Monday, 4 November 2013

The Messenger of Peace... A Man of Polygamy?

A sunnah is a model example act or saying that the Prophet (pbuh) did or said in his life, while he recommended or demanded Muslims to follow as long as they are capable of doing it. There is a reward then for those who follow it. 

In this sense, polygamy is not a sunnah. But, it is a sort of facility or a legal option for those who may be in need of it in order to solve a personal or a social problem. But for those who are not in need of it or are not willing to do it, they are not obliged to do it at all. 

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had eleven wives throughout his whole life. Two died in his life and nine remained after his death. Actually he was not married to the eleven simultaneously, but when his first wife – Khadijah – died, he remarried. After that, he simultaneously kept nine of his wives. He (peace be upon him) never had any other relationships with women outside those eleven wives. 

I don't quite understand what you mean by concubines. If you mean mistresses, then it is not allowed for any Muslim man under any circumstances to take them. This relationship is being referred to in Qur'an as "fornication" or "adultery" which is a major sin in Islam. 

But if you mean girl slaves or war captives that men used to buy and possess in the past – as at that time slavery system existed in all civilizations, including Islam - then it was allowed. When Islam came, an unjust slavery system prevailed in the Arab Peninsula, thus Islam worked to end it up gradually by encouraging the believers to spend charity money on freeing slaves and promised those who did it to win paradise. It was mentioned in Surah 2, verse 177 that:
*{It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for [the emancipation of] the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts-- these are they who are true [to themselves] and these are they who guard [against evil].}*

Also, Islamic law made paying money for freeing slaves a penalty for many wrong doings that the believers would commit. For example, Surah 4, verse 92 says that:
*{And it does not behoove a believer to kill a believer except by mistake, and whoever kills a believer by mistake, he should free a believing slave, and blood-money should be paid to his people unless they remit it as alms; but if he be from a tribe hostile to you and he is a believer, the freeing of a believing slave [uffices] and if he is from a tribe between whom and you there is a covenant, the blood-money should be paid to his people along with the freeing of a believing slave; but he who cannot find [a slave] should fast for two months successively: a penance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing, Wise.}*

So, till the entire freeing of slaves would take place, Islam regulated the marital system with girl slaves in a way that gave them recognition and dignified social status. Surah 4, verse 25 says that:
*{And whoever among you has not within his power ampleness of means to marry free believing women, then [he may marry] of those whom your right hands possess from among your believing maidens; and Allah knows best your faith: you are [sprung] the one from the other; so marry them with the permission of their masters, and give them their dowries justly, they being chaste, not fornicating, nor receiving paramours; and when they are taken in marriage, then if they are guilty of indecency, they shall suffer half the punishment which is [inflicted] upon free women. This is for him among you who fears falling into evil; and that you abstain is better for you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.}*

Islam also gave legal rights to the children they begot through those relationships and dealt with those children, regarding their legal rights, on equal footing with children begotten by free wives. 

As for your last two questions, I don't think Diana that they are of any relevance at present as this slavery system has been abolished from the entire Islamic world. This is as well as it was abolished later from the rest of the world and no one is allowed to buy, sell or captivate human beings any more. 


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