One of the most wide spread myths that has been associated with God's religion over the centuries is the issue of "Polygamy". It is customary for people when they think of Islam, or even when they embrace Islam, that they automatically have a license to marry more than one wife (upto a maximum of 4).
Men tend to fantasize that this is due to the high sexual libido that God has given them and that it is part of their Homo-Sapien right of male domination.
Even women in the Islamic world have come to accept the idea of Polygamy as being ordained by God and therefore not open for debate or questioning. The woman in Islamic society may not like the idea of sharing her husband with other women, but it is a fact of life she has been taught to accept and respect.
Did the Lord of the Universe realize that Muslim men were hormone driven animals that needed the sexual satisfaction of more than one mate? Or is it us who as usual interpret God's revelations with our desires rather than our brains?.
Where in the Quran can we find this command that justifies Polygamy?
"You shall hand over to the ORPHANS* their rightful properties. Do not substitute the bad for the good, and do not consume their properties by combining them with yours. This would be a gross injustice. If you fear that you will not be equitable towards the ORPHANS*, then you may marry those who are agreeable to you of the women: two, and three, and four. If you fear lest you become unfair, then you shall be content with only one, or with what you already have. Additionally, you are thus more likely to avoid financial hardship." (4/2-3)
"They consult you concerning women: say, "GOD enlightens you regarding them, as recited for you in the scripture. The mothers of ORPHANS* that you wish to marry but do not give them their due dowries, you shall be just. The rights of young boys must also be protected. You shall treat the orphans equitably. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof." (4/127)
* Orphans in Arabic (Yatama) is used for a child who has lost his father. A child who has lost his mother is not considered an Orphan in Arabic.
Any reader of the above verse does not have to be a genius to understand that Polygamy is CONDITIONAL that a person wants to be equitable towards the ORPHANS!
But WHO are these ORPHANS that we are responsible for yet it is likely that we will not treat them favorably?.
Again, we do not have to look beyond the tip of our noses for the answer:
"Do not give those who are immature the money which God has ENTRUSTED you with. You shall provide for them from it and cloth them, and say to them what is just. You shall test the orphans when they reach puberty. As soon as you find them mature enough, GIVE THEM THEIR PROPERTY..." (4/5-6)
You must be the GUARDIAN to these Orphans and caretaker to their inheritance BEFORE even considering Polygamy. It is not just for a man to just pick children off the street and claim that he will marry their mother. The man must be the Guardian to the children appointed by their deceased father or because they (the Orphans) are from his blood.
After laying out the rules in which Polygamy is allowed, we are also dealt with more restrictions in the Quran:
"You can NEVER be equitable in dealing with more than one wife, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, do not be so biased as to leave one of them hanging. If you correct this situation and maintain righteousness, GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful." (4/129)
So, as we have it DETAILED in God's Book:
1. Orphans placed in our guardianship are to be treated fairly.
2. If we fear biased-ness or unfairness in treatment, we MAY marry their mother.
3. We MUST pay their mother her dowry as in the case of a normal marriage.
4. We MUST NOT be biased in our dealings with either wife.
Under these circumstances it becomes very clear how God's perfect system will be a shield for children who have lost their fathers and need protection in this world, rather than a license for sexual fantasies as most are led to believe.
May the Lord grant us His mercy for all the wrong we have done.
By Layth Al-Shaiban (firstname.lastname@example.org)