As all the religious scriptures were influenced by the process of divine revelation most of the righteous codes of conduct are practicable. But these scriptures have, nevertheless, been subjected to human manipulations. It is for the same reason that these compositions contain, in the legislations made within, the shortcomings of the vision of those who had composed them. Indeed, such legislation will have been relevant in the age in which it was composed or it will find its relevance in the vision of its own composer alone. In fact, legislations of such nature can never claim for themselves the status of applicability for all time.
For instance, consider the recommendation of the New Testament of the Bible on the issue of divorce: “… anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery.” (Mathew 5:32) “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.” (I Corinthians 7:10, 11)
The legislation that is inherent in these statements are as given below:
1. The wife should not be cast aside except for the reason of being unfaithful.
2. The wife cannot, under any circumstance, divorce her husband.
3. If, however, she has to separate from her husband, she must, thenceforth, live alone.
4. None should marry a divorced woman.
5. The sexual relation with a divorced woman even if it be after marriage, is tantamount to an act of adultery. It need not be mentioned here that these laws are, in themselves, not practicable. In fact, those who advocate the cause of these laws have failed to produce the solution to the problems that have been mentioned hereunder :
1. Family relations are built but on the firm foundations of the emotional attachment between husband and wife. Apart from lack of fidelity, there are numerous other problems that may arise between husband and wife. The Bible does not provide for any legislation, whatsoever, for the solution of such and similar problems. Is it correct to cast forever, into a virtual state of hell, individuals who have been estranged in the domains of the mind and the spirit as to never come together again, solely for the reason that they have been married to each other? What, indeed, will be the mentality of the children who
grow up with parents who have separated from each other in the domain of the mind and spirit? Has it been possible for the Bible to provide solutions to the grave problems that may arise between men and women by way of making of the marriage wedlock a bond that can in no way be broken? What, indeed, is the solution ?
2. It is the instruction of Paul that if the wife, under compelling circumstances, were to disassociate from her husband, she is not to marry again. However, the New Testament does not teach as to who it is that must then protect her. In a strictly humanitarian sense, is not the commandment of Paul that “she must remain unmarried” a great cruelty considering the fact that nothing else has been mentioned by way of a practical solution in satisfying her yearning for sexual fulfillment as well as her longing to love and to be loved after divorce?
Has the Bible any solution for these problems ?
3. What is the justification for the commandment which prohibits one man from marrying a woman who has been divorced by another? Supposing that a Christian woman has been divorced by her cruel husband who is, for all practical purposes, an athiest. As far as he is concerned, the laws of the Bible are not applicable in his case. If such a woman then desires to lead a family life of purity, will not the ruling of the Bible become impracticable before her? What alternative can the Bible provide her in this predicament? 4. What justification can there be for the claim that if a divorced woman is married to another man, it would be equal to committing adultery? If, however, such a marriage does take place what alternative can the Bible show by recourse to which the sexual relationship between them can be made legal ?
This is, in fact, the condition with some of the rulings in the other religions scriptures as well. They contain, within themselves, laws which are not practicable. The Manu Smrithi deals with the case of widows in this fashion: “When her husband is dead she may fast as much as she likes, (living) on auspicious flowers, roots and fruits, but she should not even mention the name of another man. She should be long-suffering until death, selfrestrained,
and chaste, striving (to fulfil) the unsurpassed duty of women who have one husband.” (Manu Smrithi 5:157, 158).
The cruelty to which this law makes subject the women who have become widows owing to the death of their husbands in the prime of their youth need not be further mentioned here. That she is refused the right to remarry will ultimately lead her to a life of immorality. Thus the consequences of this law will have to be borne by both the individual and society. Indeed, such laws stand as an obstacle in the creation of a sound society and, for that reason, and that reason alone, will remain impracticable forever.
This, however, is not the case with the injunctions of the Qur’an.None of its rulings are impracticable. Going by any of the standards ofhuman reckoning nothing, whatsoever, that is of an impracticable or immoral nature can be deciphered from the Qur’anic laws.