The Polygynist’s Teapot

800px-RusselGhooriMany people who are in favour of polygyny are so simply because they claim polygyny is permitted.

“Polygyny is good since Allah has made it permissible”.

That women suffer in polygyny is not important since polygynists claim womanhood benefits from it. That children suffer in polygyny is not important since polygynists claim the ummah benefits from it. That men suffer in polygyny is not important since islam says polygyny is a privilege, granted to men. And anyway, it must be good since Allah has permitted it.

That polygyny is a disaster to individuals, society and our future is not important. Because Allah has made it permissible. Hence, we are not to question its wisdom.

Problem is, I don’t buy the “It’s good because my imaginary friend says so”-argument. If you want to discuss polygamy, you have to be ready to do so with intellectual and emotional honesty. I am ready to accept any argument based on facts, no arguments based on a teapot in the solar system.

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time (Source: Bertrand Russell)

Sorry. You have to come up with something better than a teapot.

2 thoughts on “The Polygynist’s Teapot

  1. Fiona,
    You really have generated some profound and thoughtful commentary from your readers. I am impressed and grateful.

    God may be a real center point for some people, it may be an escape and an indulgence for others, it may be an excuse for violence for others. Obviously, Muslims believe that Allah told His messanger that polygamy was OK for men, so men have a right to it. Even if a believer accepts this as true, which as Muslims they must, I have read no quotes from believers that convince me that Allah told women they have to accept what men do, and that they are obligated to remain as children. This is something women reflexively assume, and live out as if it were true consequence of ceeding protection to men.

    Acting like a child when you are a child provokes a tender protectiveness from adults. Acting like a child when you are an adult is just pathetic. Female compliance, reaction, and complaint in the matter of polygyny is a choice women make in lieu of the hard job of adult responsibility in thought word and deed.

  2. Thank you Dale!

    I am very grateful to all my readers, and especially all those who take the time and make the effort to contribute. The discussion here is helpful to a lot of people!

    The compliance of women is frustrating, yes. And yet, I am one of the women who stayed. Am I an enabler? Yes, in a way. Are women culprits? Yes, in a way. We are enablers and victims and culprits. It is indeed a warped system that manages to make women believe that in their weakness lies their strength.

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