An Introduction to Polygamy in Islam‏

Islam is criticized for allowing polygamy, for popular culture in the West views polygamy as relatively backward and impoverished. For many Christians, it is a license to promiscuity, and feminists consider it a violation of womens rights and demeaning to women. A crucial point that needs to be understood is that for Muslims, standards of morality are not
set by prevalent Western thought, but by divine revelation. A few simple facts should be borne in mind before any talk of polygamy in Islam.

Islam Did Not Initiate Polygamy

Islam did not introduce polygamy. Among all Eastern nations of antiquity, polygamy was a recognized institution. Among the Hindus, polygamy prevailed from the earliest times. There was, as among the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians, no restriction as to the number of wives a man might have. Although Greece and Rome were not polygamous societies, concubinage was a norm[1].

Islam regulated polygamy by limiting the number of wives and bringing responsibility to its practice. In fact, according to David Murray, an anthropologist, historically polygamy is more common than monogamy.[2]

Polygamy Practiced by Gods Prophets
The great Hebrew patriarchs equally revered by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, and Solomon, to name a few were polygamous. According to the Bible:

Abraham had three wives (Genesis 16:1, 16:3, 25:1)
Moses had two wives (Exodus 2:21, 18:1-6; Numbers 12:1)
Jacob had four wives (Genesis 29:23, 29:28, 30:4, 30:9)
David had at least 18 wives (1 Samuel 18:27, 25:39-44; 2 Samuel 3:3, 3:4-5, 5:13, 12:7-8, 12:24, 16:21-23)
Solomon had 700 wives (1 Kings 11:3). [3]

The example of Jesus, who otherwise overlooked polygamy, is irrelevant as he did not marry during his earthly ministry.

Marriage in Islam

Marriage is a legal arrangement in Islam, not a sacrament in the Christian sense, and is secured with a contract. Islamic marriage lays rights and corresponding responsibilities on each spouse. Children born in wedlock are given legitimacy and share in inheritance from their parents. The primary purpose of marriage in Islam is regulating sexuality within marriage as well as creating an atmosphere for the continuity and extension of the family. This is in sharp contrast to growing trends on marriage in the West. In recent decades, there are more alternatives to marriage than ever before. Cohabitation – living together outside of marriage – has greatly increased among young, never-married adults, as well as the divorced. More American women are having children outside of marriage, ignoring the traditionally sanctioned sequence of marriage followed by childbearing.

Polygamy in the Quran

The Muslim scripture, the Quran, is the only known world scripture to explicitly limit polygamy and place strict restrictions upon its practice:

“… marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that
you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one. (Quran 4:3)

The Quran limited the maximum number of wives to four. In the early days of Islam, those who had more than four wives at the time of embracing Islam were required to divorce the extra wives. Islam further reformed the institution of polygamy by requiring equal treatment to all wives. The Muslim is not permitted to differentiate between his wives in regards to sustenance and expenditures, time, and other obligations of husbands. Islam does not allow a man to marry another woman if he will not be fair in his treatment.

Prophet Muhammad forbade discrimination between the wives or between their children. Also, marriage and polygamy in Islam is a matter of mutual consent. No one can force a woman to marry a married man. Islam simply permits polygamy; it neither forces nor requires it. Besides, a woman may stipulate that her husband must not marry any other woman as a second wife in her prenuptial contract. The point that is often misunderstood in the West is that women in other cultures – especially African and Islamic – do not necessarily look at polygamy as a sign of women is degradation.

Consequently, to equate polygamy with degrading women is an ethnocentric judgment of other societies. Even though we see the clear permissibility of polygamy in Islam, its actual practice is quite rare in

many Muslim societies. Some researchers estimate no more than 2% of the married males practice polygamy.[4]

Most Muslim men feel they cannot afford the expense of maintaining more than one family. Even those who are financially capable of looking after additional families are often reluctant due to the psychological burdens of handling more than one wife. One can safely say that the number of polygamous marriages in the Muslim world is much less than the number of extramarital affairs in the West[5].

In other words, contrary to prevalent notion, men in the Muslim world today are more strictly monogamous than men in the Western world.

Footnotes:

[1] “About the only important peoples of ancient times that showed little or no traces of it [(polygamy)] were the Greeks and the Romans. Nevertheless, concubinage, which may be regarded as a higher form of polygamy, or at least as nearer to pure monogamy, was for many centuries recognized by the customs and even by the legislation of these two nations. The Catholic Encyclopedia:
(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09693a.htm)

[2] Cheryl Wetzstein, Traditionalists Fear Same-Sex Unions Legitimize Polygamy, The Washington Times 13 Dec. 2000.

[3] For a detailed list of biblical figures who practiced polygamy, you may visit: (http://www.biblicalpolygamy.com/).

[4] Dr. Jumah al-Kholy, Taaddud al-Zawjaat wa Hikmatuhu fil Islam, (Multiple Marriages In Islam & Its Wisdom), Journal of the Islamic University of Medina, vol. 46, 222-231.

[5] The most recent definitive survey on sexual behavior shows that 20 percent of women and up to 35 percent of men have been at one time or another unfaithful to their spouses (Sex in Marriage, Little, Brown and Co., 1994, page 105).

Another survey shows that adultery is as common among Christians as non-Christians. Christianity Today magazine surveyed its subscribers and found that 23 percent admitted to having had extramarital intercourse. The Lutheran Church: Missouri Synod (http://old.dcs.lcms.org/family/Content%5Cdoc_articles%5C409.doc)

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Top 10 worst female health habits‏

Wearing heels

More and more of us are opting to wear heels on a daily basis, and this could be bad news for our health. High heels affect our posture, put pressure on joints, and can lead to a range of conditions including arthritishammer toesback pain and tendon injuries – and that’s before you take into account any heel-related accidents! To minimize damage, limit your heels to 1.5 inches for daily wear, and wear insoles to help reduce the pressure on joints.

Carrying a heavy handbag

With the rising number of gadgets and accessories the majority of women haul around, many of us are carrying around several pounds of weight on our shoulders every day. As a result, lots of us are also putting our long term health at risk. While you may not feel the effects right now, lugging around a heavy handbag can lead to serious back problems and neck pain as well as poor posture. Don’t wait until the damage is done – do your health a favour and try clearing out all non-essential items and switching to a smaller bag.

Sleeping in makeup

Most of us have succumbed to the temptation to sleep in our post-party makeup at some point. However, leaving makeup on overnight – along with the dirt and oil that naturally accumulates on skin throughout the day –is a quick route to clogged pores, congested skin and spots. Sleeping with mascara and eye makeup on can also affect your health by causing eye irritationbloodshot eyes or eveninfection.

Matching men drink for drink

From networking drinks to first dates and social events, there are many instances when women may feel compelled to keep up with the drinking habits of the opposite sex. However, women not only tend to weigh less than men but they have less body water to dilute the alcohol, which means they tend to get more drunk more quickly. To minimize the risks of alcohol on your health, try to keep within the recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption and alternate alcohol with soft drinks.

Wearing the wrong bra size

It is thought that more than 70 per cent of women are wearing the wrong bra size. However, wearing a badly fitted bra can not only affect the look of your clothes, but research suggests it can cause a range of health problems including back, neck and breast pain, breathing difficulties, poor posture, skin irritation, circulation problems and even irritable bowel syndrome. Rather than guessing your size, make sure you get measured to ensure you are getting the support you need.

Worrying and harboring regrets

Stress is damaging to both our physical and mental health, and women are twice as likely as men to suffer from stress-related disorders, as well as having higher rates of depression and anxiety. While it is thought there may be biological reasons for this, worrying about the future and dwelling on regrets can also add to our problems, with research suggesting that women are more than twice as likely as men to harbor regrets over lost loves and broken relationships.

Obsessing over appearance

While both genders suffer from body insecurity, many women tend to overly obsess over their idea of the “perfect” body. Research findings published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that 16 per cent of the normal or underweight women studied believed themselves to be overweight, while a study commissioned by Dove found that 90 per of women wanted to change at least one aspect of their appearance. Body insecurity not only affects our mental health, but it can also lead to physical damage caused by extreme diets, yo-yo dieting, eating disorders and cosmetic surgery.

Emotional eating

While comfort eating affects both genders, research has suggested that men are more likely to reinforce positive emotions with food, whilewomen comfort eat when they’re sad. Women are also more likely to satisfy their cravings with sweet, high calorie foods. Rather than letting your waistline suffer next time you’re feeling blue, try distracting yourself from cravings by doing something you enjoy, or boost your endorphins and health with an uplifting workout.

Not getting enough sleep

Not only can lack of sleep make us look and feel at our worst, but insufficient shut-eye can also lead to increased accidents, calorie consumption and heart disease risk. Unluckily for women, statistics suggest that sleep problems affect more women than men, while a study by theUniversity of Michigan found that women are more than twice as likely to give up sleep to care for others. Unfortunately, sleep has been found to affect women’s blood pressure and mood more than men’s, making it imperative that you do your best to get a good night’s sleep.

Putting themselves last

Not only are women more likely to compromise their sleeping habits to care for children and others, they are also prone to putting their own wants and needs at the bottom of a hectic to-do list of chores and obligations. To avoid running yourself into the ground, learn to sometimes say no to those requests and commitments that are less than essential, and make sure you set aside some “me” time each week to do something enjoyable just for you.

Park car for 15 bucks? New York

An Indian walks into a New York City bank and asks to see the loan officer.

He says he is going to Europe on business for two weeks and Needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the
bank will need some kind of security for such a loan, so the man hands over the keys of a new Rolls Royce parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything is checked out, and the bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. And employee drives the Rolls into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, the man returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, “We are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that u are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you bother to borrow just
$5,000?”

The Indian replied,” Where else in New York can I park my car for two weeks for 15 bucks?”

11 ways to be a happy employee

1. Plan your week on Sunday night
Look at your work calendar and plan your week on Sunday night or Monday morning. This would include important meetings, deliverables, a brief summary of things that are pending from last week and any tasks to be achieved during the week. Though this might look like a time management tip, at the end of the week, on Friday night when you re-visit what you have achieved over the last five days, the satisfaction is immense.

2. Undertake activities that you are passionate about even though it might not be in your job profile
Start an initiative that you would love to do irrespective of whether it is required for you to do or not.

Send a daily newsletter to your team on the topics that most of them will be interested.
Do a presentation on the topic that you are passionate about.
Organise a small sports event for your team.
Call everyone in your team for a team coffee, breakfast or lunch break
Appreciate colleagues in your team or in a cross-functional team who did a great job
Write a poem on your team’s achievements
Arrange a potluck lunch

3. Do not indulge in the blame game
If something goes wrong do not blame others blindly. If you commit a mistake, do not hesitate to accept it. As Gauthama Buddha said, there are three things we can’t hide for long: the sun, earth and the truth. Accepting your mistake gracefully will only make you look like a true professional and also give you the satisfaction of not cheating.

4. Communicate more often in person
Utilise all the opportunities where you can speak to an individual in person rather than e-mail or phone. But be aware of the other person’s time and availability. Listening to a positive answer from a person will give you more happiness than if it is done over the phone or via e-mail.

5. Know what is happening at your workplace
Will this make a person happy? Truly, yes! Imagine a cricket team that doesn’t know how many runs to score to win a match? More than losing the game, the player will never be interested or motivated to play well.

Attend all meetings that are addressed by the CEO to your immediate manager to know what is going to happen around you. It could be the company’s growth plan or your department’s next big project. Jack Welch mentions in his book Winning “every employee, not just the senior people, should know how a company is doing.”

You will also get an extra edge if you are in a position to answer queries raised by your peers or juniors. This is not just for the good reasons, but bad reasons as well. You do not want to be the last employee to know if your company is laying off employees (in the worst case, if you are the one who is on that list).

6. Participate in organisation-level activities
This could be as simple as spending one weekend for a corporate social responsibility activity or attending a recruitment drive to help your HR team or arranging a technical/sports event at the organisational level. Most of these events will be successful as people do come on their own to contribute.

7. Have a hobby that keeps you busy and happy
Many people say their hobby is watching TV or listening to music or reading the newspaper. These aren’t hobbies, they are just ways of passing the time. Some hobbies are evergreen and will keep you evergreen as well: dancing, painting, writing short stories, poems, blogs and sharing your experiences.

8. Take up a sport
While choosing a sport make sure that there is physical activity. There is the danger of becoming addicted to sports where there is less physical activity (like computer games, chess, cards etc). Physical activity keeps a person healthy and happy. If you pick up one sport well, you can represent your organisation in corporate sports event too.

9. Keep yourself away from office politics
Politics, as a practice, whatever its profession, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds. — Henry Brooks Adams

Politics is everywhere and the office is no exception. Playing politics might be beneficial but only for the short term. So the best thing to do is play fair.

10. Wish and smile
More often than not, there are fair chances that the other person will smile back. This could be your security guard at the gate, your receptionist, your office boy, your CEO or your manager — never forget to wish them and smile.

11. Volunteer for some activity

“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” � Albert Einstein

Do at least one activity without expecting anything in return. There is no set frequency for this. This could be once in a day or once in a week or thrice in a week. It could be as simple as making tea at the office for your colleague, helping a colleague who is working in another department by using your skills, dropping your colleague at his door step in your car, going to your manager or colleague to ask if there is any help you can extend, contributing to technical or knowledge management communities in your organisation etc.