By Ayoola Imran
Marriage is a legal institution established to promote love, care and tranquility. It’s also the best and legal channel for reproduction. It’s worrisome the way people handle marital affairs today ignorantly and playfully.
Playfully in the sense that a man who lacks the funds marries above his income, subjecting both the woman and the children to humiliation and a hapless situation which in turn converts the wards into a nuisance to society.
Polygamy is suitable for those who have the means and it’s hazardous for the poor man who lacks the resources for the well-being of the family. It’s in this regard that the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, while speaking at the 50th anniversary of the demise of Ambassador Isa Wali revealed plans to introduce a law that will restrict poor men in his emirate from marrying many wives. This has generated hullabaloo on the social media, with many commentators openly and hypocritically opposing the move without giving it a proper thought.
Some argue that the emir wants to westernize the society by buttressing their untenable and flimsy statement claiming that he wants to limit the Muslim population in the North. That view is blatantly false! Others on the other hand, argue that he has no right to dictate the number of wives a man can take.
This made me to recall the statements by Dame Patience Jonathan, former First Lady, during the 2015 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) electioneering campaign that, “…Al-majiris! We for the South here, we no get al-majiris because our men no dey born children wey they no go remember their names; our men no dey born children wey they no go fit count, our men no dey born children they go throw way.” Alas! I thought our people will give her derogatory statements a thought then, to restrategize and regulate marriage affairs but, no, it all fell on deaf ears.
I concurred with what she said even though it was said to mock and show political hatred towards the All Progressives Congress’ candidate. The truth has to be told! The poor men in Kano metropolis have polluted the environs by producing what they can’t take care of.
However, their indiscriminate and unregulated polygamous marriages have become a menace to society. This includes: high rates of both divorce and domestic violence, boy-child begging (Al-majiranci), junkies and harlots, political thugs and terrorists, to mention but a few. The poor men lack the means and the precious time to train their wards properly.
Consequently, they leave their children to cater for themselves making them eventually, to fall prey to predators. An adage says: ‘An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.’
How won’t those untrained children be used as destructive weapons to threaten the peace of the society? Believe me, all those terrorists’ members in Boko Haram, Al- Qaeda, Al-Shabab, Taliban and others emerged as a result of the improper training instilled in their minds coupled with lack of parental care. Here, untrained wards are mostly the al-majiris who have nobody to cater for them. Hence, they come into contact with corrupt friends who in most cases lure them into bad gangs which in turn make them end up as child-soldiers of the terrorist groups.
Allah, the Omnipotent and the Omnipresent, says: ‘And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hand possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.’ [Quran 4: Verse 3]
Therefore, a pauper is not allowed to marry more than one wife to prevent a lifestyle that could cause an injustice, inequality and unhonourable living. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “Whosoever has two wives and treated one unjustly would appear paralyzed on the day of Judgement.”
Prof. Wahabatu Azuhaili in his book entitled ‘Mawsu’atu Al-Fiqhul Islami Wal Qodayah Al – Mu’asirah – Vol. 5’ categorized the responsibility of a husband towards his wife into two; firstly, financial responsibility which comprises dowry payment and providing shelter and welfare for the wife.
The Islamic jurists are of the view that it’s unlawful for a man who source of income is very low to keep more than one wife.
With regards to the above evidences, it’s obvious that the policy made by the Emir conforms to the teaching of Islam.
I pray and hope that the policy should see the light of the day. I equally implore the Kano lawmakers to give the Marriage Regulation bill that will soon be presented to the House a proper thought before its passage. The Islamic clerics should sensitize the populace on the positive side of the law.
Imran wrote from Ibadan, Oyo state