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Islam for non-Muslims
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Servetus
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2008 at 11:56am

Thank you, Ron.  I have reviewed the link that you kindly provided and notice that, at least as I read it, the rabbinic ban on polygyny is not necessarily perpetual:  

“He [Gershom ben Judah] is famous for his religious bans within Judaism, which include: the prohibition of polygamy for 1,000 years.”

It sounds to me as though, given the years during which Gershom ben Judah lived and wrote, the ban on polygamy within Orthodox Judaism has either expired or soon will.

Best regards,

Serv

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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2008 at 1:07pm

You're absolutely right, Servetus.  If you take "a thousand years" literally, then the ban technically expired a few years ago.  However, I don't think there is anything magical about a thousand years.  I think the phrase was intended to mean "for the forseeable future".  Anyway, I don't see any rush among Jewish rabbis bring back polygamy.  The reasons Gershom banned it are if anything even stronger today than they were in his time.

This issue is a lot like slavery, which is also mentioned in the Old Testament.  Both slavery and polygamy may have made sense in ancient times, when constant warfare meant a perpetual shortage of men and a periodic surplus of orphan (enemy) children; but they have no place in modern times.

That is not to say that there will never come a time when polygamy and even slavery may become acceptable or even beneficial again.  Perhaps if some horrible disease wiped out half of the male population, then both Christian and Jewish leaders would advocate a return to polygamy.  That's what I meant by a "living, progressive" religion.

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Servetus
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Posted: 19 May 2008 at 12:36pm

Ron,

 

To my view, there is every reason to think, or to assume, that Jewish legal injunctions, when they stipulate a time limit, are quite possibly literal.  The Gaonate was operating in diaspora and many of the Mosaic laws, not to mention temple rites & rituals, were necessarily in abeyance.  That is part of the Jewish experience and sojourn.

 

One notes, for instance, and as you originally pointed out, that it is primarily among the Ashkenazim, or dwellers in (heretofore largely Christian) Europe and North America, that the prohibition against polygamy was most universally applied.  Among the Sephardim, on the other hand, who were often located in Islamic countries, the practice, according to the author of the article below, although increasingly discountenanced, was nevertheless continued.

 

You wrote:  The reasons Gershom banned it [polygamy] are if anything even stronger today than they were in his time.”

 

I haven’t read his decision, but if it involved the costs, then I would have to agree.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if one is ill-advised, from a financial standpoint, to take even one wife:  Smile

 

”Even in the Orient monogamy [among Jews] soon became the rule and polygamy the exception; for only the wealthy could afford the luxury of many wives.”  (Jewish Encyclopedia)

 

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=425&letter=P

 

Thanks, again.  I hadn’t looked into this issue in detail until this ongoing discussion.

 

Best regards,

 

Serv

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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 20 May 2008 at 6:15am
It is interesting that having no polygamy is viewed as "progressive" when it can be argued that it is a detrement to women to not have choice.
 
For instance, there are far more women then men out there. (except in China and one or two areas of India). Women are more likely to be in poverty and stay in poverty if unmarried. If there are not enough men, who should women marry (assuming they'd like to marry)?
 
Men earn more then women, that is the case and you can create all the laws you want, but the reality is that they do. And why not, if a man is wealthy enough, should he not have more than one wife?
 
Anf if you ask many women would you want 50% of a good man or 100% of a bad one they'll take the first.  It actually raised the options for women.
 
Islam is a very basic religion in which part of the component is taking care of people. People should be provided for and the fact that there are more women then men forces women to not get married if they want to, or forces them into arrangements that may be detremental. 
 
And on top of it, women live longer than men, should she go without the comforts of a partner? 1 woman-1 man is not practical. And Islam is about practicality.
 
if there were not secualr laws to deal with, a single woman could marry any man (Muslim of course) and why not pick one with a proven track record of being a good husband and father?
 
And honestly, it can seem like a "great thing" for the guy but let me tell you, it is not easy. Knowing people in these situations, hard trying to please two women.. lol
 
Islam is about rights and protecting those rights. I as a woman have the right to get married and all the benefits of marriage. And this provides me with far more optionsthen if I can only marry those not attached.
 
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 20 May 2008 at 7:37pm

Originally posted by Hayfa

For instance, there are far more women then men out there. (except in China and one or two areas of India).

Sorry, Hayfa, but that's just not true.  Overall, men outnumber women slightly.  You're right that women outlive men by several years, but men outnumber women by about 5% at birth.  At the age when most people get married the difference is not significant.  If you want country--by-country stats, you can look here: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/indwm/tab1a.htm

Men earn more then women, that is the case and you can create all the laws you want, but the reality is that they do. And why not, if a man is wealthy enough, should he not have more than one wife?

(Well, there go my illusions about women marrying for love. Smile )

To answer your question: He shouldn't, because he would be leaving some other man unmarried.  Some things money can't buy; and even if it can, it shouldn't.  The opportunity to be married and have a family is one of those things.

And if egalitarianism doesn't move you, consider the theory, which I think has some credibility, that a surplus of unmarried men is a major cause of social unrest and potential violence.  Having a wife and kids quite literally gives a man something to live for.  Without it, he will redirect his passion in other ways, which may be unhealthy both for himself and for his society.

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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 21 May 2008 at 6:02am
Well your statisitcs show most places have more women then men.. except for countries in war or India ot China.. go look at it again! Here in US women outnumber men.. (never mind those in prison, a whole added issue)
 
And really why not? Why should I not have he choice?? Men are dominant in 99% of soceities. Men are physically stronger, why should I not marry who I want? 
 
These women out causing trouble, I bet, also have kids, they sleep around, there IS no commitment. Why should I marry one of those???
 
 
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Quote honeto Replybullet Posted: 22 May 2008 at 9:59am
Ron, I go to citydata.com a lot to play where I am going to go next. Each time randomly I go a place, I get delighted, more women.Big%20smile I haven't come accross a single place here in the US search that brought different results.
Just for this post, I went to three cities, and here is my delight. No, but I am a married man, and I know my limits.
Hasan
 
Chicago:
Males: 1,405,107   (48.5%)
Females: 1,490,909   (51.5%)
 
Houston:
Males: 975,551   (49.9%)
Females: 978,080   (50.1%)
 
Omaha:
Males: 190,032   (48.7%)
Females: 199,975   (51.3%)
39:64 Proclaim: Is it some one other than God that you order me to worship, O you ignorant ones?"
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 22 May 2008 at 6:32pm

Originally posted by Hayfa

Well your statisitcs show most places have more women then men.. except for countries in war or India ot China.. go look at it again! Here in US women outnumber men.. (never mind those in prison, a whole added issue)

Ermm My fault for pointing you to a misleading Web page.  Yes, most countries do have slightly more women than men -- except for India and China, and that's a mighty big "except".  Those are the two most populace countries in the world.  Together they represent more than a third of the world's population.

Wikipedia quotes the 2001 World Almanac as saying that there are 101.3 men for every 100 women.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women 

In fact, the ratio at birth is more like 105 men for 100 women (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_ratio), and that ratio continues for young men and women into their twenties, when most marriages take place.   The ratio doesn't flip in favour of women until the mid-thirties or so.  You can see a graph for the United States that makes this clear here: http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/people/a_gender.html

Anyway, there's no point in quibbling over a few percentage points either way.  Widespread polygamy would soon overwhelm such minor differences, leaving a substantial number of men with no possibility of marriage.  That is a recipe for social unrest.

And really why not? Why should I not have he choice?? Men are dominant in 99% of soceities. Men are physically stronger, why should I not marry who I want?

Well, if you're asking me, I would agree that you should be able to marry whoever you want, but that's only because I am a libertarian when if comes to matters of sexuality and family life.  It just seems rather incongruous to me that a Muslim should argue for personal choice here, to the detriment of society as a whole.  I strongly doubt that you would say the same about same-sex marriage, or group sex, or extramarital sex, etc.



Edited by Ron Webb - 22 May 2008 at 6:37pm
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