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CONTEMPLATING THE ORIGIN OF POLYGYNY
Since the government s affidavit in Supreme Court, the debate has been raging on banning triple talaq and validity of nikah halala and polygamy. This, the government implores, should be seen in light of gender justice and dignity, equality and non-discrimination towards woman. Halala is a temporary marriage that a divorced woman is supposed to undergo with another man to remarry her first husband. Polygamy includes polyandry and polygyny. Polyandry is strictly prohibited in Koran. Polygyny, which is mentioned in Koran only once is a misunderstood concept of Islamic law, abused by men over the centuries. The reason behind this exceptional sanction of a man having more than one wife was that the historical conditions in which the law was contextualized saw heavy casualties of men defending the Islamic community in Medina. They left behind women and orphans to face the brutalities of an exploitative society. It was to provide protection to these women and orphans that men were allowed conditional polygyny. Before advocating a blanket ban on Muslim polygyny, there should be sincere efforts to identify the causes of failure of Hindu law in preventing bigamy. Otherwise, it would simply lead to more pernicious problems similar to what a second wife faces in Hindu bigamy.

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