Polygamy as a Misapprehended Notion in so Long a Letter

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer


Polygamy is referred as a misapprehended notion because many male characters in So Long A Letter as well as surprisingly many researchers conclude the concept of polygamy as a way which is arguable. The issue is that some researchers same as the characters in the novella do not differentiate between polygamy as a principle of God and polygamy misused by most of the males in the name of religion. So, it indicates that the Muslim women abandoned in the name of polygamy is not the outcome of God’s principle, but it is the ignorance in exercising this principle. Therefore, there need a tool to eliminate this ignorance. Ba through her novella projects education as a tool to erase this ignorance. A sound education for both men and women is the need of time to free a society from the abuse of Islamic principles. However, in So Long A Letter, the maltreatment or confusion of religious suggestions by creating tricky methodologies to accomplish men’s childish wants and to legitimize their one-sided activities is the thing that Mariama Ba is upbraiding on the pages of her novel in an Islam ruled Senegal.

Misjudging of the Statutes of Polygamy

Rather, this paper expects to mirror that Mariama Ba isn’t against Polygamy as it is rehearsed inside the Islam commanded Senegal; rather, what she depicts, in So Long A Letter, is the misjudging or maltreatment of the statutes of polygamy, by the male centric culture of Senegal, which defraud women. What is obvious is that as female write in a great extent male centric condition where the female isn’t emphatically perceived, the African women scholars have various points of view to consider over the span of making a writing that focuses on the cultural position of females. It is appropriate to call attention to that polygamy isn’t fundamentally an African thing as it cuts over all lands and it isn’t solely connected with Islam as it cuts crosswise over generally societies. Yet, in contrast to different societies, Islam gives it more unmistakable quality and permits it restricted space to prosper also, with predefined conditions. The fact is that it is the misconception of Islam not Islam, itself, that has an extraordinary impact in the disheartening of polygamy in So Long A Letter. For example, in So Long A Letter, the marriage between Modou Fall and Binetou is deciphered by numerous individuals as foreordained by Allah. The Imam, acquainting Modou‟s wedding with Ramatoulaye, starts in that capacity: ‘ There is nothing one can do when Allah the almighty puts two people side by side… Modou Fall…is to marry a second wife today’ (Ba, 1989:36-37). In this kind of circumstance neither the man‟s lewdness nor the new wife‟s avarice is faulted, yet destiny. It is then clear, from the above mentioned, that in the general public of Mariama Ba, ladies are not given due thought either because of obliviousness or maltreatment of the standards. To talk in such a term to Ramatoulaye who has been hitched to Modou for a quarter century and favored with twelve maternities is very deceptive and it is an endeavor to constrain Ramatoulaye to acknowledge Modou‟s activity as an ordinary method. Ayayi (2005:261) asserts that family and religion as an institutions ” have the potential of being used as a powerful instrument of prejudice, suppression, discrimination and, hence, division and instability.”

For Masri (1996:101), polygamy “should not be for the mere satisfaction of passion, it should serve a real purpose in the life and meet a justifiable need of the individual or society, such as the case of compassion towards widows and orphans.” In So Long A Letter, after the passing of Modou, when Tamsir declares his expectation to wed Ramatoulaye, she reacts to him: “What of your wives, Tamsir? Your income can meet neither their needs nor those of your numerous children. To help you out with your financial obligations, one of your wives dyes, another sells fruits, the third untiringly turns the handle of her sewing machine” (Ba, 1989:58). Truth be told, in such a condition, wedding one more spouse is to degrade females. That is why, in So Long A Letter, Mariama Ba offers Ramatoulaye with wisdom to have the capacity to recognize between righteous and awful. Indeed, even in the Quran, the Muslim heavenly book, the quick event for the proclamation of the refrains on polygamy was in the result of the Battle of Uhud, in the mid seventh century, when the Medina Muslim people group was left with numerous vagrants, widows, and various hostages of war. Indeed, even in such a condition, before one locks into polygamous relational unions, one ought to have the capacity to encourage, to house, to give clothes to the family and for the most part one should be legitimately just with their women. This investigation demonstrates that the Senegalese society isn’t just man centric yet in addition materialistic and that individuals are regularly tricky in their activities and responses. As in the novella, the grievers [during Modou‟s funeral] are more worried about the material advantages to be gotten from such an event than in the welfare of the deprived family.’ It is a general public where culture and religion are utilized as a disguise of the truth. Ba tries to reestablish women’s nobility in polygamous relational unions. Ramatoulaye, in So Long A Letter, remains with her Modou regardless of he has taken another spouse; in spite of the weight of her own little girl who requests that break this marriage with Binetou: “Break with him, mother! Send this man away. He has respected neither you nor me. Do what Aunty Aissatou did; break with him” (Ba, 1989:39). This is claiming that Ramatoulaye realizes “…marriage is never smooth. It reflects differences in character and capacity for feeling” (Ba, 1989:55).


Davies (1986:273) in the article “Marriage, Tradition and Woman‟s Pursuit of Happiness in The Novels of Mariama Bâ” supports that Mariama Ba “was convinced that happiness and not just women‟s happiness, but men‟s as well, a whole happiness- must be based on a monogamous marriage.” Nonetheless, our perusing of Mariama Ba‟s So Long A Letter, demonstrates that, as indicated by Mariama Ba, misery in Muslim polygamous family is because of the numbness of the fundamental precepts of Islam and, subsequently, she proposes education as she implies by which to clear the psyches of the two people from malformation.

Our perusing of So Long A Letter offers a counter argumentation. That is, Mariama Ba isn’t against Islam and that what she uncovered in So Long A Letter is women being casualties of conventions and wrong translations of Islam instead of the confinements of the recommended principles of God. As it were, Ba’s primary distraction in So Long A Letter is more of the quest for bliss, when certain conditions are satisfied, than a by and large assault on polygamy.

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