THE “one husband, one wife” campaign by the so-called Coalition on Women’s Rights in Islam was widely reported in both Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia.
The two dailies, however, cautioned the campaigners to treat the issue with care and respect as Islam allows Muslim men to take up to four wives, within stipulated conditions.
Utusan Malaysia’s front-page report warned women’s rights groups to understand the true nature of polygamy so that they would not go against the syarak (religious rules).
The report quoted several state muftis who urged the so-called coalition to stop the campaign because it might affect the aqidah (religious beliefs).
The group had proposed that wives who disapproved of their husband’s move to practise polygamy should be given the option for a conditional (ta’liq) divorce.
The state muftis described the campaign as emotional and advised the women’s rights groups not to question the rights given to men to practise polygamy.
Utusan Malaysia columnist Awang Selamat said although women are known to be emotional, they should not be hasty when taking action.
He said women should not lay blame on polygamy but on men who failed to fulfil their responsibilities as husbands, should family and marital problems occur.
Awang Selamat also advised the women’s rights group to reconsider the campaign.
Berita Harian wrote in its editorial that Islam had outlined rules and regulations for polygamy and it was not done to victimise women.
It said the women’s coalition had the right to launch the monogamy campaign but cautioned that it should not reject polygamy outright.
The editorial said that polygamy was to ensure social justice and protect women because men would keep mistresses if they were not allowed to practise polygamy.