Monday 24 May 2010

Comments on Nigeria: Islam strongly discourages polygamy

Pointed in that direction
My blog on Nigeria: Islam strongly discourages polygamy seems to have gathered a bit of reading and reference along with comments from people who felt I probably should not be researching those areas.
The fact is I would never have been digging in those religious tomes if the learned leaders of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) Kaduna State chapter had not categorically provided chapter and verse of what they claim supports their demand that the Senator decline invitations from the civil authorities on the accusation of marrying a child or even worse child trafficking.
My blog as I wrote it was not to be authoritative but enable a discourse that brought more scrutiny to what was accepted in relation to what was said or inferred to with regards to the verses quoted – it would be unfortunate if anyone suddenly finds offence where intelligent debate is the better means of learning and understanding the points that matter.
Facts of the 21st Century
Most importantly, the human race has changed in interaction, knowledge and enlightenment since the 7th Century of the times of the Prophet, the 1st Century of Christ and the few Millennia before that of Abrahamic Judaism – the 21st Century offers no carte blanche microcosm of civilisation that excludes us from the scrutiny of modernity if we live in these times but derive our verbatim societal standards from the times of yore.
All localities now suffer global intrusion of varying impact with the greatest import being the right to life, the right to free expression and the protection of the rights of the minorities – where those rights are impinged upon, regardless of allegiance the greater clamour of civilisation, civility, humanity and gradual liberalism that that affected all religions would demand that people be put first and not sacrificed on the altar of tenet, creed, tradition, culture, custom, belief or religion – all these came after humanity, not before.
We have to think for ourselves
This is where we all stand in the 21st Century according to a ruling giving by Lord Justice Laws a few weeks ago.
We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion – any belief system – cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other. If they did, those out in the cold would be less than citizens and our constitution would be on the way to a theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic.
The law of a theocracy is dictated without option to the people, not made by their judges and governments. The individual conscience is free to accept such dictated law, but the state, if its people are to be free, has the burdensome duty of thinking for itself.
In essence, it is egregious for any religion to feel that its remit extends beyond that of its firm adherents and those adherents should not have that imposed on them by heredity but by individual choice because our societies now offer the scope and latitude for those decisions to fall to individuals rather than a hierarchy of unaccountable clerics – in the broadest sense – who are answerable to no man, no state, no constituted authority or earthly realm.
Comments to my blog
At first Portnoy wanted permission to translate my blog into Chinese for his audience to read my views which I promptly granted because this had become a matter for discussion.
I found your post via Global Voices and I really like the way you deal with this issue. I should translate this post into Chinese for more people to know what Qur’an really said. Do you mind?
Then Abdulkadir patronisingly addressed me with this
Akin my friend you need to understand Arabic language and sayings, action of Mohammad (peace be upon him) very well before you can understand Qur'anic verses. Please not say what you not know ask Muslims about their religion and make honest research.
To which I replied
The Qur'anic verses are clear about what they say, if you want them to mean something else that is another matter.
If you do have good objective teaching on these matters, publish them for serious scrutiny - that is the way learned people convey their knowledge in the modern world.
Subjective or objective
After that Auwal said
It is very impressive to see that a non Muslim is taking his time to study what Islam actually says. Unfortunately you are being objective with your interpretation, just like the rulers you are taking a jab at.
[I suppose he meant I was being subjective, because the rulers in my view were not being objective – fair point.]
The verse is referring to securing a good future for orphans. It doesn’t restrict the idea of polygamy to just marrying a widow. Because it goes on to say that if you fear that you may be unjust, then stick to one wife.  Simply because you are obliged to fulfil the rights of each wife, which is definitely not easy.
[Which was my point, I said polygamy was strongly discouraged because of difficulties with satisfying all the parties of the polygamy – I was highlighting the fact that human frailty was clearly identified as the issue – it would appear no one wants to accept that fact because they feel means and provision are the ready substitute for loving equally – sadly.]
Sunnahs and today
Abdulkadir then came back with this long comment
Muslims follow the both Qur'an and the Sunnah;  that’s (the sayings, actions, and approvals of Mohammad PBUH).
[Obviously, it is important to distinguish between the norms and mores of the 7th Century compared with what can be the accepted in the 21st Century – certain customs, traditions and habits of the 7th Century as practised then cannot find expression today.]
(1). In Sahih Bukhari :: Book 7 :: Volume 62 :: Hadith 64 [I think he meant Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64 Book 62 referring to the Nikaah ] Under Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah), it been narrated from Aisha saying “that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).”
(2). In Sahih Muslim :: Book 8 : Hadith 3309 Under The Book of Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah),
 It’s been narrated from 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house at the age of nine. She further said: We went to Medina and I had an attack of fever for a month, and my hair had come down to the earlobes. Umm Ruman (my mother) came to me and I was at that time on a swing along with my playmates.
She called me loudly and I went to her and I did not know what she had wanted of me. She took hold of my hand and took me to the door, and I was saying: Ha, ha (as if I was gasping), until the agitation of my heart was over. She took me to a house, where had gathered the women of the Ansar. They all blessed me and wished me good luck and said: May you have share in good.
She (my mother) entrusted me to them. They washed my head and embellished me and nothing frightened me. Allah's Messenger (, may peace be upon him) came there in the morning, and I was entrusted to him.
[Without contention what was perfectly permissible in the times of the Prophet as betrothal at 6 and marriage at 9 in the 7th Century cannot be justified in these times for medical, cultural and legal reasons in the 21st Century – this is not aspersion on the acts of the leaders of religion, in much earlier times in Judaism Jacob the son of Isaac married two sisters something that is not considered acceptable in these times for medical, cultural and legal reasons too.]
Messages to obey?
[I am not sure if this last part constitutes a threat of sorts, because what we all should realise is that different people at different times in different places have had different messengers and messages that presage their religious allegiances – egregious and arrogance would not begin to explain the situation if any one religion begins to seek preponderance over all humanity – I would refer all readers back to the beginning of my blog and the statements of Lord Justice Laws .]
[If religions that predate accept that fact that there were differences between people, tribes, beliefs and systems whilst accommodating a sense of public secularly in those times – these modern times would more so deal unfavourably with belief system that impose themselves on others are not persuaded of the message they bring. Let me categorically state, I am not a Muslim and this is no time for crusades, jihads or lawlessness.]
Also in Chapter 4 Verse 80 Of The Holy Qur'an States. He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then We have not sent you as a watcher over them.
Meaning: Allah states that whoever obeys His servant and Messenger, Muhammad , obeys Allah; and whoever disobeys him, disobeys Allah. Verily, whatever the Messenger utters is not of his own desire, but a revelation inspired to him.
Leaders and rulers
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah; and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah. Whoever obeys the Amir (leader, ruler), obeys me; and whoever disobeys the Amir, disobeys me.) This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs. Allah's statement.
I am at a loss as to what this last part relates to with regards to the discourse but if Amir means leader and ruler we do have leaders and rulers in Nigeria who are custodians of our laws and constitution – where a legally constituted authority demands the attendance of any Nigerian citizen, I would suppose regardless of religion and adherence they are answerable to that authority.
I am still saddened that every comment has not addressed the material issue that in the 21st Century a 13-year old girl has been given in marriage to a 49 year old who is bringing Islam into disrepute in these times and can brazenly defend his actions without sanction. That is a blight on our humanity and it is unfortunate.

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