Friday, January 30, 2009


I really can't imagine loving a man and sharing a life with him but having him sharing his life with me and another (or more). I'm giving him my all and he's giving me his half (third, quarter)... And I know a lot of Muslim women hate the idea of it and struggle in trying to understand how they can learn to embrace this as part of Islam. Most don't have to worry about it, I guess, since polygamy is not that likely to happen in their marriage since it's not all that common and they'd hopefully have chosen or plan to choose someone with similar views to their's. But women who do think about it often find some conflict.

Anyway, to continue, I do think that polygamy has its uses in very specific situations. My first thought about it having its uses came when I saw something on TV quite some time ago about women in Afghanistan having lost their husbands. The ones profiled were having a very hard time making enough to take care of their children. They were really struggling (really impoverished), having lost the source of income of the family. It's in cases like this where I thought that marrying more than one woman would be good and almost necessary. In cases where lots of men have lost their lives and lots of women are left widows with little possibility of marrying.

I DO NOT think that a man marrying a woman for sexual reasons is doing anything good. In fact, I don't even think that it is permissible in such cases and I'd go as far as to say that in my mind, it's a sin.

In cases like I described above, the man marrying a second wife is taking on the responsibility of taking care of this woman (and her children, if she has some) and of course, will have the sexual benefits of a husband. And the wife might not be happy about it, but accepting to have this second wife really is an act of goodness.

I'm not very knowledgeable about the Qur'an at all, but I know this one verse talking about marrying more than one wife. I don't know if there are more that can shed a different light on the subject. And I do not speak Arabic, so I will just write 3 different translations in an attempt to get some of the interpretation out that comes with translating from original text.

YUSUFALI: If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

PICKTHAL: And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.

SHAKIR: And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course.

In this verse, at least in the translation, you can marry two, three and four, IF you fear that you will not deal fairly with the orphans. And what I read is that in Arabic, an orphan is a child who has lost his father (the mother could still be alive). It seems to fit with what I was thinking... It's to help children who have lost their fathers (and have no one to provide financially). The verse doesn't seem to say anything about whether or not the women the men marry have to be (or are) the mothers of these orphans, so it could also be to have extra women in the household if the man in question is taking care of many orphans. Women really are so valuable in educating children and raising them. What a wonderful man he is! I would fully support him having multiple wives in such a case. Not even a woman in that situation would like to be "co-wived", but she would be agreeing to allow in her marriage what is allowed by God. It would be an act of worship, in a way, for her to accept this agreement.

Note: I am basing this entry largely on my personal feelings about the issue. And I know I am. ;)

7 Comentários:

أم ترافيس said...

I agree with you that the things you mentioned make sense and that it was easier to help me understand about polygany. But I disagree that it stops there.

You said: "I DO NOT think that a man marrying a woman for sexual reasons is doing anything good. In fact, I don't even think that it is permissible in such cases and I'd go as far as to say that in my mind, it's a sin."

Actually it is known that men have higher sex drives then women, and sometimes it is very uncomfortable for a woman to give to her husband all that he "needs"... as marriage is the ONE outlet for his (halal) sexual urges he should have sex with his wife whenever he feels desire. If she starts refusing him, then, like in the West, the man will start thinking about extra marital affairs. It is funny how, in the west, on tv all the time, these affairs are normal now! And polygyny is not ;) Go figure.

Anyhow, I understand your feelings on not wanting to share your husband -- this goes for most women! SubhanAllah... but I have to admit, there are times where I thought differently ;) For many reasons.

Whenever something is confusing in Islam, simply ask Allah to open your heart to it, because if it is there, there is a reason although we dont always easily understand it, Allah the All-Wise knows more than us :) Alhumdullah 4 that.

Sarah said...

I don't think polygamy can be generally applicable either, because in normal circumstances there wouldn't be enough women to go round if every man thought he could have more than one.

I think any relationship involves compromise, and the world has many models for relationships which are all different types of compromise. I don't think the polygamy model is a particularly good one for women. To my mind it comes from cultures where men dominate.

Men may have higher sex drives but most men are single for a good while after becoming sexually mature, during which time they are supposed to have self-restraint... so it is possible for them to do that!

How do you deal with the fact that Muhammad had more than 4?

Candice said...

I'm somewhere in the middle of these two ideas: the wife giving sex whenever the husband wants it and teh wife giving sex only when she wants it. It IS uncomfortable to give it when you seriously don't want it, but it's selfish to only give it when you're in full horniness! I think the woman should make efforts to want it more often (and it totally works). In these cases the husband has it regularly, maybe it's a day later than he would've had it if it was up to him, but he can exercise that self-restraint!!

About Muhammad and his multiple wives, I really don't know what to think. I don't know much about it and the circumstances and supposed reasons... I need to learn about it before I can say anything.

أم ترافيس said...

LOL at the horniness comment ;)

About the Prophet sallahu alayhi wa sallam, he was married to his first wife when he was 25, Khadijah for 25 years, until she died without one other wife. ( just her ) After that, he married the other wives for various reasons, most of which to show the Muslims who they can/should marry... for example, the widows, and one I remember as well to show that the wife of an adopted son is eligible for you to marry - things like that. It is good to look into it because when you read all about his wives, you read about their circumstance and why he married them and what they were like (try a book on women of the Prophet, or Mothers of the Believers)... and there was a verse revealed after his last wife Maymoonah that he should not marry any more, it is in the Quran, but right now I cant check the reference as I am on my way to class... in shaa Allah sister I will keep these questions of yours in mind, so please have some patience with me :)

أم ترافيس said...

ok here I read this one in shaa Allah and found it online:

The first book, great women in islam should help

there is also one on that page regarding pologyny

this one is for new muslims, in shaa Allah it will be helpful

and on this page, I highly recommend the Sealed Nectar biography and Tawheed -- which is basically what we BELIEVE as muslims, and required for your Islam.


Candice said...

I will try to read some of those. I don't have much time for reading lately though... Working full time and being a full time mom as well is so time-consuming! I do much of my online stuff from work in between calls I make. I should try to make my spare time at night "reading time" though instead of making it "TV time" or "Internet time".
I downloaded the first one though so I will try to read it in parts. :)

أم ترافيس said...

I just saw Beautiful Muslimah with a topic on this matter... in shaa Allah it can give u some basic insight ;) But I totally recommend the books when u have a break in shaa Allah... may He make it easy 4 u

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