Marriage is a sacred institution, which demands respect, love, affection, loyalty, honesty and trust of each other. Spouses should treat each other with equal respect and love. But polygamy or bigamy is opposite to this. Islam legalised polygamy which s creating a great ruckus in the country. Most Muslim nations merely govern the right of a man to have four wives at the same time, the restriction imposed by the Qur’an. This is why Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor of the University of Law of Nalsar, Hyderabad, warns: “India does not have to look at theocratic countries in order to interpret personal Muslim law.” Our own Constitution should be the touchstone for judging those rules. There are some issues in our country which can solved or judged according to our own constitution. Just because other countries have not done anything on that issue, does not mean we are also not going to do anything on it.
For Muslims, polygamy draws its validity from Chapter 4 of the Quran. Its verses allow men to marry “two or three or four” women, but ask them to have a single wife if they “fear” they cannot treat them all with equal fairness. And this, verse 129 declares, is difficult for men to achieve despite their best efforts. The Quran’s nuanced approach to polygamy has Tahir Mahmood asserting in Muslim Law in India and Abroad, “It is clear that Islam established monogamy as the general norm. It is very unfortunate that while the Quranic permission for polygamy is conventionally regarded as law, its conditions and restrictions in this regard are seen merely as unenforceable Quranic morality or advisory.”
Blame it on our patriarchcal society where men are considered Dominant and whatever men do is right, but we cannot say same about the women. This patriarchal society only considered selective Quranic injunctions on polygamy which is very Wrong. Because of their own benefit, the women are suffering from centuries. Countries like Turkey, which outlawed polygamy in 1926 and Tunisia who also prohibits “plurality of wives” and a man found guilty on this count can be punished with a year’s imprisonment or a fine, or both.
Even Gujarat High Court in their order said that the Quran was being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife and the provision of polygamy was being misused by them for “selfish reasons“. The court called for the abolition of polygamy in Muslim society in India as it is “heinously patriarchal“.
“When the Quran allowed polygamy, it was for a fair reason. When men use that provision today, they do it for a selfish reason. Polygamy finds mention in the Quran only once, and it is about conditional polygamy,” the order said.
“Muslim Personal Law does not permit a Muslim to treat one wife cruelly, drive her out of the matrimonial home and then get married for the second time. However, there is no law in this country which takes care of this situation. There is no uniform civil code in this country,” it said. While mentioning several verses of the Quran as well as statements of noted scholars, the high court said, “it is abundantly clear that notwithstanding there is no codification by the legislation of marriages amongst the Muslims, polygamy is not encouraged and is an exception and not a rule. It is not the fundamental right of a Muslim to have four wives.”
We cannot allow the practice of bigamy for one religious community alone while it is prohibited for persons from other religions, and moreover when that practise is unconstitutional, oppressive towards women and opposite to equality.
It’s high time that government should make some legislation relation to issue of polygamy in Islam and make a better country for women atleast in one aspect.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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