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The Crisis of Celibacy

Today in Islamic countries, women are suffering from social oppression since these countries have adopted corrupt foreign traditions in this vital area of life. Society oppresses them by delaying their marriage 90, by preventing their re-marriage after the death of their husbands, or when the numbers of unmarried women are great, or for many other reasons. All of this needs to be transcended and overcome with the return to the land of Islamic tradition which conforms to nature and the intellect. It is also imperative that society be educated in harmonising the characters of the married couple as a precaution against marital breakdown, separation and divorce.

This problem of the abundance of celibates or single women may be solved by charitable organisations and social institutions which specialise in the demands of this crisis and the numerous financial, medical and psychological problems associated with it. A woman who is celibate or unmarried is subject to being exposed to physical and mental illness as medical science has shown. In many cases she may not have any means of subsistence 91 and turns to prostitution or other activities like thieving.

Is it right that a large section of the community remain in this state?

Simplifying marriage together with the practise of polygamy and the application of public funds in solving financial problems and the aforementioned laws of precedence 92 and land 93 adds up to an Islamic solution to this problem. However because of the absence of vital Islamic law there is no alternative to charitable organisations and communal weddings as a way towards solving these problems as much as possible. From drops of water and grains of sand oceans and deserts are formed.

A group of friends of mine in Teheran saw to the marriage of 1000 young couples at the one time. The same thing happened with another group in the Eastern province of the Hijaz when they organised the marriage of 300 people.

It is clear that: 'The complexity of a task should not prevent the attempt of achievable tasks' 94 and 'What is not totally realisable as a whole should not be discarded as a whole.' 95 , these being among the best principles with regard to these matters.

90 In Egypt for example there are 3.8 million unmarried women over the age of thirty. See issue 1149 of Al-Mujtama' (Society) periodical.

91 Studies show that 70% of the worlds poorest are women. See issue 60 of Al-Khairiyya (Charitable) periodical.

92 Shi'a Guide; Volume 17: Page 382.

93 The Complete Branches of Religion; Volume 5: Page 279.

94 Shi'a Guide; Volume 13; Page 368.

95 Seas of Lights; Volume 59; Page 283.

Adapted from the book; "The Family" by: "Imam Muhammad Shirazi"

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