Islam and Stability of the Family - II

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1-   When divorce is unavoidable, the best form is to divorce the wife only once during a period of purity during which no incident of intercourse takes place. This is the meaning of the verse in which Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them for [the commencement of] their waiting period.} [Quran 65:1]

The period of menstruation mostly brings on feelings of lethargy, alienation and irritability. On the other hand, the period of purity features intermixing between the spouses, mutual understanding and interaction. Consequently, when a husband divorces his wife while she is menstruating or during a period of purity in which an incident of intercourse takes place, this is, as expressed by some of the righteous predecessors including Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them a divorce based upon Bid‘ah (innovation) which contradicts the wise Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation). Actually, this form of divorce contradicts the ordinances of Allah The Almighty because it is an innovated matter in religion and does not cancel the original state (i.e. the marriage contract) which is established by the Quran, the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) as well as the scholars’ consensus.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) rejected this form of divorce and nullified it. [Ibn al-Qayyim] The majority of scholars, however, are of the view that this form of divorce is effective. Consequently, when a husband decides to divorce his wife after he had divorced her while she was menstruating or during a period of purity in which an incident of intercourse took place and then took her in wedlock again, he has to divorce her according to the Sharee‘ah-approved manner.

2- Permissibility of polygyny if one can be fair:

There are great advantages in polygyny including, for example:

1)   The wife may suffer from an incurable disease and does not expect a full recovery, and therefore she is neither able to manage her home nor fulfill her husband’s rights. Meanwhile, she is poor and has neither wealth to live from in case of divorce nor is she a breadwinner capable of taking care of herself. Does chivalry entail divorcing her in this case? The answer is of course no. Rather, chivalry entails that he keeps her as his wife. Nevertheless, is it just that he retains her as his wife while he badly needs someone to take care of him, manage his affairs, maintain his chastity and provide him with offspring? This would mean sentencing him to misery and wretchedness. Moreover, this would be a wretched fate for them both. Rather, justice entails allowing him to marry another wife. Consequently, chivalry and justice entail allowing polygyny in such cases.

2)   The wife could be infertile, and although she may spare no effort in seeking a cure and her husband may be keen to utilize the available means for her to conceive, their efforts may be in vain. What is the judgment of justice and human nature in this case? Should the husband suppress his desire to have a child to please him in his lifetime and inherit him after death or marry another woman after keeping patient with his wife's infertility for a period of time and losing hope in having children from her? Like the previous wife, such a woman could be poor and have no breadwinner. In such a case, faithfulness, kind association and chivalry entail that he keeps her, maintains her and takes care of her.

3)   In most nations, particularly in certain circumstances, women noticeably outnumber men. Consequently, when each man marries only one wife, other women and young girls will remain spinsters. This means that they will harbor rancor against married men and women. This also means exposing their chastity to danger. In such a case, the wives themselves will be afflicted with evil, for the unmarried women will share their husbands with them secretly. This evil also afflicts men for unmarried women are relatives to men and what hurts their reputation hurts their relatives as well.

Discussing the advantages of polygyny, Shaykh Ash-Shinqeeti  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said,

It is one of the normal ways of Allah in the universe that men are less than women in number and more vulnerable to death in all fields of life. Consequently, if the man is forbidden from marrying more than one woman, there will be a huge number of unmarried women who will resort to adultery. Neglecting the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah in this issue is one of the greatest reasons behind lacking morals and degradation to the degrees of animals in losing chastity, honor, nobility and morals. Glory be to The Ever Wise and The Ever Acquainted with everything.” [Adhwaa’ Al-Bayaan]

4)   Unlike women who rarely have children after the age of forty-five, man is naturally able to have children even after the age of sixty. Consequently, when a man marries at an older age or loves having a lot of children, preventing him from marrying another wife is a form of confinement. Also, unlike the woman who is prevented by pregnancy from having children all the time, the husband is able to do so at any time.

To sum up:

Islam legislated many regulations which safeguard the Muslim family and prevent it from disintegration. The family is the essential pillar of the entire Muslim community and its inviolable fort. This indicates the justice and perfection of the Islamic Sharee‘ah as well as its keenness to do what is beneficial to humans in both worlds.

Islam and Stability of the Family - I

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