muslims often attemptto hideit or apologizefor itsexistence.Thereis no needto hideor apologizebut thereisaneedfor those who have decidedto adopt it as a lifestyle to try and handle it in the best possiblewty, the way of the. Prophet Muhammad ( # ), and for those who are ignorantof its rationaleandlawsto becomeacquainted with them. This book contains basic guidelines for anyone interestedin understandingthe rightsandobligationsof males and females in Islamic plural marriages.The guidelineshavebeendrawnfrom the Quraan,Hadeeth, the sayingsand actionsof the Prophet ( g ) and the opinions of Islamic scholars. It is hoped that the materialwill be asbeneficialto all r+horeadit asit was to usin compilingit. JameelahJones Ramadan1404AH June1984 Taif, SaudiArabia - llt-
  9. 9. TRANSLITERATION In order to provide the non-Arab with a more easily read set of symbols than those in current use, I have adopted a somewhat innovativesystemof transliterationparticularlywith regardto long vowels.It shouldbenoted, however,that a very similarsystemwas usedby E.W. Lane in preparinghis famous Arabic-EnglishLexi- con, consideredthe most authoritative work in its field. Many other scholarlytexts, written to teach Arabic pronunciation, also use similar systems.For example, Margaret K. Omar's Saudi Arabic: Urban Hijazi Dialect, (Washington, DC: Foreign Service Institute, 1975),aswell asthe Foreign LanguageInstitute's Saudi- Arabic: Headstart (Monetery, CA: Defense Language Institute, t980). No transliteration can expressexactly the vocalic differences bet- ween two languagesnor can Roman charactersgive anything more than an approximate sound of the original Arabic words and phrases.There is alsothe difficulty of romanizing certain combina- tions of Arabic words which are pronounced differently from the written characters.Included in this category is the prefix "aI" (rep- resenting the article "the"). When it precedes words beginning with letters known asal-Huroof ash-Shamseeyah(lit. solarletters), the soundof "/" is mergedinto the followingletter; for example,al- Rahmaanis pronounced ar-Rahmaan. !$fhereas,in the caseof all other letters, known as al-Huroof al-Qamareeyah (lit. lunar let- ters), the "c/" is pronounced fully. I have followed the pronuncia- tion for the facility of the average reader by writing ar-Rahmaan insteadof al-Rahmaan and so on. J h kh d c c C J a b t th t I Y r) dr
  10. 10. i d h o h ) r ; h/t' j z J w €s(5y ,-i sh vowELs tf s ,rt d Short Vowels J r t : a ydH:-i Lt-!u (, gl LongVowels tr r i-t aa Lt. ee Jq gkt'oo J I l)ipthongs lm;aw d n : a y Note: t| Shaddah( , ) The Shaddah is represented in Roman lettersby doubled consonants.However, in actual pronunciation the letters should be merged and held briefly like the "n" sound produced by the nlkncombination in the word unknown, orthe "n" in unnerTe, the "b" in grabbag, the "t" in treight-train, the "r" in overruled, and "p" in lampposr, and the "d"jn mid-day. I have made an exception with ( Lt, ), instead of ily, I have used eey as in Islaameeyaft because this more accurately conveys the sound. | firis taahasbeencommonlytransliteratedas'-t" in all cascs.Howdver,suchasys- tcm ili not accuratcanddocsn()trepre$cntArabic pronurrcialion. -Yl-
  11. 11. I. INSTITUTIONAL MONOGAMY This material was not put together in defenseof polygynytt) (Ta'addud az-Zawjaat), for Allaah has alreadyconfirmedthe right to do soasclearlystatedin the Quraan: "Marry of the womenthat pleaseyou; two, three or four, but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly, then only one..t'(2) Moreover, the Prophet ( # ) demonstrated in detail how polygyny should be put into practicein his divinely guided life- style (Sunnah). Ta'addud (polygyny) wasthe practice of most of the major Sahaabah(companionsof the Prophet) as well as many outstandingscholarsof the Musiim Ummah (nation) from the earliest time of Islaam up until today. Ta'addud was also practiced among a portion of the generalmassesin most Muslim countries before and after the advent of European colonization- In fact, it is only in recent tirnes (early twentieth century) that a loud new cry hasbeen raised by so-called modernist Muslims attacking the institution of marriagein Islaamdue to its recognition of polygyny and the easewith which divorce may be obtained. They proposethe replacementof the Islamic form of marriage with the restrictive impractical monogamy practiced in the West, arguing that it is the (l) Webster'sA/el#World Dictionary defrnespolygyny asa practice of having two or more wives at the same time; whereas, polygamy is defined as the practice of having two or more wives or husbandsat the sametime . (2) Soorah an-Nisaa(a):3. -t.
  12. 12. only just and civilizedform of marriage.As a result, a number of countries with Muslim majorities have officially forbidden or severelyrestricted polygyny in their imported constitutions. However, to this day, Ta'addud continuesto be practisedby someMuslims throughout the Muslim world, though with less frequencythan in earliertimes. Having saidthat, however,there are a few points raised by the opponents of Islaam which should be answered.First among those is the totally erroneous claimthat Christianity'sintroductionof monogamynot oniy protectedthe rightsof women but alsothat it had a civilizingeffect on the world in the realm of human relations.Firstof all, it shouldbe notedthat thereare no scripturalaccountsof Jesusprohibitingpolygyny,and early Christianswere polygynous,following Jewish tradition.(3)Someof the churchFathersaccusedthe Jewishrabbis of sensuality,yet not a singlechurch councilin theearlycenturiesopposedpolygynynor was anyobstacleplacedin thewayof itspractice.In fact,St. Augustinedeclaredopenlythat he did not condemnit. Luther, on occasion,spoke of it with considerable (3) All judges must have had several wives each (Judges 8:30, l0:45, l2: l4). KingSolomon issaidto havehadsevenhundred wives,princessesand three hundred concubines(Kings 9:16, ll:3 cf.S. of Sol. 6:8). His son had eighteenwives and sixty concubines(2 Chron. l1:21). Each of Rehoboam'stwenty- eight sonshad many wives (2 Chron. ll:21). Even the wise men of theTalmud havegivengoodadvicethat no man should marry more than four wives,the number Jacobhad. -2-
  13. 13. toleration and was known to have approved the bigamous status of Philip of Hesse. In 1531, the Anabaptistsopenlypreachedthat a true Christianmust haveseveralwives.There wasevena time in 1650when someof the Christianleadersresolvedthat every rnan should be allowed to marry two women. It is also recordedthat the German reformers evensolate asthe sixteenthcentury,admittedthe validityof a secondand third marriage contemporaneouslywith the first in defaultof issueandothersimilarcauses.(a)In fact,it was only after Christianitywasrevisedaccordingto Paulian doctrinesthat conceptsof monogamywere introduced into Christian philosopy in order for it to conform to Greco-Roman culture. Greeceand Rome had evolved an institutionalized form of monogamy in societies where the majority of the populace were slaves who could be used freely. Hence what was termed monogamyin theorywasin factunrestrictedpolygamy. Secondly, along with the development of monastacismthere arosea philosophywhich regarded everygratificationof the sexualimpulsewith suspicion anddisgust.For thosewho chosecelibacyor self-denial astheir wayof life, thegreatestchallengewastheir own sexualdesires.The writings of early monks are filled with their descriptionsof dreams in which they are tormented by beautiful and alluring women. Many Christiansaintswere reportedto havebeenconvinced (4) Hammudah 'Abd al'Ati, The Family Structure in Islam, (American Trust Publication,19?7),p. 114. -3-
  14. 14. that they were tempted at night by voluptous and lasciviousfemaledemonscalledsuccubithat tormented them. While nuns and other Christianwomen, on the other hand, assertedthat they were visitedat night by equallyalluring'beingscalledincubi who had sexwith thgm.(s) Women were despised and blamed for corruption basedon Eve's supposedsubmissionto the Devil and her subsequentencouragementto Adam to eatfrom the forbiddentree. SomeChristianscholarsof thepasteveninterpretedtheforbiddentreeassexitself. The following are statementsof canonizedsaintsof Christianity concerning women: "Woman is the daughterof falsehood,a sentinelof Hell, the enemyof peace; through her Adam lost paradise (St. John Damascene).""Woman is the instrumentwhich the Devil uses to gain possessionof our souls (St. Cyprian).""Womanisthearmof theDevil,hervoiceis thehissingof theserpent(St.Anthony)". "Woman has the poison of an asp, the malice of a dragon (St. GregorytheGreat)."(6)Hence.sexwaslookeduponas an evil impulsenecessarytirr procreationbut despised for pleasure.And, ths acceptableformof marriagewas reducedto thesimplestpossibleterms,monogamy. The question rcmains why a male-dominated societyshouldbe so opposedto polygynywhen sucha (51 The Family Structurein Islam,p. 5t. (6) Ulfat Aziz us-Samad, Islam and Christianity, (Kuwait: I.l.F.S.O.,1982),p. 79. -4-
  15. 15. large number of its married members practice a form of it by engaging in illicit or casual relationships. Some males self-righteously assert that monogamy is maintainedto protect the rights of women. But, since when has the western male been concerned about women's rights?Westernsocietyis riddled through and through with socio-economicpracticeswhich oppressed women and led to the upsurgd of women's liberation movements in recent years,from suffragettes of the early nineteen hundreds to the ERAs of today. The realityisthat monogamyprotectsthe malesright to play around without any responsibility,sincethe incidence of infidelity amongthem is usuallymuch higher than that among females. The pill and easy accessto abortionsopenedthe door to illicit sexand the female wanted to join in the fun. lnspite of her natural and generalinclinationtowards meaningfulrelationships, shebecamecaughtup in theso-calledsexualrevolution. However, sheis still the one who suffersfrom the side effectsof the pill, coil and the loop or the trauma of abortion in much the sameway as she sufferedin the pasttheshameof childbirthout of wedlock.Meanwhile the male continuesto enjoy himselfworry free, aside from the recentplaguesof venerealdisease,herpesand A.I.D.S., whichaie rtowcausingmanyto reassesstheir sexualhabits.Malesin generalcontinueto beprotected by monogamy,while prostitutes,call girls,mistresses, secretaries,models, actresses,store clerks, waitresses andgirl friendsremaintheir playground.The factisthat institutionalpolygynyis vehementlyopposedby male- -t-
  16. 16. dorninatedwesternsocietybecauseit would force men to fidelity. It would obligethem to take socio-economic responsibility for the fulfillment of their polygynous desiresand provide protection for women and children from mental andphysicalabuse.Somemight arguethat if the stigmaof illegitimacy were removed,the problem could be solvedwithout havingto resortto the legaliza- tion of polygyny. However, every child has a natural desire to know its parents and the denial of that right often leads to serious psychological problems later on in life. In fact, females have a vested interest in institutional polygyny becauseof the obvious socio- economic protection it provides. Furthermore, the preponderanceof femalesin the world isanestablished fact. The death-rateat birth ismuchhigherfor boysand women on the whole live longer than men; not to mention,the largenumbersof menwho die daily in the variouswarsaroundthe world. Thus,althoughtheratio mayvaryfrom countryto countrythe resultsarestillthe same; women outnumber men.(7) This apparent imbalancehasbeen further aggravatedin the West by the alarming increasein homosexualswithin society. Hence there are more females competing for a (7) Russia: 46.1"/"of the population are men and 53.9% women (1970census) United Kingdom: male 48.557oand female 51.45%(1971cen- sus) United States:male 48.8oloand female 51.2%(197t census) Brazil: male 49.73% and female 50.27% (1970census).See The New Encyclopedia Britannica, (U.S.A; Encyclopedia BritannicaInc., 15thedition, 1976),vol. 17,pp. 34; 270,244. -6-
  17. 17. diminishingnumberof males.Consequently,therewill always'rErnaina large segmentof women unable to fulfill their sexual and psychologicalneeds through legitimate means in monogamous societies.Their presencein an increasinglypermissivesociety also contributes to the break down of western family structure. A strong family structure is an absolute requirementfor astrongand healthysociety.And, the only way that the family canremainstrongand society cater to the needsof its male and femalemembersis throughthe Islamicform of marriageof whichpolygyny isa part. The monogamousmarriagesystem,clearly,does not take into considerationthe real needsof human society.It limitspossibilitiesfor both menandwomen whileclaimingto protectthelatter.Insteadof providing protectionfor women,it providesa hypocriticalshield for men to hide behind while favoring a wife to the detriment of a girlfriend or vice versa.Islaamhas a completemarriagesystemwhichtakesinto accountall thehumanvariablesandprovidesmenandwomenwith viable options. To deny the validity and legality of polygyny is tantamount to denying the comprehensivenessof the Islamicmarriagesystemand the wisdomof the divinedecree.It is not possiblethat everything in life should happen according to our feelingsand desires.Nor is it possihleto live without experiencingpain.On thecontrary,Allaahhasstatedin Ouraanthat Muslimsshallbetested: -7-
  18. 18. 'tDe surc that lVe shall test you with some- thlng of fcer end hunger, $omeloesin Soods or lives or the fnrits (of your lebor), but glve glrd frdln$ to thocewho are pttlent.rt (E) 3'Ilo men think that they rvill be left alone on seylng, 'lVe believer' md that they will not be 1o1"6p (e) Neither tests nor pain, whether physical or emoticinal, can be avoided in this life. Nor can any a$pectof the Islamicsystembe negatedmerelyto justify a particular individual's or group'sopinions. Although polygyny rnay be painful for some women, it is also beneficial for other women and society as a whole. Muslimsmustacceptthe wholeof Allaah's messageand submit to the fact that Allaah's wisdom is superior to our opinions. Sincethe rapid spreadof Islaamin the West in the last two decades,a number of plural marriageshave been contracted among recently converted Muslims. However, due to the lack of Islamic legal material in English, many marital problems have arisen among newly convertedMuslims. In ignorance,most couples rely on their pre-Islamic conceptsand experiencesto solve the inevitable problems which must arise in any marriagewhethersingularor plural. However, the only (8) Soorahal-Baqarah(2):155. (9) Soorahal-'Ankaboot(29):2. .t.
  19. 19. solution to marital problemsor any other problems amongMuslimsliesin Allaah'scommand: "If you fall into dispute about anything, take it bnck to Allaah and the messenger(i'e. back to Quraan and the Sunnah).t{to1 This book attemptsto do just that in a particu- lar area in which friction is sure to develop among thoseinvolved in plural marriages;that is, with regard to the rights and obligations among wives. This book is intendecito servenot only asa referenceguide for thosewho are alreadyin plural marriageand those ccntemplatingenteringsucha relationship,but is also intendedfor thosewho simply warrt a more complete pictureof marriagein Islaam. (10) Soorahan-Nisaa(4):59. -9-
  20. 20. 2. MARRIAGE IN ISLAAM Marriage has been ordained by Allaah as rhe correctandlegalwayto producechildrenandreplenish the earth. The family is the basicunit of an Islamic nationor society.Allaah hasmadethedesirefor mates andoffspringinstinctualfor mankindandanimals.Life on earth continuesthroughchildrenand childrenare the productsof marriage.Nevertheless,marriagein Islaamcan not be viewedrnerelyas meansfor uniting the male body with a female body and producing offspring,nor wasmarriageinstitutedjust for purposes of satisfyingnaturaldesiresor quenchingpassions.Its goalsare muchdeeperin meaningthan thoseobvious physicalrealities.Allaah, the Most High, illuminates thisfactin Chapterar-Roomof theQuraan: "And amongHis signsisthis, that Hecreated for you mates frorn arnong yourselvesthat you might live in tranquility (Ii-yaskunoo) with themandHehasput loveandmercybet- weenyour (hearts);Verily in that are signs for thooewho This tranquillity (Sakanlis not simply whar one may feel after satisfyingsexualimpulsesbut it is the serenitywhichfollowsa psychologicalneedwhich has beenfulfilled.Everyindividualisawareof havingfelta (ll) Soorahar-Room(30):21. -t0-
  21. 21. lackor senseof losswithin himself/herselfwhichneeded completion,aweaknesswhichneededstrengtheningor lonelinesswhich could only be removedby someone truly committedto himlher. The calmor emotionalrest whichonefeelsasa resultof havingfulfilledtheseneeds can be termed tranquility (Sakan)- Thus marriagein Islaamis more thaniust a meansof obtaininglegalsex; it is an extremely important institution which safeguardsthe rights of men, women, and children whilesatisfyingthe physical,emotionalandintellectual needsof the family members.The Prophetillustrated theimportanceof marriageby saying,'*Whena servani of Allaah marries,hehascompletedhalfof hisreligious tlbligations and he must fear Allaah in order to completethesecondhalf."(12) Undoubtedly, rnarriagesbuilt on principles of love, ltonor,respectand mutualcaringarefar superior t() temporaryrelationshipswith a varietyof partners. Such marriages stabilize society by protecting its pri- mary unit, the family. What would eventuallyhappento a society which forgets sanctioned relationships and allowsbasedesiresto rule. What of the womenandchil- dren left in a dishonorable state without respect and support?Sucha societywould be lower than the society of animalswhichareat leastgovernedby instinctswhich (12) Collected by al-Bayhaqee (James Robson, Mishkar AI- Masabih,(English Trans.), Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers,l975,vol. 1,p. 660)andauthenticated(Hasan)by al-Albaane ein Saheehal-Jaam{ as-Sagheer'vol' l, pp. 136-7. rto.430. - l l -
  22. 22. causethem to protect and provide for their young and their mates.Consequently,Islaamhas placeclgreat stresson thedivinelyordainedinstitutionof marriagein order to protect society.In fact, the prophet ( $ ) branded those opposedto marriage as being heretics and said, "Marriage is a part of my Sunnah (divinely guided way of life). Whoever is displeasedwith my Sunnahisnot from amongus."(13)Sincenon-maritalsex is forbidden in Islaam, marriage protects individuals against immorality by providing outlets for natural urges as well as providing physical and emotional securityfor both partners. Justasindividual membersof societyare entitled to certain rights and are subsequentlyresponsiblefor fulfilling certain obligations within ,o"i*ty, family membersare entitled to certainrights and obliged to fulfill certain obligationswithin the family structure. The Prophet ( 4qi) outlined the generalhierarchyof responsibilityin society in the following statement narratedby Ibn'I-Jmar.TheProphet( H ) said,..Verily, everyone of you is a shepherdand everyone of you is responsiblefor hisflock. The Ameer isashepherdover thepeopleandshallbequestionedabouthissubjects(as (13) Reportedby Anas and collectedtryal-Bukhaaree(Muham- mad Muhsin Khan, Sahih Al-Bukhari, (Arabic-English Trans.). Riyadh: Maktabahar-Riyaadal-Hadeethah,l9gl, vol. 7. pp. 1-2,no. l) and Muslim (Abdul Hamid Siddiqi. Sahih Muslim, (EnglishTrans.), Lahore: Sh, Muhammad .AshrafPublishers.l9BT.vol. 2. pp. 3236). -r2-
  23. 23. to how he conductedtheir affairs). A man is a shepherd over the membersof his family andshallbe questioned aboutthem. A womanis aguardianoverher household and shall be questioned as to how she managed the householdand brought up the children. A slave is guardian over the property of his master and shall be questionedaboutit (asto howhesafeguardedhistrust). Verily, every one of you is a shepherdand every one shall be questioned in regard to his flo.k."(to)Thus marriagecould beconsideredapartnershipin whichthe principle parties have been assigned different but complementary roles consisting of rights and correspondingresponsibilities.In order for family life to flow smoothly,eachpartner must fulfill his/herpart of the partnership.Neither has the right to demandif their responsibilitiesare not fulfilled. Allaah hasgiven generalguidelinesconcerningthe role of eachpartner in the followingQuranicstatement: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women becauseAllaah has given the former more than the latter and becausethey (the former) support them from their means, Therefore,therighteouswomenaredevoutly obedient and guard in their husbands' (14) Collected by al-Bukhaaree (Salyill Al-Bukhari, (Arabic- English) vol. 3, p. 438, no. 730) and Muslim (Sahih Muslim, (EnglishTrans.)vol. 3, p. 1017,no. 3396). -t3-
  24. 24. ebcence what Allaah would have them guild.'t (15) The Prophet ( s ) further delineated the rights of men and women in a sermon durimg his farewell pilgrimage,saying,"Youhavegot rightsover womenin that they arenot allowedto let anyoneyou dislikeinto your home. If they disobeyyou, you may spankthem (lightly). And, the woman's right on you is that you shouldclothe her and feedherjustly accordingto your 6s3gg."{16)So, we see that men have been rnade responsiblefor the protection and support of women becauseAllaah hasgiven them the necessaryphysical and mental capabilitiesto fulfill their role asprotectors andmaintainersof women, which in turn entitlesthem to be obeyed and their wealth and honor protected. Women, on the other hand, are responsible for guarding their husband's wealth, the protection of his honor and for being obedient to their husbands which in turn entitlesthem to be maintained.And on another occasion,when he was askedabout women's rights over men he replied, "That you feed her when yougetfoodto eat,clotheherwhenyougetclothingfor (15) Soorahan-Nisaa(a):35. (16) Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim (SahihMrulim, (EnglishTrans.), vol. 2, pp. 615- 6, no. 2803).Seealso MishkatAl-Masabih, (English Trans.), Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers,1975,vol. l, p. 546. -14-
  25. 25. yourself, do not hit her in her face,do not curseher and that you do not avoid her (for disciplinarypurposes) exceptin bed."(tt)This point, perhaps,needsfurther clarification due to the epidemic of wife-beating common in the West amongnon-Muslimswhich has been unconsciouslycarriedinto Islaamby many n€w Muslims.The Prophet( g ) ononeoccasionsaid,"Do not beatyour wivesasyou would your servantgirls(in pre-Islamictimes)."(18)Thusthebeatingmustobviously be light according to the law. The purpose of this beatingisnotto inflict painbutto bringthewifebackto her sensesandre-establishauthority.Thus,faceslaps,curses, lashingsand other forms of physicalabuseare'strictly forbiddenandopposedto the spirit andthe letter of the divinelaw. The bestmethodof disciplineis that of the Prophet( 96 ), which wassimply the avoidanceof his wivesin bed. i{aeshah reportedthat the Prophet( # ) oncesworenot to sleepwith hiswivesfor a66n1fu-(le) (17) Reported by Mu'aawiyah al-Qushayreeand collected by Abu Daawood (Ahmad Hasan, Sunan Abu Dawud, (English Trans.), Lahore: Sh. Mulrammad Ashraf Publishers,lst' ed' 19M), vol. 2, p.574,no. 2137)andauthenticated(Saheeh)by al-Albaanee in SaheehSunan Abee Daawood, vol' 2, p' 402, no. 18?5.Seealso MishkatAl-Masabih, (English Trans') vol' l, p. 691. (18) Reported by 'Abdullaah ibn Zam'ah and collected by al- Bukhaaree (Saheeh Bukhari (Arabic-English), vol. 7, pp. 100-1,no. 132)and Muslim (SahihMuslim (EnglishTrans'), vol. 4, pp. 1485, no. 6837). See also Mishkat Al'Masabih, (EnglishTrans.),vol. 1, P. 692. (19) Collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim (Sahih Mas/im (En- -15-
  26. 26. Of course,it shouldbe notedthat the obedienceto husbandsrequired of women is not blind obediencebut complete obedience as long as the husbands' instructionsdo not opposethe preceptsof Islaam.And, for the sake of harmony and good will, husbandsare advisednot to exercisetheir rightof obedienceharshly and dictatorially. However, a woman's submissionto her husband'sauthorityshouldbe a part andparcelof herreligiousdutieswhosefulfillmentwill helpherto get to paradise.This point is amply illustrated in the following statementsof the Prophet ( g ): "If a womansaysher prayers,fastsher month (Ramadan), guardsher private parts and obeysher husband,shc may enter paradiseby any door she likes."(20)Umm Salamahreportedthat Allaah'smessengersaid,"Any woman who dieswhile her husbandis pleasedwith her will enter paradisg."(21)The fact that it is the responsibilityof themanto maintainhiswife andfamily = glishTrans.),vol.4, p. 1485,no.6837).SeealsoMishkatAl- Masabih,(EnglishTrans.),vol. 1,p. 689). (20) Reported by Anas and collected by Abu Nu'ayminal-Hilyah (Mishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.), vol. 1, p. 691) and authenticated (Hasan) by al-Albaanee in Mishkaah al- Masaabeeh,vol. 2, p.971, no. 3254,ftn. 1. (21) Collected by at-Tirmidhee (Mishkat Al-MasaDrft, (English Trans.), vol. I, p. 691) and rated unauthentic(Da'eeflby al- Albaanee in Da'eef al-Jaami' as-Sagheer,vol. l, p. 263, no. 2226. -16-
  27. 27. doesnot meanthata womanmaynot helpherhusband in his professionalpursuitsor add to the economic stabilityof the familyif the needarisesor if theyboth agrccfor hcr to do so.By thesametoken,a manisalso encouragedby the Prophet's( € ) exampleto assisthis wife in her house[oldchores.His wivesreportedthat he would often sew his torn clothes,repair his worn out shoesandmilk hisgoats.(22)On numerousoccasionsthe Prophetencouragedmento be kind, gentleandhelpful to their wivesbecauseit is the nature of the strongto take advantageof the weak. For example, it was reportedthat the Prophetsaid,"The mostperfectof the Believersin faithisthebestof themin characterandthe bestof youin characterishewhoisbestto hisfamily."(23t On anotheroccasion'Aa'eshahreportedthat he ( # ) said:"Thebestofyouishewhor,sbesrto hisfamily,andI am the bestamongyou to myfamily." (23a)He alsoinstructed men concerningwomenin his farewelladdressgivenat the timeof hislastpilgrimageto Makkah:"FearAllaah in dealingwith your women becauseyou have taken (22) Collected by Ahmad and authenticated (Saheeh) by al- Albaanee in Saheehal-Jaami'as-Sagheer,vol. 2, p. 886, no. 3827.SeealsoMrslrftatAl-Masabrlr,(EnglishTrans.),vol. 2, p. l2aB). (23) Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collectedby Ahmad and at- Tirmidhee, and authenticated(SaheeUbV al-Albaaneein SaheehSununat-Tirmidhce,vol. 1, p. 340,no. 928. (23a) Collectedby at-Tirrnidheeand ad-Daarimee,and by lbn Maajah from Ibn 'Abbaas (Mishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.). vol. l. p. 691), and authenticated(Sahee|)in SaheehSunanat-Tirmidhee,vol. 3. p. 3057. -l7-
  28. 28. them in your trust by Allaah's permission and sex with them has been made lawful to you by (your mention) of Allaah's name in (your marriage ceremonies)."tzrtBoth partners in marriage should treatone anotherin a kind fashionin orderto maintain a harmoniousatmospherein the home. The husband need not exercisehis authority in a rough or arrogant way which might encouragethe wife to reactby being intentionally disobedient. The Prophet ( gf ) said, "Whoeverbelievesin Allaah andthelastdayshouldnot hurt his neighbour and should admonishwomen in a goodway for theyhavebeencreatedfrom a rib andthe mostcrookedpart of a rib isits upperpart. If you try to forceit straight,it will break;if you leaveit alone,it will remain crooked. So give advice to women accordingly."(2s)That is, due to a woman's fragile emotional make-up which is ideally suited for child rearing but generally unsuited for ultimate authority, she may wrongly disobey or contradict her husband. Under the influenceof her monthly cycles,shemay be contraryor highstrungand thusmake bad decisionsor unreasonaulestatements.This isa.factof life which men mustallow for anddealwith gracefullyand not harshly. (24) Collectedby Muslim (SahihMuslim (EnglishTrans.), vol. 2, pp. 615-6,no. 2083). Seealso Mishkat Al-lvlasabih,(English Trans.),vol. I, p.546). (25) Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and collected by al-Bukhaaree, (SahihAl-Bukhari.(Arabic-EnglishTrans.), vol. T, p. gl, no. l14) and Muslim (SahihMuslim (EnglishTrans.), vol. 2, pp. 752-3,no.3468). -tE-
  29. 29. Regardingthe aspectof harmony in married life, Allaah has said, "Live with them (women) in important for man and woman to live together in friendship and harmony, bearing the misfortunes or calamities which might befall one or the other or the family asa whole. It goeswithout sayingthat a woman should happily and peacefullyfulfill her obligations to her husband,keepingin her mind the fact that she is basicallyanequalpartnersharingrightsandobligations with her man. Allaah expressedthis fact asfollows: "And women have rights corr$ponding to the obligation$on them, according to what is equitabtett(27}, In spiteof the factthat both partiesshouldbe kind toward each other, the right of the husbandover his wife isgreaterthanhiswife'srightoverhim accordingto The completion of the previousverse: ttBut men have a degree over them. And Allash is exaltcd in Power.rr{28) emotional make-up which is ideally suited for child rearing but generally unsuited for ultimate authority, she may wrongly disobey or contradict her husband. Under the influenceof her monthly cycles,shemay be contrary or highstrung and thus make bad decisionsor (26) Soorahan-Nisaa(a):19. (27) Soorah al-Baqarah (2):228. (28) Soorah al-Baqarah (2):228. -19-
  30. 30. andamongmankind,He hasmademan the dominant memberof the pair. There needbe no contentionon thispointasAllaahhashadthelastwordon thesubject. I-l.wever,if we loak at the animal kingdom,we must confessthat a like division also exists among its rnembers.Nor are we awareof any country whether primitiveor modernwhichhasmorethanonereigning headin a positionto make ultimatedecisions.Every kingdomhasa chiefandAllaahin Hisallencompassing uisdomand absoluteknowledgeof humannaturehas chosenmanfor that role.Thischoicedoesnot detract f*rm the uniquenessof the woman'srole nor doesit belittleher in the least.we are well awareof the fact that some women are more intelligent,are more capableof rulingand havea greaterdegreeof talent thansorncmen. we are witnessesto femaleheaclsof state,hut thesccasesrepresentexceptionsand not the norm which Allirah addresses.In fact, there is an authcnticHadeethin whichthe pr<lphetstateitthat if mankindhadbeenorderedto prostratetoanyoneother than Allaah, women would have been orderetl to prostrate before their husbands.(ro)This is clcar indicationof theheirarchywhichexistsin respectto the rolesof malesandfemalesandthe importanceof that hierarchyto thebasicunitof humansociety,thefamily. (29) Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and collectedby at-Tirmidhee, Abu Daawood(SunanAbu Dawud (EnglishTrans.),vol. 2, p. 574, no. 2135), and lbn Maajah and authenticatedin $alee Sunanat-Tirmidhee, vol. l, p. 340, no. 926. Seealso MishkarAI-Masabift,(EnglishTrans.),vol, l, p. 691. -20-
  31. 31. In order to reinforcetheseroles,Allaah madethe male inheritanceportion greater than that of the female. There is no doubt that a man'sfamilialand communal obligationsare greaterthan mostwoman'sobligations in thesespheres.It is hisduty to supporthis immediate family and weak kinfolk . In additionto thesefamilial responsibilities,men must be preparedto defendand enlarge the borders of Islaam even to the point of bearingarms. Women, under normal circumstances, areex€mptedfrom theseandothersimilarobligations. Theexistingsituationin theWest,wheremanywomen havebeenobligedto competewith menfor work while raisingfamilies,is an exceptionwhen lookedat on a global scale and an aberration when looked at historically.Hencetoday'ssituationcannot be usedto argue that a woman'sobligationsequal and exceed thoseof a man's.In fact recentscientificresearchhas uncovereda wealth of physicaldifferencesbetween menandwomenall of whichaffectthe performanceof malesandfemalesin society.ttttr The Prophet ( g ) has instructed women concernirrgtheir duties toward their husbands.In lslaamit is not permissiblefor womento fastin their husbands'presencewithoutseekingpermissionfor the fast.t.tttNor isit permissiblefor her to allowanyonein hishousewithouthispermissionor to spendhismoney (30) Jo Durden-SmithandDianeDe Simone, "ls Therea Superior Sex," Reader'sDigest, 1982. (31) This refersto voluntaryfastsonly. -2t-
  32. 32. or use his wealth without his consent. If a wife appropriateshis money, she must return half of the moneyto him.(32)A husbandalsohasthe right to order his wife to fulfill her religiousdutieslike bathingafter childbirth (after she has stopped bleeding), after menstruationand after intercourse, as prayer is an obligatory duty upon her and prayer is not possible without purily. In addition to orderingher in regardto her religiousduties,he cancompelher in respectto his right to sex. The Prophet ( g ) forbade women fronr refusingto havesexwith their husbands.It hasbeen narrated that the Prophet ( # ) said, "If a woman refusesher husband'sbed and he passesthe night in anger,the angelscurseher until morning."G:)Talq ibn 'Alee reportedthat Allaah'smessengersaid,"When a man callshis wife to sfiisfy his desire,shemust go to him evenif sheis occupiedat the oven."t-xlThis is of cour$ein referenceto awomanwho unjustlyrefusesher husbandsexin order to control him or make him do certainthingsfor herwhicharenot duties.Suchactions (32) Collectcdbyal-Bukhaaree(SahihAl-Bukhari,(Arabic-English), vol.7,p.94,no.123). (33) Narratedby Abu Hurayrahandcollectedby al-Bukhaaree, Muslim(SahihMnslim(EnglishTrans.),vol.2, p.732,no. 3368) and Abu Daawood (SunanAbu Dawrd (English Trans.),vol. 2, p. 574, no. 2136).SeealsoMishkat Al- Masabih,(EnglishTrans.),vol.l, p.689. (34) Colfectedby at-Tirmidhee(MishkatAl-Masabift,(English Trans.),vol. I, p. 340)andauthenticated($alyeel!in S.aheeh Sunanat-Tirmidhee,vol. I , p. 340,no.927. -22-
  33. 33. upsetthe natural balanceof marriageand put the man who refusesher sexual blackmail under unnecessary emotional pressurewhich destroysthe conceptof Sakan (emotional rest), a fundamental principle of marriage, as was previously pointed out. Naturally, a woman deprivedof her rights and left with no other option is not included in the meaning of this F.Iadeeth. Additionally, a woman is not permitted to leave her husband's.housein order to visit her relativesor friends without his permission, becauseobedience to one's husband is obligatory while visiting relatives and neighboursis not obligatory, but recommended;and it is not permitted in Islamic law to leave that which is obligatory for that which is recommended.Gst However, it must be noted that man hasbeenordered to live with hiswiveson a footingof kindnessandequity and it would not be equitable to forbid her from seeing her parents,relativesand closefriendswithout a valid reason.On theother hand,womencannot berestricted from goingto the'Eid prayers,sinceAllaah hasordered them to do so.Nor canthey beprohibited from goingto the mosqueeventhoughit is not an obligationon them to do so. Nevertheless,it has been narrated that a woman's prayer within the confines of her house is better.(36)However, aswasmentionedearlier, women (35) Mulammad ibn Qudaamah,cl-Maghnee,(Egypt:Malba'ah al-Qaahirah,1968)vol.7,p.21. (36) Narrated by lbn 'Umar and collectedby Abu Daawood (SunanAbu Dawud(EnglishTrans.),vol. I, p. 149,no.567) -23-
  34. 34. mustregardobedienceto their husbandsasa religious duty whoseexecutionwill help the former in this life and the next, asthe Prophet( # ) said,"If a woman saysher prayers,fastsher month (Ramadan),guards herprivatepartsandobeysherhusband,shemayenter paradiseby anydoor shsliks5."(3r) The Prophet ( ffi ) wasonce asked,"Who is the bestamongwomen?"He replied,"Shewhopleasesher husbandwhenhe looksat her,obeyshim whenhe bids herandrvhodoesnot opposehim regardingherseifand her riches,fearinghisdispleasure."(3tl)For thisreason, women are encouraged to greet their husbands pleasantly and to take care of their personal appearancesso that they remain appealingto their husbands.No woman shouldpresentherselfto her husbandwith unkempthair and slovenlyappearance. She should generallytry to be as neat and clean as circumstanceswill allow. Sheshoulddo whateverher husbandasksherto do aslongashedoesnot askherto and authenticated($afieefil in SaheehSunanAbee Daawood, vol. 1,p. 113,no. 530.SeealsoMishkatAl-Masabih, (English Trans.),vol. 1,p. 218. (37) Narrated by Anas and collected by Abu Nu'aym in al-Hilyah (Mishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.), vol. 1, p. 691) and authenticated (Hasan) in Mishkaah al-Masaabeeh,vol. 2, pp. 971-2,no. 3254,ftn. 1. (38) Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by an-Nasaa'ee and al-Bayhaqeein Shu'abal-Eemaan(MishkatAl-Masabih, (EnglishTrans.), vol. 1,p. 694)and authenticated(Hasan)in Mishkaah al-Masaabeeh,vol.2, p. 972, no. 3272,ftn. 1. -24-
  35. 35. do somethingunlawful. Sheshould not refuse to sleep with him when he wantsher to, and if he is in needof financialormaterialhelp,sheshouldaidhim willinglyif sheis in a positionto do so.This doesnot meanthat in orderto beconsidereda goodwife, onemustturn over onc's earningsor give one's husbandmoney to buy luxurieslike a new cadillac.Rather,a wife shouldbe readyto help her husbandif sheis ableto do so in case <lf an emergencyor other legitimate needs.Such a womanwhotriesherutmostto pleaseherhusbandwill, in mostcases,find that he will go out of his way to try and pleaseher. Consequently,their marriagewill be one of happinessand pleasure. Menarcboundto maintaintheirwivesin respectto housing, clothing. food and general care (medical expenses etc.) according to their life styles and economicabilities.Allaah said: "Lodge them where you are lodging, accord- ing to your meansand do not harm them to make 0ife) diflicult for them...Let the man of plenty expend out of his plenty. As for him whoseprovision is limited, let him expendout of what Allaah hasgivenhim. Allaah burdens no one beyond his means. After difriculty, Allaah will soongrant "*;1sLtt (3e) (39) Soorahat-Talaaq(65): 6,7. -25-
  36. 36. However, this right of women obligesthem to be obedient and to try and make their husbands'horues comfortable and pleasant so that life togethbr is peacefuland harmonious.For this reason,a husband neednot supporta wife who disobeyshim in respectto sex,his privacyand his honor, by refusingto havesex with him, exposing his private affairs and acting dishonorably.Leaving his home as an act of defiance would alsobe considereddisobedienceand her right to supportwould automaticallybe dropped.On the other hand,if a husbandrefusesto providefor or protecthis wife without legitimatereasonsrsheshouldfirst try to reasonwith him and obtainher rights.If he doesnot cemearound,thenarbitratorsshouldbecalleduponto help.If arbitrationisineffective,thenthewifecangoto court for redressor suefor divorce.However, if non- supportis basedupon reasonsbeyondthe husband's control suchas the husband'sincarceration,physical disabilityor poverty,awifehasthechoiceof bearingthe burdenwith him cheerfullyor seekingher freedom.A wife who is wealthy in her own right may forego her right to maintenancealtogetherandsecurethe type of food,housingor clothingwhichshedesiresfor herself. This right maybe givenup from the beginningof their marriageor at any point during it; however,,it is not permanent.At any time that she becornesunableor unwilling to maintain herself, the husband must shoulderthe responsibilitywhich Allaah has placed squarelyuponhisshoulders. -26-
  37. 37. The factthatmarriageisconsideredajoint contract in Islaam can be illustrated in a number of instances. For example,a manmay not practicecoitusinterruPtus (externalejaculationduringsex),',4eJ,withouthiswife's permissionor conssnl.(ao)That is, he is not allowedto denyhercompletegratificationor offspringwithout her consent.Likewise,if a woman demandsher conjugal rights, then the husbandshould satisfyher physical needsalthoughthereis no sinon him if he doesnot do so. But as marriage is a means of purification and protectionfor both parties,it is recommendedthat he meether needsin the sameway that sheis requiredto respondto hisneeds.No onecandenythattheconcept of considerationis integral to the functioning of a Muslimfamily, althoughit mayappearthatthemajority of the weight is placed upon the woman when one considersthat shemust obey her husbandin all things lawful. However,sherreednot follow him into evil. If a husbandwantshiswife to do sornethingwhichis against Allaah'slaw,sheshouldnot obeyhim. Yet, awife must obey her husbandin all categorieswhich fall under his right, suchasnot receivingrnalecompanywithout his consent,not disposingof his wealth and possessions without his consent,not leavingthe housewithout his permissionandlivingwherehewantsher to live. (a0) Ibn'Abbaas wasreportedto havesaidthat permissionshould be taken from the free woman before doing 'Azl (al-Husayn ibn Mas'ood al-Baghawee,Sftarft as-Sunnah,Beirut: al-Mak- tab al-lslaamee,1973),vol. 9, p. 104). -27-
  38. 38. On theotherhand,a manisrequiredto providefor hisfamily.If amanhasenoughmoneyto providefor his family and still retusesto do so, Islamiclaw allowsa woman to take some of his money without his permissionand knowledge.'Aaeshah narrated that Hind bint 'utbah (wife of Abu sufyaan) cameto the Prophet( g ) andsaid,"Oh MessengerofAllaah,verily, Abu Sufyaanisa verystingyman.He doesnot giveme and my sonenoughto live on exceptwhat I takefrom hiswealthwith'ut hisknowledge.Am I wrongfordoing that?"The Prophet( H ) said,"Take from hiswealth what is necessaryto provide for yourself and your s6n."{41)Thusa man mustbe ableandwillingto meet the basicandessentialneedsof a family,otherwise,he shouldnot enterinto marriage.And, onceheisableand marrieshe mustgive his family enoughto covertheir basicneedsor elsethe statemaystepin andorderhim to do so. Work istheusualavenuebywhichmenfind means to takecareof their families.For thisreason,menmay be obliged to spend many hours outside the home. Providing for and protecting the family may be the major duty for most men; nonetheless,men are also facedwith the responsibilityof ordering andorganizing societyin an Islamic fashion suitable to the prevailing circumstances.A man may not merely be the bread (41) collected by al-Bukhaaree(sahih Ar-Bukhari.(Arabic- EnglishTrans.),vol.T,p. 208,no.Z7l)andMuslim.Seealso MishkatAl-Masabih,(EnglishTrans.),vol. I ,p.714. -28-
  39. 39. winner for his family, he may alsobe mayor of a city, a judge of a district, an officer in the army or hold any number of other positions.He may havecommitments which make similar demands or perhaps greater demandsuponhispersonandtime thanhisfamily does. Consequently, man, protector of the nation, tribe, community and family, spendsmuch of his time and energyin thoseor related pursuits. A happy marriage enablesa man to go about his work with consistent purpose. It is the husband'sresponsibility to provide for, defendandbeconsideratetowardhiswifeandfamily. A woman,on the otherhand,isnot obligatedto leaveher homein searchof work. Nor doesshehaveto shareher home with anyone not in her immediate household (children,husband)if shedoesnot carero do so.she is entitled to rule within her private domain.However, if a wife desiresto pursuegoalsoutsideof the home for personaldevelopmentor economicnecessity,there is no blame on her if she does so with her husband's consentand approval.And, if a wife is overburdened with the weighty responsibility of managing the household,thenthehusbandshouldhelpherin anyway whichsuitstheir needsandsituation. A woman's primary responsibilityin marriage is attendanceto theneedsof herhusband.It isincumbent on her to make the marriageashappy aspossible.Her major concern other than her children should be the happiness, comfort and welfare of her spouse. She should try to be honest, faithful, trustworthy, patient and devoutlyobedient.Indeed,shemight considerher -29-
  40. 40. duty to her husband asone of the roads to paradise, as the fulfillment of the marriage bond is half of religion.(a2)Therefore, marriage should not be treated as one of life's sidelines but should be given the importance and attention that is due it. Accordingly, Islaamviewsmarriageasa bond which reflectsAllaah's mercy to us. He, in His infinite Beneficencegranted us mates-fromamongourselvesto whom and from whom we give and take pleasureand support. Each husband andwife aregiftsoneunto the other andclearlyit ispan of marriage to be thankful for Allaah's blessingsto us andcherishHis favorsby cherishingour mates. Equality between males and females is not the necessarybasisof marital harmonY,itsis claimedtoday in the West. lnstead, we asMuslims must addressthe need to understand the different but complementry roles that Allaah hasordainedfor men and women in this world. It is necessaryonly to look at our physical bodiesto realizethat Allaah intendedmen andwomen for entirely different functions. Every month witnesses tlie female physiological structure prepare for the process of conception which could culminate in childbirth. Generallyspeaking,man'scapacityfor hard physical labor is greater than that of woman. The different but parallelrolescanalsobeclearlyseenin the (a2) Reported by Anas and collectedby al-Bayhaqeein Shu'abal' Eemaan (Mishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.), vol. l, p. 660) and authenticated (llasan) in Saheeh al-.laami' as- Sagheer,vol. I, pp. 136-7,no.430. -30-
  41. 41. basicneed that man hasfor woman and woman hasfor man. However, oD the spiritual plane, there is no differencebetweenthe nature of man and the nature of woman. Allaah statesin the Quraan: "...So their Lord acceptedtheir praycr, sey- ing, 'I will not allow the work of any of you whether males or females to be loat.' You proceedonefrom angthsi.rt (43) ttFor whoever works righteousness,man or woman, and hs$faith, VYewill givea new life thnt is goodand pure. TFewill bestowon such people their reward sccording to the best of their actions.t'(4) In order to live an Islamiclife, we haveto bewilling to completely submit to the injunctions ordained by Allaah. Allaah knowswhat isbestfor us,andHe would not command us to other than good. He has given women authority over their husbands'householdsand fitted their nature to the task. He has also instructed womennot to follow un-Islamiclife-stylesandcustoms. He saidto the wivesof the Prophet( # ): "...You are not like other women:If you fear Allaah, do not betoo pleasantin your speech (43) SoorahAal 'lmraan (3): 195. (44) Soorahan-Nahl (16):97. -31-
  42. 42. (with men), in caseonewith e diseasedheart should be moved with desire; but speak a straight forward way." "And stay quietly in your homesand do not put yourselveson displayr ts wasdonein the times of ignorance. And make regular prayers; giveregular charity andobeyAllaah and His lPostle...' (45) Muslim womenare not like non-believingwomen and shouldact asIslamicmodelsfor all who may see. Women are not restricted from moving about the community, working or visiting if they are properly coveredand,if necessary,escorted,but awoman'sbase should be her home. This generalinstruction applies until the lastday andIslaamcannot be manipulatedto suit individual whims or desires:it is here for us to submitto. (45) Soorahal-Ahzaab(33):32and33. -32-
  43. 43. 3. TA'AD-DUD: FOLYGYNY As one glancesacrossthe history of Islaam, one can not help but notice the deepimpressionsmade by faithful believing women who comforted, trusted, enduredpovertyand hardship,nursedandevenfought in battles besidetheir men-womenwho willingly hid their charmsbecauseof Allaah's commandand strove to show Islaam to all nations - women who were not overly influencedby the lure of the materialworld and who excelledwithin the Islamicboundssetfor women. Yet, today there are thosewho ask what type of woman would marry a man who is already married, without considering the fact that they need go no further than the wives of our Prophet ( ffi ) and other eminentcompanionsto find the answer.Of coursethe standard reply is that those were different times. Perhaps they are unaware that Allaah's laws as containedin the final dispensation,Islaam, are not bound by considerationsof time or place, but stand applicablervhenevercircumstancespermit. No Muslim can deny that Allaah hassent His last revelation, His IastProphet( ffi ) and His lastDivine law and declared that He will not acceptanyrhingother than Islaamas religion. "This day have I perfected your religion for your completedmy favor upon you and cho- -33-
  44. 44. s€nfor you Islaam asyour (a6) er6sd whoever seeksother than Islaam'as his religion will not have it accepted, (47) And, Allaah has already instructed Muslims in no uncertain terms not to make unlawful that which He has made lawful. Thus, it is not fitting that those who chooseto follow the Prophet's Sunnah be condemned for availing themselvesof an option given to them by Allaah. Polygyny is not a decadent or indecent relationship but a valid part of the marriage systemof Islaam. Allaah hassaid: t3...Marr1rof the womenthat pleaseyou: two, three or four. But if you fecl that you shall not be able to ded Justly, then only one or what your rig[t hnnd pxlssesses.That would be more suitable to prevent you from doing (48) One must note that man is first told to marry two, three or four women, then he is advisedto marry only one if he can not deal justly with more than one. This doesnot mean that Islaam encouragesall men to marry at least two women, but that such an option is undoubtedly permissible for those who can fulfill its (46) Soorahal-Maa'idah(5):3. (4?) SoorahAal'Imraan (3):85. (48) Soorahan-Nisaa(a):3. -34-
  45. 45. conditions. The verse alsosetsthe upper limit of four in a societyin which an unlimited amount of simultaneous marriages were allowed. Thus a man must be able and willing to divide his time and wealth in an equitable fashion before heis allowed to havemore than one wife. Conversely, if he is unable to feed, clothe and house all his wives justly, then, according to this Quranic command, he should not marry more than one. The point is that the permissibility of polygyny has been exemplified in the Sunnah of the Prophet Multammad ( tr ) who was allowed by Allaah to marry nine women during the sametime period. It is true that many of the marriages were for socio-political purposes like encouraging the marriage of widows, breaking certain taboos and linking clans; however, the Prophet ( # ) still married those who pleased him and turned down thosewho did not. Nevertheless,many Muslims today find the subject of polygyny distasteful and insist on considering plural marriage demeaning to women. This is primarily becausethe rolesof men andwomen in westernsociety, at least, have become severely distorted. Women openly compete with men for the samejobs; men sue their wives for support payments; women's clothing styles include suits and ties; men's clothing styles include bracelets, necklaces,ear rings and long hair, and both sexeswear interchangeableclothing under the title of "uni-sex". The female has'lost her natural position of protection in western society and is thus obliged to fight for equality with the male. Under such -35-
  46. 46. circumstances,it is not surprisingto find western women and their easterncounterpartsvehemently opposedto polygynl,.Very few women in liberated western society considerobedienceto their men a necessityfor smoothmarriedlife. In fact, obedienceto one's husband is not even considereda positive characteristicworthyof developmentin awoman.Even fewer modern women are willing to admit that differencesexistbetweenmen and women; that Cod madeallowancesfor man'sroleasleader,providerand protector.Westernwomendenythesethingsin spiteof thefactthat the samedifferencesarecommunicatedin insidiousways in westernsociety,itself. Women are sexuallyharassedwhenat work andareoftenforcedto prostitutethemselvesin orderto keeptheirpositionsor in order to get an advance;men outnumberwomenin positionsof power (there has yer to be a female presidentof the United States)and mostof the lower paid menial occupations which involve service (waitresses,cashiers,etc.) continue to be filled by womenin spiteof newroleswhichwomenaresaidto be assumingin theWest.However,Islaamteachesusthat Allaah createdeverythingin pairs,the male and the female,andassignedfor themrolesaccordingly.Allaah tellsusin theQuraan: "Men are the protectorsand maintainersof women, becauseAllaah has given the one more than the other and becausethey sup- port them from their means.Therefore,the -36-
  47. 47. righteous women are devoutly obedientand guard in the absence(of their men) what AIIaah would havethem guard (of their chas- titY and honor)." (ae) "And amongHis signsis that He createdfor you matesfrom among yourselves.And He hasput loveand mercy betweenyou that you may live in tranquility with them. Verily, in that are signsfor thosewho refle.1.rt(50) Islaamhasdefinedthe malerole asthat of provider and protector; whereas, the female has been given a supportiveanddependantrole whichnaturallyinvolves a certain amount of submissionand obedienceto the male.The outlook of Islaamtowardsthe rolesof males and femalesis thus in complete contrast to that of twentieth century western society. The position of womenin the Westtoday mayappearprogressivefrom the standpoint of voting rights, property rights and educationalopportunities,but from the standpointof the family their position has degeneratedalarmingly. The expulsionof womenfrom their naturalroleswithin thefamilyispartof thesymptomsof adecliningculture. 'fhe fact that westernculture and societyis dying has beenproclaimedon the coversof NewsweekandTime rnagazines.The incidenceof illegitimatebirth hasrisen (49) Soorahan-Nisaa(a):3a. (50) Soorahar-Room (30):21. -37-
  48. 48. rapidlyin theWestduringthelastfewyearsandteenage pregi.rancieshave become a norm. Stories of wife swapping,child abuseand varioussexualdiseaseslike herpes and A.I.D.S. linked to sexual promiscuity should lead any sane person to question the sexual moresof westernsocietyandthe problemsof enforced monogamy. Women outnumber men at birth and live longer thanmendo. Americanwomentodaycanexpectto live to be 77.9 yearsold and men can expectto live to age 70.3 according to the Center for Health Statistics. Couple that with the high incidenceof violent crime amongmales,their war deadandthe risein the ratesof homosexualityand it becomesobvious that there are not enough men for each woman to have one. Thus many women are obliged to become mistresses, girlfriendsandplaymatesto fulfill their naturalphysical needs,leaving their pyschologicalneedsdistorted in suchdemeaningrelationships.Muslims can chooseto join the West in its death throes, falsely called "progress" and "sophistication", or chooseto retain Islamic values. It is a fact that the averagemarried western citizen continues to seek personal sexual freedomoutsidethe framework of marriage.Serialor progressivernonogamyin which a person remarries a number of times is so widespreadtoday that it has arrivedasanalternativemarriagestructurein American society.Someresearcherspredictthat we are closeto the day when85% of all men and wornenreachingthe ageof sixty-five(in the United States)will have been -3E-
  49. 49. remarriedat leastonce.ThuswecanseethatanIslamic society,whichhonors,sheltersandprotectswomen, is definitely preferable to a corrupt open societywhich forceswomen into despicableroles out of desperation or ignorancein order to competewith menfor survival. Men are the natural guardiansof women and every womanshouldbe underthecareof a guardian. There is no doubt that no woman relishes the thoughtof sharingher husbandwith anotherand that plural marriagesprovide a basefor jealousiesto arise. However, the lawsof Islaamalwaysgiveprecedenceto the general welfare of society over individual discomfortor personalpreferences.Hencethe Islamic marriage system includes polygyny to protect and providefor the everpresentsurplusof femalesin most human societies.The institution of polygyny in the lslamicmarriagesystemalsotakesinto accountcertain undeniableaspectsof humannaturewhichaffectmale- female relationships. These aspects represent the naturalinstinctswhichmustbepresentin orderfor men to be preparedandableto providefor the physicaland emotional needs of the surplus females in society. Simply stated, men must have a greeter instinctual sexualdriveanda naturaldesireto havemorethanone. wife. The first of these two facts is borne out by scientificstudiesconductedhy the likesof Dr. Masters andDr. Johnsonandthoseresearcherswhofoilowedin their footsteps.It hasclearlybeenestabrishedthrough their clinicalresearchesthat men in generarare much moreeasilyarousedsexuallythanwomen.Thisisborne
  50. 50. out in thehighfrequencyof "prematureejaculation"in men and statisticson the vastnumberof womenwho neverexperienceorgasmduring their marriages.The secondfactisobviousfrom thehighfrequencyof extra- maritalsexamongwesternmalesasopposedto females and the historical existence of institutionalized polygynyin human societyat all stagesof recorded human history and in all present duy "primitive societies" which have been studied, with very few exceptions.The answerasto why women,in general, tend to be lesseasilyarousedsexuallythan man and more satisfiedwith one mateundernormalconditions lies in the societal need for family structure and stability. These factors must be naturally present in womenfor thereto be anystabilityin familyrelations. That is,if mostwomenwerenaturallylike menin these two apects,familiescould never be established.This fact is borneout by the tremendousbreakdownof the familystructurein westernsocietydue to the so-called "sexual revolution". Single parent families have becomea recognizedand acceptedvariationof family structure in spite of its inherent socio-economic weaknessesandthe documentedpsychologicalclamage whichoftenresultsamongitsmembers. Given these natural but complementary differencesbetweenmen and womenand the normal andnaturalattractionwhichexistsbetweenthe sexes, Islaamenjoins modestyin societyin order to avoid sexualchaosandthe harrassmentof females. -40-
  51. 51. As mentionedpre-viously,in Islaam women are advisednot to makea publicdisplayof theirbeautyand finery. Women are also obliged, whether outsideor insidetheir homes,to coverall of their bodiesexcept their facesand handswhen in the presenceof men whom they could possiblymarry. The coveringmust also be loose and opaque so as not to reveal the woman'sshapeor whatsheiswearingunderneathit. In theQuraan,Allaahinstructsfemalesasfollows: "And sayto the believingwomen'..that they should not display their beauty and orna' menh except what (ordinarily) sppears thereof; thatthey shoulddraw their veilsover their bosoms and not display their beauty exceptto their husbands,their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons' their hus- bands' sons, their brothers and their brothers' sonsor their sisterst sonsor their women or the slaveswhom their rlght hands possess,or male servants free of physical need or small children who have no aware- nessof "O Prophet! Tell your wives,daughtersand the believingwomen to casttheir outer gar- mentsover themselves(when outside).That is bestin order thtt they might beknown and not molesl*6.rr(52) (5I ) Soorahan-Noor(24):3| . (52) Soorahal-Ahzaab(33):59 -4t-
  52. 52. The purposeof the cloaksand coveringis not to make the women inconspicuousas some have mistakenly understood. Some sistersin the West have avoided wearing the coat and scarf claiming that it draws attentionto themselves,whereas,theyclaim,a Muslim woman'sdressshouldnot draw maleattentionto them. However, the dress of the woman is meant to be particularly conspicuous"in order that they be known rnd not molested."When women in the West abideby the Islamic code of dress and character (i.e. non- flirtatious)in mostcasesit bringsrespect.Men consider them to be some order of nuns and therefore unapproachable.Many Muslim sistershavetestifiedto this fact - that in their full Islamic dress(coat and large scarf)mentendnot to makeanysexualadvancesandin fact becomeoverly polite and gentlemanly.Men are alsoobliged to wear loosefitting clotheswhich do not display their private parts or call attention to their sexuality.However, the stressis on the female for her own protectionandbecauseit is the over-arousedmale who often attacks the beautiful female and not vice versa. Women are free to beautify themselveswithin the confinesof their homesfor the delightof their husbands or close unmarriageable relatives (men within the forbidden degreesof marriage).Certainly, Allaah has not deniedthem this right asHe saysin Quraan: "Say who has forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allaah which He hasproduced for His ser- -42-
  53. 53. vants, and the things pure and clean (which Hehrs provided) for") The desireto look attractiveis a human characteristic, yet that attractivenessshould not be a source of destructionfor men or women. Instead of revealing their beauty to the world and inciting men to sin, women should seek to look attractive in order to comfort and retain their husbands'respectand love' For this reasonwomen are also forbidden to wear make-upand scentedoils or perfumein the streetsor anywherein which it is possiblefor men outside of the forbidden degreesof marriageto seeor smellthem. The Prophet ( # ) wasreported to have said, "Every eyeis adulterous, and when a woman perfumes herself and passesa company, she is such and such(s3)(meaning adulterous)." Every citizen of the West is awareof the high incidence of rapes and sexual harrassment perpetrated on women in western society. These violation$are a direct result of the high level of sexual enticementpresenton all levelsof westernlife. Dress which originally wasintended to cover the private parts of men and women and protect the body from the elementshasbecomea meansof displayingthe body in (52a) Soorahal-A'raaI (71:32. (53) Reported by Abu Moosaa and collected by at-Tirmidhee, Abu Daawood {.frrnanAbu Dawud (EnglishTrans.), vol' 3, pp. I 16l-?, no. 416l) and an-Nasaa'ee,and authenticated (Hasan) in Mishkaah al-Masaabeeh,vol. l, p. 334-5' no. 1065,ftn. L -43-
  54. 54. the most vulgar fashions. Most male-oriented commodities,from carsto shavingrazorsareadvertised by alluringhalf-nakedfemales,while virile malesare used in the advertisements of female-oriented commodities. Islaam also protects women from this typeof sexualbrutalityby generallyprohibitingundue mixingof marriageablemalesandfemales.And it even goesonestepfurtherby instructingmenandwomento avoidstaringat eachother.Allaah saysin the Quraan: "And say to the believing men that they shouldlowertheir gazeand guardtheir mod- esty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allaah is well acquaintedwith all that "And say to the believingwomen that they shouldlower their gazeand guardtheir mod- estY...r(54a) Thisdoesnot imply thatmenandwomenshouldgo aroundthe societystaringat the groundasthis is most impracticalandunreasonable.what it doesmeanisthat whenmen and women seeeachother, they shouldnot take pleasurein staringat eachother nor shouldthey look eachother up and down. The prophet ( ffi) said, "Allaah has decreedfor man his portion of forniction (54) Soorahan-Noor(2a):30. (54a)Soorahan-Noor(24):31. -44-
  55. 55. which he wilt inevitably commit. The fornication of the eyesconsistsin looking, and of the tongue in speech. The soul wishes and desires, and the private part$ accordwith that or reject it."(s5)Buraida reported the Prophet( # ) as.sayingto'Alee, "Do not givea second look (to women),'Alee , for while you arenot to blam€ for the first, you have no right to the second."(56) The Islamic institution of Polygyny also takes into consideration socio-psychologicallimitations inherent in man. Men, generally, Betmarried in order to satisfy their physical and psychological desires for female companionship. However, a man may marry a woman when he is young or immature and for various emotional reasonsmay later find her unsuitable and find himself unable to find contentment and happiness with her. Or a man may be married to a barren woman or a woman whoseinterestsare very diffbrent from his. Outside of Islaam, sucha manwould find it necessaryto divorce his wife or indulge in extra-marital relationships (55) Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by al-Bukhaaree, Muslim (Sahih Mwlim (English Trans.), vol. 1, pp. 1397-8, no. 6421) and Abu Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 2, pp.576-7, no. 2147). See also Mishkat Al- Masabih, (EnglishTrans.), vol. 1, p.25. (56) Collected by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee (Mishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.), vol. 1.,p. 662) and Abu Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 2, p, 576, no.2144),and authenticated (Hasan) in SaheehSunan Abee Daawood, vol. 2, p.403, no. 1881. ,45-
  56. 56. in order to be with a more compatible person or a personable to bearhis children.Sornetirnesaman may long for variety and a different personalitytype after a long period of marriage. Or some women lose their beautyin old agesotheir menmightbeinclinedto look around for younger women to whom they may be attracted.In all of the abovementionedcircumstances, Islaam supports family unity while recognizing the individual'sdesiresby encouragingthe manto keephis wife and allowinghim to satisfyhis needsby marrying anotherwife if he is able to fulfill the requirementsof plural marriagein Islaam. I{owever, certain conditions are attachedto pluralmarriagein Islaamin orderto protectthewomen involvedbecauseit is invariablythe women who are takenadvantageof in suchrelationships.For example, a manmaynot havemorethanfour wivesat a time and eachmarriagecontractis legaland binding,involving the samerights,responsibilitiesand obligationsasthe first contract. That is, wife number one is not the mother or chief of all subsequentwives, nor is wife number four allowed preferentialtreatment at the expenseof the other wives.Each individualmarriage contractcarriesthesameamountof weightin anIslamic court of law and thus men are not allowedto openly attachgreaterimportanceto one at the expenseof the other. such behaviour would not be equitable treatmentandmightevenbe construedasoppression. In fact the Prophet( g ) was reported to have said,
  57. 57. "Whoever has two wives and leans unduly to one of thernwill comeon the Day of Judgementwith half of his body leaning.'(57)So the man must live with all of his wiveson a footing of equality and kindness.In fact, the whole question of permissibility of plural marriagesin Islaamis tied to a given man's ability to dealjustly with all hiswivesin terms of his time and wealth. Love, as it is known in the West, is not a, prerequisitefor marriagein lslaam; hencethe concept of plural marriages does not have as emotionally devastatinganeffecton true Muslim womenasit would haveon their non-Muslim counterparts,exceptwhere westerninfluencesaregreat.The mostimportant factor in a truly Islamicmarriageis the piety of the partners involved.Thisfactwasalludedto by the Prophet( i5 ) in the following statement:"A woman maybe married for four reasons: for her PropertY (wealth), her rank (lineage), her beauty and her religion. However, you should marry the one who is religious and you will be sxlisfisd."(s8)Besides the (57) Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Abu Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 2, p. 572, no. 2128), at-Tirmidhee and lbn Maajah (Mishkat Al-Masabih, (EnglishTrans.), vol. l, p. 68?), and authenticated(Saheeh) in $al4ee(SunanAbee Daawood, vol. 2, p. 400, no. 1867. (58) Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collectedby al-Bukhaaree (Sahih Al-Bukhari, (Arabic-English Trans.), vol. 7, pp. l8-9, no. 27), Muslim (Sahih Muslinr(English Trans.), vol. 2, p. '149,no.34571and Abu Daawood (SunanAbu Dawud (En- glishTrans.) vol. 2, no. 5M-5, no. 2042). -47-
  58. 58. reasonsmentionedabove,a womanmayalsomarryfor other reasons, such as security, offspring and companionship. However, in Islaam, love usrrally follows marriage, so it is better to marry a religious, pious, disciplined man hnd love for Allaah's pleasure rather than to develop a pre-marital romantic fixation which often fadesin time due to the inevitabletrials of marriage. within westernsociety,women are brought up to believe that marriage may be for one of two things; love or money. The idea of romantic love and wealth are presented asthe most important aspectsof life. women are openly and subliminally seducid with this concept by the media in the form of serials on television, romantic novcls, magazines,movies and commercialadvertisements.Even children'sfairy tales beguilelittle girlswith the notion that only true loveand moneycanmakeher manywomenin western societyare brought up to believe that one day prince charming or a knight in shining annor will suddenly appearand carry her away if only sheis beautiful and fortunate enough to catch his attention. In order to satisfy this artificially created desire, women go ro extremesin dress,hair stylesandmake-upto attractthe oppositesex.other women changepartnerswhenever fatigue setsinto a relationship, in the misguidedhope that the next onewill be the one.The emphasison love. before marriage, love uEFhonor and love above every thing is negative and self-destructive.Due to emphasison romanticlove within westernculture,it is difficult for people(Muslimsincluded)to comprehend -4E-
  59. 59. the concept of love after marriage; love for the sake of Allaah and love built on the virtues of loyalty, trust and faith in Allaah. According to Islamic tradition, the prophet ( g ) and his companions married for a vari- ety of reasons. They married widows with children, divorcedwomen andcaptivesof war in order to consoli- date and reconcile grouPsto the Islamic cause'in addi- tion to marrying for the normal reasons which men marry for. islaam asit was revealedto the Prophet ( * ) is a complete way of life which leaves no asPectof life without regulations,enablingMuslims whether maleor female to stayon the correct path. Hence,if aman is able to care for and tahe care of more than one wife iwtly, there is no sin on him if he doesso. On the contrary, he should be commendedfor following the Sunnahof the prophet ( g ) and fulfilling his role as a guardian of wornen. -49-
  60. 60. 4. DIVISION IN PLURAL MARRIAGES Allaah hashonoredall mankind with the blessing of Islaam and He has honored women further by choosingthem as the meansby which human life is nurtured and perpetuatedon earth. Furthermore, the rightsandhonorof the Muslim womanhavebeenmade secureby Allaah's directivesconcerningthe treatment of women: "...Live with them (women)in kindnessand equitY...r(5e) Man hasbeeninstructedto carefor hiswivesin an equitable fashion. The implication is straightforward and profound.wives should be accorded the best possibletreatment.Even if a manfindsthat heisbored with his wife or that he dislikes her, he should not mistreat her becauseit is possiblethat atthough he dislikesone qualityin her, he may find other qualities which compensatefor that which he dislikes,Ii a man having more than one wife finds that his affection gravitatestowardsone more so than the other(s), he shouldtreat all outwardly rvellwithout turning away from one altogether. "Do not turn away altogether and leaveher hanging...' (60) (59) Soorahan-Nisaa(4):19. (60) Soorahan-Nisaa(4):19. -50-
  61. 61. Nor shoulda husbandhavingmore than one wife make his inclination so obvious asto kindle jealousy and ill- feelingwhich may lead to constanthostility amongthe wives. Nevertheless,we must bow to the fact that love is destinedby Allaah and can not be forced to appear whereAllaah hasnot willed it. This situationis analog- ous to friendshipswhich exist among membersof the same sex. We admit to having or having had deeper feelingsfor one or more of our friends than others, due to greatersimilarityin interestsor greatercompatibility for whatever reason.Similarly, parentsmay actuallybe fonder of one or more of their children than others among them; however, parents usually refrain from showingthis inclination openly and Islaam forbids it. Nonetheless,our variousfriendshipsarenot negatedby an inevitable greaterintimacy with someof our friends over others, nor does a greater inclintion toward one child negatethe love that isfelt for all. Man is unableto control hisemotionsin the ultimatesense.They arisein him when he leastexpectsthem, hence,he cannot will- fully decidewhere his heart is going to lodge. The fact that man hasno real control over love and affection is supportedby a number of Quranic verses. '{...Know that it isAllnah who comesbetween a man and his (61) (61) Soorahal-Anfaal (8):2a. -51-
  62. 62. "...But Allaah put affectionbetweentheir{62) An illustrationof this fact canbe seenin a narration from'LJmaribn al-Khattaabin whichhesaid,..whenr oncesaid,'o Messengerof Allaah, whatif I wentto HafEahandsaidto her, do not bemisredbecauseyour co-wifeandneighbor('Aaeshah)ismorebeautifuiand belovedto the prophet ( # ).' He (the prophet) smiled approvingly."(63)In another narration,'Aaeshah stated,"Allaah'$messengerusedtodividehis timeequallyamongstusandwouldpray,.OAllaah,this ismydivisionin whatI possess,sopleaiedonotholdme to blamefor thedivision(of affection)whichonlyyou control.t 't{63a) Both Hadeethsreferto thegreaterfeel- ingsthattheProphetMulrammad( #; wis knsr*rnto havehadfor oneof hiswivesovertheothers.yet, in spiteof hisemotionalincrinations,he dividedhistime . andwealthequallyamongallof them.Thusit isrecom- (62) Soorahal-Anfaat(8):63. (63) collected by al-Bukhaaree (salill Al-Bukhari, (Arabic- EnglishTrans.),vol. 7, p. l0g, no. ta5)andMuslim.Note: tfuSahwasthedaughterof -umarandoneof thewivesof the Prophet( ffi ). (63a)collecredby Abu Daawood(sunan AbuDawud(Engrish Trans.), vol. Z, p. S7Z,no. ?,t}g), at-Tirmidhee,an_ Nasaa'ee,Ibn Maajahand Ahmad (Mishkat Ar-rvlasabih, (Englishrrans.), vor. r, p. 6ti7)and authenticatedby ar- Albaaneein Mishkaahal-lWasaabeeh,vol. 2, p. 965,no. 3235,ftn. l, aswefiasby ar-Arnaa'oot in laami, al-Ifisool, vol.ll, p. 514,no.9090ftn. l. -52-
  63. 63. mended, basedon the exampleof the Prophet, that dl men married to more than one wife be equal in the divi- sion that they are capable of controlling, namely time andwealth. The importanceof equitabletreatment in regardto time and wealth can not be overstressedas it is the major factor excludingthe establishedpre-requisitesfor marriage, in general, that aman can$eigh and assessin his day to day inter-action with his wives. Unfortu- nately, there are somemodern-day Muslims, under the influencesof westernthought, who havemisinterpreted some Quranic verses in order to support their argu- ments for monogamy and the abolition of polygyny. However, the equality referred to in Soorah an-Nisaa "..If you fear that you will not be ableto dealjusfly with them then only one.."(64)is referring to time and money; whereas,the equality mentioned in Soorah an- Nisaa yerse 129refers to that which no matr or woman has control over but which belongs exclueively to Allaah's decree. ".,You will never be able to do pcrfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire..r(65)The Prophet's companion$, ,{Jbaydatr as- Salmaaneeand lbn'Abbaas, both statedthat the equal- rty spoken of in Soorah an-Nisaavense12grefers to love and sex.(66)Furthermore, we must take note of the fact (6,4)Soorahan-Nisaa(a):3. (65) Ibid.(a):12e. (rt) al-Mugfuree,vol.7, pp.3lG?. -53-
  64. 64. that even the Prophet ( ffi ) begged pardon for that which was not in his possession,the feelingsof love, affection or sympathy which were known to be greater for oneof hiswivesthan theothers.Yet, Allaah allowed the Prophet ( # ) to marry agreater number of women than was allowed to ordinary Muslim men. Thus any attempt to forbid polygyny on the basis that a man might love one of the women more than the others is futile andbaselessbecausethisfactor cannot beuseclas a gaugefor justicein Islamicplural marriages. Beginning Division Even a manwith the mostsincereintention andthe most upright charactermight find himself in a dilemma concerningthe initiation of time division.He might on numerous occasionsexperiencedifficulty in determin- ing which wife he shouldstart the division of his time with. An unbiased decision is necessarybecause whicheverwife onebeginswith could belooked upon as receivingpreferentialtreatment.If suchdivisionis left merelyto the whimsof the men, the likelihood of their preferencescreatinginjusticeis great, not to mention the likely dissatisfactionamongthe wiveswho were not chosen,regardlessof how reasonablethe man may try to be. No hard andfastmethodshavebeensetin Islamic law for how this decisionshould be made. However, whatevermethod is usedto determinewhere the divi- -54-
  65. 65. sion should begin, that method should not unjustly favor any of the wives. A simple method endorsed by Islamic law (by the Prophet'spractice)is the drawing of lots (Qur'ah) eachtime a processof equal tirne division is necessitatedand no previousrights have been estab- lished. An example of such necessitywould be right after marriageto a new wife if the man already hasone or more wives. Immediately after a man gets married again,he must re-organizehow his time is divided bet- ween his wives.By drawing lots it is possibleto deter- mine dispassionatelywho getsthe first time period. If there are three wives, then two drawings would be necessary,one to seewho getsthe first period of time and then an additional drawing to determine who receivesthesecondtimeperiod.And, in thecaseof four wives, three drawings would be required. Another exampleis the casewherethe husbandwantsto take a trip and is only able to take one of his wives. Yet anotheristhe casewhenthehusbandintendsto givehis wivespresentsbut is unableto do soat the sametime. One possiblemethod of determinationmentioned by scholarssuggeststhat the husbandwrite numberson the lots (slips of paper) indicating the order of the nights,he must then shakethe lots within a container andthenhandthe lotsto theindividualwivesashepicks them from the container.(6?)Thus the drawing of lots can be resorted to whenever the husband needs to (67) al-Mughnee, vol. 7, pp. 301-302. -55-
  66. 66. assigna portion of his time impartially. The method or form used to draw the lots should preferably be one which is acceptableto all, although the final decision lies in the husband'shands. There is, however, an exception to this general rule of equity in the assignment of time periods. When a new wife is married, she is given a preferentialperiod of three or sevendayswithin which the husbandand wife may get used to each other. At the end of this aquaintance periodthe cycleof divisionamongall of the wivesmust beginanew. Time Division The division of time according to Islamic law is generallymade accordingto the nights, due to the fact that night is usuallythe time in which mankind relaxes from work andtakesrest.During the night, peopletahe refuge in their homesfrom the strugglesof the outside world and men and women spendtheir most intimate time together. This division of the night and day was divinely ordained and ordered to suit man'snature, as Allaah statesin the Quraan: "He makes the nights for rest and tranquil- litY.--" (68) tt...And madethe daysasa meansof subsis- 1gagg..,tt (69) (6tt) Soorahal-An'aam (6):96. (69) Soorahan-Naba(7tt):l l. -56-
  67. 67. Thus a man married to more than one wife should dividethe nightsamonghiswiveswhile the day is histo earn a living, to take careof other people'sneedsor whateverelsea manwishesto {o aslongasit is lawful. If a man is a student he will probably be attending lecturesduringthe day; if he is a merchant,he will be busyin theconcernsof histradeandif heisunemployed, then he shouldbe busyseekingemploymentin order to fulfill the rightsthat peoplehaveon him. Whatevera man'sprofessionmightbe,hewill probablybeengaged in it during a major portion of the day. An exception maybemadein thecaseof a nightwatchmanor anyone whoseworkinghoursaremainlyat night.In suchcases, dayswould be divided amongthe wivessincehis nights are like the daysof others. Hence it could be said that the division of time is basedon the time period allotted to sleepor rest. The restingperiodsmustbedivided equally among the wives.A man may divide the nightsby giving one to eachwife accordingto the Prophet'spractice;however, he may alsodivide them on the basisof two to eachor threeto eachwife. If, however,a man hasfour wivesit would be preferable to divide his time on the basisof one night each,whereby,eachwife would get a chance to be with her husbandevery three days.A division on the basisof two nightswould meanthat eachwife would only be with the husbandafter an interlude of six days. Under normal circumstances,the day up until Maghrib (setting of the sun and the time of the fourth daily -57-
  68. 68. prayer) is considereda part of the previousnight which startedat Maghrib on the previousday accordingto the lunar calendar. Consequently, the first day of the monthof Rama{an, for example,beginsat Maghribon the last day of Sha'baan(the previous month) and "Laylatul Jumu'ah(literally Fridaynight)" isThursday night accordingto the solarcalendar.Soif a manwants to restduring the day time, heshoulddo soin the home of the wife with whom he spentthe previousnight asit ' is her right. Similarly, his day time meals should be takenat the homeof the wife to whom theday belongs. The fact that daysarecountedaswell asnightsis based on an authenticHadeethin which Sawdah(one of the wives of the Prophet) was reported to have given the whole of her day to 'Aaeshah.(zo)This fact can alsobe found in 'Aaeshah'sstatement,'-The soul of Allaah's messengerwastakenin my houseandon my day."(71) Nevertheless,adding the day to the following night accordingto western practice is also allowable since (7()) Collected by al-Bukhaaree (Sahih AI-Bukhari, (Arabic- EnglishTrans.),vol. 7, p. 104,no. 139),Muslim SahihMus- /irn (English Trans.). vol. 2, p. 747, no. 3451) and Abu Daawood (SunanAbu Dawud (EnglishTrans.), vol. 2, p. 572, no. 2130). See also Mishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.),vol. l, p.686). (71) Collected by al-Bukhaaree (Sahih Al-Bukhari, (Arabic- EnglishTrans.),vol. 7. p. 107,no. 144)andMuslim. Seealso Mishkar AI-Masabift,(EnglishTrans.), Lahore; vol, 1. p. 686). -s8-
  69. 69. there would be no differencein total time aslong asthe man is consistentand equal in the divisionof his time. He should not allocatetime at will but should decide upona feasibleprogramandfollow it. Nor ishe allowed to favor someof hiswiveswith extratime for anyreason whatsoeverunlesshe makesup that time to the other wivesat a later date. For example,it may seemlogical for the husbandto spendmore time in the residences where there are children (in a casewhere one or more wives have children and others do not) to be able to fulfill the needs of children. However, the correct approachisto limit suchvisitsto shortperiodswhichdo not require making up and to take the children out of their homesto parksor to the houseof the wife whose turn it is, if possible.The children's right to time is considered independent of their mother's right accordingto law andif theyareover-lappedinjusticeto co-wiveswill resultunlessthe time ismadeup lateron. The lVife's Right to Time According to Islamic law, if a man has only one wife, it is obligatoryfor him to spendone night out of everyfour with herif hedoesnot havea legitimateexcuse not to do so. This principle was deduced from the followingincidentwhichoccuredduring the time of the second Caliph, 'lJmar ibn al-Khattaab. Once when K'ab ibn Sawr was sitting with Caliph '[.Jmaribn al- Khattaab,a woman cameto the Caliph and soughthis -59-
  70. 70. rulingsaying,"O Ameer al-Mumineen,lzz;I havenever seena man betterthan my husband.I swearby Allaah that he spendsthe whole night standingin prayer and the whole day fasting." On hearingthat 'Umar prayed for Allaah to forgive her and praisedher good fortune to havesorighteousa husband.Sothewomanshylygot up andbeganto leavewith herhusband.K'ab turnedto 'Ugrar andquietly said,"O Ameer al-Mu'mineenhave yod not oppressedthe woman with her husband?" '(Jmar replied to K'ab, "You go ahead and judge between them for certainly you have understood somethingabout their affair that I did not." K'ab then said,"Verily, I seeher like a womanalongwith three other womenand sheis the fourth. So, I rule for him threedaysand nightsin whichhe can worshipandfast andfor her a day anda night(in whichhe mustattend to herhumanneeds)."K'ab thenturnedto thehusband and said,"O husband,verily, shehasa right that you shouldsleepwith heroncein everyfour daysif you are to be just." 'Llmar praisedK'ab for his greatjudiciall abilitiesand appointedhim chief judge of the city of Basrah.lnlThusa manwhohasfourwivesmustallotto eachwifeonenightout of fouror somemultipleof that (72) Literally "Leader of the faithful". A title which wasgiven ro 'Umar and the Caliphswho succeededhim as leadersof the IslamicState. (73) Collectedby Abu'Ubaydah Mu'ammaribn al-Muthannaain the book, Akhbaar Qudaah al-Basrah (quoted in al- M ughnee,vol. 7- p. 2{131.
  71. 71. ratio mutuallyagreedupon. Equaldivisionof time must also be made for women unable to have sex; for example, sick women, menstruating women, young girls who are not sexuAllyable, women in Nifaas(the period after childbirth), women in lhraam(r+)and womenwho havepassedmenopausewith no desirefor sex, unlessthey decideto give up their right. {r-rt1'1tt reasonthat equaltime isinsisteduponin Islaamevenif women are unable to have sex is based upon the woman's psychological and emotional need for companionshipfor whichmarriagewasordained.That needin mostcasesincreaseswhenwomenaredisabled temporarilyor permanently.Thuseveninsanewomen accordingto law havea right to equaltime divisionif they are not dangerouslyinsane.Husbandsare also requiredaccordingto Islamiclaw to dividetheir time equallyeven if they themselvesare ill as long as the wivesdemandit._Thispointof law is illustratedby the Prophet'swife, 'Aaeshah's,statementthat Allaah's messengervisitedall of hiswivesin turn when he was sickand would ask,"Where shallI be tomorrow?"(?o) {74) Sexis not allowed onceone hasdonned clothing for'Umrah or ftajj and made the intention to do one or both of them. (75) When the Prophet'sthird wife, Sawdah,becameold, shegave up her turn to be with the Prophet ( 1$ ) to'Aa'eshah. See SahihMuslim, (EnglishTrans.), vol. 2, p.747 , no. 345. (76) Collected by al-Bukhaaree ($o4i4 Al-Bukhari, (Arabic- EnglishTrans.), vol. 7, p. 107,no. 144).Seealso Mishkat Al- l+|asabih,(EnglishTrans.), vol. l, p. 345. -61-
  72. 72. However, when it becarr,edifficult for him to move around,he askedpermissionto remainwith 'Aaeshah. 'Aaeshahrelatedthat whenAllaah'smessengerwasill, hecalledall of hiswivestogetherandsaid,"Verily, I am no longerableto visit all of You,so, if you do not mind that I remain with 'Aaeshah, pleaseallow me to do so."1zz;If the wives refuseto give that sick or invalid husbandpermissionto staywith the wife of his choice, he shouldstaywith one of them by Qur'ah (drawingof lots) or he should stay away frcm all of them if he prefers. In the caseof an insanehusbandwho is not dangerous,it is recommendedthat a guardianfor the women(for exampleoneof theircloserelatives)should accompanyhim to helphim correctlymakethisdivision of time. If the guardianis not equalin his divisionby favoringonewife over another,andthe insanehusband regainshis sanity, he is obliged to corilpensatethose who did not gettheirrights. Time Rights of a New Wife The extra free time for acquaintancegivento the virgin bride is obviouslyneededdue to the newnessof marriage and sex to her, whereas the previously marriedbride in most casesis familiar with both and needsonly a chanceto becomefamiliar with her new (77) Collected by Abu Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 2, p. 573, no.2132)and authenticated(Saheehl in SaheehSunanAbeeDaawood,vol. 2, p. 401,no. 1870.
  73. 73. partner.(78)However, the option of sevendaysis also given for the widow or divorceein order to allow for caseswhereinmarriageandsexmay be asnewto her as to the virgin. This appliesin caseswhere her previous marriagewasextremelyshortor evenunconsummatedor thelapseof timebetweenherpreviousmarriageandher re-marriagewasgreat.When an alreadymarriedman marries a new wife, he is allowed by law an acquaintanceperiod with his new wife of seven consecutivedaysif sheis a virgin and threedaysif she has been married previously. He does this without making up the time for the remainingwife or wives. Thislaw isbasedon the Sahaabee,Anas'report,"It is from the Sunnah(theProphet's( # ) practice)if a man marriesa virgin that he stay with the virgin wife for sevendaysand then divide his time equallyafter that. And, if he rnarries a woman who was previously married,not a virgin, he shouldstaywith her for three daysthen dividehistime equally."(7e)However,if the previouslymarried new wife requestssevendays for herself, hemayalsodo thatbut hemustmakeupthefull time with the other wives.Abu Bakr ibn al-Haarith (78) Sharhas-Sunnah,vol. 9, p. 156. (79) Collected by al-Bukhaaree,and Muslim (SahihMuslim (En- glishTrans.),vol.2,p.746, no.3448).SeealsoMishkat AI- Masabih, (EnglishTrans.), vol. l, p, 686 and Muhammad Rahimuddin's Muwatta Imam Malik, (English Trans.), Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Pubtishers,1980,p. 234,no. 1476.
  74. 74. reported that on the following morning after the Prophet( * ) marriedUmm Salamah,he saidto her, '-f)o not fcel that you are unimportant among your pcople,for if you wish, I will spendsevendays(with you) andspendsevenwith therestof my wivesor if you wish, I will spendthree dayswith you and divide the time equally after that." She replied, "Make it three."(ttO)Thusassoonasthe newwife hasbeengiven hertime right, the husbandisobligedto begindividing histimeequallyamongtheremainingwives,bydrawing lotsto determinewith whom he will start. Conjugal Rights According to some scholars,sex is compulsory unlessthe husbandhasa validreasonfor abstaining.(8t) This opinion is basedon a Hadeeth of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amral-'Aas in whichhe narratedthat the Prophet(#) said, "O 'Abdullah, haveI not beeninformedthat youfastall dayandprayall night?"'Amr replied,"Yes, O Messengerof Allaah." So the Prophet( # ) said, "Do not do that. Fast and break your fast, stay up at nightandprayandthensleep,for verily,yourbodyhas (80) Collectedby Muslim (SahihMuslim (EnglishTrans.), vol.2, p. 746, no. 3444). See also Mishkat Al-Masabilr, (English Trans.), vol. 1, p. 686 and Muwatta Imam Malik, (English Trans.),p. 234,no. 1075. (81) Imaams Ahmad ibn Hambal and ash-Shaafi'eefelt that sex was not a compulsory part of marriage like the divisions of time and money (al-Mughnee,vol. 7, p. 304).
  75. 75. a righton you,youreyehasa righton youandyourwife has a right on you."({a2)Obviously,sex is as much a woman'sright as it is a man'sright becausemarriage maintainsthe purityof womenasmuchasit maintains the purity of men.This right is alsobasedon the fact thatif womendid not havethe rightto sex,it wouldnot have been made mandatory in Islamic law for the husbandto get his wife's permissionto practice'Azl (coitusinterruptus).'Umar wasreportedto havesaidthat Allaah's Messengerforbade ',42lwith a free-wg_manwith- out herpermission.(83)Thatis,thewomanhastherightto enioythecompletesexactandbearitsfruit if shewishes. Allaah said that men and women are protective garmentsfor one another; therefore, it is not fair for a manto denyhiswife if sheneedshim.(8+)This doesnot necessarilymeanthat he must havesexualintercourse with her everyfour dayswithoutfail, but ratherthat he shouldspendtime with her so that shefeelsthat he is (82) Collected by al-Bukhaaree (Salift Al-Bukhaii. (Arabic- EnglishTrans.),vol. 3, pp. I l0-1, no. 196andvol. 7, p. 97, no. 127)and Muslim (Sahih Muslim (EnglishTrans.), vol. 2, pp. 565-6,no. 2599).SeealsoMishkat Al-Masabih, (English Trans.),vol. I, p. 435-6. (83) Collected by Ahmad and lbn Maajah (fr4ishkatAl-Masabih, (English Trans.), vol. l. p. 697) and rated unauthentic (Qa'eef)by al:Albaaneein lrwaa al-Ghaleel,vol. 7, p. 70,no. 20fr7. (84) "Sex with your wives has bcen mede lawful during the nights of frsting, for they are garments for you and you lre garments for them." Soorah al-Baqarah (2):187.
  76. 76. concernedabout her; so that the bonds of love, trust andcompassionarestrengthenedbetweenthem andso that the wife retains a senseof security within the relationship. Somescholarsdeemsexto be compulsoryat least oncein four months, basedupon Allaah's calculation of four months causing divorce when a man swearsto avoid his wife sexually.(84a)In such a case, knownas Eelaa',if the husbanddoesnot havesexwith his wife before the end of four months, they are automaticallyseparatedby the judge. Marriage was instituted for the welfare of both parties and for removingof harm from both parties.It removesthe dangerof illicitdesire(in mostcases)frombothparties; therefore,both men and womenmustbe consciousof their dutiestowardone another.Neitherparty should be over- demanding, nor should either party be negligentof the other'sneeds. a Making up Time If a man leaveshis wife's residencefor other than work during her day. the beginningof her night or the end of her night and returnsimmediately(asin the case of prayer), he is not required to make up that time. However. if he goes somewhere for a long period of time or doesnot return that night, then the time mustbe made up becausehis absencehas deprived her of her (84a) Soorahal-Baqarah(2:226-7. -66-