Posted By Veiled Muslimah on/at 2/20/2009 03:15:00 PM

Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi Wabarakath,

Polygyny [A form of Polygamy where a Man has more than one Wife] has indeed been a most controversial topic. In our times it isn't as desired. Even in traditional societies most Men opt to take only one Wife although it maybe legal to take more than one.



n Islam Polygyny is allowed. It says in the Qurán:

And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan ­girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice. [Surat An-Nisa : 3]


Obviously Allah azza wa Jal is the most just and the most wise - therefore the verse that permits Muslim Men to take more than one wife also has a clause - that those Women have to be treated equally and with justice.

The discussion on Polygyny is vast and includes both pros and cons. However, this is not what I mean to actually discuss.

I was just looking at my own views about polygyny and how they had changed over the years and they prompted this post. I went to a British School and I studied with a wide range of people from all around the World. I'm really grateful for the upbringing and experiences I had. However, I recall my views on Polygyny then. I too, affected more by Western influence then my own religion considered Polygyny to be taboo & and a thing of the past. I frowned upon Polygynous marriages and felt exceptionally sorry for Women who were involved in them.

When I started 'practicing' Islam in the truest sense of the word and not just someone who fulfilled the condition of praying five times a day and not committing big sins - my views on polygyny changed drastically.

I accepted it as a part of Islam, a command in the Qurán and a Sunnah of the Prophet Sallalahu alayhi wasallam. I no longer was shocked or surprised when I heard someone was involved in a Polygynous marriage. I don't know when the change started, but I think Allah Azza wa Jal softens your hearts and gives you understanding of the religion when you strive to come closer to him. Also, I became more and more exposed to Women who were in Polygynous marriage. And no, these weren't old Women or grandmothers but young Women in their twenties. In fact, two of my friends are involved in polygynous marriages and it was their own decision to come into such a marriage.

Obviously, a Polygynous marriage is not what every Woman can handle. You need to have a lot of taqwa and Imaan to go through it.

Secondly, not all Men should actually go ahead and marry another Woman if it's going to break his household to the extreme. I heard of a Woman who committed suicide when she heard her husband married another Woman.

There is a lot of Western critique of Polygyny which is practiced in Muslim Countries and this critique extends to the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu alayhi wasallam for taking more than wife. It should be noted here though, that most of the Wives of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam were either old, widows or divorced and were in fact given his protection when they entered into the marriage and this argues their claim that the Prophet Muhammad SAWs married Women because of his own personal desires.

I find this critique of Islam by the West to be hypocritical. Considering how dating and having illicit relationships with different partners is the norm there. In fact, compared to that the Islamic system of such a thing is better. It protects the Women involved, gives them their rights and they can't be just 'thrown' away or changed.

I was doing some research on Polygyny and I was surprised to find that it is not only Islam who permits polygyny. In fact, Polygynous marriages have been quite common in different parts of the World in the past. Including China and is also permitted in some parts of Christianity. Here is a wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygyny

Saying all of that, I still wouldn't involve myself in a Polygynous relationship. I still believe in a One Man & Woman marriage, however I wholeheartedly defend the Islamic concept of Polygyny against critique because above everything else, it was practiced by the Prophet Salallahu alayhi wasallam.

What some people fail to realise is, [Including Muslims] that there is a difference between not liking something for yourself and not liking the concept itself. Polygyny is a part of Islam & therefore needs to be defended, however, there is choice in the matter involved so you can choose to not be involved in a polygynous relationship.

Ridiculing the concept of Polygyny is where the trouble arises as it is ridiculing the Qurán & Sunnah.

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10 comments:

أم ترافيس said...

Lovely post and very true... I find it difficult when Muslims ridicule this aspect of Islam... and at times I wonder how I would feel if my husband were to marry another wife, but then I remember it is all in the plan of Allah s.w.t and I feel comfortable once again. There are many wonderful aspects of ployginy as well, and to be honest, at times I cant help but ALSO wish to have those aspects in my life... subhanAllah. So, from the core I think it is quite normal for a woman to not desire this, but as you mentioned, if someone wishes to be closer to Allah s.w.t He has all the power to aid in in all paths, however difficult we may perceive them to be at times.

Islam Blog said...

Salamualaykum,

I hope you are doing well sister.

Funny that this was the topic of discussion with my family today

:)

I always find it amazing that you have particular subject in mind and then you read something related to it by mere coincidence.

Anyways, it's nice to see Muslims, esp. sisters dealing with this subject in a more mature way.

medaminech said...

Salamou Alaikom,
Hey sister, I hope u're doing fine.
Thanks for the great post. Like u said it's a subject really hard to handle by both genders, so it's making it kind of a taboo.
Anyway, thank u again. Fi amani llah.

al-Ghariba said...

Assalamu alaikum wr wb,

Indeed this topic has been gaining momentum of late. If polygyny was bad, it would be haram, but it is very much halal and the benefits are bountiful. Polygyny rocks when it is done right. You get to have days off which can be use to gain knowledge and persue satisfying halal activities. It takes the pressure off from having to cook and prepare the house, washing etc - it is all shared.
In this time I see so many sisters without the benefit of marriage because of the "taboo" of being a second, third or fourth wife.
One serious issue: I don't recommend it for people living in the West where laws are not designed to cater to plural marriages.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Umm Travis:

I agree. I can understand disliking Polygyny for yourself and not wanting to be in such a marriage - but ridiculing the concept itself is ridiculing a part of Islam.

Yes, I'm sure Polygyny has its benefits. But its something that not everybody can take though.

Islam Blog:

Wa Alaykumsalam Warahmutallah

Alhamdulilah. :)

That happens with me sometimes with the Quran, especially when I'm stressed about a particular issue and somehow a verse regarding that same issue or something similar comes up or I happen to read it and it soothes my heart.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Medaminich:

Wa Alaykumsalam warahmutallahi wabarakath,

Alhamdulilah, I am doing good. Im glad you like the post, you're welcome. :)

Al-Ghariba:

The phrase being, 'it rocks when it is done right' - sometimes I understand the reason why someone [IE Women] wouldn't want to enter into such a marriage. I've seen quite a few Men not treating their wives properly and treating the whole thing as a game.

Yes, there are benefits to polygyny obviously. But in this day and age, anyone who is consdiering it, male or female need to do some special background checkings & make sure they're making the right decision.

Not everyone is honest or sincere as the earlier Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Slms I just became part of a polygynous marriage. I advise men not to give their wives a shock or announce their second marriages after its commencement. The decent thing to do would be to discuss it with her and prepare her for it. If you truly love your wife, honour her by making her part of your decision and new life. This will automatically bond her with her co wife. When things are not done appropriately, it creates friction and bad feelings from the onset.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Anonymous: Jazakallahkhair for your input & advice. I agree with you.

3rd... said...

Hi.. true post.. I stumbled upon it searching for polygyny related issues. I am a third wife of four. And polygyny is hard, and it does have blessings, some days one overshadowds the other as with all things.. but indeed, people should make a distinction between what they do not want for themselves and what is permissable in their faith

Veiled Muslimah said...

3rd: I'm glad you shared your opinion and I wish you all the best inshaAllah. May Allah make it easy for you and bless in your marriage, family and everything that is good. Ameen. I'm sure it must be hard - being a 3rd wife, not a lot of people have the strength to take it on.

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Musings, Articles and Ramblings of a Muslim Woman which range from a variety of different subjects.

Location: Dubai - United Arab Emirates.
The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'ân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).
Surat Al-Anfal - Verse 2
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