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Family Life

Polygamy; A Natural Law

Now, we should look at the arguments of the Christians against the system of polygamy. Is polygamy really against the natural law? The facts and findings answer this question in negative.

"Man," says G.R.Scott, "is essentially polygamous and the development of civilization extends this innate polygamy." (History of prostitution, p.21; as quoted in Polygamy in Islam, published by Islami Mission, Lahore) Dr. Mercier says: "Woman is by nature monogamist; man has in him the element of polygamist." (Conduct and its Disorders Biologi cally Considered, pp.292-293; as quoted in Polygamy in Islam)

Professor Russel, an American scholar, said in a conference, held at the University of California, convened to discuss the Family Rights:-

"Marriage to one wife and being tied down to only one wife for the whole span of life is unnatural and unreasonable." Then, in the course of a long discussion, he summarized his theory by saying that, "Man aught to accept the law of more than one wife as an important factor in the struggle for survival." (Ittila'at), Tehran, no.3104)

While on this topic, we should examine the claim that the Creator "preserves the number of males practically equal to the number of females."

It is a claim which cannot be justified in any way. There are a number of countries, including Tanzania, where the population of women exceeds considerably that of men. According to statistics published some time ago, in Soviet Russia, the population of women was about twenty one million more than that of the men.

And even if we accept, just for the sake of argument, that the Creator creates equal number of males and females, does it prove that there will be no need of polygamy? Well, let us look at this matter in a reasoned way. The girls become capable of re-production, and get the natural sexual feelings earlier than the boys. Islam has fixed the age of nine years for a girl to be considered as an adult, while the age limit for boys is fourteen or fifteen.

It is because in temperate climate girls are able to conceive at the age of nine or ten; while in the same climate an average boy becomes able to establish sexual intercourse at the age of about fourteen or fifteen.

Now, suppose a group of people settle together in a place, and suppose that every year fifty boys and fifty girls are born in that community. Also suppose that none of the children die in infancy. In twenty years, there will be one thousand boys and one thousand girls.

Out of these one thousand girls, five hundred and fifty girls (who were born from the first to the eleventh year) will have reached the age of puberty, that is, will be from ten to twenty years old.

And out of the one thousand boys only three hundred will have reached the age of puberty. These will be the ones born from first year to the sixth year, who will be from fifteen to twenty years old.

If that community practices monogamy, the three hundred boys can marry three hundred girls. What will be the fate of the remaining two hundred and fifty girls? So, the supposed equality in number of boys and girls is wrong not only according to the statistics, but in theory also.

Also, one more fact to be borne in mind, before claiming this equality of the numbers.

All healthy women have to pass through a period, every month, when their condition discourages establishment of sexual intercourse.

But the man does not lose his sexual urge at any time. What is the remedy if a man is unable to resist his sexual urge at a time when his wife is having her menstruation? Either polygamy, which has legal status, or going to the prostitutes, which is forbidden in every religion.

Apart from these natural causes which refute the claim of the Christian priests, there are some situations created by man which give lie to that claim. Take for example War.

In Europe, during the thirty-year War and in the last two World Wars, so many men were killed that there were not enough males to marry the young girls and young widows. In West Germany alone, after the second World War, there were six million women who could not find a husband.

A group of them appealed to the government to promulgate a law allowing polygamy, so that they may get husbands. They pleaded their case on the grounds that it would provide them economic and social security and satisfy their natural urge. The Church opposed this move, and the helpless six million women were left to fend for themselves by illicit sexual activities. Bertrand Russell says:-

"And in all countries where there is an excess of women, it is an obvious injustice that those women who by arithmetical necessity must remain unmarried should be wholly debarred from sexual experience." (Marriage and Morals, p.47)

Adapted from the book: "Why Polygamy is Allowed in Islam?" by: "al-Hajj Ahmad H. Sheriff"