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Offline Khalid Zia

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Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« on: January 10, 2014, 08:37:33 AM »
This is critique of the follow article by Joseph Islam:

Marrying 4 wives in Islam

http://quransmessage.com/articles/four%20wives%20FM3.htm

A general point:

Dearest Mr. Joseph Islam has not liked me questioning his Arabic credentials, but here is the problem:

1. I have read many of his articles and they show a weakness of understanding the Arabic language. Now, there are not major glaring errors, but a shade here and nuance there can make all the difference.

2. When the author differs from an issue from Traditional Islam relating to the Quranic Arabic and the Arabic language in a wider context, then there is a lack of care. For Arabic language and linguistics he is dependent on Traditional Islam - whose scholars have safe-guarded the language and transmitted it to us. And if you are going to differ from countless brilliant scholars and their understanding - then you should have real good reason.



This issue relates to the verse 4:3

وإن خفتم ألا تقسطوا في اليتامى فانكحوا ما طاب لكم من النساء مثنى وثلاث ورباع فإن خفتم ألا تعدلوا فواحدة أو ما ملكت أيمانكم ذلك أدنى ألا تعولوا

And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. 

Although the verse relates to Orphans - but herein is clear permission to marry up to 4 women.

***

The author states:

Quote
It is interesting to note that the verse that is usually read to acknowledge polygny up to a maximum of four wives isn't really sanctioning a number nor is it encouraging multiple marriages. Legitimate enquiries do arise, why 'four', why not 'five' 'six' or 'three'? Why not leave it open to the individual to assess their means and ability to make a decision? Why the use of a seemingly arbitrary number of 4? These are quite pertinent questions.

Simple answer. Quran has restricted it to four.

***

Quote
It can clearly be read, that the main focus of the verse is to prohibit any form of injustice occurring by compromising the 'orphans'. Verse 4:127 seems to elaborate further by indicating that this was possibly due to men not giving the orphans prescribed portions due to desire of marriage.

The main 'draw' of verse 4:3 is not necessarily to stipulate a number of wives but rather, to keep men away from compromising the orphans.

Yet, the permission of marrying up to four women is general and not restricted.

***

Quote
We note the Arabic term "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" (Literally: (by/in) twos and threes and fours) which seems to simply denote a multiplicity. The exact same phrase is used in 35.1 when describing the wings of angels and its multiplicity.

The author alleges that there is no upper limit of marriage to 4 women but the indication is of multiplicity and he further cites the verse 35.1.

He further states:

Quote
Therefore, if the phrase "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" ((by/in) twos and threes and fours) is examined with the phrase read in 35.1, one concludes that verse 4:3 is not advancing a 'limiting allowance' to marry up to 4 wives. Rather, its purport seems to be focused in to drawing away from any potential injustice to the orphans by asking the believers to marry other believing women in whatever numbers.

The contention is that Quran has not used normal numbers but another form of word roughly translated as twos, threes and fours. But what does it mean to marry in "twos"? In this form it does not make much sense. And this the author took to mean multiplicity rather than set upper limit.

However this form of number also denote:

"two at a time"

or

"three at a time"

or

"four at a time"

and the limit is four. If the Quran had wished to imply multiplicity then there are words aplenty to choose from and much more clearer.

If one wishes to act upon EXACTLY what the Quran stated then one has to accept the limit Quran set is 4 at a time.

And why use this form of numbers?

This makes clear that one can have up to 4 wives in a single instance. For example:

If someone has four wives and one passes away then he can marry another wife. Although he has had 4 wives but in a single instance he is allowed to marry up to form.

And this, I think, is a better understanding of why the Quran used this form of numbers. However there is room for the interpretation the author has understood, and there is some support for it within Traditional Islam. However, on balance, for the reasons outlined, I do not think it is the best interpretation.





 

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 09:05:55 AM »
Dear brother Khalid,

Wa alaikum assalam

From my humble experience, it has never been an easy task even from a well-argued academic perspective to challenge traditional scholarship. If it is not the argument, then it one’s academic institution, if it is not the institution, then it is the credibility of the teachers that one has learnt from, if it is not that, then it is motives, background, race or colour. To refute an argument, anything goes, even the most derogatory form of Ad Hominem.

This is admittedly not restricted to traditional scholarship. You will have noted my discourses with Quranists too.

However, you have hitherto appeared to show a willingness to engage, to possibly accept a better argument but trust me, many within the traditional ambit of thought are vitriolic to an extent that even you would find unpalatable. They would not even entertain an argument that challenges what they have believed for centuries, even if the argument is presented from the Quran foremost and is incontrovertible.

However, let me respectfully respond to a few comments shared by your kind self.

You share:

"If the Quran had wished to imply multiplicity then there are words aplenty to choose from and much more clearer."

I could easily argue, that if the Quran wanted to say marry only up to 4 wives, it too could have used a more exact, explicit expression. However, I would still assert that the primary place to understand a term or a phrase is the Quran foremost. The same expression used in verse 4:3 is also used in verse 35:1 where the meaning is arguably 'multiplicity'.

004:003
"And if ye fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, (by/in) twos and threes and fours (Arabic: mathna wathulatha waruba'a) but if you fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice."
 
035:001
"Praise be to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who makes the angels, messengers with wings, (by/in) twos, and threes and fours (Arabic: mathna wathulatha waruba'a). He adds to Creation as He pleases: for God has power over all things"
 
Therefore in my humble opinion, no secondary source can provide precedence over a primary interpretation that is derived from the Quran.

However, I do note your intellectual honesty with your statement:

"And this, I think, is a better understanding of why the Quran used this form of numbers. However there is room for the interpretation the author has understood, and there is some support for it within Traditional Islam. However, on balance, for the reasons outlined, I do not think it is the best interpretation."

With respect and regards,
Joseph
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Khalid Zia

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 09:55:59 AM »
Salam,

Quote
From my humble experience, it has never been an easy task even from a well-argued academic perspective to challenge traditional scholarship. If it is not the argument, then it one’s academic institution, if it is not the institution, then it is the credibility of the teachers that one has learnt from, if it is not that, then it is motives, background, race or colour. To refute an argument, anything goes, even the most derogatory form of Ad Hominem.

This is admittedly not restricted to traditional scholarship. You will have noted my discourses with Quranists too.

However, my point stands... and is completely valid. If you are going to challenge centuries old understanding and scholarship then you must bring something really good and be of excellent caliber. And if you do not have sufficient authority over Arabic then the likely chance is that it is you who is incorrect...



Quote
I could easily argue, that if the Quran wanted to say marry only up to 4 wives, it too could have used a more exact, explicit expression.

And I would argue that this is what Quran does imply by changing the type of numbers used. And this is exactly how these numbers are meant to be understood. As it is the Quran that actually does limit the number to 4 wives.

***

Quote
However, I would still assert that the primary place to understand a term or a phrase is the Quran foremost. The same expression used in verse 4:3 is also used in verse 35:1 where the meaning is arguably 'multiplicity'.

I am sorry, I actually did intend to address this verse . . . which I will do so now. Again the meaning is NOT multiplicity - here the number are even more exacting:

الحمد لله فاطر السماوات والأرض جاعل الملائكة رسلا أولي أجنحة مثنى وثلاث ورباع يزيد في الخلق ما يشاء إن الله على كل شيء قدير


[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. [Q 35:1]

The verse makes it clear that angels have wings two, three or four. Once cannot understand this as meaning that angels have more than 4 wings. Here the only shade of meaning left is that these number imply:

2 and 2

3 and 3

4 and 4

That is multiples of the same number. The classical lexicons make this clear. I implore you to at least view Lane's for the word Muthana.

***

Quote
Therefore in my humble opinion, no secondary source can provide precedence over a primary interpretation that is derived from the Quran.


Yet showing another usage is not showing interpretation. And in this instance, this is a question of language and looking at meanings of these number forms.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 10:31:17 AM »
Dear brother Khalid,

As-salam alaykum

I implore you with utmost respect, please do not refer to my understanding of Arabic again. I am not going to give you a list of my credentials nor provide claims of my background, my fluency of Arabic or anything else. Neither do I share my credentials nor do I demand to ask others theirs'. I simply respond to the arguments regardless of who makes them.

Up till now, I have not challenged your credentials, demanded proof of your scholarship, nor do I think it is necessary to do so.

If you do not agree with an interpretation I have shared, then counter it giving your evidence. I will do my best to clarify if I deem appropriate.

I do not accept your interpretation of the angel's wings as limiting to 4 both linguistically or contextually. The verse actually sets the context by implying multiplicity in the remainder of the verse.

You state:

"That is multiples of the same number. The classical lexicons make this clear."

Please can you share with me clear evidence from a classical lexicon or source that the phrase "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" is limiting to four.

Regards,
Joseph
 
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Khalid Zia

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 11:30:37 AM »
Salam,

Quote
I implore you with utmost respect, please do not refer to my understanding of Arabic again. I am not going to give you a list of my credentials nor provide claims of my background, my fluency of Arabic or anything else. Neither do I share my credentials nor do I demand to ask others theirs'. I simply respond to the arguments regardless of who makes them.

Equally - with respect - if you are going to comment upon Sunni Islam and imply years of scholarship has been wrong... then why are you so afraid of your credentials being challenged? It is a legitimate question!

If something shows lack of understanding and this understanding is regarding the Arabic language - then I have to state my disagreement and state that this shows lack of understanding in Arabic. Surely the right way is to counter and explain why it doesn't! Rather than stifling this?

It is your site and forum - I accept that you have complete autonomy to dictate whatever terms you wish.



Quote
I do not accept your interpretation of the angel's wings as limiting to 4 both linguistically or contextually. The verse actually sets the context by implying multiplicity in the remainder of the verse.

On what basis? You have not given any. With the utmost respect, your simple disagreement is not good enough.



Quote
Please can you share with me clear evidence from a classical lexicon or source that the phrase "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" is limiting to four.

I am sorry - but I find the question illogical and somewhat silly. I think you are well aware that classical lexicons by their very nature ONLY deal with single words and not phrases. So how is it fair to ask the above? 

It is simple logic. One can understand this even in English.

Example:

"Butterflies have wings in twos, threes or fours"

It is understood by the above phrase that the upper limit is 4. Here it would mean 2 on each side.

Example:

"John, line up these people in twos, threes or fours"

It is understood by the above phrase that the upper limit is 4.

***

My Dearest Brother-in-Faith - I have not once made a personal remark against you. Please try to concentrate your efforts in answering the objections raised rather than taking unintended umbrage.


Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 12:09:32 PM »
Dear brother Khalid,

Wa alaikum assalam

Please see my responses to your comments in blue italics.

"Equally - with respect - if you are going to comment upon Sunni Islam and imply years of scholarship has been wrong... then why are you so afraid of your credentials being challenged? It is a legitimate question!"

There is nothing fantastic about such a statement. Individuals of other denominations that would not hesitate to pronounce both you and me 'kaffir' have made similar demands. I have also heard this type of statement from Christian missionaries and those from other world faiths when critiquing their 'centuries / milennia' of scholarship.

The answer is simple. It is the strength of the argument that matters. I don't care who makes it. Furthermore, the fact that I wish to maintain anonymity is my prerogative and thus makes it futile for me to make any claims of credentials. No one will ever be able to verify them.

"It is your site and forum - I accept that you have complete autonomy to dictate whatever terms you wish."

Yes it is and if I feel that a discussion is unnecessarily tedious, argumentative or personal, I will curtail it. With utmost respect, no one is being forced to share their thoughts on this forum.

"I think you are well aware that classical lexicons by their very nature ONLY deal with single words and not phrases."

I do not disagree with this. However, 'phrases' have specific meanings in their languages. It is a fallacy to apply an expression from another language onto a classical text from a different language though I understand you attempted to give an analogy.

The expression "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" which is better rendered " (by/in) twos, and threes and fours" is under discussion as to its best meaning.

I have asserted that this expression from verse 35:1 denotes multiplicity when it makes no sense to understand wings of angels as in 2s or 3s or 4s or to limit the number of wings by this expression. The indication is one of multiplicity also given support by the expression "He adds to Creation as He pleases: for God has power over all things" My rendition of this expression is from the Quran and not any secondary source.
 
"On what basis? You have not given any. With the utmost respect, your simple disagreement is not good enough."

Please see my previous response.

My Dearest Brother-in-Faith - I have not once made a personal remark against you. Please try to concentrate your efforts in answering the objections raised rather than taking unintended umbrage.

I have been very patient and have given much time to your responses. I have also treated you with utmost respect. I will do my best to answer queries on this forum. However, if I find that posts get unnecessarily repetitive, tedious or more importantly personal, I will curtail discussion. As I have mentioned, no one is forced to write on this forum.

With respect and regards,
Joseph
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Khalid Zia

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 12:32:59 PM »
Salam  :D,

Quote
There is nothing fantastic about such a statement. Individuals of other denominations that would not hesitate to pronounce both you and me 'kaffir' have made similar demands. I have also heard this type of statement from Christian missionaries and those from other world faiths when critiquing their 'centuries / milennia' of scholarship.

The answer is simple. It is the strength of the argument that matters. I don't care who makes it. Furthermore, the fact that I wish to maintain anonymity is my prerogative and thus makes it futile for me to make any claims of credentials. No one will ever be able to verify them.

With all due respect, when Harun Yahyah critiques Science of Evolution and Professor Dawkins questions his credentials... then this is not about being fantastical. You are right - arguments still have to be countered - as I am doing. But, if one repeatedly sees objection and they all highlight one thing... then it is well worth questioning credentials. As was the case with Yahya Vs. Dawkins.

*** 

Quote
I do not disagree with this. However, 'phrases' have specific meanings in their languages. It is a fallacy to apply an expression from another language onto a classical text from a different language though I understand you attempted to give an analogy.

But how do you know the above is an idiomatic phrase? As I have shown - simple dictionary meanings reveal a lot about the words. Saying "twos, threes and fours" is NOT a phrase. No such phrase exists in any language.

***

Quote
The expression "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" which is better rendered " (by/in) twos, and threes and fours" is under discussion as to its best meaning.

With respect - I do not think you have bothered to read what I have already written. This is not better rendered as what you claim it is better rendered as.

These number forms have specific meanings. Please refer to the Lane's Lexicon and the actual Arabic lexicons. I have already given the meanings above! And I have already pointed to this reference also.

***

Quote
I have asserted that this expression from verse 35:1 denotes multiplicity when it makes no sense to understand wings of angels as in 2s or 3s or 4s or to limit the number of wings by this expression.

Yet - you have no reason to do so. And it makes perfect sense to understand wings of angel in twos, threes and fours. I have already explained this. You are not counter what I have already explained  you are merely repeating your self.

***

Quote
The indication is one of multiplicity also given support by the expression "He adds to Creation as He pleases: for God has power over all things" My rendition of this expression is from the Quran and not any secondary source.

There is no support to "multiplicity" in this expression. Let me put it like this: I can use this as support for my claims on THE EXACT SAME TOKEN as you have done.

Whereas I restrict to the number Quran has actually restricted to and you do not. There phrase simply says that the Almight adds - and the Almighty can just as well add to 2, 3 or 4.

***

Quote
I have been very patient and have given much time to your responses. I have also treated you with utmost respect.

Likewise.

***

Quote
I will do my best to answer queries on this forum. However, if I find that posts get unnecessarily repetitive, tedious or more importantly personal, I will curtail discussion. As I have mentioned, no one is forced to write on this forum.

This is your site.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 12:43:35 PM »
Brother Khalid,

As-salam alaykum

With respect, I have spent more time than I could afford responding to your queries. We are now at a stage where we are going around in circles. As I have intimated before, I feel the crux of your contentions is based on a defence of the traditional sunni / sufi scholarship which I now feel you will do at any cost.

Please can I request that you deal with the core of our contention going forward on a thread that has already been started for this purpose (please see below).

http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=1089

Please do not post on any other topic with a view to direct your comments at me.  I simply cannot keep up this pace as my other commitments suffer.

Regards,
Joseph

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Deliverance

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 07:44:55 PM »
Salam Readers,
What i have understood up to now is that the universal law is :
One
M+F


O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― fear Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.` (1)

All other forms are only allowed in emergencies and only allowed to man with capability to deal justly and it depends on the relation from Man to orphan not to the other women.Because the Basic of the second form is the orphan and somtimes kids dont like other kids, so one had to look who can fit together.This is what is i think to be meant "...women of of choice ,two,or three or four..."

 To orphans restore their property (when they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin. (2) If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or that which your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. (3)

wa  salam

Offline optimist

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2014, 03:25:53 AM »
All other forms are only allowed in emergencies and only allowed to man with capability to deal justly

Wassalam,

Thanks...this is the point. 

Also the decision whether there are any emergency situations or such circumstances are present, which are the pre-requisites of polygamy, is the responsibility of the society and not of individuals themselves.

Trying to justify polygamy under cover of verse 4:3, in ordinary circumstances and without the condition mentioned, is nothing but the open flouting of the injunctions in the Quran. If you ask somebody, he would say, that as he was childless, he married again; as if God had enjoined upon him to increase the tribe of Adam and then come to Him, failing which he would be sent to hell. On the contrary, God Himself has said that children are born according to the law of nature. Some get boys and some girls; some have boys and girls both, and some remain childless (42:50).Some say that because their wives were perpetually ill, they married again. According to them companionship means: As long as your partner is healthy you keep her, and the minute she is sick you throw her into hell..!!!

Also, when a nation feels the urgency to solve the problem of widows and orphans, the women also shall take equal part in this decision; men alone shall not decide it. It shows that even under the extraordinary circumstances the consent of the first wife shall be mandatory; otherwise the home shall turn into a hell.

Regards,
Optimist
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Deliverance

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2014, 05:17:48 AM »
@Optimist
I share your Sentiments about men in the "islamic" societies treating their wife like a tool.Thous destroying the real purpose of the mariage namely peace.

I have heard about storys from a man who was infertile but didn´t know it,so he divorced the women and married again but after the new wife didn´t bring birth to child he divorced her too and married again,at the end of the story he came up to nine different wifes.

wa salam

Offline Wakas

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2014, 06:08:24 AM »
salaam KZ,

I just wanted to highlight this part of what you wrote:

For Arabic language and linguistics he is dependent on Traditional Islam - whose scholars have safe-guarded the language and transmitted it to us.

This is only partially true. The Quran predates all works of any significant length in Classical Arabic, whether it be prose, grammar and lexicons etc, and it is regarded as exemplary. All Classical Arabic grammar/linguistic works reference Quran, so they are all dependent on it.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2014, 08:03:30 AM »
Dear Wakas,

As-salam alaykum

You wrote:

"The Quran predates all works of any significant length in Classical Arabic, whether it be prose, grammar and lexicons etc, and it is regarded as exemplary. All Classical Arabic grammar/linguistic works reference Quran, so they are all dependent on it."

You are absolutely correct. In the following article [1] below, I wrote:

"Grammatical Classical Arabic, as a literary academic genre, was a late development by the grammarians of the second century AH/8th century CE (over 100 years after the death of the Prophet). The rules of grammar et al were themselves largely based on the Quranic Arabic as the primary language of the Arabs par excellence. Other later sources were also used."

It is for this reason, that I mentioned in my conditions for debate that:

"Any explanation of concepts or terms will be conducted through the Quran foremost. This includes any source of the Arabic language whether it is lexicons, debates between grammarians etc. If it is felt that a particular understanding of terms is in conflict with the Quran, this will be debated. Arabic sources are replete with debates and at times, disagreements between authorities on a particular rendition of a term. Hence, the Quran will always be used as the primary guiding criterion to understand best possible meanings." [2]

As you can imagine, given the nature of my site, my works which are open to the public for critique and information, the number of queries, and my own personal commitments, I simply cannot respond with every attempt at criticism flooded from one article to the next. Critique has to be measured, responsible and managed appropriately. Time must be allotted fairly for individuals to respond. Hence, I trust that you can see why I formulated my conditions to provide a basis for any future discussions with others.

The only other option is to risk individuals from various schools of thought (of which there are a multitude) to cause pandemonium on this forum and with my humble efforts where I have little or no time to respond. This would be unacceptable to me.  As you will know undoubtedly from your own experiences, there are numerous individuals from all spheres of thought whether traditionalist or otherwise that have a theological axe to grind and their sole purpose is to focus on minutiae at the expense of core fundamental differences.

Dear brother, if you or the other kind respected readers on this forum find the conditions that I have shared unreasonable or if they feel anything can be improved, I will be extremely grateful for the constructive feedback.

With respect always,

Regards,
Joseph


REFERENCES:

[1] GRAMMATICAL ERRORS IN THE QURAN - A BASELESS ASSERTION
http://quransmessage.com/articles/grammatical%20errors%20in%20the%20quran%20FM3.htm
[2] MY CONDITIONS OF DISCUSSION OR DEBATE
http://quransmessage.com/articles/debate%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Sardar Miyan

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2014, 08:48:28 AM »
Salam  bro JAI I am glad that you have dealt with KZ well. Basically he believes in Hadith just like Ghamidi. There is no use of discussing with such people.
May entire creation be filled with Peace & Joy & Love & Light

Offline AbbsRay

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Re: Critique: Marrying 4 wives in Islam
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 02:59:34 PM »
This is critique of the follow article by Joseph Islam:

Marrying 4 wives in Islam

http://quransmessage.com/articles/four%20wives%20FM3.htm

A general point:

Dearest Mr. Joseph Islam has not liked me questioning his Arabic credentials, but here is the problem:

1. I have read many of his articles and they show a weakness of understanding the Arabic language. Now, there are not major glaring errors, but a shade here and nuance there can make all the difference.

2. When the author differs from an issue from Traditional Islam relating to the Quranic Arabic and the Arabic language in a wider context, then there is a lack of care. For Arabic language and linguistics he is dependent on Traditional Islam - whose scholars have safe-guarded the language and transmitted it to us. And if you are going to differ from countless brilliant scholars and their understanding - then you should have real good reason.



This issue relates to the verse 4:3

وإن خفتم ألا تقسطوا في اليتامى فانكحوا ما طاب لكم من النساء مثنى وثلاث ورباع فإن خفتم ألا تعدلوا فواحدة أو ما ملكت أيمانكم ذلك أدنى ألا تعولوا

And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. 

Although the verse relates to Orphans - but herein is clear permission to marry up to 4 women.

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The author states:

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It is interesting to note that the verse that is usually read to acknowledge polygny up to a maximum of four wives isn't really sanctioning a number nor is it encouraging multiple marriages. Legitimate enquiries do arise, why 'four', why not 'five' 'six' or 'three'? Why not leave it open to the individual to assess their means and ability to make a decision? Why the use of a seemingly arbitrary number of 4? These are quite pertinent questions.

Simple answer. Quran has restricted it to four.

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It can clearly be read, that the main focus of the verse is to prohibit any form of injustice occurring by compromising the 'orphans'. Verse 4:127 seems to elaborate further by indicating that this was possibly due to men not giving the orphans prescribed portions due to desire of marriage.

The main 'draw' of verse 4:3 is not necessarily to stipulate a number of wives but rather, to keep men away from compromising the orphans.

Yet, the permission of marrying up to four women is general and not restricted.

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We note the Arabic term "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" (Literally: (by/in) twos and threes and fours) which seems to simply denote a multiplicity. The exact same phrase is used in 35.1 when describing the wings of angels and its multiplicity.

The author alleges that there is no upper limit of marriage to 4 women but the indication is of multiplicity and he further cites the verse 35.1.

He further states:

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Therefore, if the phrase "mathna wathulatha waruba'a" ((by/in) twos and threes and fours) is examined with the phrase read in 35.1, one concludes that verse 4:3 is not advancing a 'limiting allowance' to marry up to 4 wives. Rather, its purport seems to be focused in to drawing away from any potential injustice to the orphans by asking the believers to marry other believing women in whatever numbers.

The contention is that Quran has not used normal numbers but another form of word roughly translated as twos, threes and fours. But what does it mean to marry in "twos"? In this form it does not make much sense. And this the author took to mean multiplicity rather than set upper limit.

However this form of number also denote:

"two at a time"

or

"three at a time"

or

"four at a time"

and the limit is four. If the Quran had wished to imply multiplicity then there are words aplenty to choose from and much more clearer.

If one wishes to act upon EXACTLY what the Quran stated then one has to accept the limit Quran set is 4 at a time.

And why use this form of numbers?

This makes clear that one can have up to 4 wives in a single instance. For example:

If someone has four wives and one passes away then he can marry another wife. Although he has had 4 wives but in a single instance he is allowed to marry up to form.

And this, I think, is a better understanding of why the Quran used this form of numbers. However there is room for the interpretation the author has understood, and there is some support for it within Traditional Islam. However, on balance, for the reasons outlined, I do not think it is the best interpretation.




Salaam Aliykum Khalid,


This is somewhat long and I apologize, and I apologize if I am repeating myself, as I am crunched for time. There are topics I bring up. One about Polygamy and  the other I just had to tell you what damage does secondary writings and beliefs do to a Muslim. You have every right to follow and believe what you want. But there are no re-does when ones time is up.

I do not think you have the authority to tell someone they have it wrong and you have it right because scholars said it. It clearly DOES NOT matter if Brother Joseph speaks, writes, reads or understands Arabic  to TRULY understand the Quran and the Meaning of the message! Evidentially he does MashaAllah,  whether he went to study this or not, because scholars who hold themselves knowledgeable of the Quran and its message have lead 90% of the Muslims Astray from what Allah had ordered for us. It is not about reading the Quran or spending years in an Islamic school studying it, It is about him using his Intelligence that Allah granted him on the words of the Holy Quran and understanding it.  If these high end scholars really got any true meaning of the Quran, they would know that the only Revelations for Muslims was the Holy Quran, not manmade written books, i.e. Hadith and Sunna. Most importantly, they would have seen the clear evidence about what Allah says about idolization, which 90% of Muslims do when it comes to Prophet Muhammad. Allah had clearly granted him with no shield on his heart, no covering on his eyes and intelligence. I am born and raised Muslim, I do not even know 5% to what his knowledge is about the Quran MashaAllah!
 I stick to the basics and know what is expected of me. But Brother Joesph has opened my eyes with this website, to how beautiful each word of Allah is, I actually have never been fascinated with the deen nor the Quran. I have seen other web pages that are Quran only, but started to see how things started not to make sense again with what the author was indicating. (Might I add, My dad was EXTREMELY religious, I just refused to accept anything they preached, I rejected Islam being any importance to me besides believing there is a God, and only One God and his name was Allah) When I now here the Quran recite, it is as Allah is directly talking to me.

It is CLEAR evident to ANYONE who reads any of Brother Joseph’s writings; he is Beyond blessed from Allah, MashaAllah, May Allah Protect him and give him wisdom beyond description to keep on teaching and spreading the word of Allah to the human race.
 Things are starting to make sense in the Quran and ISLAM as a whole. I was born and raised in a Sunni family, but I thank Allah I never remembered any Hadith teachings from my parents, but several which I always rejected mainly about dogs and hijab and nothing made sense because while growing up, I viewed God as a monster, AstagfurAllah hu azeem, may Allah forgive me for being ignorant and not have tried to seek the truth earlier.

 I had no religion besides maintaining in the Belief that there is a God and his name was Allah. But it was deeper, I refused to pray, do Ramadan, anything that Allah ordered us to do I did not care. As far as I was concerned, He hated females, men had all the rights, I kept on wondering why He created females if He was so unfair and prescribed injustice towards us, so why did he create me, I kept on wondering? I was the only person in my family who deeply felt like this, everyone else accepted it and never had a problem because it was taught it is from Allah and that is how He commanded it to be. I secretly wished I was born in a Christian family because I viewed them being so fair and equal towards females and males.   Something kept on telling me, research the Quran for myself. Every time I moved away from it, I got pulled closer until I gave in.

What Brother Joseph put about 4:3, is what it is based on what Allah says. It also goes with the entire Qurans message. Allah throughout the Quran tells us how women are equal to men.

In the conditions of Polygamy, it is nowhere in any verse does Allah look into the interest of the man.  It is the case of the mothers of orphaned kids as it all comes down to the orphan when Polygamy is concerned as permission, but it still falls back to the protection and justice for the female which was why he made it clear with conditions.  If Allah has granted polygamy, no orphan will be mentioned anywhere around this subject. 4:3 is COMPLETELY about the Orphan (s) when it comes to the Polygamy matter, as throughout the Quran, Allah has verses that are protecting them and advocating for them. Verse 2:83, 2:177, 2:215, 4:2, 4:6, 4:8, 4:10, 4:36, 4:127, 59:7. Verse 4:3 happens to be in Surat Al-Nisa, which is the second longest verse in the Quran and throughout the Quran, Allah is protecting a woman’s rights, He is not going to start commanding injustice.  Allah Almighty, subhanna ela hu, knows everything in our future before we are even born; He knows what a person would feel like. You do not ponder on him seeing what great injustice this would bring on a marriage if He was freely to allow multiple wives for a man? It all goes down to the Orphan, but still returns protecting the female if she accepts it. It is NOT about what you indicated "it leaves room for the author to and what you explained goes completely against the whole message about injustice and being equal which is preached over and over from Allah in the Quran.
 It is obvious to one who carefully reflects on the verse, sees that the whole “permitting” is for the protection for the orphaned children.  After the orphan in verse 4:4, Allah is watching out for the widowed woman.  Again, this is not about the man. Verse 4:5 and 4:6, Allah is still on the subject of Orphans!! And the Qur'an continues to address the orphans care and protection. Subhanna Allah how kind and beautiful He is on how much He emphasizes on the protection of orphans and woman.  It is also a VERY clear indication that if a man’s current wife is not in acceptance with a man marrying a widow with an orphans, you simply cannot because it leads to injustice for her.    
Now as how Marriage is prescribed by Allah in the Quran besides the whole polygamy thing is in verse 24:32.   One Man one wife constitutes a marriage.
Since traditionalists' motive is to establish that men can marry any women up to four for personal desirable satisfaction, they try to impose a very shallow and biased understanding of what constitutes just and equitable
"And if ye fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, (This is clear cut what Allah’s focus is on i.e. orphans) Marry women of your choice, (by/in) twos and threes and fours (Arabic: mathna wathulatha waruba'a) but if you fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), (this deal justly is about the current wife) then only one, or that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice."

 Many such traditional so-called Muslims “Misguided” have done just that and bought depression upon their first wives, who sadly believes she has to except it because that is what Allah’s says in the Quran.
To impose a very shallow and biased understanding of what constitutes 'fair and equitable' in the verse. they claim that as long as a man can provide food, housing, clothing (i.e. material provisions) to equal amounts to all wives, he is being equitable and just. They say in that case he is meeting the requirement of the verse and can marry more than once up to four. Thus they have passed "fatwas" (verdicts) where they state that "permission" is not necessary from first wife for the husband to marry more wives (to any women). In other words, even against the first wife's happiness, the husband can marry again. Many such traditional so-called Muslims i.e. Misguided, have done just that and bought depression upon their first wives.
This is an understanding lacking wisdom and knowledge. Because to be 'just' and 'equitable' is not only about providing material provision, it is also about being just to someone emotionally. If we take two people and emotionally torture one, then that is unjust - to consider simply providing material provision to equal level to be part of equality is pure ignorance - it is also about what you are doing to someone on the inside. No woman on earth would ever be in agreement to have her husband marry a second, third or fourth wife unless she truly has a doctrine embedded in her head that this is from Allah. I am not talking about anyone from the scriptures because we do not know anything about wives and kids and marriages except what is in the Quran. Secondary sources are fiction.
Thus, if the first wife is against the idea of her husband marrying a second time (even to take care of orphaned children, to a widow), then her wish must be respected to comply with Allahs order.

Supposing the second wife-to-be is happy with the man's second marriage while his existing wife is angry and upset, then this is not being 'just' or 'equitable' between the two since one will be made happy and the other angry and upset.
Such shallow and thoughtless derivation of Quranic verses by these traditionalists portray a worrying element in their own marital relationships - since we see that in their interpretations, consideration of human beings' emotions, the wife's feelings or thoughts are completely overlooked and neglected, and an emotionless interpretation is spread that benefits only themselves. The reasoning for this is as stated, their preconceived motive of justifying marrying more women for personal or sexual gratification. Ideas of women's role as an obedient sexual tool for 'hyper-sexual' men is spread widely through extra-Quranic sources in the name of true religion, and is not based on the Quranic religion
I have refused marriage proposals for the ever from Muslim men, who were born and raised in a Muslim upbringing. Many Muslim girls are marrying Christian men, mainly in the United States and end up being out casted from their families because they have the laws and commands of the Hadith and do not read what the Quran says. I have been on a crusade testifying in courts against having Sharia Law for Muslims in the United States when they lobby the Judicial System to have that as a law for the Muslims.  You would not believe how many RAPE cases I get on my desk from what happens to Muslim females from their husbands, and they have the nerve to stand in court and say it is Sharia Law or it is our rights from God. They go as far as saying it is part of their religion and under the first amendment for being able to practice their religion. It just makes Islam and Muslims stand out for more ridicule. I certainly make sure they are registered as being a sex offender. 

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Most so-called Muslims simply do not look at the Qur'an and just go along with what they hear or read in textbooks about the Qur'an. By studying the actual verses, we have noticed striking points, which have been deliberately hidden away from Muslims by the clergy. Many DECEPTIVE methods are used as I witnessed on many verses in their translated Quran books and Hadith. 
True believing men and women abide fully by the sublime morals of the Qur'an. In cases where the actual Qur'an is followed thoroughly, without deviated teachings that go contrary to Quranic teachings, all believers on this path lead a peaceful and content lives.

This was not meant to come out as a personal attack on anyone, But sometimes Muslims need to hear the damage secondary fiction books do...

May Allah guide you to his light...
Salaam,