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Time to ponder the Polygyny Debate

Aug 26, 2020

By Ml. Junaid Kharsany


To those willing to ponder,

Whilst the comments referring to men and women as “cocks” and “hens” may be considered offensive by some, the apology issued by the speaker must be welcomed and accepted. Those unsatisfied with the apology would do well to interact with the speaker, visit the social services that he currently leads and offer counsel to ensure future constructive engagements.

It has been noted that a handful of community members have used the opportunity to pursue a diatribe regarding the sanctioned practise of polygyny and the lofty rank of the Ulema.

Polygyny is an established practice in most societies of the world, even in the post-modern era, regardless of legislatures criminalising, stigmatising, and prosecuting the practice. Islam has established regulations and guidelines to maintain the permissible and natural practice of polygyny. No conditions are binding upon a man to engage in polygyny, save the conditions established by Divine Law (Shariah).

The actions of those who disregard the established guidelines, when entering the institute of polygyny, is not an indication of the practice being archaic. Rather it is the weakness and inability of the individual, who may be held accountable, for not fulfilling the rights of the institution. Polygyny remains preserved till the end of time.

The second point of note is the allegation that the Ulema, individually and institutionally, are responsible for the mistreatment of women and institutions headed by the Ulema perpetuate abuse. It is observed that this allegation remains unsupported by evidence and is most likely an attempt to use a personal error to launch a tirade on an invaluable part of any Muslim community.

The role played by the Ulema in serving as custodians of Islamic sciences and morals need not be lauded here. It suffices to state that these baseless allegations stem from individuals consistently seeking to discredit and malign the Ulema, to create a wedge between the Ulema and the greater Muslim community. Had so-called “institutional mistreatment” been a long-standing concern, why wait for the drumbeats of a social media post to make such thoughts known? Is there evidence of engagement with Ulema bodies to vent concerns since mistreatment is claimed as systemic?

In conclusion, the rights enshrined in the Shariah that govern gender relations remain the universal standard. Terms bandied around like “masculinity”, “femininity” and “misogyny” seem to change and alter their paradigm, depending upon the purpose of the narrator. Liberally painting segments of the community with such adjectives, because they oppose popular social norms, deemed pervasive, supports a humanist agenda that intends humanity be released of Divine consciousness in the interest of establishing a system that has no standard and ever open to human manipulation. This does not serve the Ummah’s interest.

Rather, hold individuals and communities accountable to established laws and etiquette, backed by the standard of the Shariah.


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