A Message From a Muslim to a Catholic Priest Part 6
It should be noted that there are-no scriptural accounts of Jesus-prohibiting polygyny, and early Christians were polygynous following Jewish tradition. Not a single church council in the early centuries opposed polygyny nor was any obstacle placed in the way of this practice.
Before talking about polygamy,it is important to shed light on marriage in Islam. Marriage has been ordained by Allah as the correct and legal way to produce children and replenish the earth.
Nevertheless, marriage in Islam-can never be viewed merely as means of uniting the male body with a female body to produce offspring, nor was marriage instituted for satisfying natural desires or quenching passion. Its goals are much deeper in meaning than those obvious physical realities.
Allah, the Most High,illuminates this fact in the Holy Quran: “And among His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves that you may find comfort in them, and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed, there are signs in this for people who reflect..” (Ar-Rūm: 21)
From also from among the great signs of Allah which prove His power and onenes,, is that He created for you – O men! – wives from among your species so that you may find contentment in them due to your special compatibility, and He put love and affection between you. Indeed, in the aforementioned are clear proofs and evidences for people who contemplate, because they are the ones who benefit by using their intellect
Moreover, Islamic marriage lays-rights and corresponding responsibilities on each spouse. Children born in wedlock are given legitimacy and share in inheritance from their parents
They hold the names of their-legal fathers. Marriage establishes an atmosphere for the continuity and extension of the family which will be positively reflected on the peacefulness and tranquility of the entire society. This goes in sharp contrast to the growing trends on marriage in the West
In recent decades, there have-been more alternatives to marriage than ever before.
Cohabitation – living together-outside of marriage – has greatly increased among young, nevermarried adults, as well as the divorced.
For example, more western-women have children outside of marriage, ignoring the traditionally sanctioned sequence of marriage followed by childbearing.
Polygamy in the Quran
The Muslim scripture, the Holy-Quran, is the only known world-scripture to explicitly limit polygamy and places strict restrictions upon its practice
Allah, the Most High, says: “If-you fear that you may not-maintain justice with orphan girls [by marrying them] then marry women of your choice –two, three, or four; but if you fear that you may not maintain justice, then marry only one, or slave-girls you may own. That is more likely to avoid committing injustice.” (Al-Nisa’: 3)
If you fear that you will not be just in marrying the female orphans under your guardianship – fearing that you will not give them an appropriate dowry or will not treat them well — then do not marry them, and marry other women you choose. You may marry two, three or four, but if you fear that you will be unjust between them, then marry just one, or suffice with what you possess of slave women, for their rights are not the same as the rights of wives. This is the best way to avoid being unjust or biased.
The Quran limited the maximum number of wives to four. It further-reformed the institution of polygamy by requiring equal treatment to all wives.
The Muslim is not permitted to-differentiate between his wives in regards to sustenance and expenditures, time or other obligations of husbands.
Islam does not allow a man to-marry another woman if he will not be fair in his treatment. It is also forbidden to discriminate against the wives or their children.
Besides, a woman may-stipulate that her husband must not marry any other woman as a second wife in her prenuptial contract.
The point that is often-misunderstood in the West is that women in other cultures – especially African and Islamic – do not necessarily look at polygamy as a sign of women’s degradation.
Consequently, to equate-polygamy with degrading women is an ethnocentric judgment of other societies
Even though polygamy is-permissible, its actual practice is quite rare in many Muslim societies. Even those who are financially capable of looking after additional families are often reluctant to do get married to a second wife due to the psychological burdens of handling more than one wife
One can safely say that the-number of polygamous marriages in the Muslim world is much less than the number of extramarital affairs in the West
The importance of forming a-family is underscored by a Hadith of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, who said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.” (Al-Baihaqi)
In general, females outnumber-males in almost every country and the birth rate is always higher on the women’s side in any society.
Let’s remember that men-usually work with hard machinery, under cranes, high buildings, mines and other high-risk jobs. So, they are always exposed to injury and death
On the other hand, women-usually do less risky jobs and so they are less likely to have accidents. During wars, unlike women, a greater number of men lose their lives as the majority of soldiers are males
For example, if we assume that-the number of women is more than men by 10% in a given society, this means that in a nation of one million people there will be 100,000 women who will not find men for marriage.
In the case of Christianity,where a man can marry only one woman, 10% of women will have no place in the married life
This number will be horrible-when we talk about a nation of 100 million people as 10 million women cannot get married.
For example, the USA has a-population of more than 300 million people which means that about 30 million women cannot find men to marry.
In such case, a woman has only-one of two choices. The first one is to be a good woman and never have sex out of marriage all her life and never commit the sin of having illegal sex with someone who is not her husband.
This choice seems to be very-hard because women are humans with feelings and cannot ignore their sexual needs Moreover, it is natural that a woman seeks to have a stable family with a husband and children and that gives her a sense of stability and comfort
The second choice is to have-sex out of marriage and to satisfy her natural desires through sexual relations with one man or more and bear the very bad consequences of that which include committing the sin of fornication, having illegal children and taking the responsibility of rearing them alone as no obligations are placed among their illegal fathers.
In many cases, unmarried-mothers who do not have husbands and families satisfy their needs by sleeping with numerous men which is an act of humiliation for women. Sex-related diseases such as aids, herpes and others spread in Western communities while they very rare in the Muslim communities. Moreover, the great value of modesty is lost in such communities.
Polygamy allows the surplus-number of woman to be married and to enjoy the stable life of a family in addition to having children along with all the benefits of marriage. In Islam, the men who marry more than one wife have to treat them equally.
The firm union of the husband-and wife is a necessary condition for a-happy family life. However, in unfortunate circumstances the matrimonial contract faces some obstacles and couples find themselves going for the choice of divorce when they feel that it is impossible for them to live together anymore.
In Islam, divorce is considered-as an exception to the status of marriage. Although-a Muslim man has the right to divorce his wife, this does not mean that a man can divorce his wife for a trivial or simple reason.
In some cases, the wife may-divorce her husband and this is called Khula. Divorce is strictly regulated in Islam. There are three types of divorce in Islam: Revocable divorce, irrevocable divorce and permanently irrevocable divorce
The Revocable divorce is that type of divorce where the husband-divorces his wife in clear and explicit terms. The-wife becomes divorced and she has to sit in the Iddah (waiting period)
iddah or iddat (Arabic: العدة;period of waiting) is the period a woman must observe-after the death of her husband or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man. One of its main purposes is to remove any doubt as to the paternity of a child born after the divorce or death of the prior husband.
The Iddah will be three-menstrual cycles if she experiences menses, three months if she does not-experience menses or at child birth if she is pregnant. The-husband now has the choice of revoking his divorce before the expiry of the Iddah period
But if the husband does not-revoke the divorce during the Iddah period, the divorce becomes irrevocable. Now, if he wishes to take her back, he can only do so by performing a new marriage contract. Irrevocable divorce happens when the husband uses ambiguous or vague words to divorce his wife
In other words, he uses such-words which could mean divorce or which could also mean something else. For example, when the husband says his to wife “Pack your bags and get out” or he says “You are no more my wife”.
In these cases where vague-words are used, “Irrevocable divorce” will only take place if the husband has the intention of divorce at the time of uttering these words.
If he merely uttered these-words out of anger or he had some other meaning besides divorce in mind, divorce will not take place.
Once the husband has issued-one or two “Irrevocable-divorces”, the marriage turned to be broken and she has to sit in Iddah. If the husband wishes to take back his wife, a new marriage contract will have to be performed.
Permanently irrevocable-divorce occurs when the husband issues three-divorces to his wife. Once the husband issues his wife with three divorces, their marriage is completely broken. She cannot marry him until the wife-completes her Iddah,thereafter she marries another man and consummates her marriage with him.
The second husband then-divorces her or passes-away. She again has to observe her Iddah from this second marriage. After this, she may again marry her first husband.
Nonetheless, Christian couples-cannot divorce in the-abovementioned sense but they can go for separation when-their life reaches a point that it is impossible to live together.
The Church believes that-marriage is a permanent union. When two people marry,they form an unbreakable bond. The Church does not recognize a civil divorce because-the State cannot dissolve what is indissoluble
The Church permits a physical-separation of the spouses and living apart, but the-two spouses still remain married until an annulment is-granted (if applicable). There-is a big difference between the two cases.
A divorced Catholic who would-like to remarry in the Catholic Church will need to-obtain an annulment unless his/her former spouse has died
On the other hand, Muslim-couples can remarry and-restart a new life. In the case of the Christianity, couples-have no right to divorce and this case has some-consequences.
First, the number of unmarried-women will increase. In addition, social and-family-related problems are likely to take place especially if they have children.
For Christians, divorce is a-dilemma, but for Muslims the-door is still open for the couple to reunite, or to seek marriage from another person
By doing so, the concept of a-family is protected and the two-spouses are saved from going into adultery as they will satisfy their natural desires within a legal relationship.
Muslims are required to pay-attention to their-appearance, making sure that their clothing is beautiful and clean, especially when dealing with others and when performing the prayers.
Allah, Exalted be He, says in the-Holy Quran: “O children of-Adam, dress well for every prayer. Eat and drink, but do not waste, for He does not like the wasteful.” (Al-A’raf: 31)
O children of Adam, dress beautifully in every place of worship, and eat and drink, but do not be extravagant. Truly, He does not love those who are extravagant. O children of Adam, wear clean, pure, beautiful, clothes that cover your nakedness when you pray and when you make circumambulation of the Kaaba. Eat and drink whatever you like from the good things that Allah has allowed. But do not be extravagant in this, nor go beyond what is allowed. Allah does not love those who go beyond the limits
Allah has permitted people to wear nice clothes and urge them to-maintain good appearance, as doing so is one aspect of remembering Allah’s blessings-upon them.
Allah, Exalted be He, says in-another ayah in the Holy Quran: “Say, “Who has forbidden-the adornments and lawful provisions that Allah has brought forth for His slaves?”Say, “They are for the believers in the life of this world, and they will be exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection. This is how We make the verses clear for people who have knowledge.” (Al-A’raf: 32)
Say O Messenger to the idolaters who forbid what Allah has allowed of clothing and food: “Who has forbidden you from wearing clothes as adornment, and who has forbidden you from eating the good things I have provided you to eat and drink?’ Say to them O Messenger: “These good things to eat and drink and wear are in this world,for the believers: while others may share in them in this world, they are exclusively for the believers on the Day of Judgement when the disbelievers will not have a share in them, because the disbelievers have been forbidden Paradise. Likewise Allah makes clear His signs and ayahs in this way for people who reflect, because it is they who benefit from them
Islam is a religion which lays-down rules based on the dictates of the pure nature innate in all humans (fitrah),straightforward reasoning, and sound logic.
The general rule in the Islamic law is that all types of clothing and-adornment are allowed. Indeed, while it outlines a code-of modesty, Islam does not require Muslims to wear a certain type of clothing.
It considers all types of-clothing lawful as long as such clothing serves the required purposes without exceeding the bounds set by Islam in this respect.
The Prophet, may Allah’s peace-and blessings be upon him, wore the same type of clothes prevalent in his time and-did not order people to wear a particular type of clothing. He only warned them against certain qualities relating to clothing, for the general rule in Islamic Law regarding dealings in general, including clothing, is that everything is allowed unless there is evidence stating otherwise.
The Prophet, may Allah’s peace-and blessings be upon him, said, “Eat, drink, dress and give charity, but without extravagance or arrogance.” (Sunan Al-Nasa’i)
Clothing serves a number of-purposes. It covers the parts of the body which must be covered in public, following the-standards of modesty which are innate in all human beings:“O children of Adam, We have given you garments that cover your private parts and as an adornment. However, the garment of piety – that is best. That is one of the signs of Allah, so that they may take heed.” (Al-A’raf: 26)
O children of Adam, Allah made for you clothing, necessary for covering your nakedness, and clothing for you to adorn yourselves with, and the clothing of Mindfulness, which is through following what Allah instructs and staying away from what He has not allowed, which is better than the physical types of clothing. What is mentioned here about clothing is from among the signs of Allah, showing His power over everything, so that perhaps people will remember His blessings to them and be thankful for them.
It also covers the body against-heat, cold and harm in general. Describing the benefits-of clothing which Allah has provided for His servants,Allah, Exalted be He, says: “Allah has made for you shade out of what He has created, and has made for you shelter in the mountains. He has also made for you garments protecting you from heat [and cold], and garments [of armor] protecting you in battle. This is how He perfects His favors upon you, so that you may submit to Him.” (An-Nahl: 81)
Allah has made for you trees and buildings that you use as shade from the heat. He has made for you tunnels, caverns and caves in the mountains that you use as a cover from the cold, heat and from enemies. He has made for you shirts and clothing of cotton that protect you from the heat and cold. He has made for you armour that protect you from the violence of others in war so that the weapons do not penetrate and reach your bodies. Just as Allah has given you the above favours He completes His favours to you in the hope that you will submit to Allah alone and not associate anything as partner to Him.
The great purpose of protecting women’s modesty is stated in this-ayah of the Holy Quran, “Tell the believing women to lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and not to reveal their beauty except what appears. And let them draw their veils over their chests, and not to reveal their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their fathersin-law, their sons, their stepsons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, their fellow women, slaves whom they own, male attendants who have no [sexual] desire, or children who are still unaware of private aspects of women. Nor let them stamp their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden charm. And turn to Allah in repentance all together, O believers, so that you may be successful.” (An-Noor: 31)
And tell the believing women to-stop their eyes from looking at the private parts Allah has made unlawful for them to look at and to protect their private parts by staying far from indecency and by covering themselves. And they should not display their beauty to strangers except that which is apparent thereof and which cannot be hidden, such as clothing. They should draw their coverings over the openings at the top of their clothes, to cover their hair, faces and necks, and they should not expose their hidden beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sonsS, or their women who are believers, be they Muslim or disbelievers, or the servants they own, be they male or female, or male attendants who have no desire for women, or children who have not become aware of the private aspects of women due to their being small. And women should not strike their feet with the intention of making known the adornment they are hiding, such as anklets and so forth. And all of you repent to Allah, O believers, for the gaze
and so forth which affects you, in the hope that you are successtful in attaining the goal and are saved from what is feared.
The ayah mentions the people-before whom a woman is exempted from veiling. It-includes the men whom she-cannot be married to according to Islamic law.
Also, another ayah states the-ruling for the aged women: “As for elderly women who have no interest in marriage, there is no blame on them if they take off their outer garments without revealing their beauty. But if they modestly refrain from it, that is better for them. And Allah is All-Hearing,All-Knowing.” (An-Noor: 60)
And the elderly women that no-longer experience menstruation, or can no longer give birth, nor have any desire to marry again, there is no sin upon them if they do not wear some of their outer garments i.e. overcloak and veil, as long as they do not expose the beauty they have been commanded to conceal. However, for them to wear those garments is better for them than to discard them, enhancing veiling and chastity. Allah is all-hearing of your statements, none of them are hidden from Him and He shall reguit you for them.
A lot of argument is taking place in the West regarding wearing the-hijab (A term often used to mean scarf or outer-garment that Muslim women wear, but in Arabic it means a ‘cover’ or ‘screen’) by Muslim women.
In this sense, Western women-have gone far beyond the limits of modesty in their way of clothing that reveals parts of their bodies which Allah ordered them to cover.
Unlike those that look at the-matter as an act of personal freedom, Islam sees that the-clothes that many of them wear actually humiliate them as their bodies are exposed to anybody rather than their husbands and their unmarriageable relatives.
The prophets including-Muhammad and Jesus, peace be upon them, came to enhance good manners and would have never approved these acts.
Wearing the revealing clothes plays a big role in increasing of crimes especially rape and adultery.
Women’s Dress code
O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters, and the wives of the believers: “Let your outer garments you wear hang loosely over you so that your bodies are not revealed to unrelated men.” That is more likely to distinguish them as free women so that they are not subject to harassment like the servant girls are. And Allah Forgiving of the sins of whichever of His servants repents, and He is merciful to them.
These conditions of hijab for a-woman are to be observed in public-and-amongst-non-mahram (unmarriageable) men. As long as these conditions are fulfilled, a woman may wear whatever she pleases.
1. The hijab must conceal the entire body except the face and the hands.
2. It should not be translucent-or tight. Tight clothes, even if they conceal the color of the skin, they still describe the size and shape of the body or part of it and create vivid images.
3. It should not attract the attention of the opposite gender; thus it should not be extravagant or excessively opulent. Nor should jewelry and makeup be on display.
4. It should not be a garment worn because of vanity or to gain popularity or fame.
5. It should not be perfumed. This prohibition applies to both the body and the clothes.
6. It should not resemble the clothing worn by men.
7. It should not resemble the clothing that is specific to the non-Muslims.
Men’s Dress code
Although they are sometimes-overlooked or not well understood, there are conditions of dress code for men as well. Some of the conditions are the same as the conditions for women but others relate particularly to men.
1. The part of the body from the naval to the knees should be covered.
2. It should not resemble the clothing that is specific to the non-Muslims. Western clothing that does not represent a certain group or sect is normally permitted.
3. It should not resemble the clothing worn by women.
4. It should not be tight or see-through.
5. Two types of adornment are forbidden to men but permitted for women.
These are, gold and clothing made of pure silk.
The scholars of Islam overwhelmingly agree that for men everything between the navel and the knees (including the knees) must be covered in the presence of anybody. The only exception to this is a man in the presence of his wife.