Polygamy: Marriage and Women

Topics: Marriage, Gender, Family Pages: 5 (1558 words) Published: October 18, 2013


Polygamy is a Greek word that means the practice of multiple marriages. Polygamy was considered to fulfill men’s desires on the grounds of strong cultural considerations. Nowadays, Polygamy is considered in Islamic countries and some rural areas around the word. However, it was difficult to provide statistics on the issue of polygamy because of the lack of communication. The man can marry up to four wives. Each wife constitutes a separate household with the husband visiting his wives in turn. Human Rights:

Human rights deny gender differences and strive to maintain equality in social rules. Gender equality means an equal visibility, empowerment and participation of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life. Human rights discourse prohibits polygamy and the act of practicing it.

Human rights theory is against the notion of polygamy. Human rights discourse states that polygamy is against the dignity of women and their human rights. Polygamy violates the right of equality between men and women; indeed, by allowing men to have more than one wife but preventing women from doing it, the right of equality is violated.

In addition, human rights discourse is against the practice of polygamy. It violates women’s right of spending enough time with their husband and children’s right to be raised within a stable family. The idea of allowing the husband to choose polygamy is not considered as slavery or exclusion of the women’s right to decide; on the other hand, it is considered as traditional family life in which the husband is the head of the family. However, the wife can take the place of her husband as the head of the family when the law deprives his civil rights, as if the husband is in jail. On the other hand, polygamy violates the rights of children. Men that have more than one wife do not have enough time to spend it with their children compared with men that have one wife. In addition, their wives try to compete with other wives in order to impress and entertain the man. As a result, children will not have enough time to spend it with their parents. Polygamy requires a lot of time and money; indeed, the man is ordered to fulfill the needs of his wives equally. That will decrease his financial status and this will result in a decrease in health and educational status. Kent acknowledges that polygamists refuse the common life styles and beliefs they live apart from public scrutiny or association, and are more vulnerable to violating civil rights (Kant, 2006).

Canadian civil marriage act (2005) defines marriage as “the lawful union of one two persons to the exclusion of others”. This definition of marriage excludes polygamy. Even though there were laws in Canada prohibiting polygamy before 2009, Winston Blackmore and James Oler were the first polygamists arrested in Canada in January 2009. The maximum penalty for polygamists is 5 years in jail. Although Canadian law assures freedom of religious expression, Polygamy is prohibited. Legal experts say the case promises to pit Canada's antipolygamy law against the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of religious expression.

Divine Command:

Divine command theory in Islam respect gender differences and it maintains equality between men and women. However, it is different in some cases. Divine command explains gender differences as being compatible to each other, which explains the differences in some cases. One of these few cases is polygamy.

Islamic law allows polygamy as stated in the quran “And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice between them, then marry only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course” (4:3).

There are several conditions to be maintained in order for the man to marry more than...

References: Kent, S. (2006, August). A matter of principle: fundamentalist Mormon polygamy, children, and human rights debates. Nova religio, 10(1), 7-29. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials database.
Polygamists arrested for first time in Canada. (2009, February 10). Christian Century, Retrieved June 18, 2009, from Humanities International Complete database.
Polygamy Is Against Women 's Human Rights and Their Dignity, Experts Say, (2000). Retrieved June 14, 2009, from http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/51DA40508951B238C12569 88002EE12E?opendocument
Polygamy reasons and conditions in Islam, (2007). Retrieved June 17, 2009, from http://akhawat.islamway.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=49647
Polygamy reasons in Islam, (2002). Retrieved June 14, 2009, from http://www.islamway.com/?iw_s=Article&iw_a=view&article_id=218#(1)
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