Muslims are piggybacking on the gay marriage caravan. This story, and survey results, from the Muslim
Brotherhood Link ed newspaper out of Maryland:
…nearly 70 percent said they believe that the U.S. should legalize polygamy…42 percent of those surveyed said they were either in, or knew others in polygamous marriages within the local Muslim community. Thirty nine percent said they would engage in a polygamous marriage if it were legal in the United States.
Many argue that polygamy is an exception to the free exercise of religion because known cases of polygamous marriages of young girls. This cast a shadow on the practice and many ignorantly equated it with pedophilia. Recent attacks on the Prophet Muhammad also equated his marriage to Aisha, who was nine at the time, as an act of pedophilia. In cases where religious practices are deemed harmful to individuals or to the public, the free exercise of religion no longer applies.
While Islam itself does not condone acts of homosexuality and though the mainstream Muslim community remains largely uninvolved with polygamy in the United States, there are a minority who still engage in the practice though largely in secrecy for fear of retribution. While some masajids require legal proof of marriage prior to granting an Islamic marriage, some Imams’ like Baltimore city’s Hassan Amin believe polygamy to be a god-given right that cannot be denied to those who are willing and able despite the potential legal ramifications.
“I don’t have any problem with that because it’s Deen. I’m doing it for religion,” said Amin who admits to performing polygamous marriages.
Amin, a sociology instructor at Sojourner-Douglass College of Baltimore regularly discusses polygamy in his classroom. Not only does he note its religious significance but the benefits it can have in American society, particularly in areas like Baltimore city where the poverty rate is high and many women find themselves on the welfare roll.
“We have in the world more women than men and if a man has the ability to take care of more than one women he should be able to do that,” said Amin. “As far as legalization, I think they should…We should strive to have it legalized because Allah has already legalized it.”
While Amin feels strongly about the good polygamy can do for the community, others feel as though the issue of polygamy is one that should remain in a historical context.
“The family institution in the U.S, whether it is Muslim or non-Muslim, is very delicate. The idea of having many partners and many, many children who are neglected or whose needs will not be met fully or even who will compete for gains is not a healthy one in this society. This society is full of much corruption without the addition of internal corruption. It is allowed in Islam, I do not argue this fact. Our Prophet allowed this but in today’s time we do not have the pure intentions and love for one another as they did in the past,” said one individual in a recent survey on polygamy conducted by The Muslim Link.
Approximately 42 percent of those surveyed said they were either in, or knew others in polygamous marriages within the local Muslim community. Thirty nine percent said they would engage in a polygamous marriage if it were legal in the United States.
One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, having been part of a polygamous relationship for fourteen years expressed her support for the institution arguing its ability to solve many moral ailments that plague today’s society.
“I believe the government should legalize polygyny because it is lawful in Islaam. It would enable all the wives to have the same legal status…As a matter of fact, I have discussed the issue with many non-Muslim women as well. The majority of them say that if polygyny was conducted the way that it is supposed to be according to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, they would have no problem with it. It is much better than committing adultery, fornication and having illegitimate children,” she wrote in response to the survey.
Born and raised in Christian family, she married a non-Muslim man at the age of twenty-two. One year later both her and her husband converted to Islam. They lived in a mongomous marriage for nine years before her husband approached her about marrying a second wife.
“When my husband told me that he wanted to marry another woman we discussed the issue and the three of us met and had discussions as well. There was a public nikah and waleemah at our masjid, and the whole community, including our children and [I], attended,” she said.
Though the second marriage ended in divorce after fourteen years, it ended on good terms.
Although those who said they would engage in polygamy if it were legal are the minority, nearly 70 percent said they believe that the U.S. should legalize polygamy now that it is beginning to legalize gay marriage.
As for opinions on whether or not Imams, like Amin should be allowed to conduct polygamous marriages despite polygamy being illegal in the United States, the results were almost split right down the middle with approximately 54 percent against the idea.
Polygamy is arguably not the most popular practice in the United States and even within religious communities where polygamy had an undeniable historical significance. However, the First Amendment was meant to protect even the least popular of practices on the basis that though they may not appeal to the general public, their existence and the rights therein should and will always be protected under constitutional law.
Still, some feel as though the Muslim community should be focused on fighting to protect the rights that they do have rather than rallying behind ones that could send the wrong message.
“We also need to consider that legalizing an issue makes it “okay” in a lot of people’s minds. If polygamy were okay, people who don’t understand it’s conditions may enter into such relationships that could prove very unhealthy, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The issue of polygamy is not fully understood by our own Muslim community for it to be taken to the U.S. government. I really think we should focus on fighting for the rights we currently are guaranteed under law but are not always granted,” wrote one young woman.
As for the American Muslim community and the practice of polygamy, Amin believes it is the responsibility of the Muslim leadership to represent its benefits both religiously and socially.
“As an Imam I have a responsibility to put Islam out there in all its beauty and glory. Even if I stand alone in doing this, Islam has be be out there and more imams have to stand up for Islam,” he said.
Though he doesn’t believe it is a necessary practice for everyone and notes that only those able to practice polygamy within the rules laid out in Islamic teaching should consider engaging in it, Amin feels its a reality that the American Muslim community should not hide or feel embarrassed by.
Causing Fitna sent us this audio/video of Muslims discussing polygamy in the U.S., where it is probably more rampant than anyone will admit:
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