Rafed English

Failure of Sexual Communism

In the case of sexual communism, neither a man can align himself with any particular woman, nor can a woman with any particular man, and that is the reason why it could never become popular. It was proposed by Plato who limited its scope to the ruling class or the 'philosopher-rulers'. But his suggestion was not liked by others, and he himself had to revise his opinion.

During the past century, Frederick Engels, the second father of communism, put forward this idea and strongly advocated it. But it was not accepted by the communist world. It is said that the Soviet Union tried to implement the family theory of Engels, but following some bitter experience had ultimately to recognise monogamy as the official policy.

Polygamy may be regarded as a matter of pride for man, but polyandry has never been and will never be a matter of pride for woman. The reason is that man wants the body of woman and woman wants the heart of man. So long as man controls the body of woman, it is immaterial for him if he loses her heart. That is why man attaches no importance to the fact that, in the case of polygamy, he is deprived of the love and devotional sentiments of woman, But for woman the main and the most important thing is man's heart and his sentiments. If she loses them, she loses everything.

In other words, there are two important elements of matrimonial life, one material and the other sentimental. The material element of matrimony is its sexual aspect, which is at its height during youth and gradually declines afterwards. The sentimental element consists of mutual tender feelings and earnest devotion. It grows and becomes stronger with the passage of time. The nature of woman being different from that of man, she attaches more importance to the sentimental aspect of matrimony. But for man either the material aspect is more important or, at least, both the aspects are of equal importance.

We quoted earlier a lady psychologist who is of the view that woman has a mental disposition of her own. The child develops and grows in her womb and is nursed on her lap. She badly needs the devotion and attachment of her husband in the capacity of the child's father. Even the amount of her own affection and love for her children is directly in proportion to the amount of the love shown to her by their father, Only monogamy can meet this requirement.

It is a grave mistake to compare polyandry with polygamy and to say that there is no difference between them. It is also wrong to say that polygamy became popular in certain parts of the world, because man belonged to the stronger sex, and polyandry could not do so, because woman belonged to the weaker sex.

A contemporary writer, who happens to be a woman, says:

"We can say that as man can have four wives, woman also should have a similar right, for both are human beings. This logical conclusion is most appalling to men. They are enraged on hearing such an argument and shout: "How can a woman have more than one husband?" In reply we quietly say: "How can a man have more than one wife?"

She further says: "We do not want to promote immorality or to belittle the importance of chastity. We only want to make men understand that the views held by them, about women, are not based on any solid ground. Man and woman are equal as human beings. If man has the right to have four wives, woman also must have the same right. Even if it is granted that woman is not intellectually superior to man, it is certain that spiritually and mentally she is not weaker than he is."

As you might have observed, the above statement makes no distinction between polyandry and polygamy, except that man being the stronger sex has adopted polygamy to his own advantage, and woman being the weaker sex could not do so.

The above writer further says that man regards woman as his property, and that is why he wants to have several wives. In other words, he thus wants to acquire as much property as practicable. Woman, being in the position of a slave, cannot have more than one master.

Contrary to the views of this writer, the fact that the system of polyandry has never been accepted by any large section of people proves that man does not regard his wife as his property, for, as far as property is concerned, it is a common practice all over the world to own it jointly and to be benefited by it jointly. Had man considered woman to be his property, he certainly would have had no objection to sharing it with others. There is no law in the world, restricting the ownership of a property to one owner only.

It is said that the husband is one individual and the wife is another individual. They should have equal rights. Why should the husband have the right of enjoying polygamy and why should the wife not have the right of enjoying polyandry?"

We say, here lies the mistake. You presume that polygamy is a part of the rights of the husband and polyandry a part of the rights of the wife. The fact is that polygamy is a part of woman's rights and polyandry is neither a part of man's rights nor of woman's rights. It is against the interests of man and woman both. We shall prove later that the system of polygamy has been laid down by Islam with a view to safeguarding the interests of woman. Had the intention been to be partial to man, Islam could have allowed the husband to have extra-marital affairs with a woman other than his wife and would have laid no responsibility on him with regard to his legal wife and legal children.

Polyandry has never been in the interests of woman. It is not a right of which she has been deprived.

The writer whose views we have quoted has said: "We want to make men understand that the views held by them about women are not based on any solid ground".

Coincidentally, that is what we also want to do. In the following chapters we propose to explain the basis of the Islamic views regarding polygamy.

We invite all thinking people to look into it and see if the Islamic views are, or are not, based on any solid ground. We give our word of honour that we shall withdraw all what we have said, if it is proved by anybody that the basis of the Islamic viewpoint is defective.

Adapted from the book: "Woman and Her Rights" by: "Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari

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