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Monday 27th of June 2022
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IS MAN POLYGAMOUS BY NATURE?

IS MAN POLYGAMOUS BY NATURE? 

You will be surprised if you are told that the psychologists and the social philosophers in the West believe that man is born polygamous and monogamy is against his nature. 

Will Durant, explaining the present day moral chaos, says that much of it is due to our incurable interest in variety. Man by nature cannot be content with one woman. 

He says that by nature man is polygamous. Only the strongest moral restrictions and an appropriate amount of poverty and hard work, along with the external vigilance of the wife, can impose monogamy on him. 

The German professor, Schmidt, says that throughout history man has been unfaithful to his wife. There are indications that even during the Middle Ages the young men changed their sweet-hearts again and again, and 50% of the married men were unfaithful to their wives. Robert Kinsey in his report, known as the Kinsey Report, says that American men and women surpass all other nations in unfaithfulness. In another section of the report he says that, unlike man, woman dislikes diversity and that is why she often does not submit to his overtures, but man regards diversity as an adventure. What is more important is that he is more interested in physical pleasure than in spiritual and sentimental pleasure. Man pretends to have a purely sentimental and spiritual relation only so long as he does not get an opportunity to have physical contact. A famous physician told Kinsey that obviously man was polygamous and woman monogamous, because millions of sperm developed in man while one ovum was produced in the ovary of woman during each period of fecundity. Apart from the theory of Kinsey, it will not be a bad idea if we ask ourselves whether it is difficult for a man to be faithful. 

A French sociologist answering this question says that for a man to be faithful is not merely difficult but it is impossible. One woman is born for one man, but one man is born for all women, If a man is unfaithful and betrays his wife, he is not to blame. It is the fault of nature, which has put all the forces of unfaithfulness in him. 

A French magazine under the heading, "French way of Love and Marriage", writes that French couples have solved this problem. They know the rules of the game. So long as the husband does not exceed the limits, his occasional affairs with other women are of little importance. As a rule a husband can in no case remain faithful after two years of married life. It is somewhat different in the case of women and fortunately they are aware of this difference. In France, a wife does not feel offended if her husband commits adultery 

She consoles herself by saying that he might have taken his body to another woman, but his soul and sentiments continue to be her own. 

Some years ago there was a controversy on the views expressed by a biologist named Dr. Russell Lee. He was of the view that a man's contentment with one wife weakened his progeny and hence this action amounted to an act of treachery against the human race. He thought that the system of multi-relations made the children healthy and strong. 

We believe that the above description of the nature of man is not correct at all. These thinkers appear to have been inspired by the particular atmosphere prevailing in their own part of the world. 

Anyhow, we believe that both biologically and psychologically man and woman are dissimilar to each other and nature has purposely made them so. Therefore, the equality of their rights should not be used as a pretext for the uniformity of their rights. Even from the viewpoint of those who support monogamy, the spirit of woman is different from that of man. Woman is monogamous by nature. Polyandry is against her spirit and does not conform to what she expects of her husband. But man is not monogamous by nature in the sense that polygamy is not against his spirit and is not inconsistent with what he expects of his wife. 

But we do not agree with the view that the spirit of man does not conform to monogamy. It is absolutely incorrect to say that his passion for diversity is incurable. We also do not believe that man cannot be faithful, or that one woman is born for one man and one man is born for all women. 

To our belief the causes of man's unfaithfulness are related to the social atmosphere and man's nature is not responsible for it. Factors causing unfaithfulness stem from that atmosphere which, on the one hand, encourages woman to employ all sorts of temptations and seductions to lead a stranger astray and, on the other hand, deprives millions of women of their right of marriage by enforcing the law of monogamy. 

In the Muslim East, prior to the introduction of Western ways and manners, 90% of the men adhered to monogamy in the real sense. They neither had more than one legal wife nor did they indulge in concubinage. 

POLYGAMY AS THE FACTOR SAVING MONOGAMY 

You will be surprised if we say that polygamy was the most important factor which served monogamy in the East. Its legality is really the biggest saving factor, in case the number of women requiring marriage exceeds the number of men eligible for it, because if the right of the surplus women to marriage is not recognised and the morally, financially and physically well-qualified men are not allowed to have more than one wife, free love and concubinage are bound to become rampant, destroying the very basis of real monogamy. 

In the Muslim East, on the one hand polygamy was permissible and, on the other, temptations and provocations to immorality did not exist. Therefore, true monogamy prevailed in most of the families. Concubinage never developed to the extent that gradually a philosophy had been invented to justify 

it. In the East, it was never claimed that man was born polygamous and could not at all adhere to monogamy. 

It may be asked what alternative a man has when polygamy is legally prohibited and, as the intellectuals say, man is polygamous by nature. 

According to the thinking of these gentlemen the answer is quite clear. Man should be legally monogamous and practically polygamous. He should not have more than one legal wife, but he can cohabit with any number of women he likes. Concubinage is the natural right of man. It is unchivalrous to restrict him to one woman. 

We believe that the time has come when the readers should have a clear idea of the problem and should know what the question really is. It is not the question whether polygamy is better or monogamy. There is no doubt that monogamy is preferable, for monogamy means an exclusive family life. In this system the body and the soul of each of the husband and the wife exclusively belong to the other. It is obvious that the spirit of marriage is the union of hearts which manifests itself better in an exclusive marriage. Humanity does not have to choose between monogamy and polygamy. 

The only problem is that absolute monogamy is not practical in certain social circumstances, especially when the number of women in need of marriage is greater than the number of eligible men. Absolute monogamy pervading every family is only a fiction. There are only two alternatives: either to officially recognise polygamy or to encourage unrestricted concubinage. In the case of the first alternative only a small percentage of married men, in no case more than 10% will have more than one wife and all women in need of a husband will be able to secure a home and family life. In the case of the second alter-native every woman having no legal husband will have sexual relations with several men, and thus almost all married men will become practically polygamous. 

This is the correct picture of polygamy. But the partisans of the European way of life are not prepared to present the true picture of the problem. They do not want to tell the truth openly. In reality they defend concubinage. They regard the legal wife as a burden and a stumbling-block in their way. T() them even one wife is too much, let alone two, three or four. They pretend to be the supporters of monogamy, but, in fact, complete freedom from matrimonial restrictions is what they would like to have. 

WILES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY MAN 

The 20th century man has succeeded in befooling woman on many questions related to family rights. He uses the high-sounding words of equality and liberty to reduce his own commitments and to add to his opportunities of enjoyment. But there are few questions in respect of which he has been so successful as in disparaging polygamy. 

Occasionally we come across writings that make us wonder whether their authors are simpletons or rogues. One writer says: At present, in the advanced countries relations between husband and wife are based on a system of reciprocal rights and obligations, and for that reason it is as difficult for a woman to recognise polygamy in any form, as for a man to bear the existence of rivals in the field of his conjugal relations. 

We do not know whether that is their conception of the problem, or they really do not know that polygamy has resulted from a social problem, which puts a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of married men and women and of which, so far, no solution other than polygamy has been discovered. Shutting the eyes to the real problem and raising the slogans 'long live monogamy' and 'down with polygamy' can serve no purpose. 

Do they not know that polyandry is neither a part of woman's rights nor a part of man's rights. It has nothing to do with their reciprocal rights. 

It is ridiculous to say that it is as difficult for woman to agree to polygamy as it is for a man to tolerate the existence of rivals in the matter of conjugal relations. Apart from the fact that such a comparison is wrong, it appears that these gentlemen do not know that the present-day Western world, by the glitter of which they are so greatly dazzled, actually requires the husband to respect the love-affairs of his wife and tolerate the existence of rivals. It deprecates any interference on the part of the husband as jealousy and fanaticism. We wish that our young men had a deeper knowledge of what is going on in the West. 

As polygamy is the outcome of a social problem and is not man's instinct, it is obvious that in a society where women are not in a numerical majority, it should automatically disappear or at least its incidence should be minimised. But it will not be proper to ban it even in such circumstances, if such circumstances exist at all. Legal prohibition of polygamy is neither sufficient nor something correct. There are certain prerequisites to achieve this end. First of all, social justice should be ensured and adequate opportunities of suitable employment made available for every man, so that everyone eligible for marriage should be in a position to have a family life. The second condition is that every woman should be free to choose her husband and should be under no compulsion by her guardians or anyone else to marry any particular person of their choice. It is obvious that a woman who has a chance to marry a bachelor will never like to marry a man who has a wife. It is only their guardians who sell women for the sake of money and give them in marriage to the moneyed people. 

The third condition is that there should not exist too many temptations that seduce even women having husbands not to mention women having no husbands. 

Should society be earnestly interested in reformation and in enforcing true monogamy, it should endeavour for the fulfilment of the above three conditions. Otherwise, a legal ban on polygamy will only lead to moral depravation. 

CRISIS RESULTING FROM THE PRIVATION OF THE WOMEN HAVING NO HUSBANDS 

If the women in need of marriage outnumber such men (bachelors), the prohibition of polygamy is a treachery to 

humanity. It is not merely a question of suppressing the rights of some women only. Had it been so, it could have been tolerated to a certain extent. The crisis which society faces as a result of legally enforced monogamy possess a bigger danger than any other crisis, for the family organisation is more sacred than any other organisation. 

A woman who is deprived of her natural right is a living being prone to all the reactions of a living being such as in the case of privation. She is a human being who is susceptible to psychic disorders and complexes. She is an Eve armed with the weapons for seducing men. 

She is not wheat or barley, the surplus stock of which can be dumped into the sea or stored for any future emergency. She is not a house or a room which, if not acquired immediately, can be locked. She is a living person. She is a human being. She is a woman. She has marvellous potentialities. If she is frustrated she can ruin the society. She cannot be an idle onlooker while others enjoy life. Her privation will give rise to complexes and malice. If malice and instinct join hands together, the consequences can only be catastrophic. 

The women deprived of family life will do their utmost to seduce men and to exploit their weakness in this respect. Even then the matter will not end. The wives who will find their husbands to be unfaithful, will think of taking revenge upon them and thus will themselves become unfaithful. About the final result the less said the better. 

This final result has been summarised in the well-known Kinsey Report in one sentence: "The men and women of America have surpassed all other nations in unfaithfulness." 

It is to be noted that the matter does not end with the corruption and perversion of men. The conflagration in the end also engulfs the women having husbands and families. 

VARIOUS REACTIONS ABOUT THE EXCESS OF WOMEN 

The phenomenon of the comparative super-abundance of women has always existed in human history, but the reactions to this phenomenon, which create difficulties for the society, have not been the same in all societies. The people who were more attached to the spirit of piety and chastity and were guided by the teachings of the great heavenly religions, solved the problem by adopting the system of polygamy. Other people who were not so greatly attached to this spirit used the phenomenon as a means of indulging in debauchery. 

Neither was polygamy in the East introduced by Islam, nor its prohibition in the West in any way related to the religion of Christ. This custom existed in the East before the inception of Islam and was sanctioned by the Eastern religions. Even in the Bible, it has not been prohibited expressly. 

A greater blow has been given to monogamy by the nations, which have taken to debauchery, than by those which have adopted polygamy. 

Dr. Muhammad Husayn Haikal, author of the book, 'Life of Muhammad' after quoting several verses of the Holy Qur'an on the question of polygamy, says: These verses favour adherence to monogamy. They say that if you fear that you will not be able to do justice to more than one wife, then have only one. Incidentally, they emphasise that absolute justice is not possible. Anyhow in view of the fact that there may be occasions when polygamy is unavoidable, they allow it conditionally. The Holy Prophet himself contracted several marriages, when a large number of Muslim women lost their husbands during the early battles of Islam. Is it possible to say that following wars, epidemics and disturbances which take a toll of thousands and sometimes millions of people, it is still preferable to adhere to monogamy rather than to adopt polygamy as an exceptional case and with the condition of doing justice to their wife or wives? Can the people of the West claim that after the World War the law of monogamy has been enforced in the same way in which it now exists in name? 

DRAWBACKS AND DEFECTS OF POLYGAMY 

A happy married life depends on sincerity, tolerance, sacrifice and unity. All these things are endangered in the case of polygamy. Apart from the unenviable position of the wives and the children in a plural marriage, the responsibilities of the husband himself are so heavy and crushing that it is no fun to shoulder them -Most of the men, who are happy and satisfied with polygamy, are those who practically evade their legal and moral responsibilities. They turn all their attention to one wife and ignore the other, whom they leave, in the words of the Holy Qur'an, 'hanging', What is called polygamy by such people is in reality a sort of monogamy coupled with high-handedness, tyranny and criminal injustice. There is a proverb current among the common people which says: 'One God, One Wife'. 

That has been and is the belief of most of the people and, if we measure the problem by the standard of individual happiness, it is correct. The rule of monogamy, if not applicable to all men, is certainly applicable to most of them. 

If someone thinks that polygamy, with all the legal and moral responsibilities it entails, is a bed of roses, he is sadly mistaken. From the angle of personal comfort and happiness, monogamy is definitely preferable. 

CORRECT APPRAISAL 

Anyhow, a correct appraisal of the system of polygamy, which emanates from personal and social needs, cannot be made by comparing it with monogamy. The right way of evaluating such a system is to give consideration to the causes which give rise to it, to see what evil consequences will follow, if those causes are overlooked, and at the same time to give a thought to the defects and drawbacks of the system itself. It is only after fully weighing all the pros and cons of a system that we can arrive at the right conclusion. To illustrate the point we give an example. If we look at the system of conscription only from the angle of the interests and inclinations of a family, to which a recruit belongs, there can be no doubt that the law of conscription is not a good law. It would have been much better if there had been no such law, and no darling of a family had been snatched from his family and, occasionally, sent to the warfront. 

But this is not a correct evaluation of the question. Along with the separation of a son from his family, we should also take into consideration the defence requirements of the country. If we do that, it will appear perfectly reasonable and logical that an adequate number of citizens should always be kept ready for the defence of the country and their families should willingly put up with the inconveniences caused by the compulsory military service. 

Earlier we referred to some individual and collective needs which sometimes justify polygamy. Now, to prepare the ground for an overall judgement, let us discuss the defects and drawbacks of this system. We admit that it has certain demerits, but we do not believe that all that is said against it is valid. Anyway, we propose to discuss its defects from various angles. 

FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ANGLE 

The conjugal relations are not confined to such material and physical matters as bodily contact and financial support. If they had been so confined, it would have been easy to justify polygamy, for material and physical matters are divisible between several people, each having a share. 

The basis of conjugal relations is emotional and psychological. They are based on such things as love, emotions and feelings. Married life means the union of hearts. Like all metaphysical things, love and feelings are not divisible. They cannot be rationed among several people nor can a definite quota thereof be allotted to any one. A heart cannot be divided between two people. Love and worship are concomitant. They do not admit a rival. Love cannot be measured and distributed like wheat and barley. Furthermore, feelings cannot be controlled. 

The heart dominates man, man does not dominate the heart. The spirit of marriage, that is, its human aspect, which distinguishes the relations between two human beings from the purely instinctive relations between two animals, is neither divisible nor controllable. Hence, polygamy should not be permitted. 

To our belief the above statement is exaggerated. It is true that emotions and feelings constitute the spirit of marriage. It is also true that feelings are not controllable. But it is pure fancy, rather a fallacy, to say that feelings are not divisible. 

It is not a question of dividing and distributing feelings in the same way as a material object is divided and distributed. It is a question of the mental capacity of man, which is not too limited to accommodate relations with two people. A father having ten sons loves all of them to the extent of worship and makes sacrifices for them. 

Anyhow, one thing is definite. Love cannot be as intense in the case of several wives as it can be in the case of one. Intense love is not consistent with plurality, but it is not consistent with reason too. 

Russell in his book, 'Marriage and Morality'. says that many people today regard love as a fair exchange of feelings. This argument alone, irrespective of all other arguments, is enough to condemn polygamy. 

If it is only a question of fair exchange of feelings. we wonder why the exchange should he monopolistic. A father having several children loves them all and they all reciprocally love him. Is not the exchange of feelings between them fair? Incidentally even in the case of several children, a father's love for each of them is always greater than the love of each child for the father. 

The most amazing part of the above statement is that it has been made by a person who advises the husbands to respect their wives' love-affairs with strangers and not to interfere in them. He gives the same advice to the wives also. Does he believe that the exchange of feelings between a husband and a wife will still be fair? 

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