STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN ULAMA FORUM (SAUF)
AT IT'S FIFTH CONFERENCE HELD FROM THE 30TH APRIL TO 2ND MAY 2010
PRETENDED MONOGAMY OR LEGITIMATE POLYGAMY?
The Southern African Ulama Forum (SAUF) held a three day conference in Lilongwe between the 30th April and 2nd May 2010. The conference was atended by 150 Islamic Scholars from 7 Southern African countries.
The Malawi Government's proposed ban on polygamy, ostensibly to "protect women and children against abusive polygamous husbands" formed part of the deliberations. The SAUF resolved that such legislation would only serve to aggravate the plight of vulnerable women and children.
A study of the cultures of nations throughout history provides ample evidence that not only were women and children protected through polygamous mariages, but societies at large were protected from much of the prevailing social ills. The undeniable reality of the disproportionate male/female population at any given time is suficient grounds to prove the natural need for polygamy. Polygamy is a legitimate response to the large numbers of unmaried, single, widowed and divorced women. "And in al countries where there is an excess of women, it is an obvious injustice that those women who by arithmetical necessity must remain unmaried should be wholy debared from sexual experience." (Bertrand Rusel)
Do these women walk the streets, or simply serve as mistresses to sexual predators? What kind of protection does monogamy offer to such women and children?
If the ban on polygamy is to protect women from 'abusive husbands' as stated by the Minister of Gender, Child Development and Community Services, is 'abuse' not found in monogamous mariages? Why target the relatively smal number of polygamous mariages and ignore the overwhelming abuse in monogamous mariages?
A study of the respective scriptures shows that it is was practiced in Jewish, Christian and even Hindu religions. "For as long as polygamy was practiced, much of the prevailing social ils were unheard of" as noted by the famous Christian scholar Davenport, who after quoting verses from the Bible in support of polygamy states: "polygamy is not only acceptable but God has put His special blessings in it."
"There is pretended monogamy in the West, but there is real polygamy without responsibility. The mistress is cast of when the man is weary of her and she sinks gradualy to be the woman of the street: for the first lover has no responsibility for her future: and she is hundred times worse of than a sheltered wife and the mother in the polygamous home. When we see thousands of miserable women, who crowd the streets of Western towns during the night, we must surely feel that it does not lie in Western mouths to reproach Islam for its polygamy. It is beter for a woman, happier for a woman, more respectable for a woman to live in Islamic polygamy united to one man only with the legitimate child in her arms and surounded with respect, than to be seduced, cast out in the streets perhaps with an ilegitimate child, outside the pale of law, un-sheltered and uncared for, to become a victim of any passer by, night after night, rendered incapable of motherhood, despised by all." (Mrs. Annie Besant)
Apart from the exploitation of women, ilicit relations gives rise to many social evils such as prostitution, STD's, abortion, unwanted pregnancies, ilegitimate children, adultery, broken mariages- al as a result of ilicit relations.
The alternate to legitimate polygamy as stated by Bertrand Russel is: "to go on practicing sureptitious, clandestine and underhand polygamy by defiling the wives, daughters and sisters of other people."