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JUSTICE IN POLYGYNY

 


©Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

The concept of justice between co wives is one of the most belittled form of justice by men and one of the most misunderstood by women. A man must not just be just, he must be manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be just. 

However, it is not possible for a man to dispense absolute justice because it is not within his capacity as Allāh said:

وَلَن تَسۡتَطِیعُوۤا۟ أَن تَعۡدِلُوا۟ بَیۡنَ ٱلنِّسَاۤءِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتُم

And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]...[Surah An-Nisa' 129 | Sahih International]

It is wrong to interpret this verse to mean that polygyny is unlawful because men can't be just. The scholars have interpreted it to mean that a man can't maintain absolute justice due to his human nature. He can only try his best. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has also made us to understand that a man can't maintain perfect justice. He can only try his best. As sincere as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was, he used to also try his best by being just in dealing with his wives. After trying his best to be just, he used to say:

اللهم هذا قسمي في ما أملك فلا تلمني في ما لا أملك

O Allāh, this is my effort based on my capacity, do not hold me for what I have no power over.(Muslim, 4/175)

What is needed from a man is substantial justice. A man in a polygyny should be just to the extent that an aggrieved wife will know and say deep down her mind "this man is not perfect oo, but he is trying". There are several factors that influences a man's sense of justice in dealing with his wives and they are natural. He will not be able to handle it even if he tries.

For instance, a man would naturally be inclined towards a woman who treats him well. This is what every woman should understand, especially those in polygyny. Treating your husband bad leads to grave consequences. Yet, the husband must still not shift attention totally from a misbehaving wife and neglect her completely. It is better to divorce a woman than to be treating her so bad, to the extent that it would be difficult to know if she is still married to him or not. The scholars said this is what Allāh meant when He said in the above mentioned verse:

 فَلَا تَمِیلُوا۟ كُلَّ ٱلۡمَیۡلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَٱلۡمُعَلَّقَةِۚ 

So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging [Surah An-Nisa' 129 | Sahih International]

Wallahi, there are many women in polygyny just hanging there. They are just there as if they are not there. Their husbands do not divorce them and they don't attend to them. Men should fear Allāh and refrain from underrating this concept of justice. Affected couple should strive to resolve their issues amicably and deal with each other in a just manner. Polygyny is not a joke. It is just like other aspects of the sharī'ah. It requires knowledge, understanding, wisdom, sincerity and prayers in order to attain success in it.

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