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43. Polygamy



43. Polygamy
The institution of polygamy was never meant to be a universal institution. It was permitted to exist in order to meet certain difficulties which are not peculiar to Muslim society alone. The worst of permitted things, according to Islam, is “divorce”. It was partly to avoid “divorce” becoming a common social phenomenon that polygamy was tolerated. Of the two social evils divorce and polygamy (evils if universalised), the later is certainly the lesser. But the avoidance of divorce is perhaps not the only justification for this institution; it is partly a concession to the nature of the male who, according to this institution, is allowed to indulge in his inclination for variety – without escaping scot-free from the responsibility arising out of this indulgence. In England the individual, does in some cases, indulge in such inclinations, but the law leaves him absolutely free from the responsibilities which may arise from his sexual freedom. He is not responsible for the education of the children he produces. Nor can such children inherit their father. The consequences, in some cases, are awful. France has been compelled to recognise prostitution as a social institution which it is the ugly duty of the State to keep healthy. But perhaps the greatest criticism on monogamy is the existence of the superfluous women in several European countries where various forces of a social and political nature are tending to enhance the number of women who cannot secure husbands. They cannot become mothers, and consequently they are driven to seek interests, other than the bringing up of children. They are compelled to “conceive” ideas instead of children. Recently they have conceived the inspiring idea of “votes for women.” This is really an attempt on the part of the superfluous woman, or, if you like an attempt on her behalf, to create “interests” for her in the sphere of  politics. If a society cannot allow their women to produce and bring up children they must give them something else to be occupied with. The Suffragette movement in Europe is at bottom a cry for husbands rather than votes. To me it is nothing more than a riot of the unemployed.

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