Religion is a topic that should be discussed with the utmost grace and caution. When it comes to Islam, which is the official religion for Malaysia, this rule is even more enforced, for saying the wrong thing could get you imprisoned.
Therefore, when a screenshot of a government portal encouraging polygamy as a means for husbands with insatiable sexual desires to outsource that lust onto women other than their existing wife went viral, many felt reluctant to speak up on the issue.
Thrusted into our attention by Twitter user @monkeydisease, her tweet has since accumulated over 900 retweets and 900 likes.
Take a look:
— Annatasha (@monkeydisease) February 20, 2021
The screenshot comes from malaysia.gov.my which is the main government portal. Many felt the paragraph uploaded by the Twitter user was a misconstrued version of what polygamy is.
Netizens were quick to give their two cents on the matter, stating that polygamy is there for a reason, and that it is not solely present to satisfy a man’s sexual desires and lust.
For context, the other reasons for polygamy in Islam according to the government’s site are:
Netizens were not the only people disturbed by this oversimplification of polygamy on a government portal. Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir also gave his statement on why this dilution is problematic and could cause serious misunderstandings on the concepts of Islam.
In an Instagram post, the MP clarified that with polygamy comes various caveats that can be imposed on the husband. If the husband does not meet the necessary requirements, he could face serious repercussions.
View this post on Instagram
By simply stating that polygamy is an easy way out of avoiding the slumps that comes with marriage, it gives men the idea that they can just marry anyone as long as they get to satisfy their selfish needs.
In actuality, polygamy has many strict rules.
To illustrate, according to the Islamic Family Law Enactment 2006 Section 23: Polygamy:
- Marriage that does not adhere to the Hukum Syarak is invalid.
- The marriage has to be accompanied by a set of guidelines where the man must adhere to commitments as a husband, financial obligations and liabilities, be witnessed by his dependants and most importantly, have permission from existing wives for the union to be just.
- The court will only grant permission when the marriage is necessary, in the case of sterility, physical infirmary, physical unfitness for conjugal relations, and insanity on the part of the existing wife/wives.
- The man must be able to support all wives financially and equally, in terms of physical and emotional wherewithals.
- The union must not cause any physical, emotional turmoil to the existing wives.
These caveats are noticeably absent on the page, which gives people the wrong idea about polygamy.
It’s not only detrimental to the image of Islam but it can also cause serious harm to women in Malaysia, for the lack of education and clear explanation on the rules of polygamy might lead to negligence and infidelity.
Therefore, it is important for the portal to astutely disclose all information so that there is no room for misunderstandings.
Contrary to what has been written on the portal, polygamy is a serious responsibility and it can only be done as a last resort.
It is not a sly way for men to get away with having multiple partners to satiate their lust or avoid their duties as a husband. This misconception strays far from the reason polygamy was practiced in the first place, which was a way to financially, emotionally and physically support women who were widows due to war.
With every piece of information in the world, it is always best to do your research and take things with a grain of salt. Following rules blindly without knowing its origins and purpose will lead to harm to yourself and to others.