Definition Of Marriage; What Can We Learn From Islam?

Before America embarks on changing the concept of marriage, I hope they will at least agree on examining cultures that do not define marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman. In their eagerness to achieve their goals, the pro gay marriage enthusiasts are marching towards what they perceive as progress and modernity while ignoring lessons from other cultures, history, basic human nature and the horrific and negative unintended consequences of redefining "marriage". 

Islam's definition of marriage is one man and up to four women where loyalty in the marriage is required only from the woman towards the man, but not necessarily from the man towards the woman. In the Egyptian Muslim marriage contract, the groom is asked to give name and address of wife number one, two and three, if any. It is as easy for a Muslim man to legally have a second, third or fourth wife as it was for him to have his first. It is true that the majority of Muslim men choose to have one wife, but the mere existence of a law that does not restrict men to one wife has had devastating consequences on the healthy functioning of the family unit, balance of power in the marriage, women's rights and self esteem, children security, gender segregation in the society as a whole and how a man and woman relate to one another.

If we are to have a fair resolution to the heated discussion about re-defining marriage we need to keep the discussion respectful and honest without resorting to name-calling or hate speech. It is wrong and reckless to call those who want to preserve the word "marriage" to one-man/one-woman unions, as anti- gay or haters. It is a fact, that legally, biologically, culturally and in many other ways, the union between a man and a woman is very different from one between two men or two women and there is nothing we can do to change that. By insisting on giving the two different forms of union the same name "marriage" we are denying the major difference that the one-man/one-woman marriage is self sufficient and does not need assistance of a third party to produce children. That is legally and biologically very different. The union is different, period. Consequently, since it is not the same, we should not give it the same name, but we can give gay couples all the legal benefits and respect they deserve without hurting traditional marriage.

I lived the first 30 years of my life in a gender-segregated society that allowed polygamy where the concept of marriage was not restricted to one-man and one-woman. One of the consequences of polygamous Islamic society was a gender-segregated society where women dealt with women and men with men and not much communication nor interaction between the sexes except for procreation.

The modern day feminist movement of the sixties has sold women untruths that resulted in a crack in men/women relationships in America and a generation or two of unmarried American women with PhDs but who never married nor had any children. Men felt unneeded and were shamed by sexual harassment of women resulting in the decline and deterioration of the 'dating' institution in America.

I have nothing but love and respect for good people, straight or gay. But that does not mean that I will allow myself to be fooled into thinking there will be no unintended consequences if we use the word 'marriage' for gay couples. The far left in America is promoting gay relationships as no different in any way from straight relationships and that is untrue and will only bring about a gender-segregated society that will hurt women more than men.  Whether we like it or not, women will always end up with the babies and with segregating men and women further through gay marriage, we are pushing men further into becoming mere sperm donors. Men's role in raising and supporting children will be further hampered with gay marriage, unless gay marriage societies develop laws forcing sperm donors to support children they biologically fathered under penalty of jail. Another fact we cannot ignore, common sense tells us that a female sexual partner of a woman cannot be expected to legally support the child of her lover? What a mess we are getting ourselves into by insisting on using the term "marriage" for gay couples?

By calling gay unions 'marriage', the gender divide and male alienation in the family and child rearing will grow even deeper. To who's benefit is it if we see Western society segregated by sex? Are we on our way towards a two-female family household neighborhoods or two-male family household neighborhoods? Will there be any taboos developing to prevent the sexes from communicating or mixing? Think this is crazy imagination from a woman who lived and suffered in a gender-segregated society? The American left should be careful what they wish for... we might get more than what we bargained for. 

Nonie Darwish Author "The Devil We Don't Know" and President of Former Muslims United.

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