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Accusations Answered Section > The Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement as a Defender of Islam - II

The Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement as a Defender of Islam - II:
The Light (February 24, 1984, pp. 13-17)


 Marriage:


There were other grounds for attacking Islam and the Holy Prophet of Islam by the Christian missionaries. They contended Jesus Christ did not indulge in sex at all, as he did not marry. To retrain from marrying is not a good example, as the world would come to an end in one generation if that example were universally followed. Abstinence from lawful marriage is going against nature, if there is any natural urge in man. In any case, the present day research by some of the Christians themselves shows that Jesus Christ had married Mary Magdalene, either before his crucifixion or afterwards when he migrated to Kashmir. A few years ago, a German magazine published the photograph of a present-day family in Kashmir which claims descent from Jesus Christ, and has proof of it.


Polygamy:
As for polygamy, it was practised by almost all other prophets of the Bible, who sometimes had hundreds of wives. It is permitted in Islam in exceptional circumstances. For example, when there is an excess of women over men, such as during wars which create widows and orphans who need a husband and a father besides financial sustenance.

Even situations can arise when girls of marriageable age cannot find husbands within the community of their faith. In such a situation, polygamy is the only honourable solution. Even then Islam puts a maximum of four wives provided the husband can treat them all alike, failing which he should have only one wife (The Holy Quran: 4:3). Societies which did not allow it suffered complete breakdown of the moral fibre of the nation. As far back as the 1920's, Judge Lindsay in his book - A Case for Polygamy - estimated that there were, in the small society of England, as many as four million women compelled to become prostitutes, because they could not find husbands. A woman always needs the protection and security of a husband and a home to bring up her children, which is her biggest natural urge. It is the man who shuns the restrictions and obligations of marriage. If indulgence in sex is possible outside the obligations of marriage, he is all for it. So where there is a preponderance of women over men, and no polygamy is allowed, free sex springs up and it destroys the moral and spiritual health of the society. It is a terrible thing to happen. And who would care to marry widows and take over their children to look after, unless it is out of compassion which is recommended in the Qur'an by allowing polygamy (The Holy Quran: 4:3).

If the West is to avoid complete breakdown of the institution of marriage, and seriously wishes to check free extramarital sex, unwed mothers, bastard children, broken homes, juvenile delinquency, drunkenness to drown sorrows, and daily increasing crime, it should consider allowing polygamy.


Divorce:
As for divorce, in the times of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the Christian missionaries used to scoff at it as leading to moral laxity. Jesus Christ pronounced that the marriage knot tied in Heaven could not be untied on earth, except in the case of adultery. Now legalised divorce on general grounds is rampant in the West, which is more numerous than in the Muslim society. Separation of the husband and wife, which is much worse than divorce, is more common. What a sad state of affairs for those to find fault with the divorce, hedged in by conditions which Islam allowed! Things have changed. There is no need for us now to defend Islam on this ground as it was the case with Hazrat Mirza Sahib and his followers in the early decades of the past century. The West has learnt by bitter experience that Islam was right.


Slavery and Concubinage:
On these grounds, too, Islam was attacked viciously in the time of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. As wrong notions about them persist, both among Muslims and non-Muslims, even today, it is necessary to touch upon them very briefly. [For a detailed discussion, the reader is referred to the masterly book The Religion of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali.]

Any reader of the Holy Qur'an would know that the Holy Qur'an puts the highest premium on the freeing of slaves, which were held in custody in almost every home in Arabia. For the future, slavery was totally prohibited by Islam. It was made clear that human liberty could be taken away only in the case of prisoners taken in battle:

"It is not fit for a prophet that he should take prisoners unless he has fought and triumphed in the land. You desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter" (8:67-68).

Slavery was prohibited by the verse quoted above, except for prisoners of war, which could be taken only after a battle. Even these were not to be sold into slavery, as was the pre-Islamic custom, nor were they to be kept permanently — as made clear in another verse:

"Then when you have overcome (them), make prisoners and afterwards set them free as a favour or for ransom" (47:4).

May the choicest blessings of Allah descend upon the Holy Prophet, who adopted, in most cases, the former course of freeing the captives as a favour, except in the case of the seventy prisoners of the battle of Badr when light ransom was taken. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, being the perfect exemplar, thus set an example of both the alternatives.

As for slaves already existing in Muslim homes from the days of Jahiliyya (ignorance), their freeing was put at a high premium. Thus details of 'high virtue' (Birr) in 2:177 [of the Holy Quran] include 'to set slaves free'. Similarly, in deploring man for not taking 'the uphill road' of moral progress, it puts in the premier position 'to free a slave' (90:13). And there are other occasions when the freeing of a slave is accepted as a restitution for the violation of Divine law (e.g., 58:3). What more could be done? Even the State is directed to spend a part of the funds raised by Zakat (poor-rate) on purchasing the freedom of slaves (9:60).

It is absurd to say that while Islam sets so much store on the freeing of slaves, it also allowed the taking of slaves. Slavery is forbidden, as shown above, and the only thing allowed is the capturing of prisoners in a battle; even they are to be freed without ransom or with light ransom. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, even freed prisoners for teaching children and adults.


Concubinage:
If there is to be no slavery, then there can be no concubinage either, for concubines are nothing but female slaves turned into mistresses. There is no question of buying female slaves in the market. As for the female prisoners of war, they are to be set free without ransom, or with light ransom, as in the case of male captives. But the trouble about the female prisoners of war is that if they are sent back, even free, their menfolk are not prepared to take them back as they assume that the women must have been ravished by the captors, as was the common practice among Arabs before Islam, and as is the common lot of female prisoners today in all non-Islamic countries, even of the West.

Such disgraceful treatment of the female prisoners of war was not possible in the Holy Prophet's time or even under the Early Caliphate. When the moral standards were of the highest possible order. Not a single case is to be found in the history of those periods.

"And whoever among you cannot afford to marry free believing women, (let him marry) such of your believing maidens as your right hands possess. And Allah knows best your faith (i.e., do not set high standards for the faith of such women). Some of you are like others: So marry them with the permission of their masters, and give them their dowries justly … then if they are guilty of adultery when they are taken to marriage, they shall suffer half the punishment for free married women … " (4:25).

This important verse requires the following elucidation:

(1) If a Muslim cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, he may marry one of those ‘whom your right hands possess’.

(2) The much misunderstood term ‘whom your right hands possess’ has been much exploited. It is taken to mean concubines. To describe a concubine bought from the market or from her master as one 'whom your right hands possess' is a complete misnomer. The very use of the words whom your right hands have taken possession of (which is the correct rendering of the Arabic phrase mimma malakat aimanukum) clearly points to women captured in battle. That is where the right hand is used to take possession of a prisoner. To apply that phrase to a woman bought from a slave market or from a master is totally unwarrantable.

3) The Holy Qur'an still speaks of such a woman being taken in marriage with the permission of her master. Who is this master? It was the practice of the Holy Prophet and the latter-day Muslim commanders to distribute all prisoners, male or female, to the soldiers as part of the spoils of war. They were kept in homes, sometimes in a better way than the master or the mistress of the Muslim home, but always at least on the same scale of living. It is this 'master' spoken of in the verse under consideration. If they are now kept in a war prison, the Government holding them is the ‘master’.

(4) Why are ‘those whom your right hands possess’ mentioned in this and other places separately from free women? That is also explained in this very verse. If the former are guilty of adultery after marriage, their punishment is to be half that of free married women. It is because of the separate treatment under the Quranic law of these women who have come recently from a non-Muslim society and, therefore, the same high moral standards cannot be expected from them, that their separate mention was required.

Incidentally, the punishment of stoning to death for married men or women found guilty of adultery cannot possibly be permissible in Islam:

(a) The Holy Qur'an, which is the paramount authority on Muslim law, does not prescribe stoning to death for any crime whatsoever.

(b) It prescribes instead one hundred strokes for adultery, whether committed by man or women, married or unmarried.

(c) One hundred strokes can be halved as required in verse 4:25 of the Holy Qur'an, but not the stoning to death.

Anyway, because of the clear ban on sexual indulgence outside marriage (24:33) and the requirement that even the women 'whom your right hands possess' must be married properly (4:25), concubinage is simply not permissible in Islam.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, being the perfect exemplar, properly married those female prisoners of war whom he took as wives. Much has been made by the Christian critics of the case of Mary the Copt, who was presented to the Holy Prophet by the King of Egypt. That he had married her too is now an established fact beyond doubt.

We will end by saying that the Promised Messiah and his followers were, and still are, dedicated defenders of Islam, the Holy Prophet and the Holy Qur'an. The defence of Islam was the first task entrusted by the Holy Qur'an to the Promised Messiah (61: 9, 10, and 14), and he discharged his task to perfection. It is his inspiration which motivates his followers to rise to the defence of Islam, the Holy Prophet and the Holy Qur'an against all attacks and criticism.


This page was printed from the 'Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam)'
located at
http://aaiil.org or http://www.aaiil.org

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