Saturday, April 30, 2016
Amongst the multitudes of beings created by God in His omnipotence are creatures of great luminosity called angels. They are divine servants of impeccable loyalty who convey God’s commands throughout the length and breadth of the universe, attending to the workings of His immeasurable kingdom under His all-seeing eye. Their numbers perforce are legion.
The cosmic machine must run with flawless and never-ending consistency. The earth, moon, sun and stars must revolve in their pre-ordained orbits for all eternity. God has willed this to be so, and His angels are divine instruments through which he ensures the perfect functioning of the universe.
From time immemorial a water cycle of awesome complexity has continued to support life in its myriad forms. Trees and plants of tremendous diversity emerged from the hearth at every instant. A whole host of creatures from Man right down to the humblest insect are born and provided for every day. How is it then that such a great multiplicity of events – all of them extremely complex – can take place contemporaneously?
The Prophets in their wisdom have taught that this is all part of a divine order which the Almighty control through invisible angels acting as His intermediaries. It is they who carry out His commandments and communicate His word to the prophets. They preserve a record of man’s actions by means of which God decides which individuals and which nations shall be rewarded or punished. It is the angels who take possession of the human soul at the moment of death, and it is they who will sound the last trumpet which shall throw the whole universe into disarray. It is then that the righteous shall dwell forever in Paradise, while the sinful shall be cast down into hell-fire and eternal damnation.
When a machine is produced it is accompanied by a set of instructions for its use. An engineer is also commissioned to give a practical demonstration of how the machine functions. Man is an even more intricately designed but animate machine. When he is born, he suddenly find himself in a world where no mountain bears an inscription answering questions concerning the nature of the world, or explaining how he should live on earth. No educational institution produces experts who know the secret of life or who can provide man with practical guidance.
To satisfy this need felt by man. God sent His prophets to the world, every one of whom brought with him the word of God. In the scriptures revealed to them, God has explained the reality of life to man, and has made it clear what man should and should not do. They showed man what sentiments and ideas he should adopt; how he should remember his Lord; how he should live with his fellows, what he should associate himself with and disassociate himself from. The prophets’ lives are a practical demonstration of how a person should live a God-fearing life.
God has given everyone the power to distinguish between right and wrong. He has also placed countless signs in space and on earth from which man can learn. Moreover, His revelations have been set down in human language and several of His servants chosen from amongst mankind as prophets, so that there should be no doubt as to the true path.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
In terms of the birth rate, men and women are almost equal in number. But subsequently, for a variety of reasons, the number of men in society decrease, leaving an excess of women. Now the question arises as to what should be the solution to this problem. In view of the inevitability of this imbalance, how is a healthy relationship between the sexes to be established? The choice for us, therefore, is not between monogamy and polygamy, but rather, between lawful polygamy of Islam or the illicit polygamy of non-Islamic peoples.
Records show that male and female births are almost equal in number. But a study of mortality shows that the rate is higher for men than for women. This disparity is in evidence from early childhood to extreme old age. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: “In general, the risk of death at any given age is less for female than for males.”
The proportionately higher numbers of women in society can be traced to a variety of causes. For instance, when war breaks out, the majority of the casualties are men. In the First World War (1914 – 1918) about 8 million soldiers were killed. Most of the civilians killed were also men. In the Second World War (1939 – 1945) about 60 million people were either killed or maimed for life, most of them men. In the Iraq – Iran war alone (1979 – 1988), 82,000 Iranian women and about 100,000 Iraqi women were widowed. All in the space of ten years.
Another drain on the availability of men in society is imprisonment. In the U.S., the most civilized society modern times, no less than 1,300,00 people are convicted daily for one crime or another. A number of them – 97% of whom are men – are obliged to serve lengthy prison sentences.
There is no country in which accidents do not take place every day on the streets, in the factories and wherever sophisticated, heavy machinery is handled by human beings. In this modern industrial age, such accidents are so much on the increase that a whole new discipline has come into being – safety engineering. According to data collected in 1967, in that year a total of 175,00 people died as a result of accidents in fifty different countries. Most of these were men.
One point greatly in need of clarification is the fact that in the matter of marrying more than one woman, the initiative does not lie solely with any individual man. There is always the condition – an inescapable one – that whatever the society, the women should outnumber the men. Suppose the earth were inhabited by one billion people out of which 500 million were women. It would not then be possible in such a situation for a man to have more than one wife. A second, third or fourth wife would be obtained only by force. But in Islam, a forced marriage is not considered lawful. According to the shari’ah the willingness of the bride-to-be is a compulsory condition.
By following the principle of monogamy, hundreds of thousands of women fail to find husbands for themselves and are thus denied an honorable place in society. Monogamy as an absolute principle may seem pleasing to some, but events show that this is not fully practicable in the world of today. The choice for us, therefore, is not between monogamy and polygamy, but rather between the lawful polygamy of Islam and the illicit polygamy of non-Islamic peoples. The latter system leaves “surplus” women to lead lives of sexual anarchy and social destruction. The former, on the other hand, permit them to opt on their own free will for marriage with anyone can give fair treatment to more than one wife.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1984) aptly concludes that one reason for adopting polygamy is surplus of women. Among most peoples who permit or prefer it, the large majority of men live in a state of monogamy because of limited number of women.
To have more than one wife is not an ideal in Islam. It is, in essence, a practical solution to a social problem.
Friday, April 15, 2016
Worship is a reality, not just an outward form. What is true worship? It is an attachment to one object above all else. It presupposes such overwhelming preoccupation with that one object that everything else is reduced to insignificance. Claims to spiritual allegiance are of no value if one’s chosen object of worship is other than spiritual.
When one considers a person worthy of being bowed to, one is actually worshipping that person. When one attaches so much importance to some worldly gain that one tends to overlook all other considerations in order to achieve it, one is actually worshipping that gain. When one associates all one’s hopes and ambitions with wealth, one is worshipping wealth.
In like manner, one is worshipping custom when one places it above all other demands. One is worshipping one’s own self when, overwhelmed by selfishness and antipathy, one blindly seeks revenge. One is worshipping the standard of living when one is so obsessed with the idea of improving it that one devotes one’s entire time and earning to that end. One is worshipping fame if one is so greedy for rank and prestige that one will do anything to raise one’s status in life. One should never forget that man is being tried in this world to determine whether he is willing to devote himself entirely to God to the exclusion of all else, one to give proof of whether he dedicates himself to God, revering Him, depending upon him and serving as he should.
Saturday, April 9, 2016
People who would outlaw polygamy have to pay the price. That is, they are forced to tolerate men and women having illicit relations, which is surely a much more unsavory state of affairs. Failure to control a natural process whereby the male population dwindles, leaving “surplus” women, coupled with the outlawing of polygamy, has given rise to the evil of the “mistress” (defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a woman who has sexual intercourse with and, often, is supported by a man for more or less extended period of time without being married to him; paramour”). This, in effect, sets up a system of illegal polygamy.
The system of keeping a mistress in prevalent in all those countries, including India, where there are legal constraints on polygamy or where polygamy is looked down upon socially. In such a situation, the real problem is not whether or not to adopt polygamy. The real problem is whether or not to legalize its adoption. The problem of surplus women in society can be solved only by polygamy, whether we choose to consider it legal or not.
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