Marriage and sex - a scared concept in Islam where both genders play by the rules
The concept of marriage and sex in Islam has often been distorted by some sectors of Islam who want to put their own interpretation on the established teachings afforded by Allah (God).
According to Amir Lal khan Malik, national president of the Ahmadiyyia Muslim Jama'at, Islam brings together the institution of marriage: a sacred concept where both spouses agree to play by the rules where a woman is responsible for the upkeep of the house and caring for children, while the man has the external responsibility of earning for the family.
Speaking to Family & Religion during last weekend's international conference on the topic of Islam's definition of marriage and sex, held at the group's Bushy Park Mosque in St Catherine, Amir Malik said, "If the institution of marriage is not respected there will be broken homes and children with confused upbringing, hence a generation which is void of compassion."
"A child who is brought up in the proper home environment would not even think of blowing him or herself up causing untold destruction to other human beings," Malik stated.
Using the analogy of overeating which may lead to health problems and can cause early death, he said, "A similar mistake will be made if the family who should form the next generation is not cared for in a loving atmosphere."
According to Malik, in Islam the Muslim woman has the autonomy inside the house while the man has the external responsibility. But overall he is in charge because of his role to care for the family.
"Their primary responsibility is that they remain loyal to each other. The husband is forbidden to have any pleasure outside the marriage, likewise the wife," he disclosed.
Sex, he said, was created by God to establish a loving family circle in which a husband and wife have a very important - and difficult - responsibility of raising the next generation.
"Imagine if there was no attraction between husband and wife and they have to procreate without any pleasure... just the responsibility, just the duty, how dreadful and difficult it would have been for the women to care for the children for years," the Amir added.
"Even now in advance societies of the western world and Europe, many women don't want to have children: they just want to enjoy the pleasure of sex," he continued.
According to Malik, Islam tells us that sexual attraction is not the objective, it is a factor to fulfil the higher objective of procreation and establishing a loving peaceful family circle where husband and wife work together to bring up the new family.
On the issue of Muslims being able to marry multiple wives, using the example of the prophet David who had 99 wives, the Amir questioned why then would it be wrong for Muslims to have more than one wife when the holy prophets of old set the example for us to follow.
"Islam permits Muslim men to have up to four wives so long as they have the ability to care for them. But because we are respectful of laws, all of us in western societies where law permits one wife, are in full obedience."
"How can Christians and Jews speak against polygamy when most of the prophets of God had multiple wives?" the senior Islamic leader further questioned.
Declaring that Islam is a religion for all times and all countries, he cited among other circumstances, conditions existing in some societies that necessitate a man having more than one wife.
"What would happened if your wife is not able to bear children, or you are living in a society where women outnumber the men as happened in Germany after World War I, or even living in some African countries where it is culturally accepted to have more than one wife because of their role in helping the chiefs to build the economy, or your wife is sick and cannot carry out her responsibilities to her husband?" he asked.
He said Islam has made provision that these and other situations can be addressed without hurt to women.
"Since Islam is a religion of nature it provides solution to all the problems that could face people today and certainly will face them tomorrow," he claimed.
He said there are many people in western societies where laws forbid polygamy, having relationships with multiple partners.
"The contradiction here is: the law makes provision for this practice by saying if they are consenting adults it is no problem, but if they want to go to the courts to legitimise this practice there is no provision in law."
The Islamic spiritual leader revealed that what Islam does is make provision for a sinful practice in society to be done in a legal and transparent way, instead of doing the same thing and do not accept responsibility.
"In this case we are entitled to be responsible for all the wives who must be equally cared for and respected. This is a strong condition: if a Muslim man does not have the capacity to treat the wives equally and respect them, they are not allowed to marry them," the Amir told Family & Religion.firstname.lastname@example.org