May 18, 2008
“In every bed, there is a promise.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Yesterday I was reading a commentary in Tariq Nelson’s blog talking about Fatherhood that just boggled my mind. Mind you, these were mostly Muslims participating in this discussion. One brother was talking about women who are looking for baby daddies to get them pregnant so they can force him to send them a check for child support for the rest of his life, and he complained about these women using the money to get their hair done or to finance their future lung cancer. He was trying to imply that bad women didn’t deserve child support. It was like no one ever told him how babies are made.
The politicians like to talk about “freedom of choice.” They are talking about abortion. The assumption is that if a woman chooses not to have an abortion, then the blame, and thus, the financial and emotional responsibility for the child, rests squarely on her shoulders. I’ll never forget my Italian teacher in college giving us undergrads a lecture on morals. She said something I’ve never heard anyone say out loud. “When you choose to have sex, you have made that choice.” God bless her for her bravery to speak out in the face of the victimization and oppression of women and children!
In Europe it has been the norm for at least a century for a marriage to occur after “accidental” pregnancy. Marrying the woman who served as the incubator for your sperm is the normal biological way that moderately decent men have sustained the future of the human race. And just because it was an accident doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. In Islam we believe that life begins before eternity. There is nothing that happens that was not written by Allah. If that soul came into being, there is no shifting blame because you didn’t want to be a father or because that was not the ideal woman you wanted to be stuck with. There isn’t even the question of whether or not you love her. You just marry her. My great-uncle married his wife after impregnating her in East Germany. They were married for decades and after she died, the deaf and nearly blind old man slowly made his way every day to her grave to keep it tidy. When I told him I had converted to Islam, all he wanted to know was if the Quran says you will be with the one you loved, after you die. I said of course. So if you look at European society it is clear that feeling a little rushed into marriage does not negate the possibility of eternal rewards.
Do these American men have any idea how many poor yet honest men in Asia, Africa, South America, even North America, are living without sex for months and years at a time, often going to another city for work so they can send money home to their families? Can you imagine the terrified lifestyle of a typical Afghani woman existing on a couple bags of rice and lentils, taking care of her children alone, in the middle of a violent war, waiting for her husband to come back with some groceries in a few months? Many families who are blessed to be together are very much together. As in, living in one room. Sharing a house with their siblings and their spouses and their children. Many families, even in Europe, live in a one room apartment. During the night, the living room becomes the bedroom.
If you have never witnessed childbirth, let me explain something to you. It really hurts. It turns your body inside out. For a woman to choose to let a man put his “gushing fluid” inside her is the voluntary personal choice to go through an experience that feels about as pleasant as having a bus roll over your body very very slowly. Pregnancy is a time of daily nausea to the extent that if she were a man, she would choose not to work that day, and needing to take constant care to get enough protein to prevent oneself from fainting. If there is no food immediately available there is agony. Childbirth can last for three days. So any man that wants to complain about sending an ex-lover $300 or even $3000 a month should think about for whom he would willingly take that kind of pain and hardship. It takes a woman three years to get back the full use of her body after having a baby, and she actually loses the strength of her eyesight and teeth. So what a man might have thought was simply a romp in the hay for her is a life investment. There is no such thing as “accidentally” getting someone pregnant.
In Islam, men are the maintainers of women. There is none of this weird American marital squabbling about who pays what. Motherhood is a full time job. She carries the child in her womb for 9 months and then nurses the child for two years, sacrificing her calories, her strength, and her free time. A mother cannot come and go as she pleases. She cannot fall asleep whenever she wants. And it’s not a question of whether she wants to do it or not. Women are biologically programmed to suddenly wake up on emergency alert if her baby so much as coughs in his sleep. Men crash out and just sleep like logs. There is a real danger in letting a man have full responsibility for a baby because babies deprive the caretaker of REM sleep. People who are deprived of sleep for a prolonged period of time spend a lot of energy merely “coping.” Somebody has to get the bills paid while the other person maintains the living standard of the home. That is why parenting is a shared responsibility. There is no burden on the woman to work outside the home in addition to the full time job of raising a child in a clean and safe environment. The least a man can do is pay all her expenses. If he cannot afford to buy his family a house, his wife and the kids can share one mattress like the majority of people in the world. Even if a man is sleeping outside, he can put a tarp over his family’s head. Because every soul born is someone that God commanded to be born and a man must take full responsibility for his family. Anything a woman spends on household expenses is rewarded by God the same as donating to charity, while anything a man does to help clean the house is rewarded by God as a charity.
In Islam, if the marriage does not work out, the children are the man’s full financial responsibility. He has to keep them alive - not just send their mother a $300 “donation” per month. Someone has to keep the utilities on and a father must do everything he can to find a way to make sure his kids’ mother is home for her children. If you don’t think you are ready for the financial and emotional responsibilities of parenting, don’t have sex. Or if you must do it, then use a condom. And always marry the woman first. Be clear before you touch her if you consider this to be a permanent commitment or a temporary relationship. If it’s the latter, tell her how long you are willing to commit: in advance. Whatever you do with her, do it in God’s name. And take ownership of your own sperm. The benefit of a prenuptial marriage contract, even just handwritten, is that it will have a date on it and the courts will honor it in case of a dispute.
Women have to start taking themselves more seriously. You can tell within ten minutes if a guy wants to get married someday or not. If he does, then the question is if it’s you he wants to marry and if you would want to marry him. If he doesn’t want to marry you in God’s name then it means he doesn’t want to take responsibility for your children. So don’t be a dimwit. You can figure this out in advance. If all hints fail, just ask, “So, how many kids do you want?” on the first date. Motherhood is a full time career worthy of a six digit income. Make it worth your while. Find a man who will do everything he can to find a way to love the mother of his children, provide them with food and a roof over their heads, and if they cannot work things out he would be aware of what it costs to raise a child. This is what you need to be thinking about on your first date. Does the man value his offspring? Does he have a sense of personal honor?
There are two things that will tell you if a man is going to put his money where his you-know-what is. Those things are religious accountability and racial pride. While neither of these things are guarantees of marital bliss, they do imply the idea that a man must provide for his children, not only out of some ambiguous and fluctuating emotional attachment but because they are his flesh and blood, part of his lineage. Such a man is looking for a woman who has the qualities he wants in his descendants. He is always thinking long term about how to put his DNA to proper use. The sure sign of a no good man is a man who just lets things happen. Some men think that a crime is less criminal if it’s done in the heat of passion. He will try to act like he didn’t realize that he put his sperm into another human being. The act of taking off your clothes is a deliberate act. Don’t do it without getting married first.
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