The documentary "Polygamy: Who's to Judge?" Polygamy is when a man has more than one wife at a time. It was in the spotlight in early 2008, because of ANC's president Jacob Zuma. Polygamy in South Africa is now officially legalized. Islam is one of the world's largest religions. Molana Sulaimaan Moola is an Islamic priest. Seeks to find out about the history, the role and its relevance in today's modern village.
It would find out if there are any conditions attached to having one wife and if there are there any rules attached to this privilege? It would discover whether polygamy has a place in the world we live today, or will this practice be left with our forefathers? This documentary will also seek to find out why people are so sensitive to this subject, and why people judge this topic in such a negative light.
Mother Nature controls the number of males and females in the world, and studies have shown that the number of females out number that of males by great amounts. In Russia, the number of females exceeds that of males by 10 million. In the United Kingdom there are more than 4 million females more then that of males.
If every man had to get married to only one woman, there would be a whole load of women which will be left alone, having no natural marital relationship. This would give rise to multiple crimes and a host of sins in the name of prostitution and degrading of women. In the modern society, it is proven that there are many children who are born out of wedlock, and due to the fact that the parents do not marry, the relationships of the parents don't last very long. In most cases, this leads to one man, having children with different women, and then leaving them. What crime did these children do, to grow up without a father? What crime did they commit to grow up without both parents? The child then grows up, neglected of the warmth, the protection and the love which a normal household offers. If the man at least brought the women, which he had children with, under the umbrella of marriage; the kids would at least know who their father is. This is where the issue of polygamy comes in. Islam believes in the preservation of the respect and dignity for women and children. In situations like those above, Islam believes in respecting and implementing polygamy and thereby bringing these people together, part of an extended household.
Islam didn't initiate polygamy but rather Islam permitted and regulated it. Muslims believe that polygamy was there since the inception of the universe. It is not just the prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) that had multiple spouses, but also the prophet Abraham, Isaacs, Solomon, David, and the likes of many other prophets (may peace be upon them all). Muhammad (may peace be upon him), the prophet of Islam, the last messenger of Islam, married more than one woman, because of the circumstances. According to Mahatma Gandhi and many other major role players in society, the prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) was a man of honor and refined dignity, and he conducted himself in a way that he was respected, even though he married more than one wife. He married the women because he needed to support them, because they were widows. He needed to marry them because he believed that he was going to be able to sustain them and protect them. To have one spouse is a privilege, and to have more than one spouse is a greater privilege, and comes with more responsibility.
For people who do not maintain fairness and justness between the wives and children, there are great and stern warnings mentioned in the recorded sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him. In one of the prophetic teachings, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that any person who has more than one wife and treats them, unfairly and unjustly, he will stand up with half his body paralysed on the day of resurrection. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), exercised the most stringent of laws, in total fairness; fairness in rotating his time with is spouses, fairness in balancing his finances and fairness in supporting each spouse according to their need.
One cannot give preference to one wife over the other, because Islam has firm laws if you have one spouse, and has all the more if you have multiple spouses. The whole object, of legitimising and making polygamy permissible is to take women out of disgrace and humiliation. If she comes into the institution of marriage, but she is neglected, and she is treated unfairly, then it defeats the essence of justness in polygamy. If a person has legitimate reasons to marry more than one wife, and he feels that he can afford it, and he can be just and fair between all the wives, just the way the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did, then he can do it, but as a Muslim, he has to follow the rules. As soon as a person fears that he is going to abuse this privilege of polygamy and he would not be able to be just and fair then the question of polygamy falls down. He should not even consider it. Yes, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) because of his specialty, had eleven spouses, two of whom passed away in his life and he was survived by nine widows at his demise, but for the general Muslims, four are allowed. Four is the absolute maximum, and a Muslim man is not allowed to be married to more than four wives at a time.
In Islam, the women believe that they don't have to fight for feminism and liberation, because they have been granted their liberation, and are not oppressed by the men. Likewise, regarding the polygamy situation, and the issues around whether it's preferable, whether it's acceptable and whether the women are happy about it, comes back to the situation, where the woman has a mind, she is a creation of God, with a heart and with a soul. She is a free thinker, and doesn't make any choices that she is unhappy with. And likewise the man has been given the responsibility to conduct himself and to respect the woman and her integrity to make choices, without oppressing her.
In today's modern global village, the laws of Islam still stand firm, protecting all people, and guarding the rights of the individual. A widow can choose whether she wants to get remarried or not. If she feels comfortable being a single parent, and does not need assistance from a man, then no man can forcefully marry her. If she does feel the need to get remarried, then Islam has laid down strict laws protecting her, never making her feel inferior. In Islam, all people are equal in the sight of God, and no person should feel intimidated by the next.