تاریخ

Polygamy

کثرت ازواج

POLYGAMY (MULTIPLE MARRIAGES)

The term Polygamy stands for multiple simultaneous marriages. Polygamy is also categorized as Polygyny; marriage to multiple wives and Polyandry; marriage to multiple husbands.

Contemporarily, in most of the Islamic states like Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bangladesh, and South African Muslim majority countries, polygyny is allowed with provided consent of existing wives. However, in the Middle East, the Muslim Sharia Law of four wives for a man is enacted. As per Sharia law, consent of the wife is not necessary but parity among the wives is compulsory. Polygamy is on a high ratio in South Africa until 2012, Jacob Zuma, former South African president who married his six wives. In 2001, president Bashir of Sudan encouraged polygamy for boosting their population; to attain economic growth inspired by China and India’s big population.

Israel is a non-Muslim country that outlawed polygamy in 1977 but its practice is still prevalent in Israeli Bedouins. In 1650, the German parliament at Nuremberg sanctioned its men to marry with 10 wives to boost their population decreased in 30 years-long war. Polyandry rarely exists in the world; in some Tibetan areas of Nepal, India China, and a few African countries. The origin of polygamy is unknown, but history reveals, polygamy is an old tradition of humans. In ancient times polygamy prevailed for population boost which decreased in wars fought among the tribes. A large population was a tool of the political alliance between tribes and military might, helpful in farming and revenue generation. Sometimes it was done for rehabilitating and sheltering the widows and orphans of deceased soldiers.

In a pre-Islamic era, in the Arabic Peninsula, polyandry was allowed in form prostitution, heterosexuality, matrilineal marriage (where woman contracted marriage to multiple men of different tribes and used to stay in her own tribe, men married her could visit or reside with her for procreation of children). Besides, bigamous marriage (where a man used to allow his wife for heterosexuality with different men for procreation of children) was in practice. Apart from polyandry, different type of polygyny was prevalent for political alliances. Tribe commanders used to contract marriages with women belonging to different tribes to establish a political relationship with them. People used to buy war captive women from the slave markets for polygyny. Sometimes, the son of a deceased person took his stepmothers into marriage.

In Indian history examples of polygyny and polyandry is available, polygyny was common among the kings, rulers, wealthy families, and in Muslims societies. Polyandry was prevalent in the Himachal Pradesh of ancient India. Hindu epic Mahabharata exemplifies the tradition of polyandry in Indian history in which king Panchala’s daughter Draupadi married five brothers. In 1860, the Indian govt passed a law and legally restricted its Christian population from polygamy while in 1956, the same law restricted Hindus as well. Culturally Hindus can keep their 2nd wife with the legal status of mistress. However, Muslims of India can live polygamous life as per their religious practice.
In Pakistan polygyny is allowed, as per 1961 law, with the prior consent of the first wife. Although, polygyny is rare in Pakistan but on a high ratio in Sindh and Southern Punjab. According to Section 494 of the Pakistan Penal Code, polyandry is illegal in Pakistan.

A person who does polyandry shall be punished with imprisonment of a maximum of 07 years and may also be liable to pay a fine. Internationally, polygamy is legal in 58 Muslim majority states or in the non-Muslim states having sizeable Muslim minorities. Polygamy is totally prohibited in Australia, China, Russia, most American, and European countries. While in the UK, polygyny is valid with conditions, if a marriage ceremony took place in a country where laws permit polygamy and the couple was domiciled there at the time of their marriage. In 2000 world “Human Rights Commission” disapproved it on the basis of human rights violations. The majority of people consider polygamy against family planning.

The Bottom Line
Human history reveals that polygamy was mostly practiced in every part of the world for years. The number of wives was neither specified by religious scriptures nor social norms except after the dawn of Islam. As per my view, polygamy is the need of the day when the world population indicates the double or triple numbers of females as compared to males. The statistics also indicate that both married and non-married peopled indulge in an illegal sexual relationship with multiple sex partners where polygyny is not permitted by law. Such practices result in several incurable diseases likes AIDS etc and also destroy the family structures in such countries where the practice of polygamy is not legally approved.

میرا نام عمران خان رند بلوچ ہے۔میں ایک سماجی کارکن، کالم نگار اور دفاعی تجزیہ کار ہوں ۔اس کے ساتھ ساتھ دس برس سے صحت کے شعبے سے بھی منسلک ہوں ۔ Twitter/@ibaloch007

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