Some Weird Logic in the Polygamy Debate
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Mr. Ullah and Uddin's hermeneutics of the Qur'anic Ayah on
marrying 4-wives (April 25) led Mr. Ullah to the "freedom
of choice" defense of it. Let us scrutinize this and some
other remarks made by him and Mr. Uddin that are so typical of
apologetics. For this discussion I will assume the absolute
tenets of apologetics that (1) GOD is PERFECT and (2) GOD's book
(Qur'an) is also PERFECT.
Now first take the "freedom of choice" clause. Mr.
Ullah said(quote): "Qur'an is not forcing the believer to
marry four wives".
Now can Mr. Ullah cite anyone in 1400 years of Islam's
history who ever alleged that Qur'an FORCES the believer to
marry four wives?
It is easy to refute an allegation if the allegation is a
made up one!. This is a case of RED HERRING fallacy of logic.
Now come to the "PERFECT" clause. If GOD is perfect
then why not grant that freedom of choice to women as well?. Can
PERFECT GOD be sexist?
OH, yes, the paternal issue. How can a man know which one is
is child, right? But Couldn't a PERFECT GOD anticipate DNA
testing merely 1400 years ago, a blip in the history of the
earth? Or couldn't the ALL-KNOWING God proclaim that women can
also have the same freedom as men only AFTER 1986 when DNA
testing will be available, until then only men will have this
Besides, the most important point is, even without DNA test,
if polyandry is left as a choice, then let the men decide if it
is worthwhile for them to marry the same wife if they cannot
identify his child. Let the buyers beware!
The freedom of choice factor alone can settle that issue.
Those men who care for parentage issue will not exercize their
freedom of choice, those who don't will. As simple as that.
Mr. Ullah claimed: "Qur'an embody universal message
across all time and age."
Well, if the fact of war in the 7-8th century Arabia etc
reducing the number of men to defend this choice for men only,
then the question is, If Qur'an embodies universal message
across all time and age, then why use this 7th century Arabia
the basis of this supposedly timeless/ageless Ayah? It
obviously doesn't apply today as then, and never did for other
societies before or after 7 the century.
Also if "all time and age" is to be consistently
maintained then God should also have made make provision for any
future possibility of reduction of women's population (Who can
say that there may not be an epidemic affecting women only, or
that female infanticide may not become rampant again, like in
China?) and proclaimed the same choice for women as well.
Now lets examine Mr. Ullah's remark: "It is a provision
given so that under unforeseen circumstances this allowance
could be practiced to preserve humanity."
Also Mr.. Uddin cited devastating diseases reducing
"male/female gender ratio" to defend this choice for
Well it seems that Mr. Ullah, a mortal seems to have more
sense than PERFECT GOD. How could a PERFECT GOD, in his PERFECT
book, leave out this important conditional clause of
"unforeseen circumstance" for polygamy? Why did he
leave it up to a mortal to interpret and read his mind? After
all, a perfect book, should be self-contained and
self-explanatory, not requiring mortals to put their convenient
interpretation on it. GOD should have definitely included that
clause himself if he meant it. Hmm, points to ponder.
As for Mr. Ullahs' remark: "Even under present social
condition if a Man and four women consented to build family
having mutual respect and understanding, I don't think anybody
should have any problem with that". Well, Mr. Ullah, like
you I also don't see anything wrong with me or anyone else if
4-wives consent to build a family with one husband, if it is
looked at as individual rights and freedom issue, its only that
fairness and reason demands that we shouldn't then have any
problem with 4-husbands (polyandry) consenting to building a
family with one wife either. (Don't forget the DNA clause if
parentage issue arises, or conveniently forget the freedom of
choice issue that you so forcefully used in polygamy).
But their is another side to it. Despite the individual
rights and freedom defense, there is a contrary side to it. When
male/female balance exists then polygamy may be unfair to many
males who may find it harder to find wives as one man will have
for himself. This same problem applies to polyandry as well.
So one should not overlook this aspect of the problem. So if by
the logic that when men population is reduced polygamy is
recommended, then by the same logic in balanced gender ratio,
polygamy/polyandry should be discouraged as well.
Mr. Uddin cited the "Equal treatment/love to all 4-wives
clause". On one hand this clause is used to
"justify" polygamy, and on the other hand its supposed
"impossibility to fulfill " clause is cited to prove
that polygamy is ruled out indirectly. This is a strange
logic. On one hand the Ayah is defended in favour of
polygamy, by citing gender ratio etc, on the other hand the ayah
is used to argued against polygamy by arguing that it rules
polygamy by the very stringent condition that it pre requires.
Weird logic indeed. Then who is to judge such subjective
criterion as "love equally, treat equally"? If it is
left to the judgment of the husband of course it will be easy to
Finally, lets look at Mr. Ullah's remark: "Look at the
Muslim world and count how many men are practicing
Here Mr. Ullah is revealing his subliminal embarrassment of
the practice of polygamy by his defensive plea "Look its
only a SMALL number that are practicing it". Well, Mr.
Ullah, what's wrong if LARGE NUMBER were practicing it? You said
there was nothing wrong a moment ago, didn't you? So why bring
this "count how many men are practicing polygamy"
clause in your defense. If polygamy has so much beneficial
effect (preserving humanity etc) why not "THE MORE THE
BETTER"?. You cannot have it both ways Mr. Ullah :)