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Polygamy: Rational or Irrational?

Polygamy: Rational or Irrational?

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Disclaimer: This article is based on personal observation and could be right or wrong. My conclusion is based on a happy marriage where a husband and a wife love each other and have no major issues, yet the husband still wants to take another wife.  As for marriages with problems where husbands turn to polygamous relationships as the solution, I have no comments.

This past semester in my Arabic Communication class, our professor divided us into groups and asked us to present our opinion on polygamy. I didn\'t want to be a part of that discussion. What was I going to say? Almost everyone else in the class (including the guys) were dismissive of the idea, while I was still forming words in my mind.  The topic was complicated enough to discuss in English, let alone in Arabic!

During my years at the University of Houston, I was one of the most outspoken supporters of polygamy. A few married sisters in the MSA tried to talk “sense” into me, but their efforts were futile; I was known to be a person of my own mind. I clearly remember the day my husband proposed to me, he informed me that he planned to take another wife later and asked if I would be okay with it. I answered, “How can I stop you from something that is allowed in Islam?” I wasn't yet married, so how was I supposed to know what it felt like to be jealous. It was only after I became a wife that I struggled with the idea of sharing the love of my life with another woman.

My first encounter with polygamy was when my best friend went through a polygamous relationship.  I felt torn. I questioned one of the shayookh about it, and his answer to my skepticism still echoes in my mind; instead of defending or addressing the topic of polygamy, he surprisingly asked me, “Do you believe Allāh is Just?” Of course I did (inshā'Allāh), but why would he question my belief in Allāh rather than simply explaining the rationale behind polygamy?

He then supplied me with a battery of “logical” reasons: explanations of wars, genealogy, men\'s struggle during wives\' periods/post-partum bleeding, and many more. After years of researching works of scholars, both Eastern and Western, reading various works and publications including the ones written by women supporting polygamy, and examining statistics -Islamic and non-Islamic, I have run out logical reasons that defend polygamy. One-by-one, each has been ruled out as a result of  being cornered either by Muslims or non-Muslims. I can no longer “logically” defend polygamy.

Let\'s discuss a few rational explanations:

War Zone: We are no longer in a time where men die more in war than women. The norm of warfare today is the  culture of carpet-bombing, where there is no discrimination among men, women, children, elderly; all in proximity are annihilated.

Genealogy: Yes, it's a subject that is not totally debatable. Even with the contemporary DNA testing, there is room for error and hence the genealogy of a child can be lost. It makes sense that this is the reason why polyandry is not allowed (perhaps) but the original question ‘why polygamy is allowed?\' remains unanswered.

Periods/Post-Partum Bleeding:  Seriously?! So if a wife is menstruating, there is nothing else she can do to satisfy her husband temporarily for 5-7 days? Even if we accept this as a “valid” factor to justify polygamy, it still doesn't take into account what happens if a man gets married to a woman whose cycle coincides with that of his first wife? Or what if the wives give birth to children around the same time?

Men have Stronger Sexual Appetite:  I assumed this to be factual for some time and perhaps I might still agree with the fact that, in general, men have a stronger physical desire for women. However, this can vary case-by-case as well. New statistics demonstrate that men and women are not far apart in their sexual appetite. In fact, ovulating women have been found to have increased sexual desire. Other studies suggest women in their 30s also experience an increased sex drive. Since this quality can vary from person-to-person, sexual appetite cannot be used to rationalize polygamy either.

While we may run out of rational justifications for polygamy, the stereotyping against it continues to increase:

One Man for One Woman: I grew up believing there is one man for one woman and vice-versa. Remember, we're products of our society and culture, and that is not blameworthy. We cannot ostracize “Western” culture for this ideology because it is just as much a product of “Eastern” culture too, if not more. Typically, in Eastern cultures, parents continue to advise their daughters to be patient with their husband and work on the marriage, but as soon as the husband takes another wife, the entire family forces her to return back to her parents\' house and take a stand.

“Shared” Husband: As the practice of polygamy withers away, the mentality and personal outlook of women has also changed. Along with society, women have moved from a more group-centered reason of existence to a more individual-centered reason for existence. Not only do most women refuse to share their husbands, but the entire society has taken an antagonist view of this practice.

“Insufficient” First Wife: In many communities, once a man weds a second wife, society does not loiter in assuming fault in the first wife. Why else would her husband feel the need to find solace in another woman? People talk, families accuse, and consequently, wife number one feels she is insufficient for her husband. Her insecurities rise just as fast as her self-confidence and esteem spiral downward, leaving her feeling like an utter failure.

With all these widespread stereotypes against polygamy and apparent lack of “logical” explanations, how can we expect Muslim women to simply swallow this concept, accept it, and live happily ever after with it?

I cannot. In fact, I believe most women can't. But I have to come to terms with it. Because no matter what my objections may be against polygamy, it is permissible in Islam, it was practiced by our beloved Prophet, sallallahu aliahi wasalam, and was common amongst the respected Companions. Who am I to object to it?

Before I proceed, let me clarify. I am not ruling out any aforementioned and other possible logical reasons for everyone. If it makes sense to any woman, by all means, accept it and be content with it. But if there are sisters who cannot find any coherent reasons for polygamy, they should not allow it to frustrate them. They are not alone.

As for me, this matter remains rationally unexplainable.  But it only humbles me to accept a far greater truth about Islam – that there are issues within the deen we may not fully comprehend. Disagreement with our logic in matters of deen cannot yield rejection. In Surah Sajdah, Allāh azzawajal said:

ÙˆÙŽÙ„ÙŽÙˆÙ' شِئÙ'نَا لَآتَيÙ'نَا كُلَÙ' نَفÙ'سٍ هُدَاهَا وَلَٰكِنÙ' Ø­ÙŽÙ‚ÙŽÙ' الÙ'Ù‚ÙŽÙˆÙ'لُ مِنِÙ'ÙŠ Ù„ÙŽØ£ÙŽÙ…Ù'Ù„ÙŽØ£ÙŽÙ†ÙŽÙ' جَهَنَÙ'Ù…ÙŽ مِنَ الÙ'جِنَÙ'ةِ وَالنَÙ'اسِ أَجÙ'مَعِينَ

“And if We had willed, surely! We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evil­doers), that I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind together.” (32:13)

We accept this verse as is, even though we cannot fully understand the meaning, and we make du\'a to Allāh that may we be protected from being amongst those who are destined to Hellfire.

Polygamy is allowed unconditionally (so long as the husband treats his wives equally), unbound to time, place or people. To accept this fact is a part of my faith, whether I like it or not. However, Ever Merciful is my Lord Who has comforted the believers by saying:

كُتِبَ عَلَيÙ'كُمُ الÙ'قِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرÙ'Ù‡ÙŒ لَكُمÙ' Û– وَعَسَىٰ Ø£ÙŽÙ†Ù' تَكÙ'رَهُوا Ø´ÙŽÙŠÙ'ئًا وَهُوَ خَيÙ'رٌ لَكُمÙ' Û– وَعَسَىٰ Ø£ÙŽÙ†Ù' تُحِبُÙ'وا Ø´ÙŽÙŠÙ'ئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌÙ' لَكُمÙ' Û— وَاللَÙ'هُ يَعÙ'لَمُ ÙˆÙŽØ£ÙŽÙ†Ù'تُمÙ' لَا تَعÙ'لَمُونَ

“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allāh knows but you do not know.” (2:216)

Hence, to conclude:

First, I begin by reiterating clearly that I cannot rationally understand polygamy, but I accept it because I submit to Allāh azzawajal, and I believe the One Who decreed it is, without a shadow of a doubt, The Most Just and has allowed it in His Perfect Justice. I understand now the wisdom of my teacher questioning my belief in Allāh's Perfect Justice. That is the primary rope to hang on to – to submit to Allāh's Perfect Justice.

Secondly, I advise myself first and then all my Muslim sisters that polygamy is a trial from Allāh, not from the husband. Therefore, like any other trial, it is a time to come closer to Allāh azzawajal, with submission, patience and tawakkul. Just like any other trial, it is a time to evaluate oneself and to increase good deeds; it is not a time to rebel. More importantly (what seems like a never-ending task, ) we must strive to seperate the anger we may feel against our husbands and channel it towards accepting Allāh\'s decree.

Instead of perceiving the situation as “my husband did this to me”, it should be, “it is my Rabb\'s Decree and He is testing me”. The real struggle lies in accepting it as a test rather than a “betrayal” by one's husband. It is indeed an emotional “Jihaad” (exertion) to seperate the two. Perhaps this is also the most effective recipe to cope with polygamy.

Thirdly, I do believe that there is always khair in Allāh\'s Decree; although we may fail to see it when we are being tested, the goodness always shines through. So those sisters who are tested with this, or may be tested with it, must remember that polygamy, too, has khair in it. We may fail to see it, but it is there, inshā'Allāh.

That day in my class, for the first time I did not justify polygamy logically. I was a bit hesitant in being so honest, but I took the courage to say, “My limited human mind cannot rationalize polygamy. I don\'t necessarily like it, but I accept it because it is a part of my faith, a faith that I undoubtedly believe in and find to be the only truth. However, Islam doesn\'t expect anyone to live a miserable life either. So if a woman cannot tolerate sharing her husband then the doors of exit from the marriage are always open for her.” After saying this, I felt relieved and strangely empowered.

Message for the Husbands:

Having said this, I do have a message for the husbands who are thinking of or are already in a polygamous relationship:

1. Please do not abuse the aforementioned three points. How a woman perceives polygamy is between her and Allāh azzawajal. There are sisters who may not be able to cope with polygamy, but it doesn\'t give husbands the right to judge their īmān. Further, if the wife makes an effort to struggle through it, then recognize her situation as the one suffering through a test. She undertakes a hard journey and whether she finds peace with it has a lot to do with how a husband handles the situation.

2. What I said above is easier said than done. Most pleasing to shaytaan is to break a marriage and obviously he will take every available opportunity to arouse negative feelings and emotions in a wife. A wife may be able to ward off the waswas at times, but not all the time. Treat her as if she is human, because she is human; don\'t expect “angelic” reactions and submission from her.

3. Remember, not only does a wife fight shayateen\'s waswas but she also suffers the antagonizing society's fingerpointing at her for being the “insufficient' wife number one. It is easy to say ‘who cares about what others are saying\' but the reality is very ugly. A husband must stand up for his wife if he does not want to kiss her goodbye.

4. Realize that it is natural for her to be hyper-sensitive and vulnerable to anything that others might say, especially, to what comes out of her husband's mouth. Shaytaan will make her read assumptions into her husband\'s words and actions, so be prepared to explain calmly and patiently.

5.  Remember, it is inevitable for her to compare herself to the other wife, and to indulge in thinking, ‘Who does he love more/find more pleasing?\' Find a way to keep her from doing that if you don\'t want her to go mentally insane.

6. There is no “right” way of jumping into polygamy. No matter what approach you take, it will hurt your first wife, but DO NOT LIE to her. She will find out, especially, if you share a good strong relationship. Many times husbands lie to keep their wives from hurting, but in reality deception and dishonesty hurt more.

7. Don\'t break her trust. Wives are better equipped to face the bitter reality than broken trust.

These are just a few quick suggestions with regards to treating the first wife. If all this is too difficult for a man to handle then I suggest he sticks to monogamy :)

allah imaan inshaallah

About Umm Reem

Umm Reem has a bachelors degree in Islamic Studies from American Open University. She studied Arabic Language & Literature at Qatar University and at Cairo Institute in Egypt. She also received her Ijaazah in Quranic Hafs recitation in Egypt from Shaikh Muhammad al-Hamazawi. She was one of the founders of Daughters of Adam magazine and remained the publishing director until 2007. She had been actively involved with MSA, TDC, and other community activities. She has also been actively involved with the Muslim women of her community spiritually counseling with marital and mother-daughter issues. She has hosted several Islamic lectures and weekly halaqas in different communities, including special workshops regarding parenting and issues related to women.

383 comments

  1. A very honest and bold article . Particularly liked the part “Instead of perceiving the situation as “my husband did this to me”, it should be, “It is my Rabb’s Decree and He is testing”. A perfect eye opener for others to take a leaf out of this very well written piece.

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    • Wow. Very honest.
      There are things in Islam I don’t understand but accept because it is a part of our religion. However this doesn’t help conviction in my faith.

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  2. Bismillah
    Disclaimer: This article is based on my personal observation. I could be right or I could be wrong.
    Well, first of all there is always a logical explanation :) alhamdulilah, just we probably don’t know it yet?
    Secondly after the place where it is stated in the Quran that a man may marry more than one there is a condition (i apologize but i can’t find where) that they [they men] must be equal and just, but after it i think it states that men cant actually be totally equal? Can someone explain that to me please, it may help with this article inshAllah.
    We do not run out of rational explanations for polygamy, for example; most of the reasons you state (war, for example) may not be as useful now as it was in the era of our Prophet SAW but it surely will be in the future and probably is in some places in the present. As you said ‘ it only humbles me to accept a far greater truth about Islam–that there are issues within we may not fully comprehend’
    Remember the disclaimer!

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    • Secondly after the place where it is stated in the Quran that a man may marry more than one there is a condition (i apologize but i can’t find where) that they [they men] must be equal and just, but after it i think it states that men cant actually be totally equal? Can someone explain that to me please, it may help with this article inshAllah.

      I believe this means that a person can never really control their love for someone, because every person is different. It is mentioned many times in Hadith that the Prophet sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam favored Aishah radiya Allahu anha out of all his wives. But the Prophet is the perfect example, and he treated all his wives fair to the best of his abilities in whatever he could, like spending time with them and giving them their rights.

      But a person really cannot control how much love they have for a person, and truthfully say that they love two people exactly the same, because they cannot since they are not the same person. But of the things that you can control, like spending time with them, spending money on them in giving gifts, and those things, then a man must be just and equal.

      May Allah forgive my shortcomings. Ameen.

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  3. Assalamu alaikum Sister Umm Reem,

    Today’s muslims have found one more scientific reason which promotes polygamy: The gender ratio. Our world population at present informs us that for every 1 male, there are numerous females. (apart from countries of female infanticide, eg: India) . This means that even if ALL the men in the world would get married, even then there would be an excess of unmarried ladies. To make matters worse, there are more and more cases of homosexuality which further reduces the number of marriageable men.
    The remainder of the single ladies are left to live their lives alone and are unable to fulfil their natural desires in the sacred bond of marriage. Some of these women may fall prey to their desires, while the other have to learn to fend for themselves, to avoid ‘being a burden’ on their families and others may be a victim of society’s slander. In all cases, having a husband to protect and provide for you, even if you have to share him would be more acceptable than having no husband at all.

    May Allah keep our faith strong and may we all be of those who earn Allah’s favour inshaAllah :)
    And may everyone be blessed with righteous and pious spouses inshaAllah :)

    JazakAllahu khairan :)

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    • Not true. Didn’t have time to research but this is what I found:
      http://www.geohive.com/earth/pop_gender.aspx

      As expected, only true in countries which there is war going on.

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      • Well, in the website you have provided, many countries (not only those where war going on ) like, USA, UK, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Romania, and many others do have more females compared to males.

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        • Yes. But the ratio is not such that we can call it as “for every 1 male, there are numerous females”

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      • China and India have significantly more males than females (due to 1 child policy or dowry/cultural constraints) coupled with female feoticide

        In fact, most Muslim countries have more males than females
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_sex_ratio

        Most of the rational reasons for polygamy make a lot of sense historically. And when realize that Islam gave a law across the ages, it had to accommodate these times (which were far longer than today). Today these reasons are less applicable, and naturally you see very few Muslims practicing polygamy.

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        • These studies only take into consideration raw numbers. It doesn’t include the fact that more men are imprisoned in every society than women. And it doesn’t include that homosexual behavior is usually more prevalent amongst men than women also.

          Furthermore, we should look deeper into individual populations within a given nation. In the U.S., the gender ratio amongst African-Americans is very wide. It is to the point where I do believe, with my limited knowledge, that it is essential for African-American men to marry more than 1 wife.

          And Allah knows best.

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    • Allah has allowed polygamy. However we should not spout false stuff as that makes Muslims look foolish. I have encountered some Muslims who believe there are 2 or 3 women for every man, and that statistics dont tell that because “Statistics is done by Kuffar” who obviously manipulate it to hide the fact there are 2 women for every man.

      Anyways, apart from India many 3rd world countries have a surplus of men. And in countries with more females, the ratio will never be worse than 105-100.

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  4. No longer muslim

    I have seen polygamy destroy many sisters lives. I don’t like how it is being practiced in the west. polygamy gives a man the right to sleep with all the women he wants. He is free to marry nonmuslim and muslim women.He meets a sister and takes her to the masjid and now he can have lawful sex with her. what a load of bs. their is no authority to control these serial polygamist. Nobody cares to stop them and have them really think about what they are doing to their wife and children. He does not need the permission of his wife, and he is free to tell her about the new wifer whenever he feels like it. He is free to produce numerous amounts of children with no care in the world who will take care of them. It’s 100% okay if he’s been married 10 or 15 times.His first wife accepts all the disrespect because her faith tells her to do so.She could ask for a khula, but she may not get it. She basically the slave of her husband Polygamy is a curse to Islam. Why is it a curse? you think reverts have a proper understanding of sexuality in the west. Sex is highly abused, and adding polgamy to the pot makes it boil over. I can’t tell you how muslim women are on welfare and foodstamps so their husbands can freeload off of other women. It’s disgusting that women are at the mercy of their husbands whims. Thank GOD I am no longer Muslim.

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    • Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatuLlah ukhti,

      I appreciate where you’re coming from, but how can you say “Thank GOD I am no longer Muslim”? Do you not realise that you will return to Allah (swt) on the Last Day and will have to answer to Him? And if your apostasy was because of the issue of polygyny, how would you justifying leaving Islam over something that was only a sunnah, and not wajib/fard?

      I don’t want to assume anything by reading between the lines, but I’d urge you to reconsider your life choice again, before it’s too late. There are many knowledgeable shayukh around, on this site and many others… get in touch and talk it out? Please?

      Salaam

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      • Anti-polygamy Muslimah

        What? Who said polygamy is sunnah? Give me a break!
        If Allah said you will not be just, no man will be just to more than one wife. Period. End of discussion. That’s it!

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        • The fact that the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did so makes it sunnah, sister. The verse you are referring to has been explained by the Scholars to mean that no man will be able to love their wives equally (the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam loved ‘Aisha more than his other wives, for example). It does not mean he cannot treat them equally or cannot be just with them, but that his feelings will not be equal. Please do not disregard a part of our beautiful deen; one must do research. Wa Allahu ‘Alim.

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    • I’m not sure where you got your information, but that is NOT from Islam. He is only allowed up to four wives, and he has to stand before ALLAH subhannah wa ta’ala and explain how he treated each and every wife he took, and every single child he produced. I learned something very important when I reverted to Islam, al hamdulillah. Nothing we do is unaccountable. You said the man goes unchecked, but Allah subannah wa ta’ala is ALL Knowing and ALL Seeing. There is nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about, and all people will be accountable for their sins. If a man abused the system of polygamy, he will be accountable for it. I pray that Allah will guide you to the true deen of Islam. Ameen

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    • Asthafirullah..Please do not blame the wickedness and evil of men and women on any religion or faith. The holy books were sent to counter just that- have you seen any ideology that have rendered man better than what he is?? I believe not. Islam allows polygamy and as mentioned above it says in the Quran 1,2,3,4, but if you cannot treat them with justice one is better. Allah swt permits certain acts under conditions. The above comments are intelligent and useful to those who will reflect. Please return to your faith and trust in your Lord rather than the ego and the fallible human. Peace.

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    • To be honest, if I also experienced Islam like you apparently have, if I was made to bear all the things that you describe in the name of Islam, naudhubillah I may have also left “this” Islam.

      I hope inshallah that you will someday find the true meaning of Islam, not the Islam that was represented to you, because the Islam you are describing is not borne of the Islamic characteristics that the Prophet (S) brought.

      Not one person we know of left Islam in the time of the Prophet. If there was any episode of someone wanting to leave, or any episode of a punishment being applied on someone leaving Islam, we would have known of it through some tradition. That is not the case. Ponder over it.

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    • “Thank GOD I am no longer Muslim.”

      That sounds kinda contradictory. Are you thanking the same God that prescribed Islam to us?

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    • Alhamdulillah, I am happy to be a Muslimah, but I have to agree somewhat with your post.
      I’ve only seen polygyny abused in the west.
      I’ve never seen a brother marry an older sister, or a sick sister, or a poor divorcee with many children to care for just for the barakah it would provide him. I’ve only seen them seek out younger wives with no(or only 1) child.

      I also can’t help but question where the faith of our brothers is?

      When sisters are faced with this hardship they are told to be patient and turn to Allah SWT.
      But if a brother has a sexual attraction to mutliple women, he isn’t supposed to be patient and turn to Allah SWT but to take another wife?

      I know that we are supposed to be equal spiritually, but it makes me wonder how they are the Imams of their household and advise patience for the subjects, but indulgence for themselves?

      I don’t question Allah SWT in His Wisdom nor our Beloved Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Salaam in his practice. I KNOW that there are(or were) logical reasons for polygyny. And there may be logical reasons for it again in a few situations. But the rest is just mens’ lusts and cannot really be explained away as being “sunnah” as Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Salaam did not marry for lust as men are doing today.

      Allah SWT knows best.

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    • walHamdulillaah, to you be your way, your standing will be before the One Who Created you just as with everyone else.

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  5. No longer muslim

    Polygmay is not a trial from ALLAH. It is from the lust of men. You can’t blame GOD, because man has free will, and your husband decided to take a second wife. ALLAH didn’t make him do it. Most polygamist marriages in developed nations do not last. They last in poorer nations because women have little to no social economical power. I was in a polygamist marriage for 3 years, and It was a joke.

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    • That is why MOST Muslims around the world do NOT enter into polygamous marriages. Most men and women would not be able to handle the situation correctly.

      Also, there are some groups who encourage polygamous marriages right after people convert to Islam. This is another problem that is going around these days. They preach that if you don’t get married to more than one woman, you are not following the Sunnah – and this is incorrect.

      I have witnessed myself Imams constantly remarrying brothers who get married and divorced, married and divorced and who marry more than one woman at a time. The Imams think they are providing a service for their community but nothing says you HAVE to marry people. They are just making money and making themselves liked by the men in their community.

      Unfortunately, like many things in life, this is being taken advantage of in the west as well. Especially in urban areas where there are many new converts and many men trying to take advantage of women to get money, rent, and food stamps. I have witnessed this myself.

      But I would advise you that your bad experience you had with that marriage should not cause you to leave Islam. The people you might have been learning Islam from or trusted as your Imams were probably not qualified at all. There are a lot of people in the west who claim to represent Islam, but they don’t. It just seems like they do because they might have a loud voice or have manipulated people into thinking they represent the majority or “right path”. Nothing in Islam says you have to throw common sense out the door when you become Muslim and follow some dumb, local Imam who marries people in polygamous marriages all day long.

      Having a business in Islam is also permissible and halal. But I know many people who have gone into business and have had horrible experiences and were taken advantage of by their business partners who used to be their friends. Does that mean that person should blame Islam for his business problems and renounce his Islam???

      Insha’Allah I hope you reconsider your decision and decide to take a second chance at learning Islam from the people who have the authority to teach it. Educated, mainstream Sunni Muslims, who represent 1 billion in the world, and who would be well known, not just in your neighborhood or city, but from around the world to be true scholars of Islam. They will show you the path of Islam and I can guarantee you it is not what you learned.

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    • To be honest sister, polygamy is a very strange reason for someone to leave Islam. I understand you went through a tough relationship, but so is everything in life, a test.

      We ask Allah to give us all the strength to persevere during those tests, and turn to Him rather than away from Him.

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    • Anti-polygamy Muslimah

      Actually, it’s not just men’s lust & uncontrollable desires (which they like to disguise as doing the world a favor), its also the fault of women who accept to be second (or more) wives, with total disregard to first wives’ feelings! That’s just selfish! If she was the first wife, she wouldn’t like her husband to take on other wives, so why accept to be second (or 3rd or 4th)?! Why accept to be a number?! I just don’t get it! There is no reason EVER good enough to accept polygamy, not even twisted interpretations of God’s orders, which by the way, couldn’t be any clearer in saying to men: ﻭﻟﻦ ﺗﻌﺪﻟﻮﺍ (u can never be just), ﻓﻮﺍﺣﺪﺓ (so just one).

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      • Sister,
        I don’t think it is respectful to be ANTI- something that Allah has clearly made permissible and the Prophet (s) and Sahabah practiced. Especially when one uses language like “There is no reason EVER good enough to accept polygamy”…Really??? If you don’t see it, I understand. But what you should say is “I don’t yet comprehend a reason good enough to practice polygyny.” It is not a matter of accepting. If it is in the Quraan (not twisted understanding either because it was practiced by the Prophet and Sahaabah) then “we hear and we obey.” That is what “Muslim” implies.

        I mean… who are we to make Haram what Allah made Halal?

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        • Anti-polygamy Muslimah

          First, you do not tell me what to say and what not to say.

          Second, it was practiced then as an exception for certain reasons that are not true and do not exist at our time today in the 21st century.

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          • It’s a piece of advice. relax.

            Allah knows best, but we know of many marriages (polygynous) during the time of Sahabah that were not necessarily based on a certain reasons. In fact, if polygyny was only allowed under specific conditions (the certain reasons you claim) we would have a daleel for that in the Quraan or Sunnah. The only condition we see is that the husband must be just between them. Do you have a proof that the Sahabah (RAA) practiced it “as an exception for certain reasons” that do not exist today?

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      • Too right. Women are co-conspirators in the debacle. I have no objection to polygyny when ALL parties involved are on board. Alas, that’s rarely the case and most often the first wife is dragged kicking and screaming into the situation, while the second is smugly assured she is somehow “better.” So much for sisterhood.

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      • I’d agree except that some 2nd(and 3rd) wives are lied to by their prospective husbands.

        I was lied to by 2 brothers who presented themselves as being single or divorced. They *acted* single as well – didn’t sneak around, we spoke and had my wali involved in public. We were around other members of their family who said NOTHING!

        One sister I know was told by a brother that he was divorced. He was well known in his community and their families were involved with each other so they had no reason to doubt his claims. They married and she got pregnant right away. *THEN* she found out he was still married because his first wife went insane and showed up acting violently.

        There are also brothers who lie about their marriage situations and some gullible sister believes them. I can’t blame the sister if she thinks he’s trustworthy and it turns out he lied.

        Allah SWT knows best.

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  6. Assalamu-alaykum my dear sister Umm Reem,

    I would have to respectfully disagree with this article in a number of ways. After reading this, my summary of this article, including its tones and undertones, would be “I don’t agree with polygamy, but it’s from Allah so I have to accept it.”

    Firstly, I don’t think it’s acceptable for us to publicise this discourse. I understand that it is an issue many women are facing, but I don’t think individuals should publicly declare their distaste for any of Allah’s rulings. Since when has this been part of the community ethos? If you are having issues with something, you should see a scholar and discuss it. During the time of the Prophet (saws) and the sahabah, I really don’t believe they would approve of a woman going around and declaring these feelings in opposition to polygamy. We shouldn’t either. It only reinforces others’ beliefs in rejecting polygamy and confirms their ambivalent stance.

    Secondly, whenever people talk about this issue, emotional feelings are always at the core. It seems our decisions to accept and reject something are based on feelings, rather than on faith. Since when has it been acceptable to disagree or even think about disagreeing with one of Allah’s rulings based on feelings of jealousy, envy, hatred, malice or pride? Of course it is not my position to judge anyone individually, but I talk about this issue as a collective problem in the Ummah today. It’s easier to say for me, being a male, but I think if women are having problems with ‘jealousy’ and are even contemplating that polygamy is ‘wrong’ or ‘outdated’, a serious introspection should be undertaken.

    Finally, there is no place for logic in accepting Allah’s rulings. This is another sickness that we are all faced with. When the command for hijab was sent down, the women did not contemplate about the logical benefits and pitfalls of putting on the hijab. When alcohol was prohibited in it’s entirety, the companions didn’t form a discussion circle to debate the pros and cons. No, they accepted it immediately wholeheartedly and without question. This is why Abu Bakr (rA) has the stature he does. Our obsession with logic has shot us in the foot. When we talk about prayer to non-Muslims, we say how it’s good to remember God 5 times a day and feelings of tranquillity and peace. But really, we should be talking about how we pray 5 times a day simply because God has told us to (which is the real reason). All the other ‘logical’ reasons are only side-benefits that we can perceive. This should be our thought process: It is from Allah, so we should accept it fully and believe it is the best thing for us. (A side issue to this is whether or not a ruling is from Allah, but this article accepts that polygamy is anyway.) If we have problems with this on any ruling, we should be working to reform that thought-process to accept that ruling, rather than grudgingly accepting it and tolerating it.

    The Prophet (saws) summarised all of these points in a beautiful statement, recorded as one of the Imam Nawawi’s famous forty hadith: “None of you truly believes until his desire or inclination is in accordance with what I have brought.” (recorded by Imam Maqdidsi in al-Hujjah)

    I think this is seriously one of the biggest trials our women are facing – coming to terms and accepting polygamy. The wives of the past had far better husbands than the men that are around today, and yet they still grappled with their feelings and were unselfish enough to accept polygamy, for the sake of Allah alone. What does this show? If we are honest with ourselves, it simply shows that today we have a problem with controlling our desires and bringing them in accordance to what Allah has brought.

    Please forgive if I have offended anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. This was not my intention. Rather, I wanted to emphasise these points which I believe should be at the core of this discussion. May Allah guide us all to the straight path and keep us firm upon it.

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    • Sorry, I should also say that I appreciate all the advice given in the second half of the article. My response was regarding the first portion, which I believe failed to adequately emphasise the above points and fell into some of those pitfalls.

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    • Firstly, let me commend you on your disagreeing respectfully!

      Polygamy is a big elephant in the room, and someone needs to address the issue. I am, alhamdullilah, an active member of the community and there are numerous women, Muslims and non-Muslims, who ask me questions about this all the time.

      I don’t know where you are getting the point that I am disagreeing with Allah’s decree. Please read my article carefully.

      I am saying that it is high time we need to stop justifying it “logically”, particularly in our day and times.
      If I were to base my conclusion on feelings, I would have done so 10 years ago. This article, however, is a conclusion after being engaged several times in discussions with Muslims and non-Mulsims, men and women in an effort to explain polygamy from a rational perspective.

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      • Thank you for clarifying that view, because it’s a bit confusing to lay out all the ‘logical’ reasons and refute them before coming to the conclusion that we shouldn’t have logical reasons. If your point was to say that we should stop justifying it logically, it would have been better to put more emphasis on the principle of accepting Allah’s rulings because they are from Him rather than even trying to understand a ruling logically.

        I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about polygamy AT ALL. Of course we should! I’m saying that we shouldn’t express our disdain for polygamy and make this publicly acceptable, because it’s not. Perhaps you didn’t do that in words through your article, but the tone of the article and the comments clearly show that people have gotten that message. What I mean by that is your whole point was to show that polygamy should be accepted as a decree of Allah and a manifestation, somehow perhaps in ways we don’t understand yet, of His Divine Justice. However, it has come across to me and others, I believe, as a criticism of polygamy with a sighing acceptance of it in the end. Unfortunately I’m sure this is not what you had intended.

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        • Thanks…here is the part from the article, see if it makes sense now :)

          As for me, this matter remains rationally unexplainable. But it only humbles me to accept a far greater truth about Islam – that there are issues within the deen we may not fully comprehend. Disagreement with our logic in matters of deen cannot yield rejection. In Surah Sajdah, Allah azzawajal said:

          وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَآتَيْنَا كُلَّ نَفْسٍ هُدَاهَا وَلَٰكِنْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ مِنِّي لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

          “And if We had willed, surely! We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evil­doers), that I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind together.” (32:13)

          We accept this verse as is, even though we cannot fully understand the meaning, and we make du’a to Allah that may we be protected from being amongst those who are destined to Hellfire.

          Polygamy is allowed unconditionally (so long as the husband treats his wives equally), unbound to time, place or people. To accept this fact is a part of my faith, whether I like it or not. However, Ever Merciful is my Lord Who has comforted the believers by saying:

          كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

          “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216)

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        • @Khaleel
          Most women do indeed fantasize about other men, multiple partners and so on. The difference is, however, that women are under HUGE societal pressure to refuse to admit it. Think about it: even though most women wish for other partners, what does society say to the woman who actually admits it? And why do you think cheating exists among women just as among men? Simply stated, BOTH women and men are inclined to take multiple partners, but given that we are not animals, both women and men can use their higher brains to make the mutually beneficial decision to have only ONE.
          I’m not sure what kinds of “classes” you’ve taken, but they can’t possibly be biology or anthropology, as it has been shown that women throughout history have been equally as likely as men to have multiple partners (there is a biological advantage to it), but that women have been far, far better at hiding it. It’s been explained by anthropologists that it does not benefit a woman to have more than one or two children with only one man. They have the innate drive to vary the genes of their offspring just like men do.
          That women are “naturally” monogamous and only desire one man their entire lives is a pure myth, fabricated to make men feel better about themselves.

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          • I am talking about Islamic classes… taught by Shuyookh involved in marriage counseling. So, they would have first hand experience in this and I would believe what they say without a doubt especially when it agrees with everything else I’ve heard. As for the biological/anthropological reasons you stated, I know nothing about them. But I have read research that negates those. And actually, we don’t really need anthropology to tell us how women are; I’m really interested in seeing surveys (even here on MM) that would clarify whether most women (in happy, healthy marriages) truly do desire multiple partners.

            What you said about society’s pressure is true, however, anonymous studies can be done (or have they been done?).

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          • As for the fact that both men and women cheat, that is true. However, it is well known that men cheat significantly more than women. And this has been stated previously in the comments with references to research studies

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        • From your commentary I take it ‘doubt’ or ‘questioning’ anything in the QURAN is simply not befitting a proper Muslim. Is this a definition of ‘Blind Faith’? Keep you concerns to yourself.

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      • Assalaamu alaikum waraghmatullah

        Actually from my prespective as a muslim married male many of the arguments are very logical and true. i have been doing a survey amongst brothers intending to marry again and shuyookh councilling couples. yes there are many issues but one that is very apparent is the issue regarding sexual relations. i will touch on this now.

        1. men are innately attracted to mutiple women (this is how Allah created us). there is clear evidence for this is in Quran and sunnah. so if a man is to stay away from relations other than within the confines of a system that protects women ie marriage…it is logical to conclude that polygany is what is neccessary.
        2. i have consulted with many brothers (all religious, practicing some of them are even shuyookh) they do wish they had much more sex in their relationship and for all the reasons you mentioned in your article. women having chidren, periods & lower sex drive etc. ‘Practicing’ sisters albeit a perverse generalisation are are notorious for not being the ideal bed partners…which may only be a local phenomenon but i would be surprised it is widespread. and the reasons for this are many…a wrong understanding of piety. to be a sexual partner for your husband is something that would be rewarded by Allah swt. and yes of course it works.
        both ways
        3. Wanting to marry for more sex is by no means dishonourable thing. Actually it is the opposite that is true. Our deen encourages it within the confines of marriage. i think our interaction with non-mulims thinking patterns has made us very timid when putting sex forward as a reason. men shy away from this to much as they feel they would be percieved as carnal or shallow. Our deen is GREAT.
        4. Although i do have other personal reasons i wish to marry again. i will continue with my theme i set out with…and add some of my own personal…experience
        i am married 5 years 3months in this period my wifes has had 5 pregancies (Alhamdulillah 3 kids, 1 miscarriage, wife currently pregnant with our 5th). Sex has been a number 1 contributer to any tension in our marriage. The realities are before us…things that make it difficult for us to have sexual relations as much as i would. my wife fully understand this beside the factors that reduce practicality she simply is not built like me. if i can meet the conditions what is the logical next step!!!

        A logical step for man, A leap of Faith for womenkind!!!!

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        • I think i can combine your point 1 and 3 together. Try justifying in our times to anyone that it is okay to marry just for sexual purposes. There is a difference between lust and love and marriage is all about love, commitment to take care of each other for better or worse!

          Besides, there are also studies that show that many women have stronger sexual drive. There are many Muslim and non-Muslim women who have told me this.

          2. I partially agree with you that many practicing sisters are not practicing in bed. But polygamy is not the solution to the problem but addressing the problem is.

          And if the husband gets married to yet another practicing sister, most likely, she will not be the ideal bed partner either (as you said)!

          Besides, what about the sisters who are very active intimately. How would you rationalize polygamy to them?

          Hence, the logical step for man is to admit that it is almost impossible to rationalize polygamy nevertheless a practice allowed hence will have khair in it, if and when practiced properly :)

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          • I don’t think you’ve understood the argument there.

            You can give a man the BEST wife in the world, ranking number #1 in deen, beauty, manners etc. This same man will also want the number #2 , #3, #4 best wife in the world!!

            There’s no doubt a difference between lust and love, but love only comes (in an islamic environment) AFTER marriage. A man will lust for his first wife and this is the same for other wives he marries thereafter. So the argument that a man should marry for love is moot.

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          • AbuUmar DID NOT write that men have a “stronger sexual drive.” He said “men are innately attracted to mutiple women.” These are completely different issues. Based on my limited knowledge, at least based on what I know of myself and the men I know, a man can love his wife as much as a man can love a wife… but there is always this fantasy of being with another woman. This fantasy, for some, it might be nothing more than thoughts; for some, it is a very strong desire. Alhamdulillah, Allah made a halal way of doing this. I believe, and Allah knows best, that the same is not true for women as far as fantasizing about being with another man even though they are in a healthy fulfilling relationship.

            Second, although love is one of the basis of marriage, it is not the only one. We all know that financial obligations and responsibility of raising children are indispensable building blocks of marriage. So, a man may love his wife AND take another wife (say a widow or divorcee) that needs the financial and support and the emotional stability of having a family.

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          • @UmmReem
            Again, I speak based on my experience. I would love to see a statistical study showing the percentage of women in a healthy, happy marriage, muslim or not, who desire being with other men. Every article and blog I read (even by women), every course I’ve taken that addressed this issue has pointed out that this is something common among men and not generally present in women. Even when reading through the comments in this thread, and other MM articles it is quite obvious that men have these desires and women do not.

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          • Well in heaven men will have multiple partners as opposed to women (which perhaps reflects the innate cognitive wiring). Think about it.

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          • FA,
            We had to write a whole refutation of this very point, “as opposed to women” during one of my classes. I don’t have the time to get into it but suffice is to say,
            “They will have there all that their hearts desire and in which their eyes find delight. You will remain in it timelessly, forever. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 71)”

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        • Abuumar, I am trying not to judge you based on the few words that you typed here, but couldn’t imagine being the brother or father of your wife. If you have only been married for 5 years and your wife has had 5 pregnancies including a miscarriage, she has been in some sort of physical or mental discomfort for the majority of your marriage. If you couple this with the normal ups and downs of the first few years of marriage it is not a surprise that you may be having some difficulty in the area of intimate relations

          Again, without knowing you in the least, I would not be surprised if you have some of these same issues with whomever you marry. Empathy is critically important for successful relationships. Finding another wife does not lift the importance of empathy from the husband, rather I believe it only increases it.

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          • @Khaleel:

            that the same is not true for women as far as fantasizing about being with another man

            not only this is an easily refutable statement but sort of unfair as well…try saying this to any non-Muslim woman…actually let me be fair in saying that try saying to even Muslim sisters…there are many sisters who have strong fantasies…

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        • Married Muslimah

          Quite frankly, I think this is pretty selfish, narrow minded, and typical “male” talk and excuses for wanting another woman.

          The idea that practicing women are “notorious for not making good bed partners” is ridiculous! I think these men need to get off their arrogant streaks, and stop gazing at all the women out there in the world, and figure out how to turn their wife on, please her, so being in bed with her husband is actually something to look forward too! Trust me, she wishes you could figure her out!

          Men don’t know how to act like men in the bedroom. Sex is not just about sex, urges, and “sex drives.” If that’s where you think it begins and ends, no wonder you aren’t satisfied, and no wonder she isn’t interested either.

          And it is just as naive and ridiculous to think that the second wife will be any better than the first, not to mention selfish. I pity the woman who becomes the second wife just so a man can have another sexual outlet! How insulting! (Oh that’s right, you do plan to be nice to her, and love her too…) Come on brothers. Let’s get real and honest about this idea. Just as you would be insulted to think a woman wants to marry you primarily for money (and sure, she can like you in the process) a woman doesn’t want to be married to help you control your sex drive. That’s your business!

          As stated in the article, this idea that men are more sexual than women is not true. That men are visually stimulated more than women is true, but a women doesn’t get desire from visual stimulation. She gets its from emotional connection, safety, fun, and being cherished. Give her that, and she’ll be turned on, she’ll want to be in bed with you, and she will be willing to do things that are exciting.

          Until men learn to do their homework on what will turn their wives on, this idea of wanting another one, maybe with less “hangups” will continue, and so will the heartache and headache.

          Until men learn how to help his wife actually GET satisfied, enjoy sex, foreplay, and all the other important elements there are to her amazing human body, they will continue to think the solution is someone else walking around in the world. If she doesn’t want it often enough, take it as a sign you aren’t doing your job, and stop blaming her!

          Of all the women our beloved Prophet married, not one were we told he married just to have another woman to enjoy for the sake of physical pleasure. He was so much more of a man than that, much more noble. I suggest in following the Sunnah, the men focus on being true men first before claiming rights to more women for enjoyment.

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          • I like the discussion. I don’t think the post covered all the bases of possible “logical” arguments. A few things about polygamy:

            1) Its not for everyone. Most guys won’t do it/ cannot do it the math simply won’t allow for it unless you are in Chechnya or something. However through history the most prominent men were often polygamists. Relatively few men have the wherewithal to pull it off in the “traditional” sense (supporting multiple wives). And thats ok. Even so, this is part of our fitra, has been for all of human history.

            2) That women have increased sexual appetite at a particular point in their life is not a logical argument against polygamy. The ability to marry multiple husbands confers no social benefit anyone can identify. Yet, women finding suitable husbands more easily is a social benefit.

            3) The notion of enforced monogamy in the United States is not rooted in women’s equality or romantic love, thats mythology. People who think that should lay off the Disney movies for a few weeks. Its rooted in apportionment of property rights. Thats documented in the congressional record during the conflict with the Mormons on this issue. Of course its origins are church doctrine that has nothing to do with the Bible. The questions not answered: Why is monogamous marriage so important? Does marriage to another wife automatically denote an absence of love for the first wife? Does it even mean the first wife is “inadequate”? We care about what other women talk about, why?

            4) There is much feminist literature that is pro-polygamy , pointing to the potential benefits that are available to professional women in particular. Would be nice to address this perhaps?

            5) There are actually a lot more single women then single men. Many women waste their child-bearing years finding most single guys are either a) unavailable or b) dweebs. This becomes more so as the women move up in age and find everyone worth being married too is already married. Divorced women and particularly single moms often have more trouble finding suitable guys. Restricting the search for a husband to single men is both irrational and socially damaging.

            6) Conflict, jealousy and women gossiping is part of living in society. Its a package deal. Many arguments against polygamy can also function as arguments against women working in offices, since they gossip, enter into weird rival camps and and can generally be mean to each other. Some offices have good cultures too, even offices with lots of women in them.

            Perhaps challenge Zakir Naik’s excellent answer to a question on polygamy here:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQaPBU5ppsk

            Of course its just an answer to a question, and his numbers may be a little off, but still compelling.

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          • @married muslimah

            i was reading your comments with my wife and we both agreed your response is a bit to emotional. this is not to demerit the truths you have told. your opening paragraph and a few others were abit offensive…careful you might be brought to account for it on the day of judgement as i took it quite personal seeing that it was a response to my comment.

            i think you should respond with your husband at your side so that your comments can be a bit more balanced and rounded.

            Did you not know that most young practicing men’s drive to marry is to have sex.!!!
            i am sorry if other brothers shy away from saying this but this is the truth. we are not to engage in sex outside marriage and we are built with this desire. why did the prohet sallalhu alaiwassalam say ‘o young men get married’ awqammaqal sallalhu alaiwassalam and for those who cannot afford to they should fast…so note theres a difference between what drives you to do something & the qualities that you actually look for in a person.

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  7. May Allah reward you, Umm Reem, for addressing this issue, especially in such a calm way. Polygamy is one of the most difficult topics to discuss rationally with fellow Muslims, never mind non-Muslims. Here are a few purely personal thoughts.

    I cannot think of any circumstances whatsoever under which I would enjoy being in a polygamous marriage. However, I could imagine seeing it as a blessing of sorts, if the only alternative were a divorce, which would leave me, initially at least, dependant on state handouts and without an adult mahram.

    Speaking of state handouts, what is the case of men who take a second wife at the tax-payers’ expense? Of the handful of second wives I know personally, nearly all are currently undergoing the indignity of claiming benefit as a single parent. The husbands aren’t paying for the housing or medical insurance of their second families. This scenario isn’t good PR in an already Islamaphobic climate. Wasalaam.

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    • I cannot think of any circumstances whatsoever under which I would enjoy being in a polygamous marriage. However, I could imagine seeing it as a blessing of sorts, if the only alternative were a divorce, which would leave me, initially at least, dependant on state handouts and without an adult mahram.

      agree…
      however, our Muslim brothers equally need to realize that polygamy is not an easy issue to face, so when they decide to practice it they need to be ready to face the consequences.

      Polygamy is not only about how Muslim women perceive it but also how Muslim men practice it.

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  8. JKhair for the article.

    The wisdom may not be known to us, which does not mean that the wisdom does not exist. Allah is Al-Hakeem – the permanently wise. All of His legislation and decrees have wisdom. Not sure if you have done readings in Arabic. I am sure the classical scholars talked about this.

    Some of my reflections on what you mentioned:
    War zone- yes, it is true that initially it is carpet bombing. However, this is followed by a ground invasion, in which men are targeted. And if this was the case the gender distribution would be the same in countries where there is war. Reference: http://www.geohive.com/earth/pop_gender.aspx

    Didn’t understand the point about genealogy.

    Periods/post partum bleeding — 5-7 days is a lot, and that’s the average; the number could go to 10 days for some women. Also, just because the wife is able to “satisfy” the husband marked by ejaculation, does not mean that he is satisfied. The average man reaches true satisfaction through penetration. In this society, how does one expect a husband to go 5-7 days, especially when he is at work surrounded by women dressed in scantly clothing, billboards advertising sex everywhere…this is why majority of males masturbate.

    Men have stronger sexual appetite– Women generally in a relationship are looking for someone who can provide, take care of the family, etc. Men on the other hand generally look for looks, sexual appeal etc. As for the study quoted, it is based on surveys which are a very weak form of evidence in epidemiology. The author begins by asserts that women falsify the results based on the expectations of society. I can say the same about men (the author does mention this, but there are a lot of problems with her refutation). Also this is one study, and doesn’t meet the standards of reliability and validity. The sample size of the study is limited. The population survey is not representative of the total population. The journal has a very low impact factor of 1.48. I was not able to retrieve the original article. However, I suspect further flaws in subject selection (lack of randomization, blinding etc.), data analysis etc. I am not convinced that women have stronger sexual desires than men. Masturbation is far more common and higher amongst males than females

    I don’t see the connection between share husband and Divine wisdom. What if the perception of women and society have changed?

    You conclude with an excellent point. “Islam doesn’t expect anyone to live a miserable life either. So if a woman cannot tolerate sharing her husband then the doors of exit from the marriage are always open for her.”

    JKhair. May Allah SWT give you and your famliy the best of this world and the akhira.

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    • The wisdom may not be known to us, which does not mean that the wisdom does not exist. Allah is Al-Hakeem – the permanently wise. All of His legislation and decrees have wisdom. Not sure if you have done readings in Arabic. I am sure the classical scholars talked about this.

      I already mentioned this in my article

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    • 5-7 days is a lot, and that’s the average; the number could go to 10 days for some women. Also, just because the wife is able to “satisfy” the husband marked by ejaculation, does not mean that he is satisfied. The average man reaches true satisfaction through penetration. In this society, how does one expect a husband to go 5-7 days, especially when he is at work surrounded by women dressed in scantly clothing, billboards advertising sex everywhere

      I wonder what the guys did BEFORE they got married? And have they forgotten that they can use the wife’s menstruation time as a period for THEM to get closer to Allah, by fasting to protect their desires?
      It’s amazing what excuses men make for themselves about their own desires, yet if a woman was to say the same thing (that her sexual appetite was stronger than that of her husband’s, etc.) these same men would be jumping all over her and screaming at her to lower her gaze, fast, and be pleased with what her husband gives her!

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      • Excellent points. And I daresay most women would be positively thrilled to have the pleasure of being married to such a man. My husband always volunteers to fast with me too on various days throughout the year that I am making up from missed days during Ramadan. Strangely enough, he’s not looking to get with another woman on those days that I’m not available to him, but would rather build his deen and show his wife some solidarity. Fancy that… And heaven forbid anyone’s husband should acknowledge the incomprehensible physical toll that women go through when they cope with 9 month pregnancies, birth, post partum recovery, along with the care of a newborn. With every pregnancy, women’s lives and health are in greater danger than when they aren’t pregnant. But all of that should take a backseat to the enormous pain and suffering men might endure from a few days of non-penetrative sexual activity a few days a month, and for a few weeks after having a baby. Yeah, that sounds reasonable.

        On another note, the “men have been scarcer throughout history due to warfare” point gets knocked down in a big hurry when you remember that prior to the antiseptic, antibiotic era, huge numbers of women succumbed to death due to complications of childbirth, infection, etc. Prior to modern sanitation and medicine, pregnancy and childbirth were one of the riskier behaviors one could engage in. And more encompassing than wars have ever been in the majority of human societies throughout history.

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        • I love both your points Sebhka and AnonyMouse. I especially identify with AnonyMouse re how the solution for any problem a Muslim woman has always seems to be within her (change your attitude, lower your expectations, don’t have the feelings Allah created in you, pray that Allah makes it easy for *him*….), while for men, most people justify an external option within two seconds.

          This discussion board has been very depressing in parts, but many of the sisters’ comments have been so enlightening and excellent, and I have really loved reading them. JazakAllahu khairan for a bright spot!

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        • “But all of that should take a backseat to the enormous pain and suffering men might endure from a few days of non-penetrative sexual activity a few days a month, and for a few weeks after having a baby. Yeah, that sounds reasonable. ”

          All that should take a back seat to the possibility of the man committing a sin that is punishable by death. He may be able to be the perfect husband you talk about in 100% situations; it takes only one time for him to err and to something that can get him condemned to death (if he was living in a country where sharia is the law of the land; even if he doesn’t, it’s still an enormous sin).

          “On another note, the “men have been scarcer throughout history due to warfare” point gets knocked down in a big hurry when you remember that prior to the antiseptic, antibiotic era, huge numbers of women succumbed to death due to complications of childbirth, infection, etc. ”

          That kills the logic behind the whole “in our times, polygamy doesn’t make sense” argument. Wikipedia on sex differences in life expectancy:

          “In the past, mortality rates for females in child-bearing age groups were higher than for males at the same age. This is no longer the case, and female human life expectancy is considerably higher than those of men. The reasons for this are not entirely certain. Traditional arguments tend to favor socio-environmental factors: historically, men have generally consumed more tobacco, alcohol and drugs than females in most societies, and are more likely to die from many associated diseases such as lung cancer, tuberculosis and cirrhosis of the liver.[38] Men are also more likely to die from injuries, whether unintentional (such as car accidents) or intentional (suicide, violence, war).[38] Men are also more likely to die from most of the leading causes of death (some already stated above) than women. Some of these in the United States include: cancer of the respiratory system, motor vehicle accidents, suicide, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema, and coronary heart disease.[5] These far outweigh the female mortality rate from breast cancer and cervical cancer etc.”

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          • Absurd to the nth degree. The majority of complications from pregnancy and childbirth, that can lead to death or major injury to women, are virtually out of her control. No one women on earth can will themselves to not develop eclampsia while pregnant, and suffer seizures that result in death. No women on earth can control the mechanisms in their bodies that lead to massive hemorrhage after birth that can cause irreversible shock and death. Even under the best of obstetric care, these dangerous, fatal things can afflict them, through absolutely no fault of their own, and there is no possible thing on earth she can do to prevent it from happening, other than refusing to become pregnant and deliver a child. And you want to equate this sacrifice and tremendous risk that women endure to bring forth new, abundant generations of Muslims to some oinking men out there that aren’t able to control themselves sexually even when they’re married? There’s nothing about infidelity committed by a married man that isn’t under his direct control. It’s disgusting to say otherwise, and a slander against men who don’t need the bar set so insultingly low. If it’s a problem for you, or some men that you know, that’s one thing. That’s them. But don’t drag decent, observant, Allah fearing men who aren’t like that through the mud.

            Where there’s widespread warfare, even in modern times, obstetrical care gets pushed back several centuries too, and women start dying just as they did centuries ago. The horrible maternal death rates in Afghanistan, DR Congo, and other war ravished countries in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years reflects this.
            As for sex differences in life expectancy, many of the behaviors that influence women outliving men are expressly prohibited in Islam or discouraged in most majority Muslim societies. Drugs and alcohol are forbidden, and citing a previous MuslimMatters article pertaining to smoking, most Muslim scholars hold that tobacco is forbidden as well. Living by their deen, and abstaining from these behaviors would increase male life expectancies in the majority of these cases. Suicide of course is haram, and I can’t help but believe it would be expressly forbidden to drive motor vehicles in a dangerous manner that is more likely to result in injury of oneself, or even worse, also result in the injury of other people. Violence is condemned, and war was never meant to be the regular state of society. Outside of a few anomalies, like the former Soviet Union, where a whole lot of men die a whole lot younger than women, in most places the life expectancy of men and women are only a few years different. .

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          • If a brother cannot control himself for a few days then there is something wrong with him that 2, 3, or 4 wives will not fix!

            Instead of marrying more wives he needs to learn to control his nafs and get closer to Allah SWT.

            No matter how many wives he has, there WILL be times that he cannot be intimate with them. It’s possible they could be menstruating at the same time, give birth around the same times, be sick, be visiting family, etc.

            This is not a problem of needing more wives. It’s a problem of giving in to the whisperings of shaitan Audhubillahi.

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        • Salamalikum

          there is one more very important reason why people get married to more than one wife. It is to make sure that every women is married if there are not enough men in the community. This is not only about war killing men. For instance there may be more women in the community than men because more women were born in the community. Why should a sister be void of the blessing of marriage? Because you are to greedy to share with your sister (not directed on the author)?

          It has to do more than just keeping the women supported with wealth but it is also the emotional comfort, women need men just as much as men need women.

          At the same time men NEED to be just in this.

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          • I’d support polygyny if I ***EVER*** witness a brother marry a toothless old woman, a sick middle aged woman, and/or a worn down woman who has many(+ 5) children to provide for.

            I have NEVER seen this though I have seen quite a bit of polygyny.

            That argument of every sister having a right to married life and a husband is a good one, but until brothers are actually willing to marry “every” sister – not just the young, fertile, attractive ones- I still cannot find a good reason for it.

            Allah SWT knows best.

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          • The Quran states” Marry women of YOUR CHOICE”, which means the ones a man find pleasing. Absolute no shame or something wrong in going after looks or fertility. This is halal and not to be looked down upon.

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      • exactly!

        I am reading some interesting material on different addictions and it is quite compelling to read that the main reason why women’s addictions especially sexual were less than men in the past was mainly because women were ostracized and judged by the society whereas men were given a million excuses for their mal behavior.

        With the change in out times, more and more women are coming out of closet.

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      • My point was a view expressed to me by friend, who I am helpign with an addiction. As for what guy did before marriage, well, I urge you to read any book about porn addiction. Anyone activley involved in the Muslim community knows how big of a problem this is, especially if the individual is a male and gives Khutbas.

        Your statement that one can come closer to Allah by fasting, can be flipped and one can argue that a person can come closer to Allah by having another wife (due to the challenge involved, constantly making duaa to Allah, and its a multifacted worship as opposed to abstinance). Also, we learn from the hadih of prophet SAW that one is rewarded for sex, and hence it is a means of coming closer to Allah, and if it leads to progeny, may bring one even closer to Allah than fasting.

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      • Bravo Anonymouse!

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    • I think any polygynous man knows you don’t take another wife just for sex, because the emotional responsibilities alone will far outweigh the sexual benefits (not to mention financial, family, and other responsibilities). My husband, may Allah (swta) be pleased with him, when bombarded with alluring women, sexual images, and stimulation, goes home to his wife. That’s what he’s supposed to do according to Islam. And I agree to intimacy with him whenever he wants. That’s what I’m supposed to do according to Islam. It’s simple, really. In addition to pleasing Allah, this pro-active step to ensuring my husband is not sexually frustrated assures me that when he decides to take another wife that it will not be because I was less than sufficient as an intimate partner.

      But sisters, we need to acknowledge that despite our husbands being bound to us in the eyes of Allah (swta), we are always in constant competition with women of the world that are seen in the office, the street, on TV, or in magazines wearing sexually stimulating clothing or barely any clothing at all. And keeping that in mind, we have a responsibility to keep up our physical appearances and health, and continue being attractive to our husbands once we’re married. STAYING married is a continual life-long job and you have to continue to court your spouse throughout a healthy marriage to keep the excitement alive. This goes for husbands as well as wives. And it is good for your self-esteem to still feel sexually attractive to your spouse after many years of marriage and children.

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  9. The wisdom of polyandry is very apparents. However, one benefit that one of the sister mentioned is not leaving the wife hanging, financally insecure. Also, a lack of father figure can have an impact on child upringing, and may lead some men to become homosexual (a strong claim i agree; please refer to the Harpers magazine about psychotherapy; I no longer have access to the magiize; I read an article there which was from the 1960s in which the physician cured many homosexual man, and said that the commonality between all of them was a lack of father figure). Additionally, what is the wife not able to concieve (in utro or vitro) but the husband wants a child? Should the husband divorce? Lastly, when studying the seerah and looking at the wives of Prophet SAW, one sees that many of them were elderly women, widowed, divorced. Also, they came from different tribes, religions, different strata in society. His marriage was for different reasons, and perhaps the wisdom of allowing this practice.

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  10. -Comment removed. Pls don’t cut and paste articles/fatwa. Instead, make your point (in your own words) and then you can add just a link.

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  11. Men may have relations with more than one woman as sanctioned in Quran. I only have problem when the first wife doesn’t have a choice to leave such man. Muslim women need education and career more than ever.

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    • Umm Sania,

      Muslim women have a choice to leave. Though, it may not be a wise decision but it is a choice they have.

      However, my sincere advice to the sisters is to stay and try it out first. Again this is in the case where a couple is happily married and have no other major issues i.e. where polygamy is not a way our for husband from his problems with his first wife, and Allah knows best.

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      • Sister Reem, when I say choice, I mean choice within bounds of Islam. In Islam, unless a wife can establish that a man is sexually impotent, a drug addict or an abusive tyrant, divorce is not granted. Divorce is not granted on the basis that her husband bought a second wife as this allowed explicitly in Quran, so your mentioning that Muslim women have a choice to seek divorce is out of place with what we are discussing here. I would rather want a woman to have the choice to opt out of marriage if her husband desires for another wife and I also respect those women who contently chose to be one among multiple wives.

        More importantly Muslim women may not even be in a position to seek divorce if they are fully financially dependent on their husbands. This is more true if children are involved. So that is why I believe that it is more important for Muslim women to receive modern education and the option to have something to hold on if they seek to come out of the marriages they don’t wish to continue.

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        • Aswrwb Sania. Muslim women are ALLOWED to divorce and not just for the reasons you have mentioned. I quote a hadees where a woman complained to Allah swt and to our rasool sal about her husband who said she was like the backside of his mother. There came a revelation in which she was allowed to divorce. You must be carefully research your facts before you utter them. First it is a sin to attribute rules on Islam that are not true and secondly this has a non muslim forum too and this gives an untrue and Image which leads to worsen the situation our Ummah is in today..I urge all who participate here to say Aoozubillah each time they get a fit of rage. Peace :)

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          • as salaamu alaikum sister suha

            i believe here u meant the opening verses of surah Mujadilah (chp 58)… with reference to Khuwaylah bint Tha`labah… that particular revelation did not allow for her divorce.. in fact she wanted to keep her marriage intact because her husband had done the Zihar… and in those days doing that was equal to a divorce…she complained to the Rasul Allah peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, til this revelation was sent which allowed their marriage to stay intact although with the condition… that is to free a slave, or fast 2 months or feed 60 poor people… it did not allow for her divorce..

            this is not intended to offend you… but as u say you should research before u quote a hadith and do mention where u get it from.. this is also a reminder to myself first … :)

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  12. Sister in Islam

    Suban Allah, I entered into polygyny with a Brother with a big beard from one of the most pious families and he dumped me not long after the marriage and is now on wife #6. I chose him because I thought he would bring me and my children closer to Islam.

    A friend of mine married a Shaykh who was a winner of the World Qiraat Competition. Her intentions were similar to mine. He dumped her after less than two weeks.

    Brothers who abuse polygany may walk away from a marriage, but the devastation they wreak on families has long lasting and residual effects. While I have forgiven my ex-husband for what he did to me, I am pained to see the negative impact my children continue to endure from his abandonment and poor representation of a Muslim father and husband.

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    • May Allaah give you something much better that what you first gained, and give your children a good role model for them to follow. Ameen.

      However, it would be interesting to know how much research and investigative work you did when you looked into the background of your ex-husband, and also in the case of your friend. Muslims these days are pre-occupied with looks and appearances, while their hearts may be in a state of hardness and darkness. I ask all of us, if our worst deeds were known by the people around us, would we ever show our faces in public again? Similarly, a person with a ‘big beard’ or a haafiz of Quran may not be a very good muslim… perhaps we can hope, but never expect.

      My advice for prospective spouses.. try to do as much delving into the background of your prospective spouse….try to talk to as many of their friends, family members, work colleagues etc as possible. When you speak to the prospective spouse, have some deep questions you want to ask them about life, purpose, future etc. More often than not, one can find out very quickly if the person is good or not. Of course, at the end of the day, even if you do loads of ‘research’ a good/ bad person is a blessing and test from Allaah…

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    • Sister in islam, this is an unfortunate reality of our ummah right now. Wrong practice of polygamy has caused so much damage and I have seen so many good sisters suffering, some of them are left with children and trying to raise them single handedly.

      wAllahi it is in situations like these where polygamy should be practiced, to take care of needy sisters and children.

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    • When trying to understand how divorce should be viewed in Islam, it would be good for the brothers and sisters to investigate the frequency and reasons for divorce amoungst the Sahaabah. Divorce is permissible and though not liked should never be a reason for someone to question Alah’s decrees or even the Imaan of the person giving the divorce.

      The sahaabah were known to divorce and it was not rare and some of the reasons were merely based on sexual attraction. Study the lives of the Pious predecessors and get a better idea for yourselfs before making too many statements against what is permissible.

      Allah alone knows the status of each person and the true intentions.

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  13. Salaam,

    Good article, just wanted to point out one correction if I may:

    “Polygamy is allowed, unconditionally (expect that the man has to treat his wives equally)” should have the word except, instead of expect? ;)

    Salaam

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  14. The infamous Richard Dawkins in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’ states that Human beings are here to ‘propagate DNA’. That is the purpose of life!

    So, from an evolutionary biological perspective, Polygamy can be justified! :D

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    • Sheikh Muanjjid mentioned the same reason (I was not fully convinced):
      1 – Plural marriage helps to increase the numbers of the ummah (nation, Muslim community). It is known that the numbers can only be increased through marriage, and the number of offspring gained through plural marriage will be greater than that achieved through marriage to one wife.

      Wise people know that increasing the number of offspring will strengthen the ummah and increase the number of workers in it, which will raise its economic standard – if the leaders run the affairs of state well and make use of its resources in a proper manner. Ignore the claims of those who say that increasing the numbers of human beings poses a danger to the earth’s resources which are insufficient, for Allaah the Most Wise Who has prescribed plural marriage has guaranteed to provide provision for His slaves and has created on earth what is more than sufficient f
      or them. Whatever shortfall exists is due to the injustice of administrations, governments and individuals, and due to bad management. Look at China, for example, the greatest nation on earth as far as number of inhabitants is concerned, and it is regarded as one of the strongest nations in the world, and other nations would think twice before upsetting China; it is also one of the great industrialized nations. Who would dare think of attacking China, I wonder? And why?
      http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/14022/polygamy

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      • That was supposed to be a joke -_-

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        • Rationlist Muslim

          Actually Richard Dawkins is right. He holds a Phd from Oxford University and you cannot hold his statements as a “joke.” Moreover, it is not only his conclusion. It is conclusion of thousands of evolutionary biologists and evolutionary psychologists, over hundreds of years, that human beings, like other animals and microorganisms, exist to spread their DNA. Human beings dont exist to give or take love, as women would have us believe. Rather we, especially men, exist to spread our seed into as many places and races as possible. The strongest man, who has the most fit genes and has most efficiency in spreading his seed, will be the winner as he will be successful in having as many healthy, fit and reproductively viable children as possible.

          So, scientifically, we, as human species, have ALL the rational and logical reasons, for men having sexual relationships with multiple women, either through polygamy or through adultery. To denounce such reality is to be anti-scientific and irrational. Irrationality is a disease, not polygamy. Perhaps I or you exist because somewhere in the past our forefathers married a second wife and our lineage started from there. Be thankful.

          walaikum asslaam.

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          • if you’re going to go down that nonsensical road (that human beings exist merely to spread their dna), you may wish to review the numerous studies that contradict that assertion and establish monogamy as the favored human norm for various reasons. as well, you may want to brush up on the evolutionary concept of sperm competition. if this is the rationale you want to use, that men “evolved” to be polygamous but women were forever designed to be monogamous, please explain how/why sperm competition evolved then. it’s also been theorized that male penile anatomy and physiology evolved to result in the best design to promote their sperm over the sperm of other men in the same woman’s body. if this is the so-called rational, logical approach you want to take, then explain that one.

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          • Assalamu alaikum,
            Polygamy point aside for a moment- You made some pretty hefty statements like Richard Dawkins is right thousands of evolutionary biologists…and evolution over time is true… Please provide some evidence that “we evolved” or these thousand scientists you speak of.

            Humans can rationalize any behavior they want through this theory of evolution. Basically we’re all animals so we can all behave like animals-It’s natural!

            Polygamy point- We are not animals (or evolved from animals), and just because Allah said men can marry up to 4 wives doesn’t mean that there is necessary a “logical reason” for it that we can just make up on our own. If any muslim man wants to marry up to 4 he can with no reasons or with his own. Period. Not every man is programmed to wanting to be promiscuous as you claim. Comparing ourselves to animals is unjust to animals and humans because Allah created us separately with our own rights and humans have responsibility. Alhamdulillah.

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          • Dear ‘Rationalist Muslim’,

            If that is indeed such an objective, absolute, truth claiming a ‘unanimous consensus’, Why are secular societies-both hard and soft-not willing to accept it? And why is polygamy illegal in their countries? On the contrary, we have them doing the exact opposite of this ‘new found purpose of life’ by legalizing crimes such as homosexuality!

            If indeed we have to ‘Struggle for existence’, For us that struggle(jihad) would lie in propagating cohesive Islamic values and establishing social mechanisms and justice systems based on Islam. At the same time, out rightly denouncing non-cohesive, individualistic, liberal and secular ideologies, the world will indeed witness ‘Survival of the fittest’.

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          • As for the evolutionist’s stance that our purpose is to propagate our DNA and that our bodies have been developed to do just that, The problem with this analysis is that it relegates our existence to a random accident via a lengthy biological process, in essence the value of our life loses its meaning and morality is relegated to individual taste, as Michael Ruse a Philosopher of Science states “Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth… Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction…and any deeper meaning is illusory.” The evolutionary perspective creates more problems than it solves as it cannot provide an adequate explanation for consciousness and the presence of our rational faculties. Taking consciousness as an example, how can a subjective immaterial reality come from a material substance? Consciousness is not a physical thing; it is not contained in any cell or biological structure. The most unchallenged and intuitive reality is that we are all aware, but we cannot describe or explain what this awareness is. One thing that we can be sure of is that consciousness cannot be explained biologically or chemically, the main reason for this is that evolution doesn’t discover consciousness; it’s actually the other way round. For evolution to try and explain the truth of consciousness would be tantamount to arguing in a circle! Even scientists recognise this, the physicist Gerald Schroeder points out that there is no real difference between a heap of sand and the brain of an Einstein. If those advocating a physical explanation for consciousness, bigger questions would need answering such as ‘how can certain bits of matter suddenly create a new reality that has no resemblance to matter?
            Even the neo-atheist Richard Dawkins admits defeat concerning consciousness, he states “We don’t know. We don’t understand it.”

            And if we take the logical conclusion of an apathetic scientific view on our existence, we are on a sinking ship. This ship is called the universe, because according to scientists the universe is going to suffer a heat death, and one day the Sun will destroy the earth. Therefore this ship is going to sink, so I ask you, what is the point of reshuffling the deck chairs or giving a glass of milk to the old lady?

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          • Rationlist Muslim

            Sebkha: the sperm competition fact only adds more support to what I have said! The man with the most numerous, more motile, and more energetic (healthy sperms with lots of mitochondria) in a healthy semen (with lots of carbohydrates for ATP production) will succeed in traversing the dangerous acidic pathway inside a woman’s cervix to reach the uterus for fertilization with an egg. So I never said that women were supposed to be monogamous, they can have relationships with other men too, if they want. But we clearly see, from this discussion, and many others that women in general want to remain in a monogamous relationship, unlike men who do love polygamy (if they are Muslims) or adultery (if they are non-Muslims).

            Another reason why sperm competition arose could be due to husband’s sperm fighting with the sperm of a rapist, in case the wife got raped.

            As I said, sperm competition only further strengthens the argument I mentioned above.

            walaikum assalam.

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          • Rationlist Muslim

            Dear Saad,

            Good, I like intellectually challenging questions, and finally you’ve done it. Nice questions, keep them coming.

            But I am afraid that you are asking me to comment on the metaphysical when it comes to the purpose and meaning of our life, I can only comment about the observable, the tangible i.e. scientific realities. As far as we know, DNA exists because chemical and physical laws are such that DNA can exist. No rocket science. Things exist because if they did not, we would not be asking “why do they exist?”

            Regarding the West banning polygamy, even it contradicts scientific realities, well I dont know why is that. Maybe they want to permit promiscuity before marriage and sexing around, so that more condoms are sold? There could be giant business tycoons engineering the whole psychology of a society, who knows.

            BTW are you a Hamza Tzortzis fan? He once quoted similar arguments about objective Vs evolved morality.

            W salam.

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          • Richard Dawkins is one of the main proponents of the idea that God does not exist. I would never take an opinion of issues relating to shariah from a person who believes that Allah does not exist. Their ideas on DNA come directly form their athiestic beliefs.

            Allah has already clarified our purpose for existance, and that is to worship Allah.

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          • Dear ‘Rational Muslim’,

            In all your comments, I couldn’t help but notice that you seem to have some sort of ‘faith’ in ‘Scientific naturalism’. Also known as ‘Logical Positivism’, this was considered ‘the thing’ of the sixties, everything you assert had to be verified empirically. However, to still hold on to this exhausted, frivolous fad, would be an utter folly.
            Most atheists are atheists because of their mode of understanding. They follow the Philosophy of ‘Empiricism’, which believes in something called ‘a posteriori’, meaning that knowledge can only be acquired through observable and empirical means. This is reflected in Stephan Hawking’s recent book ‘The Grand Design’, where he says in the introduction that “Philosophy is dead.”

            However, I argue that philosophy is ‘live and kicking’ ;) and that scientific naturalism is not true because it cannot prove:

            1. Logical truths such as mathematics – in actuality, logical truths are required to prove scientific naturalism. To argue the other way round would be tantamount to arguing in a circle.
            2. Aesthetic truths such as beauty.
            3. Moral truths such as right and wrong.

            Finally, scientific naturalism is self-defeating as the statement “scientific naturalism is the only method to use to establish facts” cannot be proven using scientific naturalism!

            Plus, a really crude way to reason would be by trying to prove that your great great great great great great grandmother ever existed :)
            Well, we don’t have her DNA, we don’t have a grave, no empirical evidence at all.
            But then you may say, Well I’m here now, so she MUST have existed. That’s the whole point right there, you are forced to use forsake empiricism and use rational/logical/philosophical deductions to arrive at the truth.

            You said: “Things exist because if they did not, we would not be asking “why do they exist?”
            As ‘rational’ as you may be, I think this statement of yours explicitly exposes your ignorance and lack of understanding of the Philosophy of Science. This statement isn’t just ‘unscientific’, its ‘anti-science’. Science is there in the first place to provide an explanation. And if most scientists, philosophers and thinkers of the past adopted such an attitude and said “Well, its there ‘cuz its there! It just is!”, then I’m afraid we wouldn’t have known the advancement we know today.

            You are probably reading this in your bedroom sitting on your chair, and you are definitely wearing some clothes. So I ask you a question: for what purpose? Why are you wearing the clothes and what purpose does the chair fulfill? Since these are rhetorical questions you don’t have to answer, because we all know the answer. The chair’s purpose is to allow us to sit down by supporting our weight, and our clothes fulfill the purpose of keeping us warm, hiding our nakedness and making us look good! Now from your bedroom let me transport you to a forest somewhere in the world, now this forest obviously has trees and on a particular tree there is a moth. This moth is on this tree drinking its sap, underneath that moth there is another moth and its role is somewhat bizarre, it drinks the excrement of the first moth. This is because the first moth almost instantaneously removes its waste while drinking the sap. You are probably thinking where I am going with this, well; firstly let us discuss what the purpose of the second moth is. Its purpose is to clean up the excrement of the first moth in order to prevent it trickling down the tree so that ants, and other insects, would not be encouraged to travel up the trail and in consequence eat the first moth. So in simple terms the second moth is the first moth’s insurance policy!
            Now take this into consideration, you probably didn’t know anything about this moth three minutes ago, in fact if moth genocide were to occur, you wouldn’t really care – well most probably anyway. However, we attribute purpose to such an insignificant creature, and coming back to our clothes and the chair, which are inanimate objects with no emotional and mental faculties, we attribute purpose to these too! Still, we do not attribute purpose to our own existence? Is this not absurd?

            The Quran says: “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.” (3:190)

            What is the whole of creation of God compared to the things we create like Chair, Clothes etc?!

            And these men, endowed with insight and understanding are those “Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing].” (3:191)

            While we would be cautious to assert that Creations of a sane(yet largely insignificant) human being are meaningless, pointless, purposeless and in vain, How then can we allege something lowly to the creator of the Cosmos?

            Take Care,
            Wassalam.

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      • Rationlist Muslim

        Sisterem:

        walaikum assalam,

        Certainly, do not blindly believe Richard Dawkins or other evolutionary scientists. I welcome you to critically read their publications and review their evidence in order to reach the truth. But after that all of that, the consensus have been reached and it is clear to us that evolution is a mechanism that generates diversity in life and controls almost all of our behaviors ranging from sexual to artistic.

        Any man with a functioning reproductive system will want to mate with a woman who he thinks is genetically fit, provided you format his brain and remove the fear of Allah and Hellfire from his mind. This is an instinctive response and is normal for males. Ask any reproductive biologist/or urologist.

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    • I am a young muslim girl and I’m not married yet. I feel that I would be absolutely fine with my husband taking a second wife ONLY if she is a widow or divorcee with children (provided that he’s certain he can do justice between us), because there are a lot of women with children who can’t get married and I feel very bad for them. Islam teaches us to love for your brother/sister what you love for yourself. Maybe my feelings will change once I’m married. Now, if my husband wanted to marry someone who was younger than me, I would definitely not be ok with that. lol

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  15. Assalamu alaikum,

    I think what someone needs to mention is that here the West, we live in countries where polygamy is illegal. There is thus no circumstance under which Muslims should be practicing polygamy in these societies.

    One of the reasons why in Islam marriages have to be made public is so that everyone’s rights can be preserved. If polygamy is illegal in a society, there is no way that the same legal rights of a spouse can be had by two wives. This alone makes it impossible for the husband to be fair and equal to both wives. I’m sorry, but when you’re filling out official forms there are not multiple fields for spouses. As a few people have mentioned in the comments, these relationships cause abuse of welfare and indignity to supposedly “single” mothers. And think about these children! I feel so sorry for them, having such a confused (and possibly hush-hush) relationship with their fathers.

    We are supposed to follow the laws of the land we live in so long as they don’t force us to do anything haram. Monogamy is not haram!!!!!

    wasalamu alaikum wrb

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    • Actually, ukhti, polygyny by secular law is illegal, not under islamic law, and we should draw a distinction between the two.

      The west do not prohibit any man from having any number of girl-friends, and having children with them. He’s not punished, or even hindered from this… in fact movements have been taken to facilitate it. If the guy wants to have a nikah which secular law doesn’t recognise anyway, I don’t see the issue? As far as “the west” is concerned, they’re just girl-friends and there’s no issue with this.

      Granted, “girl-friends” don’t get the same status as a spouse, but there are plenty of Muslim couples who don’t have a secular registration and are happy with nikah alone. At the end of the day, it’s up to them. The point I wanted to make is that the excuse of something being prohibited/permissible in secular law shouldn’t have any bearing on what is prohibited/permissible in the shariah, (except for edge case situations which I don’t believe this falls under).

      And Allah (swt) knows best

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      • My husband told me a story of an Imam in the Rocky Mountains who married a second wife (he had been counseling her in her divorce or something) – but the media got hold of it and it became public. When pressed by the media if he was polygamous he said – “she is my girlfriend. Lots of men have women on the side.” My husband says he did this for the greater good of the local Muslim community, but I totally think it is bogus.

        So where are the rights of this women? She is described to the media as his “on the side” girl. Does that not constitute slander? What about the dignity of women and Islam preserving their honor? I agree that in the West, where it is illegal, polygamy should not be practiced. The children will not have legitimacy in the eyes of the state, nor will the wives. Nothing like a supposedly husbandless niqabi having children year after year ‘out of wedlock’ sitting in the welfare office to collect her benes. Dignified indeed

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        • Gratitude – you make some very compelling arguments. I had a question as to the permissibility of including a clause in your nikkah contract prohibiting your husband from taking a second wife. Many young woman I have spoken to are very interested in this, no one wants to be surprised with a second wife 10 years into their marriage when their not as “desirable” as they used to be. However, I’ve heard differing responses to the permissibility of this. Some shuyook have told me that such a condition is okay, as the husband is willingly giving away his right in this respect, while others have told me that a wife cannot take away a right that Allah has granted a husband. Any answer or insight into this situation, from anyone, would be much appreciated.

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          • From what I have studied, it is permissible for woman to add this condition, however, it will not become “haram” for him to take another wife, it will only give the wife the right to get out of the marriage easily.

            However, as the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam said (paraphrased) that among the conditions that have the most right to be fulfilled are the conditions on the marital contract. Nevertheless, the husband’s right to take another wife does not get “nullified” even if it is added on the contract, and Allah knows best.

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          • JazakAllahu khairan for the kind words Perspective. I have to say outright that I am not an authority in Islamic law, but I did look into this question somewhat, and I have heard the compelling opinion that because marriage is a contract in Islam, the parties are allowed to contract in any element that does not contravene an essential part of a valid marriage, and polygamy is not an essential element of marriage (e.g. you cannot contract to keep the marriage a secret because announcement is an essential element; similarly, you can’t contract an end date to the marriage because Islamic marriage must be entered with the presumption of permanence, inshaAllah).

            And as sister Umm Reem says, the existence of the clause cannot prevent the husband from breaking it (not as his “right” to marry another, but as his freedom to go back on his word and face the consequences, as anyone with contractual obligations of any kind can do any time).

            If the husband chooses to breach the contract, the wife would have the right to break the contract completely, i.e. divorce, or if there was a different ‘penalty’ stipulated in the contract, to obtain that right.

            Although it is not a guarantee (of course, whatever Allah wills will always happen), the existence of the agreement in the contract makes it clear from the outset that the wife rejects a plural relationship and what the consequences will be should the husband break his promise.

            waAllahu a’lam.

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      • Salam,
        Are you taking the western values of “dating” as examples to follow ? Well that would be hypocrisy. Excuse me brother (or sister) but since the society and the administration would consider her as a “girlfriend” , not as a wife, this is rather fornication, not marriage. If a man really wants to have more than a wife in a halal way, and is concerned with protecting all their rights, then he has to move to a country that allows polygamy.

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        • Wa alaykum as salaam,

          I’m not taking an dating as an example to follow at all. I’m merely pointing out that to have a nikah in Islam doesn’t go against western law. Thus to have a nikah with 4, or even 4 million women doesn’t go against secular law. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a private agreement/contract which results in conjugal rights. As far as they’re concerned, it’s no different from anyone else having girl-friends whereas in the sight of Allah (which is what really counts), it’s a valid marriage.

          Salaam

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          • You have a poor understanding of ‘western’ law. Marriage is the only form of contract where conjugal rights exist. There can be no other contract that can enforce sexual relationships. And marriage is restricted to a couple. While having girl friends or mistresses is not illegal and therefore not punishable by law, women in such relationships don’t have any rights that a spouse has. And therefore, it is not an equitable nikah. Muslim men can’t pull off polygamous marriage, the way it’s defined in the Quran, in countries that prohibit those.

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          • Wa alaikum assalam brother,

            I agree completely with Hansa and the other wise sisters above.

            I am a lawyer, and polygamy in the west does go against western law. Allah prohibits non-official relationships because women and children (especially) need the legal and social protection of marriage.

            A second “nikah” in the West is an illegal contract with no enforceability. As such, its holders have no rights of enforcement during or after the dissolution of the “marriage,” to say nothing of the dignity and reputation of the subsequent ‘wives’ who have to pretend to be living with their boyfriend.

            Also brother, I’m sorry, but I have to take issue with your extremely simplistic characterization of marriage. Marriage is not simply “a private agreement/contract which results in conjugal rights.” If that were true, the Prophet (SAW) would not have instructed us so carefully on choosing wisely. Marriage is first and foremost a religious and spiritual partnership, a life long commitment to another person’s happiness and Islamic development, and in most cases, a life long commitment to being a full time parent. Reducing this rich human institution to an exchange of conjugal rights is not the Islamic view.

            Monogamy is perfectly halal, and is obviously meant to be the norm, as indicated by Allah setting a roughly 50/50 gender ratio.

            Sisters, please know that you can (and should) include a clause in your marriage contract prohibiting polygamy if that is of interest to you.

            jazakAllahu khairan

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          • I think you guys have misunderstood my point. The purpose of a nikah is to validate the marriage in the sight of Allah. I’m not suggesting that anyone try to use western law to validate or enforce a nikah in a polygamous relationship.

            My simple point is, if Muslim has a nikah (which, as far as secular law is concerned, is a private agreement) with as many Muslimah’s as he likes, they’re not going to get involved.

            Consider the following scenario (which we know is reality). A man is married (by secular law), and has a girl-friend on the side. Or another situation where a man has two concurrent girlfriends and even has children with both. There’s no police knocking on his door asking him what he’s playing at? They just don’t care. So what difference is it for them if he’s giving them their rights in Islam in his private capacity?

            The west don’t care who… or even what… you sleep with. What is illegal is registering multiple marriages. If none of the wives care about that registration process, then there’s nothing to stop a man being polygamous under Islamic law. I know people in my community that have done so openly, and nothing is made of it.

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          • Dear Gratitude:

            Rights for all the things you are concerned about can be specifically contracted, including support, maher etc. They could be enforceable in court as well. You mentioned you were a lawyer, and you may remember what makes a contract enforceable in your first year of law school (offer, acceptance, consideration, follow the statute of frauds, etc). How “limited” it is is a function not of the law, but of the “law of the contract.”

            The being “secret” about it part is only to the extent people fear prosecution. The state almost never prosecutes bigamy unless there is some other crime taking place. The threat is still real. So its still a risk people take. The mere fact its not legal does not make it haram, which is what you seem to mean when you say Allah prohibits it. For that to be true, you it would also be haram for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, we can go on with this line of argument but you get the idea. We have to separate the two things, haram and illegal.

            Lastly, the mere fact that something can be abused does not mean it is of no value. I think this is a mistake many anti-polygamy people make. Many good things can be subject to abuse. Thats part of life.

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        • Rationlist Muslim

          Apparently people are NOT suggesting sisters in France to move out of France because Hijab has been banned there (Hijab is mandatory according to almost all schools of Islam). But when it comes to polygamy, which is permitted in Islam, you are suggesting that they should move out of the country?

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          • Well if the sisters in france have the ability to move out, that would be Hijrah. And Allah rewards those who travel in His cause. And in my opinion, anyone who feels trapped in their own country with regards to practicing anything that is permissible in Islam for the sake of Allah should make Hijrah if they can. We can’t just do vigilante stunts left and right out of frustration- that won’t get us anywhere.

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          • There is a difference between something that is mandatory and something that is merely permitted.

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          • Not only does Hansa make a great point, but there also a second option of not practicing illegal non-obligatory actions. Moving is not the only possibility.

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          • A lawyer above said “Allah prohibits non-official relationships because women and children (especially) need the legal and social protection of marriage.” Huh? Where? Please don’t make stuff up about what Allah does or does not prohibit. Separate what is Haram from what is illegal, they are not the same thing. Also, the prohibition on bigamy, particularly the kind where there is no “official” marriage, is likely unconstitutional.

            There actually are well established ways of protecting the rights of non-official wives, in the areas of inheritance as well as healthcare directives and other contractual rights. Lawyers have specialized in this area for decades because of the unofficial status of gay marriage for many years. I realize a lot of Muslims who practice polygamy ignore these issues. However many do not.

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          • Nope. It’s bigamy only when multiple state marriage licenses are issued, and polygamous unlawful cohabitation when there aren’t multiple marriage license in the US. See the Edmunds Act of 1882. There have been challenges to this law in the 129 years since it passed, but it’s been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court and not ruled unconstitutional. Maybe someday it will be, but in the US in 2011 it still stands.

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          • Dear Brother Pro 4-3:

            First of all, I sincerely apologize if the tone of my post above offended you. It’s true there are many things we can read from others that cause outrage and strong personal reactions, but in the end, the goal is a discussion, not the offense of other Muslims. Please forgive me.

            But I do stand by the substance of everything I said, including my shock at the statement: “A lawyer above said “Allah prohibits non-official relationships because women and children (especially) need the legal and social protection of marriage.” Huh? Where? Please don’t make stuff up about what Allah does or does not prohibit.””

            As a Muslim woman, it makes me very sad when people appear offended at the idea that Islam grants women rights.

            I think we can all agree on the following:

            1) In Islam, *everyone* seeking to be in a conjugal relationship must be married
            2) In Islam, marriage is a contract that must be publicly announced to be valid
            3) A contract, in law, is a legally binding agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or not do a particular thing.

            As such, that Allah intended for *all* women (and men) to have legal and social rights in marriage is not controversial.

            The examples of rights you mention that can be alternatively protected are very limited. What about financial rights if the marriage breaks down? If there’s a problem, how can a woman ask a Court for rights that legally belong to someone else? (e.g. alimony, division of property). How will she even be able to afford to litigate rights that would have been automatic in a real marriage? How can two or more people be listed as the spouse with medical authority? The work that people in gay relationships have done to secure some of this is still in a one-on-one relationship, not on a polygamous model. And what about the rights of children to grow up in a secure family where the parents cannot end the relationship at any time? Your suggestion also presumes a total willingness on the part of the ‘husband’ to enter into and pay for these agreements, something that will not be true in many (if not most) cases. Obviously, this is not a viable alternative to legal marriage.

            Allah mandates marriage for everyone, because *everyone* must automatically be protected, by right, in their relationship–regardless of their financial means or their ability to do research/find a lawyer/etc.

            Also, your point about the women’s chastity being protected was not my concern. I was concerned with the reputation of women who have to pretend they’re not married while living with a man, something that would be humiliating to any practicing Muslim woman (and should be humiliating to any practicing Muslim man as well).

            A system which will work for very few people (if any) who are legally sophisticated and financially capable cannot be described as a halal system that meets Islam’s objectives in prohibiting non-marital (i.e. “non-official” in my first post) relationships.

            We cannot take the view that marriage is just a few words we say at a mosque before living together. There have to actually be consequences attached to marriage for it to be of any validity. Look at any society in which marriage is not required and you can see the dangers, to women and children particularly, of a ‘do-it-yourself’ model. This is not what Allah intended for us.

            Marriage is not optional in Islam, and as such, neither are the rights and obligations that attach to it.

            Practicing polygamy is optional , and so if it is illegal in your country (thus making it *impossible* to afford equal rights to all the ‘wives,’ ) then Islamically, it should definitely not be practiced in that environment.

            In these situations, Islam prioritizes justice towards the women above all else: “But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].” (Surat Al- Nisaa, 4:3)

            Anyone who insists on practicing polygamy in the West should think long and hard about whether he will be able to justify his actions before Allah (particularly if it’s for the reasons many of the men in this forum are expressing).

            I hope my perspective is clearer to you now, and again, I apologize for any offense caused.

            JazakAllahu Khairan.

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        • Honestly, brother Pro-4-3, I didn’t think it was possible to narrow it down, but your comment is by far the most disturbing I have read on this forum.

          I guess Islam is now cool with dating and living together and there is absolutely no reason Allah mandated marriage as the only permissible relationship form. I must have missed the past 1400 years.

          If only we all had known that all we needed to do was live with people in secret and then find a gay marriage lawyer to contractually protect some of our rights.

          I’m not sure you are aware, but in Islam marriage is a contract. What you’re describing is essentially a poor attempt to recreate what Allah has already standardized to protect every person entering a marriage. Although I guess your option is feasible too; all rich women in this situation have to do to secure some of their rights is to locate a special lawyer, explain to them the illegality of the situation, and pay them a few thousand dollars for a cheap substitute for their Islamic human rights. People without means can just live without rights.

          Also, you’ll notice that I mentioned social protection. You may not know this, but smearing the reputation of chaste women is one of Islam’s major sins. If that’s true in general, how do think Allah will view a man who is the one forcing his ‘wife’ to pretend to be his liberated live-in girlfriend.

          Usually I invite people to share their sources when they make shocking statements. In this case, that would certainly be a superfluous exercise.

          Please stop making a mockery of our religion.

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          • Dear Gratitude:

            The “shocking” statements are your own. I was wondering if it the weakness of the commenting reply system that caused to you burst with such unwarranted outrage, and that you may have misunderstood what I said. However rereading it it seems much of your comment was responding to something completely in your own world that has nothing to do with me or what I said.

            Your comment “I guess Islam is now cool with dating and living together and there is absolutely no reason Allah mandated marriage as the only permissible relationship form. I must have missed the past 1400 years.” – purportedly describing what I said, is a little hysterical and divorced from any reality, anywhere.

            The other part, women should do more to secure their rights, is true. It may mean hiring a lawyer or doing their own research. The United States is not Muslim country and your Islamic rights are not established here, in many instances are not established for the first wife. A second marriage is a nullity in all states, the law won’t recognize it, so a woman that does it needs to contract for her maher, inheritance, be named on emergency healthcare documents. None of this is haram, violates her chastity and is recognized in Islam though cannot be recognized by state law unless the law changes.

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    • Polygyny in the West just has to be practiced more delicately than it does elsewhere. For example, instead of legally marrying your first wife and then not legally marrying your other wives, you should keep all marriages equal by having Islamic marriages with all but legal marriages with none. If a man is practicing polygyny properly, there is no reason why any of his wives or children should be depending on government assistance or welfare to have their needs met. If a husband is not able to earn as much income as is needed as more and more children are added to the family, women in the west do have better access to education and the potential to work outside the home to help earn income. If co-wives are active members of a family team, 1 wife could stay home and watch everyone’s children while another pursues a career and contributes income to the family, insha’allah.

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  16. Salam wa rahmatoullah sister Umm Reem,

    ” Most pleasing to shaytaan is to break a marriage and obviously he will take every available opportunity to arouse negative feelings and emotions in a wife. A wife maybe able to ward off the waswas at times but not all the time, like any human being ”

    So you’re basically saying that not accepting polygamy is just a whisper from shaytan ? that the pious and virtuous woman is the one who submit to polygamy without saying anything, even if it hurts her ? what about this verse : Ùˆ لن تستطيعوا أن تعدلوا بين النساء Ùˆ لو حرصتم ? I definitely don’t think that a woman who doesn’t want to share her husband with another woman is blameworthy (manipulated by the devil). No sane human being would wish to live in polygamy. Yes it is permissible in Islam, due to certain circumstances of the time of the Prophet pbuh, but Islam doesn’t encourage men to have several wives nor praise them or reward them for doing so. Just like slavery.

    Jazakillahu khairan.

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    • I agree with everything you said except for the “sane” part. I think we should be a bit careful with discussing what type of woman would voluntarily allow herself to be in a polygamous situation because the wives of the Prophet, Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasalam, were in this situation. And there were definitely jealousies, but do we conclusively know that they 100% did not want to be in that situation?

      The Prophet, Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasalam, wished to live on polygamy as well because he wished for himself whatever Allah commanded, so that is another reason why we shouldn’t attack polygamy by using phrases like that.

      I understand the point you are getting across, but it could be said in a different way to make it more respectful to our pious predecessors choice of living.

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      • I am sorry if my comment seemed disrespectful, I didn’t mean it at all. Of course every muslim woman would love to be one of the Prophet’s wives, but here we aren’t discussing the case of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam, who was obviously an exception, we are talking about ordinary men and women of the 21st century, not prophets. So there is a big difference I think.

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        • Rationlist Muslim

          Well, Muslim men are trying to follow example of the Prophet pbuh whom you claim to love, in ALL steps of our lives, including polygamy, so do cut us some slack, please.

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        • I see what your saying. I also would never advise most of the men I know to marry more than one wife at a time. Actually, I wouldn’t advise a single one.

          At the same time, we can’t condemn it completely, even during our times, because there might be future situations in society that occur that might make it a necessary practice.

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    • No, I didn’t say that. You misunderstood my point. I don’t think it is normal in our times for women to happily share their husbands (unless he is so horrible that she would rather have his financial support only and not have him around otherwise :) )

      I don’t believe that a woman who doesn’t want to share her husband is blameworthy, she may not be wise but definitely not blameworthy.

      No one is safe from shaytaanic whispers, not even the most practicing Muslim. Shaytaan looks for opportunities especially during difficult times.
      Polygamy is a test and one maybe trying to go through the test successfully but shaytaan will take any and every opportunity to make it harder.

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    • Good point. JAK

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    • ASA, Ukhti.  What is the verse you quoted?  I can’t understand the characters. 

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  17. There may not be a rational explanation from our perspective just like there didn’t seem to be a logical explanation for when Allah instructed Ibrahim to slaughter his own son without explanation and he readied the knife without asking questions. I think the article is balanced nicely and you covered all the different viewpoints, the most important obviously being the Qur’anic one. For those who believe that logic and rational are the only judges in the matter they should know that the most rational thing is to believe in what Allah says. Period.

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  18. And how a muslim man who is living in a country which doesn”t allow polygyny, how would he manage to have more than one wife? Does it mean that the first wife and her children would have all their legal rights but the others wouldn’t ? Where is the justice that Allah has made as a condition for polygamy then ?

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    • Well, if the husband finds it difficult to be just due to legal restriction then he should re-consider polygany as his action may contravene his islamic obligation.

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      • absolutely or relocate = hijra. :) having the cake or eating it – something’s gotta give.. great debate alhammdulilah for intelligence and calm manners :) May Allaha reward you all ameen salaams

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    • It depends on the state or province you live in because marriage laws are usually on a state level. Although, I would think almost all states or provinces ban marrying more than one woman.

      In the US, we have many men who have openly polygamous marriages, but sometimes they get prosecuted by the law. We have many people of the Mormon faith who have many wives at the same time.

      However, if it is illegal in your state, would it be Islamically acceptable for one to marry more than one wife in that state going against the law?

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    • In the US the only rights I can think of that are given to a legal spouse as opposed to any other type of spouse are access to employer’s health benefits and hospital visitation rights. Otherwise, the biological father has rights whether he was legally married to the mother or not. No one would dare turn me away from my husband’s hospital bed just because I didn’t have a copy of my marriage certificate in my purse. I’m curious what rights would be denied in other countries that do not allow legal polygyny?

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  19. Assalamu alaykum,

    A very sad piece. May Allah s.w.t. guide us all to the truth and ward the shayateen away from us, ameen.

    Your arguments against the logic of polygamy are weak and biased.

    “War Zone: We are no longer in a time where men die more in war than women. The norm of warfare today is the culture of carpet-bombing, where there is no discrimination among men, women, children, elderly; all in proximity are annihilated.”

    This is wrong; men still die more than women. Man do most of the fighting. When a place is captured by enemy forces, womena dn children are usually not killed (though women get raped), but men are. Yes, it is true that the general population, including children, die in greater numbers than they used to when the wars used to be fought with swords and spears, but that only further justifies polygamy: which society will replenish its population (and thus, the economy and the army) faster, one that allows polygamy or the one that doesn’t?

    “Genealogy: Yes, it’s a subject that is not totally debatable. Even with the contemporary DNA testing, there is room for error and hence the genealogy of a child can be lost. It makes sense that this is the reason why polyandry is not allowed (perhaps) but the original question ‘why polygamy is allowed?’ remains unanswered.”

    It is somewhat disingenuous to mention this as a weak argument in favor of polygamy. It is quite irrelevant to the topic that is being discussed; it would only make sense to mention it in a discussion about polygamy vs. polyandry, not when simply discussing the overall benefits and wisdom behind polygamy. But while we’re at it, with regards to DNA testing, it’s not simply a problem of whether DNA testing is 100% accurate or not. People do these tests when they suspect that there’s something wrong. What about all those who do not have a reason to suspect anything but still want to make sure that their progeny is their progeny? Resorting to DNA testing would only destroy the confidence between the spouses and help achieve something that is more easily and painlessly achieved through “traditional” methods, i.e. one woman having only one husband.

    “Periods/Post-Partum Bleeding: Seriously?! So if a wife is menstruating, there is nothing else she can do to satisfy her husband temporarily for 5-7 days? Even if we accept this as a “valid” factor to justify polygamy, it still doesn’t take into account what happens if a man gets married to a woman whose cycle coincides with that of his first wife? Or what if the wives give birth to children around the same time?”

    A wife can do many things to satisfy her husband when menstruating or experiencing post-partum bleeding. However, different women behave differently during such periods; many don’t feel well or are irritable when they’re in their cycle, and mothers who have recently given birth to a child might be in too much pain, experiencing post-partum depression or simply too busy around the child (child’s “character” should also be taken into account). If it’s possible that women could feel somewhat uninterested in having intimate relations (not because the marriage is unhappy, it happens in happy marriages as well) even when they’re not having any health issues or are not constrained by time, it’s obvious that even just providing satisfaction for the husband could be an annoyance (and thus, an occasion for sin) in situations such as cycles and post-natal bleeding. As for cycles and births coinciding, how often exactly do you expect this to happen? And is it really something that cannot be prevented by asking some very simple questions?

    “Men have Stronger Sexual Appetite: I assumed this to be factual for some time and perhaps I might still agree with the fact that, in general, men have a stronger physical desire for women. However, this can vary case-by-case as well. New statistics demonstrate that men and women are not far apart in their sexual appetite. In fact, ovulating women have been found to have increased sexual desire. Other studies suggest women in their 30s also experience an increased sex drive. Since this quality can vary from person-to-person, sexual appetite cannot be used to rationalize polygamy either.”

    As you said, it is true that men have a stronger desire; but it’s not only that. Men, especially today, and especially in the West, have their desires aroused more frequently and more intensely due to the overreaching presence of women, usually dressed immodestly by Islamic standards, in their actual or virtual environment. Men go out more frequently than women and see more women than women see men, and men, Muslim or non-Muslim, are dressed in a more acceptable manner than women are, which makes the fitan of men with regards to the contact with the other sex more severe (and I do not mean to belittle the trials that sisters may be going through).

    These are some of the answers to some of your objections. The problem I see with your article is not that you asked questions about polygamy; this is the real problem: “As for me, this matter remains rationally unexplainable.” I hope you’re not implying that the ruling of Allah s.w.t. is without wisdom. If you believe that Allah s.w.t. is All-Wise, as I’m sure you do, than this sentence shouldn’t be in you article.

    Wassalam

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    • “As for cycles and births coinciding, how often exactly do you expect this to happen?”
      Women who live together or who are in each other’s company often and who get along, are likely to find that their menstrual cycles synchronize.
      In terms of polygamy, the implications are that the better the co-wives get along, the more likely their menstrual cycles are to coincide.

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      • That sounds very unlikely and unscientific. Even if it was correct, since the co-wives are usually jelaous of each other, at least a little bit, then coinciding cycles should be a very rare occurrence in the overall polygamous population.

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        • This is something that is being studied by real scientists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_synchrony

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          • Rationlist Muslim

            Real scientists on Wikipedia? LMAO. Please.

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          • @Rationalist Muslim: Perhaps if you had clicked through instead of simply making an impolite comment you would have noticed that the references include numerous studies published in the journal Nature. I hardly think that would be considered laughable in any scientific circles.

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          • Rationlist Muslim

            I can say that your comments are also impolite, to me at least, would that make any difference? So please stay on topic.

            Anyone can quote studies out of context on wikipedia. Just because it has been published in Nature, it does not mean that it is irrefutable or is the most accepted understanding. I do not take the journal Nature to be my God and take it on blind faith, rather I use a critical eye to read everything, so when someone says its in Nature, it does not mean much to me.

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        • it is not. In fact, one of the reasons why the Prophet sallallau alihi waslam instructed the woman who may have been having unusual bleeding to count their days of menstruation according to their sister’s, or women of her tribe.

          many don’t feel well or are irritable when they’re in their cycle, and mothers who have recently given birth to a child might be in too much pain, experiencing post-partum depression or simply too busy around the child (child’s “character” should also be taken into account). If it’s possible that women could feel somewhat uninterested in having intimate relations (not because the marriage is unhappy, it happens in happy marriages as well) even when they’re not having any health issues or are not constrained by time, it’s obvious that even just providing satisfaction for the husband could be an annoyance (and thus, an occasion for sin) in situations such as cycles and post-natal bleeding.

          I don’t know what you are basing this on. Women may feel irritable around that time BUT that is also the time when they need their husband’s emotional support more than ever!

          Taking care of children or child “character” (whatever you mean by that) is not only wife’s responsibility but husband’s also. He needs to stick around instead of running to his second wife to “satisfy” himself!

          And sexual intimacy becoming an “annoyance” is really not a sign of a happy or healthy marriage. Husband needs to try harder to earn his wife’s interest instead of annoyance.

          this is the real problem: “As for me, this matter remains rationally unexplainable.” I hope you’re not implying that the ruling of Allah s.w.t. is without wisdom. If you believe that Allah s.w.t. is All-Wise, as I’m sure you do, than this sentence shouldn’t be in you article.

          you should re-read my article!

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          • Menstrual synch is unlikely if the husband isolates his wives from each other. Separate homes etc.

            Women may need emotional support during post-natal bleeding, but that is besides the point. If a man had other wives, they could help the wife who has given birth as well. Also, they don’t need to spend a whole day with the other wife to satisfy their urges. I don’t see why you consider it to be mutually exclusive that they can assist the post-natal wife and take care of themselves.

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          • talwar, I can easily find “logical” problems with this:

            what if the husband cannot find separate homes (happens here in middle east, wives live in same house different floors)

            and it sounds like that the second wife is just a mistress that can be “used” as needed.

            what happens when one of the wives is in post natal bleeding and the other wife gets her periods!

            why is it so hard to simply say that yes it is logically unexplainable, especially in our times, but we submit that it is allowed!

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          • “what if the husband cannot find separate homes (happens here in middle east, wives live in same house different floors)”

            The whole concept, as I said previously, has flimsy foundations. Wikipedia on MS:

            “Menstrual synchrony is a phenomenon reported in 1971 wherein the menstrual cycles of women who lived together (such as in homes, prisons, convents, bordellos, dormitories, or barracks) reportedly became synchronized over time. The existence of McClintock effect has not been definitively established, and studies investigating it have been controversial (see also Whitten effect).

            “and it sounds like that the second wife is just a mistress that can be “used” as needed. ”

            The whole point of marriage is that spouses “use” each other to satisfy whatever legitimate needs they have, be they emotional or physical. The second wife doesn’t have to become a second wife if she weighs pro’s and con’s and sees no benefit for herself in being asked to play a role of the factor of stability for the first marriage (although, it is quite obvious that emotions will develop and she will not remain just that). But if it’s fine with her, why call it irrational?

            “what happens when one of the wives is in post natal bleeding and the other wife gets her periods! ”

            It’s still easier when there are two wives; if it was only one wife with post-natal bleeding, no intercourse would be possible, while with another wife, it would be possible for most of those 40 days.

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          • Great points Umm Reem! Additionally, co-wives are absolutely under no obligation to assist in any other co-wife’s childcare or postchildbirth needs. My husband paid for a housecleaner in the early weeks after I gave birth to assist us. No other wife was necessary to accomplish these tasks. My parents and sister helped me out with taking care of my older son, and I have other friends who hire nannies. My mother in law who lives in Morocco just left a few days ago to help her daughter who lives in Saudi Arabia and is due to deliver twins in the next week or so inchallah. They also have housekeepers. While it’s perfectly legal there for her husband to just marry someone to do those things, and that would be the “logical” thing to do according to some of the commenters here, her husband would rather be married to her, and her alone. Imagine that!!!

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  20. ps. Either way Polygamy or monogamy is a trial, think about it!!

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    • Hahaha….yes sister Suha,thts exactly my point.Just like polygamy,monogamy is also a trial.In short this whole life itself is just a trial,which is only like a tiny drop from the vast ocean.This drop of life which is a test will be soon over,and then inshallah the vast ocean,our hereafter is waiting for us,wherein we are promised that we wouldn’t even hear a word that causes displeasure to our hearts…all we will ever hear will be “salaam salaam”.How beautiful! We wouldn’t care if our husbands are enjoying themselves with a number of hoors, quite simply because we will be having fun of our own.And why in the world would we, who are promised of an ocean be so worried about this tiny drop? Once we dig our Imaan deeper,then absolutely nothing in this life matters.U will know,that if you are sad,it wont last,or even if you are happy,that also wont last either…

      There is no doubt in it that trials are for our own benefit. I, not too long ago was affected by a trial which frustrated me and shattered me.It was my married life.You may not believe this,but wallahi,one fine morning,my husband stopped loving me.For the next so many yrs of my life was wasted in trying to solve the problems,if there were any,and when I learned it wouldn’t be possible,the next few years were again wasted in grief and devastation and disappointment,to a level I cannot bring it out in words here…only Allah knows how much it hurt.But then,right now I don’t hate that test of mine,rather,its like i’ve fallen in love wt that test which My Rabb decreed on me. ‘Coz had it not been for that test,I wouldn’t have known the sweetness of being this close to my Lord and today I wouldn’t trade anything at all in the world with that.There was a time wen I begged my husband to marry someone else,thinking that he is not satisfied with me,I thought well,at least let one of us be happy.But he did not.And he still hasn’t… and did I feel better just ‘coz he didn’t choose 2 marry another one even wen I insisted? Well,that did not flatter me in the least bit.Why should it? wen I wasn’t enjoying any benefits of monogamy anyway?

      I understand that its hard for sisters who enjoy the pleasures of monogamy to accept polygamy.But remember one thing,whatever you are happy about in your life,its Allah’s gift to you,and He can take it away anytime He wishes.I was also someone who enjoyed monogamy and dreaded polygamy,just like you girls there.But look at me now,I myself can’t believe that I begged my husband to marry someone else.So my only humble point is,whoever hates polygamy for what ever reasons it may b, just remember that it doesn’t take much time for us to be on the other side,wishing for the same… Whatever we have been given now through our husbands or through anyone else,its actually from Allah,and He knows it all,and He,He alone is the Master and Sustainer of all… So the least but the best we can all do is submit to His will flat… And believe me sisters,that will give you the happiness and the kind of peace that your monogamous marriage can EVER offer u !!!!

      May Allah guide us all to His Mercy and the straight path…

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      • Alhamdulillah, Sister.

        With all the emotional back and forth going on with these comments, it is so refreshing to hear someone talk straight Taqwa and Imaan. You seem to have turned your trial into a benefit and I pray Allah rewards you for it…Ameen!

        May Allah give me the same (if not more) patience and wisdom with my trials.

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  21. I request all of us to go back to the Quran and ponder over this verse no 7 from Sura Al Imran which says

    ” It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad SAW) the Book (this Qur’ân). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book [and those are the Verses of Al-Ahkâm (commandments), Al-Farâ'id (obligatory duties) and Al-Hudud (legal laws for the punishment of thieves, adulterers)]; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials), and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allâh. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord.” And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Tafsir At-Tabarî). ”
    I firmly believe that when ALLAH IN HIS INFINITE KNOWLEDGE has permitted some thing we as true believers should say WHAT allah has commanded us in HIS book to say ” We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verse”.
    This verse kinda sums up what a true believer’s attitude should be when confronted with situations which are beyond his or her comprehension . The moment reason , logic and intellect takes precedence over our eemaan that is when shaytan begins to get a foothold over our affairs.

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  22. Salam! Would love to share your article on my blog. Am re-posting with link back to the original article!

    I loved the honest and practical view towards polygamy that you shared! JazakAllah!

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  23. Not a specific comment to the article, but just a few things that people who are active in the community discuss.

    1.) The pool of marriageable, qualified, decent Muslim brothers is shrinking very quickly. Western lifestyle has destroyed the image and benefit of marriage to many Muslim men, and they just don’t marry. And if they do, they will end up cheating on their wives or get married when they are 35. This is one problem expressed by people I know who are active in the community.

    2.) Many qualified Muslim men also end up marrying women from overseas. Meaning, outside the west. There are many reasons for this such as family pressure. Another reason is, Muslim men feel that when it is time to settle down, they want to have a woman who doesn’t have the baggage of “western Muslim women”. They would like their wife to at least be obedient and understand gender roles, etc. This doesn’t always work, but this is another reason why the pool of qualified Muslim men is shrinking in the west for western women. This is especially the case for a huge chunk of Muslims who come from South Asia.

    3.) The age of marriage for Muslim women is being delayed every year more and more. Many families don’t even start looking for qualified men for their daughters until they finish a Masters Degree or Medical School. What ends up happening is, a qualified, educated man around the same age start looking for younger women in their early twenties who look better to them. They also feel it will be easier for those younger girls to get pregnant and transition into a role of a wife. Many times, the cheap, lazy vultures start surrounding the Medical school graduate women to take advantage of their wife’s salaries. I am NOT saying women shouldn’t pursue advanced degrees. This is an observation of many. I even know a woman who became a doctor and was in her early thirties and was about to settle for a man who didn’t have a bachelors and she would have to buy him a car and all of his clothes. It became too difficult for her to find an educated man close to her age who wanted to marry a girl in her thirties. I am also in the process of finding a 40 year old woman and a 45 year old woman, both doctors, who delayed their marriage so much that they just could not find someone in their thirties and up until now, have never married.

    4.) The lack of qualified Muslim men is driving Muslim women to marry Non-Muslim men. Which is Haraam. A haraam that will be committed every day as long as the Muslim woman is married to a non-Muslim man. This is what is happening out there. You have Muslim parents who are encouraging their daughters to date Muslim men because they can’t find them themselves. And when that doesn’t work, they give up and start even looking outside of Muslim men and start trying to marry non-Muslim men.

    5.) I can say, without any hesitation, that young Muslim men these days are lazy, immature, fools who lack characters of manhood. Many of them play video games all day. Many of them hang out with their “boys” until they are in their thirties. They can’t even graduate in 4 years, and walk around aimlessly on the earth for another 4 trying to figure out what they really want to do. And when they do get married, if they do, they end up being so controlled by their wives that the rest of their 10 friends who are single hate the idea of marriage. I don’t care if you think that statement isn’t fair, but it is TRUE. So many men don’t want to get married these days to western Muslim girls because they see the state of marriage and other than Sex, they don’t see the benefit in it. And when they finally mature in their thirties, they will go back home to India or Pakistan and get themselves a girl, or they will try to marry a girl in her early twenties by searching for on on facebook or Instant Messenger or some other ways.

    These are just a few things that are causing the LACK of qualified Muslim Men for western Muslim women to marry. I have heard very mature community activists mentioning the need in our Muslim communities for us to somehow get rid of this controversy behind a man marrying more than one woman because it is actually becoming necessary for our community. Especially areas of the community where most men don’t have jobs, don’t have college degrees and probably have already married 3 girls in their lifetime by the time they are 30. There are a lot of issues in the community that cause a lot of problems and slow the progress of the community as a whole.

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  24. Assalam o alaykum Sister Umm Reem! mashAllah nice article. Indeed it is high time to stop justifying polygyny logically for it is Allah’s Decree and He Knows and we(all humans and Jinn and all the creation combined) DOES NOT KNOW!

    On a more lighter note, this is a 300 comment generator article. smile!

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  25. As Salamu Alaikum,

    This is an answer to a question on polygamy where Shaykh Abdallah Adhami states that you cannot just marry four wives.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdWiouSSXAA

    Usama

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  26. Jazakillah khair for raising this important topic, however, I’m not sure I agree with your points.

    You could take many examples from islamic teachings and put them under the same rationalizing litmus test and come to the similar conclusions.

    Anybody want to logically justify men being ordered to grow beards?

    Most of the arguments that you make for polygyny can be made for this issue:

    1) Not the customs or norms of society
    2) Women unable to find the beard attractive
    3) Can cause problems with hygene
    4) Can get caught in a bicycle wheel
    5) Difficult in finding jobs

    etc. etc.

    Rationalizing is not a condition for wholehearted acceptance. Allah commands us to enter Islam wholeheartedly. Whether one finds a logical explanation to using the right hand for good acts and the left hand for cleanliness is beside the point.

    And as you point out, perhaps the test IS whether one can accept the laws of Allah, who will follow & who will fall?

    Where I live (in the western world), we have many unmarried sisters and there seems to be a shortage of good brothers. In fact, at a recent Islamic course, a sister wrote an emotional note to the instructor asking the brothers and their wives to “man up” and consider marrying again. The advice for the brothers was to take responsibility and trust in Allah. The advice for the sisters was to stop being selfish and consider the unmarried/divorced/revert sisters sitting on the sidelines without a khalifa to take care of them!

    Another sister who was completely against the notion of sharing her husband with ANYONE during her romeo & juliet marriage days was forced to change her views when she found herself divorced with kids and no brother expressed any interest in her at all. Suddently, polygyny made so much sense…

    Is there a logical grounds for polygyny in the scenario above? ABSOLUTELY!!

    Also, I found Mustafa’s comments very sensible and more reflective of reality.

    May Allah reward us all, ameen.

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  27. I enjoyed reading your article, it is a very detailed, coherent and concise report. However, reading some of the comments is destroying the purpose of the message within, and also within Islam.

    Polygamy really should not be acceptable in this day and age, and IF it is, then the husband should treat each wife exactly the same in every way – and the wife after giving permission has no grounds to claim complaint. Unless she is being treated unfairly as she agreed to it in the first place.

    Women know their minds, and Muslim Men should not try to kill her self-esteem and confidence, and leaving her with the label of Mom. The children will grow up at some point and leave the nest, who will the wife then have as companion if Husband has married fifty other people. So the argument that women are better off being a Number 2, 3 or 4 instead of being single and alone is rendered pointless.

    The point of marriage is companionship and love. Unless Islamic scholars are scientists and have worked out how to clone the polygamist husband so each wife has a companion, how can Islam consider polygamy to be right.

    Later, in the Qu’ran where it says that it is very difficult to treat each of the 2, 3, or 4 wives the same, it is practically saying polygamy is unfair and should not be undertaken lightly by the Husband or the Wife(-ves) – so the choice of the Believing Muslim Man is made there, that polygamy should be a last resort type action rather than ‘as a matter of fact this is how I feel because I want to have physical relations with every woman I meet and ‘fall in love with’ which is how some Muslim men in the West use it to their advantage.

    Surely this is not right? Islam needs to evolve, and evolving is an inherent part of Islam. I don’t understand why Islam cannot combine both worlds. This is why Islamic political states have died since the dusk of Ottoman rule. If you don’t question anything, how do you learn. It’s not right that the first wife should just accept this as her way of life if the husband arrives home one day advising her he has completed a nikkah with someone else.

    The Qur’an was written for a scandalous and unlawfully promiscuous society where the people of the times, did not care for anything and women could not look after themselves. This is why polygamy was permitted. I would hope that women are able to look after themselves in the 21st century without having to share husbands.

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    • If we leave the specific point to the side, Islam cannot evolve into anything that it is not. Meaning, Islam was completed during the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, 1400 years ago. Everything else that comes after him in regards to deriving legal rulings is based upon what he established 1400 years ago.

      Sometimes there is room for differences of opinion, and there is agreement that difference of opinion will exist even from the people who are differing with each other.

      Sometimes there is consensus among all qualified scholars of a certain time or for all 1400 years on a certain issue.

      Polygamy in general, has never really been banned or considered prohibited in the past 1400 years by the scholars of Sunni Islam. Whether or not a specific individual is allowed to do it based on his situation is a different story, but I have never heard of an orthodox scholar ban polygamy.

      And this 21st century argument doesn’t make sense to me. People in the 21st century have the same feelings that people did in the 7th. The same problems in society exist. Jealousy among women also exist.

      There is an argument that it is not a cultural norm, but it never really was. The majority of Muslims don’t marry more than one woman – and if anyone else can veryfiy this – this has probably been true for the majority of the 1400 years of Islam on Earth.

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    • Assalamu’alaikum,

      I understand what you’re saying.

      I really hope people understand that yes, the Qur’an and sunnah are for all times but we need to ask Allah (S.W.T.) to grant us hikma, which is knowing what to do, when to do, and how to do. I’m speaking from a religious upbringing (Alhamdulillah) and background btw.

      I think people also need to consider the cultural norms in the society in which they live. If monogomy is the cultural norm, then that ought to be respected, because Islam can be understood and practiced in all societies. Allah (S.W.T.) does not wish to place burdens on us that we cannot bear. There are multiple solutions to the dilemmas we face in life.

      I think what practicing Muslims are lacking the most these days is 1) hikma (wisdom), and 2) the big picture. Allah (S.W.T.) has intended this religion for us as a means of living the most beautiful life in this dunya and the next. We do not need to create obstacles for ourselves- Allah will certainly test us as He (S.W.T.) pleases and it is for us to turn to Him at all times and actively work to improve ourselves.

      From what little understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah I have ( and I pray to Allah to bless me with more), this is my understanding of polygamy: It’s a social norm in some societies and not a social norm in other societies. Because of this, there will always be different solutions to different problems, all of which Allah has permitted us to take. So when looking for solutions to help you lead a better life in this dunya and achieve jannah in the next, think about who you are, where you live, and what impact your actions will have on the dunya AND akhira of yourself, and of those around you (such as your spouse, her family, her community)- and then pray to Allah to guide you to the best decision.

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  28. Oh boy, let the comments begin =)

    First I want to say that in every functional marriage, the man and woman come to terms with polygamy over time–whether as a concept or in practice. It will be interesting to read the comments people leave because it will reflect the different stages people go through before coming to terms with it.

    I’ve been married for 3+ years and both myself and my husband have finally found peace with the concept, alhamdulilah and I must say, your article takes the words out of my mouth =).

    I do occasionally ponder over two issues though and I would love to hear your thoughts about them:

    1. Although I agree that logic fails for the points you mentioned in your article (war zone, genealogy, etc…), I can rationalize polygamy when I think about how many more women than men there are in the world and the fact that there are more women unwilling or unable to get married (high standards, haven’t found Mr. right, too much education, higher salary than men, picky, or for whatever other reason). So, what is to happen to these women? Logically, polygamy answers the problem. Emotionally, it’s still a tough pill to swallow.

    2. “Similarly, polygamy is allowed unconditionally (expect that man has to treat his wives equally) unbound to time, place or people.” –I ponder over the “unbound to time, place or people” aspect of this. Islam has survived because of its ability to adapt to all times, places and cultures and because of its flexibility. ie, women can’t travel without a mehram, many American scholars I’ve spoken to about this say that this was so in the past because of safety issues. Now, alhamdulilah, there is no legitimate fear of safety in a woman traveling alone say on a flight in America (can’t speak for non-American cultures), thus no real need to travel only with a mehram. Similarly, I wonder if it would be better due to our cultural values of this time and society we live in, if men didn’t practice polygamy (unless there was a real need, in which case, Islam allows it, so there’s no problem). I feel that our men and women were not raised to accept the concept and in fact, were raised to believe in the exact opposite, and because of this and the fact that it increases Islamophobia, marriages and relationships are suffering. And when there is more harm than good, then Islam adapts. At least, that is my understanding, wallahu ‘alam.

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    • 1. I think the “logical” solution is to educate men to lower their standard when picking a wife.

      2. Interesting point. In fact, it reminded me of how i was told by some students of knowledge that it is not “wise” for Muslim women to wear niqaab in the West in our times because of Islamophobia and all the controversy it is causing etc. etc.

      I wonder what will they say if i ask them the same question about polygamy, not only it has caused controversy among non-Muslims but even more so among the Muslims.

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  29. as salamu alaikum

    sr. mai runs a great blog, in which she gives readers a glimpse into the life of not only a woman in a polygamous marriage but an all around great Muslimah mashallah. might not be a bad idea to invite her as a guest blogger so she can write on this issue and give a perspective not often heard. discourse around this issue is often dominated by one side, it would be healthy to hear from sisters who’ve had positive experiences with polygamy. and Allah knows best.

    http://maitotheextreme.blogspot.com/

    was salaamu alaikum

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  30. fyi, sr. mai’s husband also has his own blog, for anyone interested in the perspective of a male in a polygnous marriage.

    http://1family2wives.blogspot.com/

    btw, typo in my first post. should read ‘polygany’ not ‘polygamy’. sorry about that.

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  31. No longer muslim

    You think these brothers fear ALLAH when they are horny. How childish to really allow men to run around and marry whoever they want and whenever they want. Polygmany was sent down to fix a difficult situation due to a lack of men, not place men in sexual heaven with little to no regard for his wife or children. Have you heard of halal sex? that’s what some of these serial polygmaist are looking for. Marriage is easy in Islam, and divorce is the right of the man. You mean to tell me you have no right to leave a husband that msstreats you? you are a child so you have to run to another man at the masjid to end your mirsble marriage? does that make sense to any reasonable humanbeing! In many muslim clountries a woman cannot leave her hsuband due to family shame. you can say that is not Islam, but It’s being done in MUSLIM COUNTRIES!
    You’re telling me it’s okay for your husband to just bring another woman and extra children in your marriage with little no permission. Anybody who you give most of the power will naturally come to abuse it. I’m tired of muslims screaming that’s not Islam. guess what! it’s happening! and ALLAH WILL NOT CHANGE A PEOPLE UNTIL THEY CHANGE THEMSELVES! you allow your men to run wild while the women remain children and depressed. Do you know muslims have high divorce race, and yes, even they go through multiple sexual partners like the other people of the book.

    Don’t be fooled by how holy a brother looks, that’s just a trap, those brothers are the ones that are wallowing in the filth. They have been married so many times that they probably wouldn’t recongize their previous wifes even if they were looking right at them. the ummah is sick, and I mean very sick. FEAR ALLAH! lol! you tell these brothers to fear ALLAH! because they don’t give a crap or fear anything but missing an orgasm from one of their numerous women. the religion is bleeding out, and you muslims better figure something out. Muslimahs out on the streets with little to no money because their hsubands kicked them out on the streets. Please don’t claim that these incidents are few and few apart, because that is a lie. I have lived in 4 different states in muslim communties. The african americans suffer from poverty while the arabs suffer from arrogance and physical abuse. The masjd wouldn’t even help open a womans shelter. They made all the sisters go back to their crazy husbands. There is no protection for women in islam, because the men that rule over us refuse to give us our rights.

    Women who claim that they are okay with polygmay ahve been conditioned and know they have no power to stop their husbands.Life is what you make it, if you want to walk around being a foot stool more power to you. You are only ALLAH’s slave, not the slave of some husband who is ruled by his lust.

    I believe in one god, and he has no partners, but i refuse to be part of faith tha treats women like little chuldren. All humanbeings have a say in their life, that also includes who your husband should be allowed to marry and lay with,

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    •  Dear no longer mualimah. May Allah guide us all to the straight parth. You believe in Allah and his book and his prophet peace be upon him yet you left the religion because of what muslim are like these days. Why? why not just live as a muslimah the way the quran says so and ignore these people? you dont have to be treated this way.A woman does have rights and she does have the right to leave a marriage if she is not happy with it. The prophet was very kind to women and we follow him not these men. These are the signs of the day of judgement as the prophet said each year is worse than the one which came before it. These are times of fitan (tribulations). dear no longer muslimah dont disobey your lord because of how muslims act these days. One day all these men who mistreat women will stand before their lord. And so will you….what will you say? i left islam because of how morons treat women?
      This is not your problem. Allah will surley help the oppressed. Your problem is how will you answer Allah when he questions how you did with islam. These men chose to play with islam, you dont have to do the same because they are not islam. Islam is Allahs religion.  
      You said you were in a polygamous mariage once, iam guessing your husband did not treat you right? or you were not happy with having a co wife? thats fine who cares. leave that marriage you dont have to be in a marriage your not happy with. Think about the day you will stand infront of Allah.
      Women DO have rights, if only they knew. May Allah guide you.

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  32. No longer muslim

    Polygamy s not evil, it’s those that have no idea how to practice it. It is the responsbility of the ummah to make sure that these brothers are prepared to be husbands to more then one wife.

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    • Why have you left Islam? Surely it’s not just because you didn’t like the laws, it’s not rational to judge by the laws because if there is clear evidence that something is from God (i.e. the Qur’an) then the laws come with the complete package. It’s a rarity that a person accepts Islam because of the laws, usually people accept the religion because they see overwhelming evidence for it and they see the truth in it despite the laws. Once you’re convinced that something is from God, then you cannot turn away from it just because it doesn’t suit your lifestyle. That’s irrational.

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      • Oh great, here it goes again.

        MashaAllah, the author of this article did a good job. Although, I feel that NoLongermuslim shouldn’t let go of her deen because of this, she (I sure you’re a woman based on your responses) First off, she doesn’t seem like a troll or someone purposely causing trouble, otherwise she wouldn’t reply with long answers and more than one time. And although I would not be in a mulitple marriage, I have to accept it. And I do not accept how Muslim men are getting away with it, as she says.

        Besides doing the typical thing and lecturing NoLongerMuslim about “why you left Islam?” blah blah blah, you should all realize what she said about the abuse of polygamy by Muslim men is actually an issue no one realizes. I read an article a few years ago how Muslim men in the UK marry four wives and just go on welfare and foodstamps. Is that not pathetic?

        And I find it funny how MOST people here have never been in a marriage like this and automatically tell people “deal with it and stay with your husband.” And Im sure MOST men here wouldn’t say polygamy is a bad idea.

        MuslimNoise-> No longer Muslim already pointed out that she believes in one God and that He has no partners on the post above this one. And she already stated she does not like the mistreatment of women and the men’s power over women. Instead of just going up to her and saying the usual “you’re irrational” crap in most religious arguments, I think you should think about what she is saying. It is the issue. And I don’t want to sound rude, sorry if it seems that way.

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        • The issue is besides the point, it certainly wouldn’t justify anyone judging the faith from that. I was merely asking merely putting that forward, since you haven’t actually addressed anything that is relevant to what i have said, I’m not exactly sure why you think I should take into account anything you have said. Yes, polygamy is an issue, but it should have nothing to do with accepting or rejecting the religion. I’m not lecturing anybody, merely asking a question. If you don’t like that, then tough.

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    • Sister, even though I can’t do what you have done, but I won’t find a fault with you that you have to leave the deen for this reason. As said in Quran, there should not be compulsion in religion.

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  33. I also have a similar discomfort with the idea of one man’s witness equal to two women witness. Is that relevant any longer in today’s world, or was that for a specific time only?

    We are also a product of our time and culture. No person would today prefer to travel by camel over an airplane, or use a miswak over a toothbrush, or use leeches for treating fever rather than Tylenol. Even though the former was sunnah, they are distinctly bound by their time. Maybe a future time polygamy will be the norm again, and then the Muslim community will be at pains to understand why Allah said “marry only one” ! :-)

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  34. bismillah.

    Can we just take one step back and look at this topic a little differently?

    Why is the discourse around polygamy always framed as if Allah ta’ala commanded us to engage in it? Isn’t it something that has just been deemed permissible?

    The Qur’an is a guidance for all time and all peoples. The Arabs of the time of the Messenger of Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, were polygamous (recklessly so) and many other cultures throughout time have been polygamous – so why wouldn’t Allah ta’ala send us guidance about this type of marriage?

    We have to allow room for diversity in our Deen – as long as people are not trying to make it haram or speaking out against it as fundamentally unjust then can’t they just dislike it and say “nope, not for me or my family”. It seems like more of a cultural issue than a religious one (barring the people who would try to reject it from our Deen)

    And Allah knows best.

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    • Farida, great comment! I also agree that we should look at the big picture, and see this alternative lifestyle as a blessing from Allah. I also agree with Umm Reem that the legitimate concerns she expressed (as felt by many women, including myself) need to be communicated.

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    • Farida, I totally agree with you. The problem is that among many Muslim men the criteria of a Muslims women’s piety is judged by how accepting she is of polygamy. The more she encourages her husband to take another wife the more “muttaqi” she becomes! :)

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  35. As a woman, this is the single issue in Islam that I have truly struggled with. This article resonated with me, but did not help me be any more “okay” with this concept because the ultimate conclusion was “just deal with it”. I have absolutely no problem with polygamy in instances where the first wife agrees. My problem is the fact that the first wife’s consent, or even knowledge of the second marriage is NOT needed. This deeply saddens me. I was always under the impression that for an action to be “okay” in Islam, it must bring about more good than it does harm. Unfortunately, in many if not most instances of polygamy this is simply not true. The first wife is so hurt emotionally and psychologically, and so much harm is done to the family unit, that I find it impossible to justify that this is a husbands unconditional right. If a man wants to take a second wife just because, and his first wife is utterly devastated to the point of severe depression, is this really something that is Islamically justified? I apologize if this offends anyone, but for me to accept and support this seems almost inhumane. So much pain and suffering is being brought upon the first wife, and to simply say that the husband’s actions are a test from Allah that the first wife must accept does in fact seem unjust.

    Many advocates of polygamy point fingers at practices in the West, an all too common critique is “men is the West have have rampant sexual affairs, at least polygamy gives a woman rights”. This completely ignores the fact that women in the West also cheat on their spouses, how does polygamy solve their problems? More over, at least when a woman’s husband cheats on her, she knows that his actions are unjustified Islamically. Society, Muslim or non-Muslim, takes her side and views the unfaithful husband as a jerk, regardless of his social stature (Tiger Woods anyone?). If a man takes a second wife however, the first wife must grapple with the fact that he is, Islamically speaking, doing nothing wrong. His actions, however hurtful to her, are “justified”. This is FAR more difficult and painful to accept.

    Like the author of the article, I have not been able to find logical justifications for polygamy in modern times. Every explanation I have been given has had inherent logical flaws that I was expected to simply ignore. The time period of the Prophet (SWS) was drastically different. Polygamy was a social norm, and many men would likely have not embraced Islam if it was entirely banned. Therefore, given the social construct at the time, it makes sense as to why Islam permitted it and why the Prophet (SWS) practiced it. The wives of the Prophet (SWS) still felt jealous, and this is when they lived in a society where polygamy was openly accepted. Society today has changed so much in the last 50 years, let alone 1400 and I find it incredibly troublesome that many Muslims today feel that regardless of prevailing social norms, polygamy is something that a Muslim woman MUST accept. I don’t think a woman is any less pious if she does not want to be in a polygamous marriage or if she disagrees with the practice of polygamy in todays times. Slavery, although discouraged, is also something technically permitted in Islam, yet we don’t see Muslims arguing to reinstate this practice. Why so? This is because it logically does not make sense to force a naturally outgrown, and in many instances abused, concept into modern society, even if that concept is technically condoned in the Quran. I don’t think polygamy is any different.

    For those arguing that logical justification of polygamy is irrelevant and that we should just accept Allah’s decree, I respectfully disagree. While as Muslims we must all submit to Allah’s will, we should not be blind in our faith. If we are practicing our religion on blind faith alone, we might as well blindly follow the teachings of Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism for that matter. The beauty of Islam is that there is reasoning behind the Shariah. In instances where such reasoning cannot be found for modern times (ex: slavery), must we still force the continued existence of a practice simply because we can? I have no idea what the future of humanity will be like, perhaps in another 1400 years war will be rampant, women will outnumber men 4:1, and the only way to maintain stability in society will be through polygamy. Therefore I don’t argue that polygamy should not be practiced, I just believe that more consideration should be placed upon the prevailing social norms and circumstances of the time periods in which it is practiced.

    Yes, Islam allows Polygamy. As a Muslim female, I do NOT agree with modern day polygamy. I do not think this makes me, or any other woman who feels similarly, any less pious or “Muslim”. If you are hurting your wife, causing her heartache, and adversely affecting your children, I do not think you are being “just”, even if you can provide an equal amount of time and money to your wives. Of course, I am by no means a scholar, these are simply my views. My apologies if this offended anyone, it truly was not my intent. Allah knows best.

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    • Well said =)

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    • with regard to a specific individual marrying a second wife, the ruling of this will fall under : fardh/recommended/mubah/makrooh/haram just as for any other action.

      In general there is a gap between the sexual appetities of men and women, (although i do agree with what was mentioned in teh article too..its not allways the case..i think its just that men are more visually aroused and so they simply have more fitna to deal with in our societies..versus women are emotionally aroused…so it works differently). Allah knows best.

      anyway the point is , in terms of application, if yur a muslim wife whose husband has alot of demands in that area, your top priority in your marriage should be to meet that demand. For husbands who want a peaceful marital life w/ their physical needs, they should go out of their way to help out their wives in the house or however they can so that their wives can in return be there for them.

      the whole ‘system’ of a woman works so differently than a man’s that i think alot of us somehow don’t completely ‘get it’, especially cuz in many instances its simply too taboo to talk about real facts.

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    • Well, actually I didn’t conclude “Just deal with it”. :)

      Firstly, when we are tested by Allah we face it like brave believers and use it as a mean to come closer to Allah until the test becomes a source of peace and enjoyment and we start feeling the khair of Allah’s Decree.

      Secondly, if polygamy becomes a source of depression and harmful to a woman’s faith, than it maybe better for her to get out of the marriage, wAllahu ‘alam.
      Even some of the shayookh have said (see islam-qa) that the doors of exit are open for a women which may not be wise for her to do, nevertheless an available option for her.

      I just believe that the first wife should give it a try and see how things go. Some of my very close friends have gone through polygamy as first wives (I can’t speak for 2nd wives neither is this article for 2nd+ wives) and a lot of good came out of it. There were difficulties no doubt but there was khiar too.

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    • You make many excellent points sister–JazakAllahu Khairan.

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    • I agree — well said!

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    • Subhanallah, So vocal in disagreeing with Allah. I am sorry sister “Perspective” but just because your limited intellect (no offense meant) is not capable of conceiving the rationale behind Polygyny, it does not mean that you disagree with Allah (I quote: “I do NOT agree with modern day polygamy”). I honestly find that this is arrogance against Allah. Instead, you should humble yourself and realize that you don’t know everything… and you won’t understand everything that Allah makes Halal or Haram… By no means does that equate to you agreeing or disagreeing with Allah.

      Muslim = one who submits his will to Allah (not agree/disagree with his ruling)

      When you invoke Allah (at least 17 times a day) and say, “Rabb-il Aalameen.” “Eiyaka na’budu wa Eiyaka nasta’een,” You are declaring that he is the Master (Rabb) and you are the Slave (Na’budu is from Abd: We worship you / enslave ourselves to you). What is a slave’s response to his master but to hear and obey?

      I urge you to reconsider that statement and to seek forgiveness from Allah (Swt). And I ask him to forgive you for what you said

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      • Yes, “I do NOT agree with modern day polygamy”. This does not mean that I disagree with Allah. If you read my post you would note that I stated that polygamy was largely beneficial in the past (the time period of the Prophet (SWS)) and perhaps will be again in the future. So no, I am not disagreeing with Allah or denying his wisdom. The fact remains that polygamy is not fardh, or even recommended for that matter. So to believe that it is not beneficial for the majority (not all) of circumstances in a specific time period (the 21st century) does not go against anything Allah (SWT) has commanded. His wisdom has simply made it permissible, for us humans to apply in times when we believe we need to.

        Please do think a little more critically, the blind sheep mentality is indeed harmful to a community. Yes, we are all slaves of Allah (SWT), but Allah (SWT) has given us a brain for a reason. He has also clearly differentiated between what we MUST obey (Fard) and that which is merely permissible (Mubah).

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        • You said:
          “So to believe that it is not beneficial for the majority (not all) of circumstances in a specific time period (the 21st century) does not go against anything Allah (SWT) has commanded…” To word it this way is more proper and respectful. You also said: “I have not been able to find logical justifications for polygamy in modern times” This is also a more humble approach because you are putting the shortcoming (of not being able to find a logical justification) on yourself.

          However, sister, when one says “I do not agree with…”, this necessitates that there is someone of the opposite opinion with whom you are disagreeing. Who is it? is it people that are pro-polygyny? No, it is Allah who made it permissible and did not bind it to a certain place or time. So, when you say “I do not agree with modern day polygamy”, although you emphasize “modern day” Allah has made it permissible for the “modern day” and we have no right to disagree with Him (swt). Again, I do understand your point of not seeing the benefit for most people as you re-worded it.

          Furthermore, the only rulings that are bound by time are those that are abrogated. This is a field that only scholars in Usool Al-Fiqh and Tafseer can discuss and it has its own system, rules and basis of finding abrogated rulings.

          In conclusion, I just recommend that you be careful with your phrasings. Although your intention must be different, when it’s written, it is for others to read. And it should be worded in the most proper and respectful way.

          Wassalam

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  36. Salamu alaykum.

    Jazakallahu khairan sister for this article. May Allah reward you and have mercy on you.

    ***
    Reminder: Everyone, know that what you type is being written by the two angels who record your deeds. Fear Allah in what you say, for you will have to face it when you meet Allah.

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  37. i get what yur saying but i think any sensitive normal second wife would care about the feelings of the first KNOWING and realizing completely how the first one might feel.

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  38. If I may, polygamy is against the law in the United States and Canada. Lawful marriage, including common law, is defined as between two people. Religion does not trump the law in countries where there is a separation of church and state.

    Furthermore, Muslim men who claim state/welfare benefits for multiple marriages and children thereof are defrauding the government of our countries and are subject to arrest, prosecution, and conviction for fraud. It is theft. It is theft from hard-working citizens who do not break the laws of their country and who pay their taxes. It is theft from hard-working citizens, men and women, who support their own families with their own blood, sweat and tears. It is theft from people with genuine need for state/welfare benefits.

    It is appalling that immigrants to the United States and Canada do not feel compelled to obey the laws of their adopted countries and what is worse, would lie to and deceive lawful agencies to receive benefits to which they are not entitled. It is disgraceful.

    I am confident that our countries will not tolerate this indefinitely. Meanwhile, I encourage Muslim men and women to stop breaking our laws and in particular, stop committing fraud.

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    • Hi Shelley,

      I agree with your main points. I am equally shocked and appalled by men who claim to be “married” illegally to multiple women who they are not supporting and are just leaving to claim social welfare. As a Muslim, this behaviour disgusts and embarrasses me.

      However, I just wanted to point out some observations (as a lawyer and a Muslim):

      -common law marriage is not universally defined or recognized in Canada or the United States, and thus there is no actual tangible concept of what common law marriage is.

      -given that common law marriage has no clear definition, and in many jurisdictions is not recognized at all, then irresponsible Muslim men who are milking the system are no different than irresponsible non-Muslim men who are milking the system. There are millions of American men who have children with many different women in so called ‘common law’ marriages, leaving all of them to claim social support as single moms. These practices are equally reprehensible regardless of who undertakes them, and should not be given a religious overtone. In fact, I have not seen any statistics, but I am nearly certain that the number of Muslim men who are taking advantage of the system in this way are far fewer than non-Muslim (if only because of their small percentage of the population).

      -Finally, you are making a huge assumption when you call all such men and women “immigrants.” Not only do you have no proof of that, unless you are a member of the First Nations, you are also an ‘immigrant’ to this country. I see no reason to insert questions of race and immigration in this issue.

      Reprehensible action should attract universal condemnation, regardless of the perpetrator.

      Thanks!

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    • Think you might’ve missed the point a little. I don’t believe the article (though, not without its faults) was encouraging anybody to break the law. There’s a difference between discussing an issue (such as the rationality) and exhorting people to carry out a certain act. Since this site is frequented by people from many different countries, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that there’s immediate risk of a whole horde of American Muslims going out and looking for multiple wives

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    • Shelley,

      In US polygamy is very common among African Americans who are NOT immigrants.

      Claiming welfare without a valid reason is not allowed in Islam either and none of the Muslim Jurists would allow it.

      Having said that, while polygamy is not allowed in the West, infidelity is not and while polygamous Mulsim men are questioned, infidel men roam around freely.

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      • Umm Reem:

        I don’t think it is true that polygamy is “very common” amongst African American men. African American women would not tolerate it. In any case, I will look into it.

        Infidelity is destructive to most relationships: marriage, common-law, dating. Most men and women want partners who will make a committment to them for the purposes of building a life and raising children together. That said, the post-War West has been transformed by very liberal/progressive ideas and oppposition to all faiths, but in particular to Christianity, which provided a moral code for behavior. Feminism contributed to the transformation and while it did open new doors for women, it shamed women who simply wanted to be wives and mothers. Feminism and birth control sexualized women, who were now free to have sex without the complication of pregnancy. Abortion on demand completed feminism.

        From the point of view of conservative men and women, the culture of the West has become destructive to families and children. “Free” sex leads to abortion, unwanted children, single parenthood, dependency on the state, and poverty. The progressive solutions to these problems is more dependency, more services, and higher taxes to pay for it all.

        Speaking of African Americans, their communities have been particularly devastated by all of these changes. It is heartbreaking. Generations of African American children are now raised in single parent families, dependent on the state for their very lives. Conservative black men and women are few and far between but they are out there. They value their independence, their reponsibilities, and their committments.

        With great freedom comes great responsibility. In our countries, within the confines of the law, one can do whatever one chooses to do. The fundamental problem though and this is where things have gone off the rails, is that most people do not want to take responsibility for their choices. They don’t want to pay for the consequences but instead turn to the state for sustenance.

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        • Great post Shelly. I agree with everything you say.

          And I might be wrong about this, but when Umm Reem says “polygamy” *I think* she just means being in more than one conjugal relationship at once (or serially and extremely close together) without there being any legal framework of any kind–something that’s much more likely in the US, which has been far more reluctant than Canada to attach legal consequences to unmarried cohabitation. Reading over our exchange above again, it it clear to me that our main disagreement/confusion is mostly because we don’t agree on what “common law” means, which is perfectly understandable because there really is no universal meaning.

          Thank you again for an interesting exchange and an interesting post .

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          • Thanks, gratitude. I have enjoyed our banter.

            Perhaps we did misunderstand the definition of “common-law”. The definition that I use is the one provided by Revenue Canada.

            Social conservatives of all faiths have a great deal in common so it is interesting to me that Muslims align themselves with liberals and progressives. I think the main reason for that is the foreign policy of conservatives clashes with the foreign policy of Muslims. However, more and more conservatives are against engaging in expensive conflicts overseas and would support closing bases in Europe and elsewhere. I’m not sure that an American isolationist foreign policy would be good for the world, but it would no doubt please some.

            But that’s a whole other can of worms we can talk about some other time.

            Best,

            Shelley

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  39. even though most of us aren’t raised in a culture of polygany, its usually sisters who are told that they are too selfish to accept etc.

    the reality is that most men are pretty clueless bout how to go about it also. its a serous headache for a man as well. many men can’t deal w/ the emotional drama one wife can put them through…let alone two.

    i know of a very rare case (it seems) of a very educated, highly paid african american muslim who is married to three wives. he lives overseas so no issues of legality or wahtever.

    I just happen to know all three of them. he’s had more marriages..i think one or two didnt work out but these three now seem pretty stable. he has children with two of them as well mash’allah.

    subhanallah with two of them and they’ve said as much that he married them to help them out (which isnt to say he wsnt attracted to them ofcourse)…one of them was married to a freind of this man’s who passed away and so he married her. she’s older(i dont mean older than him) and has no children with him.
    she’s very thankful to be provided for him and stuff cuz she worked alot for many years to help support her previous sick husband who passed away.

    the other one is a convert, ran away from home, etc and i guess was having issues in her life maybe, and she has a huge age difference with him but she seems pretty content, Allah knows best.

    the third one has four children with him and doesnt mind sharing him. from what ive understood from what one of them told me she’s just not all into him for whtever reasons which i dont know about. anyway, i have met all six children from this marriage, one of the girls is a teenager, almost a hafidh. he seems pretty involved in their lives.

    two of the wives seem to have a pretty independent life as well. y’ani often times women want freedom to do their own thing as well. for that type of woman, polygany gives her that option. not every woman necessarily wants a man everyday asking for food, sex etc.

    sometmies it can be viewed as a win win for a woman as well. cuz we’re alwyas assuming that a woman needs the guy at all times and we approach this subject from this perspective. i mean havent we heard of women who just wana hang out with other women, be completely into their careers/studying/volunteer work/children and sort of ignore their husbands..well mayb its cuz they need more independence..hello =)

    its actualy very interseting to see this family. they’re acutaly seem functional and i interact w/ them often enough that I feel like its not just a facade. Allah knows best..

    anyway however it seems to me that the real credit goes to this man in his chioce of wives and also how he handles it. one of them tells me he sets very good boundaries.

    Not sure why this is .. but us women often tend to look at ourselves and define ourselves by our husbands. I mean what happens if a guy is married to two wives and they basicaly let him know that they’re not jealous and they’re both lets suppose really busy practicing productive members of their homes/societies and they’re not overly concerned over him alwyas being w/ them as opposed to the other wife. i wonder how such a man would feel =)

    i mean in a way we punish our own selves cuz we feel ‘safe’ by having a man always around. why is that?

    anyway, these are just some thoughts. i am married and personally would feel very uncomfortable with polygny but i accept that this is something allowed in Islam. it is indeed a muslims choice whether they want to be part of this lifestyle or not. if a woman was put into this situation and she really felt like this is gona destroy her iman, islam allows her to leave. I think thats totally just. Each person has a right to do what is allowed.

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    • You bring up an interesting scenario. I think the main difference here, at least from my perspective, is that these women AGREED to be in a polygamous marriage. My main point of contention with polygamy is the fact that the first wife does not have to be consulted, or even informed if her husband chooses to marry again. This is a huge point, if a woman actually wants and chooses to be in a polygamous marriage, she will not be devastated, heartbroken, and feel emotionally betrayed when her husband marries again. However, if she wanted monogamy (which is more often the case), she will feel all of the aforementioned emotions and unfortunately she will not be able to do anything. Either accept her husband’s decision, or get a divorce (assuming that one will even be granted to her). In these cases, the first wife who is often older, has children and other restrictions/responsibilities is forced to stay in the marriage solely for support. She really does not have a choice in the true sense of the word.

      Your example definitely supports the claim that polygamy is a functional practice in some instances, and although Im happy that these woman are content, the overwhelming majority of woman are hurt by this action.

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    • Might be worthwhile to note that many African countries still practice polygyny and many African Americans are more comfortable with the concept of “It takes a villiage to raise a child” and the idea of maintaining extended family networks in order to increase everyone’s well-being. And as it is now in the US, there is an extreme shortage of African American men who not involved with unemployment, drugs, alchohol, or incarceration. There is an even greater shortage of MUSLIM men who fit such a category. So for those women wanting to marry such an exceptional brother, polygyny is a real option. The above mentioned co-wives can likely put collective pressure on their husband to ensure that he is fulfilling his obligations. May Allah (swta) be pleased with him for marrying a widow and a women in need of protection and assistance. Those are both examples of women in our current society who can truly benefit from polygyny, and in that family I guarantee you that the WOMEN have the power.

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      • Here’s a novel idea-how about promoting a society that works tirelessly to improve the outcomes and lives of young African American men in this country, instead of just writing them off as a lost cause and saying that the only option left on the table is to just share the “few good ones” that are in the pool?!

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      • actually i dnt know if i agree with women havng power in that family comment. i think the family is sccessful largely due to a just reasonable head of household.

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  40. if a man is reckless or unwise about the way he goes about marrying a second wife, most likely he’s not going to be the best husband to the second wife either. its sort of like … if a man is good to his mother/sisters..he’ll generally be good to his wife also.

    i think the fear women have is not of only jealousy or whatever..its also of being treated unfairly. most guys are not cut out(or raised) to be fair in such delicate situations.

    if the women in our ummah today had the choice of being married to someone as caring and amazing as the Prophet (and they knew this for a fact) knowing that this particular man had other wives as well, i think many women would make this choice.

    When i was younger and not married, I got a very strange proposal (to me it was very strange at the time and kind of shocked me but made me think very deeply) by a sheikh who i didnt know, who wanted an english speaking second wife. anyway, i thought and thought. and thought. i was 23 at the time. i realized that if i was like 35 and really wanted to get married and hadnt found anyone decent for me by that age, i might consider that to be an option.

    if it wasnt for the super sensitive feelings of any or most first wives, this topic wouldnt be all that bad. in fact we could consider the guy to be the oppressed party.. serving all these women and their households and and having to meet their demands, and having a relationship w/ the kids and if he fails at this MONUMENTOUS task then EVERYONE just considers him a total failure. somehow it brings a smile to my face lol to imagine the scenario of a poor oppressed husband lol. a’oodhobilla.

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    • if we were to imagine that polygny was totally normal, the common topic men and women discuss of women working after marriage(and before kids) would be rare.

      she doesnt have to clean half her life lol, or cook gourmet food or anything. she can be more care-free. can be dressed bummy in the house more often as many women unfortunately like to do. he’s not going to be ‘as strict’ as some guys can be.

      the women could techinicaly be too much for many mother in laws to handle so they’d leave ‘em alone and not give them too much unwanted advice which daughters in laws always complain of =)

      less stress in the woman trying to ‘please’ inlaws as in some cultures.

      there’d be no concept of couples living with inlaws(like in some cultures)…i mean how many wives and their children can the inlaws handle? it cant be one big village living under roof…or maybe they’d have like these mini compounds as their homes…

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  41. Belgian muslim

    Assalaamoe alaikoum warahmatoe’allaah

    I have some issues with the way you present this subject/article.

    But first off all, let’s go back to the root of our religion so we can exclude any misunderstandings.

    In our deen, we have a system where all general things of life are permissible unless clearly stated otherwise. So eating an apple is permissible unless you find any daliel(koran & sounnah) which prohibits this action.
    Whereas deeds of worship work the other way around, everything is forbidden unless you have proof that is from the koran & sounnah.

    Polygamy falls in the first category. It’s a “regular” deed so the basic rule, is that it is allowed unless we find any proof that there is a prohibition.
    So we are really asking the wrong question, when we say: “Why is it allowed”? We should rather be asking, why should it not be allowed? Who made polygamy a bad thing and therefore “forbbiden”? Who made a man a monogamous specy?

    If you follow this methodology, you will then also understand that the rational explanations aren’t there to make you understand why polygamy is allowed, not at all. They are but mere some examples off occasions where polygamy has benefits.
    From the islamic point of view, there is no problem at all with polygamy as long as you don’t abuse it. Like all the rights that Allah has given you. That’s why for example, islam limited the number of wives to 4. And that’s why the prophet warned the men on the way they should treat their women.

    Our problem starts when we take the western viewpoint(1 man – 1 wife) as the standard and THEN try to understand the rulings of Allah(swt).

    And Allah knows best.

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    • Excellent Point. JAK

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    • Our problem starts when we take the western viewpoint(1 man – 1 wife) as the standard and THEN try to understand the rulings of Allah(swt).

      MashaAllah, very well said.

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    • “Our problem starts when we take the western viewpoint(1 man – 1 wife) as the standard and THEN try to understand the rulings of Allah(swt).”

      Monogamy is not a Western viewpoint. Let us please stop using the West as our scapegoat in every discussion.

      Allah created men and women in roughly equal numbers. That means ALLAH intended monogamy as the standard, and *allowed (not commanded)* us to depart from that standard in some cases.

      Please do not make this about the West. Islam did not introduce polygamy. It allowed and LIMITED it for the benefit of women, not for the pleasure of men, who previously were free to marry as many as they liked without conditions.

      wa Allahu a’lam; JazakAllahu Khairan.

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      • Another example of how monogamy is not the West’s, but Allah’s standard:

        The first human family Allah created in Jannah consisted of Prophet Adam and lady Hawa (alayhum asslam). One man, one woman.

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    • Our problem starts when we take the western viewpoint(1 man – 1 wife) as the standard and THEN try to understand the rulings of Allah(swt).

      it is not only a western viewpoint…we need to stop blaming west for something east is equally guilty of….

      in fact the truth is that even at the time of the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam women didn’t love polygamy. The prime example is of Fatimah (radiAllahu anha) who was hurt when her husband wanted to take another wife!

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      • “it is not only a western viewpoint…we need to stop blaming west for something east is equally guilty of….”

        That having more than one wife is unacceptable is a Western point of view. Attitude like the one you hold will lead to polygamy being de facto unacceptable.

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  42. In reply to “Grateful”…

    1. Common-law marriage is very common in Canada, so much so that Revenue Canada provides a definition, although the provinces have jurisdiction.

    I agree that there is no universal definition of common-law marriage in the United States.

    2. Men who have children outside or inside of wedlock who subsequently abandon the mother and child(ren) and who provide no support to the child(ren) are immoral men. However,they are not breaking the law. It is not illegal to leave your family, although not supporting the family that is left is getting harder to do in some places in North America, in particular if the men can afford support but choose not to provide it. Obviously, state/welfare rolls are overwhelmed with cases of single mothers who can not afford to support themselves and their children, so ensuring that men who leave their families continue to support them will reduce state/welfare rolls.

    Not too long ago it was a point of personal shame and failure to abandon your family and get a divorce. Now, there is no social stigma.

    But more to the point, I am addressing the Muslim men who first, pracitice polygamy which is against the law, and two, who while practicing polygamy, can not support their wives and children thereof, who claim state/welfare benefits to support them. In other words, the state/welfare system is supporting the polygamous families, including the husband/father, and children thereof. This is not the same as you imply.

    3. Yes, I did assume that the majority of the people posting here are immigrants, if only to excuse them from their misunderstanding of the law, although how they could not know that polygamy and fraud is illegal in the United States and Canada is not believable..

    I am sorry that you raised the issue of race. I certainly did not. But this is a common and frankly corrupt reaction to anyone who attempts to talk about issues of religion, culture, custom, immigration and the laws that govern Western countries. I don’t care what color your skin is, if you immigrated last week or 200 years ago, if you are “native” Indian, or as white as pure, driven snow. We all immigrated from somewhere, at some time, incuding native Indians. Our aboriginal citizens and cultures are a treasure, I myself have native Blackfoot blood, but native Indians did not just sprout up out of the ground from scattered seeds. We are all from some place else, including all the tribes of the Middle East. From the beginning of man, there has been colonizing and conquest, most of it bloody and vicious. Western civilization is no more guilty of this than any other civilization. It has been the way of man.

    But we are evolving are we not? The West in particular is multi-racial, multi-culture, multi-religious. There is intermarriage among all races and religions. We are free people within the confines of the law that are designed to apply equally to all of us. You and I are free to practice our religion for as long as it does not break a law. That is my objection to Muslim polygamy and state/welfare fraud as practiced by some Muslims.

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    • Hi Shelley,

      thank you for the reply; I enjoy reading your perspective. Some observations:

      1. I understand that common law “marriage” is common in Canada. Revenue Canada has a definition that it uses for revenue purposes. That does not mean that there is a single universal definition of common law marriage in the whole country. Other agencies have their own statutory definitions in different contexts, and common law marriage by no means preserves all the rights that marriage does (for example, automatic division of property at dissolution remains the exclusive right of legally married people).

      2. You wrote: “… more to the point, I am addressing the Muslim men who first, pracitice polygamy which is against the law, and two, who while practicing polygamy, can not support their wives and children thereof, who claim state/welfare benefits to support them. In other words, the state/welfare system is supporting the polygamous families, including the husband/father, and children thereof. This is not the same as you imply.”

      Forgive me, but I cannot see how you have made a distinction between immoral and illegal. Because polygamy is illegal in the West, Muslim men who practice it are not actually breaking Western law (in my opinion, they are breaking Islamic law, which mandates marriage because it legally preserves the rights and reputation of all parties).

      In the West, the subsequent ‘spouses’ are actually just common law wives. The illegality of a second marriage contract makes it impossible for the government to issue one, and so there is no dual “marriage” that would contravene the law. As such, the difference in the situation that you’ve described does not exist.

      Moreover, the mere fact of any government benefits in any area means some people will overuse/abuse it . Just because one poster has observed some Muslim men behaving in this way, I wouldn’t take that to mean this is a common and pervasive problem–unless you have some statistical evidence of which I am unaware.

      3. On the question of race and immigration, it’s true you did not mention race, but it would be naive for any reader to deduce anything but. The entire international and national immigration law scheme is designed around race, and to expect that a comment implicating “immigrants” to not produce racial connotations is frankly, unrealistic. Your comments on how we are all immigrants (which I totally agree with), only furthers my point.

      Your original comment did not appear to raise the issue for the purpose of giving an excuse to people who are ignorant of our laws. To the contrary, it seems that any people of the type you describe are acutely aware of them: they know that common law marriage is available and means nothing in many contexts and jurisdictions, and they know that government benefits are available to people in these informal relationships. In a Muslim country where polygamy is legal (not all of them have the same stance), all the marriages would be registered and take full legal effect in every applicable context.

      In conclusion, I appreciate your comments, but I am not clear on how they address any of my points. If your true concern in this discussion is the public purse (a valid concern), then it should not matter who is unfairly taking advantage of it, although if you can produce some evidence that Muslim males in plural common law marriages are disproportionately creating this problem, then I might have to re-think the above.

      thanks again.

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      • I am sorry you do not think my reply to your comments was articulate.

        I object to your comments about race. For as long as you think that racism is the cause of all criticism of other cultures and other religions you will alienate people who wish to help you adjust.

        Your additional comments about polygamy in Muslim culture and religion as it relates to Western law are interesting. In the West, men who live in common-law marriages live with one spouse at one time, not multiple spouses at the same time. The rationalization that you present for Muslim men who wish to practice polygamy is still illegal. Living with a woman to whom one is ceremoniously married and with three more in common-law marriages is illegal. Claiming support from the state/welfare agencies under this scenario is illegal. As a lawyer, you should know that this is not acceptable.

        I object to polygamy on behalf of women and children. I object to Muslim men who wish to practice polygamy in the West because it is a crime. I object to Muslim men who further break the law by claiming support from taxpayers to pay for their polygamy. It is indeed a fiscal issue. I have no idea how common it is.

        But, it is interesting to me that the discussion in this forum is not about the legality of it, but whether or not it is mandated by Allah. I assume that many of the commentators here live in the West and are therefor subject to our laws. If that is the case, the discussion is moot. It is not a question of should I or shouldn’t I and does Allah approve or not approve; it is rather, I should not because it is against the law.

        As I have said, religion in the West does not trump secular law. Despite vehement Christian objection to abortion, the secular law allows women access to abortion. Many Christians don’t like it and it is fair to say that it is still a contentious law. But it is this concept, this principle, that secular law will always reign supreme, that all religious communities must come to terms with in the West.

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        • Hi Shelley,

          it seems there is nothing I can really say to convince you, so I’ll make this my last post.

          By the way, I’m sorry that you mistakenly thought I found your comments inarticulate. My objections were to substance rather than style.

          As you must be aware, I offer no rationalizations for polygamy in the West (and I’ve made other posts on that).

          Also, you wrote: Living with a woman to whom one is ceremoniously married and with three more in common-law marriages is illegal.

          Actually it isn’t. In a technical (not moral) sense, it is not illegal to commit adultery and to be in several “part-time” relationships at once while married to only one person legally. If you can point out a statute or Court decision that proves you are right, I would be happy to read it. In Canada, I know for a fact that the Courts have deliberately taken a hands off approach to this largely because it is impossible to distinguish between adultery and “polygamy” where there is only one legal spouse. I haven’t studied this topic in a while, but if there have been legal developments in the past couple of years, please pass them along.

          By the same token, it is not illegal for any person in need to obtain social benefits (as long as they do not misrepresent themselves), regardless of who else you (and I) think should be rightfully supporting them. The criteria for social benefits is genuine need, and if any woman is unfortunate to have a spouse who is unable or unwilling to provide for her and her children, she is legally entitled to whatever the state legitimately offers to people with her level of need.

          As a lawyer, my job is to understand the law, not what is “acceptable” to any given person’s sensibilities (including mine). I continue to make the point that I agree with your distaste, and I find all such relationships morally unacceptable despite being technically legal. However, I do not distinguish between perpetrators, only between actions.

          It is also very important to me that any distinctions between people be based on evidence. You admitted you have no evidence whatsoever of the problem or its scope re Muslims, and generally, as a lawyer, that’s where a discussion begins and ends.

          Thank you again for this discussion; it was very enlightening. Best wishes.

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          • Also, I appreciate you trying to help me adjust, but Nova Scotia isn’t that different from Ontario.

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          • I don’t know what it is that you are trying to convince me of. I understand that you as a person don’t agree with polygamy. I am beginning to understand that you as a lawyer believe that it is legal and furthermore that obtaining welfare benefits while in a polygamous relationship is “technically” legal. If that is the case, then it would be helpful if you provided some case law to prove your point.

            I maintain that neither is legal and in fact it is fraud to claim state/welfare benefits under the scenarios that I have accurately described. I was not and you know I was not describing adulterous relationships or part-time common-law relationships which would not meet the definition of common-law marriage or polygamy. Furthermore, a woman who lives with a man in a married or common-law relationship, no matter her need, is not eligible for state/welfare benefits. The man may be eligible, dependant upon declared income, and he would collect benefits on behalf of his wife and children. He would not be able to collect benefits on behalf of his multiple wives and children living in the same household, assuming of course that he declared their relationships to him.

            I have enjoyed our debate but I am concerned that this forum would open a discussion about the merits and demerits of polygamy in the context of faith but not in the context of secular law. The very first thing that supporters of polygamy should know is that it is not legal in Canada or the United States. Neither is it legal or moral to expect the state/province to support polygamy.

            Nova Scotia is beautiful. I used to live there and I have always longed to return.

            By the way, I thought I had changed “help you to adjust” to something along the lines of ” barrier to communication”.

            All the best,

            Shelley

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          • I know I said I wouldn’t reply, but I need to so only to clarify to anyone else reading that Shelley’s understanding of my personal and legal views is not accurate, so please do not attribute her conclusions to me. Thank you.

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        • The rationalization that you present for Muslim men who wish to practice polygamy is still illegal. Living with a woman to whom one is ceremoniously married and with three more in common-law marriages is illegal. Claiming support from the state/welfare agencies under this scenario is illegal. As a lawyer, you should know that this is not acceptable.

          Salaam alaykum Shelley,

          I think you’re missing the point – by definition, only single people can enter into common law marriages in Canada. If a person is already married to someone else, they are disqualified from having the ability to enter into a common law marriage, so the scenario you’re proposing, by definition, can’t exist. Saskatchewan is the only exception in this regard.

          What can exist is a person with a civil marriage contract and multiple partners with no legal status. I have heard some argue that because a woman will not have the same rights and protections the first wife has, this is illegal from a shar’ee perspective, but I believe the counterargument to that has been, perhaps this is true, but she may also, if she wishes, forgo those rights, and it is her right to decide to forgo those rights.

          Whether that’s a good idea or not is another story, but whether there’s a way through legally both in the secular sense and the shar’ee sense, both in the US and Canada, I believe the answer is rather clear. The laws prohibiting polygamy are simply blocking multiple state-recognized contracts, and no more than that.

          Siraaj

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          • Hi Siraaj…

            No, a ceremoniously married man or woman, having left his/her partner can live with another partner in a common-law relationship. The partners in the marriage become separated and even while not divorced can still co-habitate with other partners in common-law relationships. The obligations to the marriage and any alimony and/or child support still has precedence over the common-law relationship.

            This speaks to your point about multiple and concurrent contracts and the obligations that flow from them. I suppose as you say that second, third or fourth “wives” could enter into a polygamous relationship, that is co-habit with a man and his first wife, but these concurrent relationships would not meet the definition of common-law. And of course these wives and their children would not have the protections provided by family law. Should the man leave any one of them, with the exception of the first wife, they would not be able to claim alimony or support for their children.

            Obviously polygamy is not a great deal for women and children, unless of course the man is honorable and wealthy.

            In any case, thanks so much for your comment. It helped to clarify the issues and more important, raised a new issue, which is the absence of legal protections provided for women and their children in polygamous relationships, unless you are the fortunate first wife.

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          • Hi Shelley,

            I’ve not read what you’ve mentioned about separation; however, if what you state is the case, then let me qualify my statement with “married and not separated.” And if “married, yet separated”, then from what you are saying, this is perfectly legal, and not illegal as you’ve stated previously, correct?

            I still don’t see the case for what you’ve stated earlier.

            Siraaj

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          • No, Siraaj, as far as the US is concerned the laws prohibiting polygamy are NOT simply blocking multiple state-recognized contracts and no more than that. Multiple state recognized marriages is bigamy, and would be in violation of anti-bigamy and anti-polygamy statutes. When the US first banned bigamy, anti-polygamy crusaders recognized that it was next to impossible to prosecute the offenders. People were co-habitating in polygamous relationships without state issued licenses, and were able to get away with it until the Edmunds Act passed. It specifically addressed non state-licensed polygamous marriages and allowed the prosecution of men co-habitating with more than one woman under the grounds that they were illegally co-habitating in a polygamous relationship. The Edmunds Act has still not been repealed. There have been attempts to overturn it, even in the last few years, but it still stands. It’s hypocritical as all get out, but nevertheless it’s still the law of the land in the US. Unmarried people can live together, people can have all kinds of immoral set-ups with adulterous relationships and avoid prosecution and persecution, but peoples attempting to practice polygamy, even without state issued licenses are in violation of the law. A man in Utah was prosecuted and convicted for this back in the 90s. Are most people likely to be bothered or prosecuted? Probably not. But it’s still, in principle, illegal. The way I look at it, even if it’s highly unlikely someone would ever be prosecuted for it, it still doesn’t make it ok to do. Police rarely go after bicycle thieves either. It doesn’t mean it’s ok to steal a bike though, even if it’s highly unlikely it would ever be investigated or prosecuted.

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  43. It all balances out:…

    1. For every annoyed first wife, there is an extremely happy relieved second wife.
    If the first empathised with the second, wouldn’t her annoyance turn into appreciation?

    2. While it may seem the man has greater choice, it is actually the women who have the advantage in that they can marry from anyone in the community – married and unmarried men. They can see which husbands take the best care their wife and choose accordingly, whereas the husbands have a much smaller pool to choose from.

    3. Before marrying the second wife, wouldn’t the man have already thought about the pros and cons and known the reasons why he was marrying again. Clearly the advantages would’ve outweighed the negative aspects so for the man, it is a good move. Again, if the first wife empathised with the husband this time, then she would appreciate his decision. She can even put forward her own perspectives which would help the man make a more informed decision, in the interests of all parties.
    If there are disagreements for whatever reason, the man would have to consider long and hard because as well as allowing the man to marry 1-4, Allah also said to live with wives honourably. Though the exclusive persmision of the first wife may not be needed, consent and mutual understanding would help in maintaining the honourable status of the first marriage.

    4. How can the first wife KNOW that the second wife is bad for her own marriage? Maybe the second wife would teach the husband good manners which would have a positive impact on the first wife.

    5. The idea that it should be avoided because of the times we live in is a bit strange for me personally, because wouldn’t that also be denying a perfectly compatible marriage which may have clear benefits for all parties? Doesn’t Allah also question us that are we just going to be what our society is upon. Are we just going to be what our forefathers were on?
    If somebody does want to go down the route of abstaining from polyginy because of the times we live, a much better reason would be because they wouldn’t know how to go about balancing their time seeing as they haven’t learnt it from society. Hmm.. But as I write this it doesn’t seem too much of a difficult thing to do. 3 days there. 3 days there. In any case that’s a point each man would have to consider for themselves.

    6. Did anyone mention that a wife with multiple partners would mean great difficulty identifying the father of the baby. It can only work practically when the man could have more than one.

    7. Finally, seeing as the husband is supposed to be a caretaker/protector for the woman, wouldn’t extra wives mean a far greater financial/physical etc responsibility for the man? With the “advantage” of the extra woman, he also has the disadvantage of a smaller bank balance and less free time.

    For every perceived disadvantage, there are always counter arguments, and different perspectives. If a woman may not like sharing, why do they insist on using the phrase “sharing is caring” at every other opportunity when it suits them. Sharing is indeed caring when you are helping that other sister getting married as well.

    (I know I’ve probably overlooked the true nature of female jealously here, but I’m excused. I’m male! Lol, perhaps I should internalize some of the empathy I speak of.)

    I’m just rambling now, assalamu alaykum.

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    • “For every annoyed first wife, there is an extremely happy relieved second wife.
      If the first empathised with the second, wouldn’t her annoyance turn into appreciation?”

      By “annoyed” I think you must mean “devastated.”
      And perhaps if the second had a bit of compassion for the first and decided beforehand to investigate whether the first was okay with it, perhaps she wouldn’t be so keen to force her way into a situation wherein she might be the cause of the destruction of a family.

      As for your question, “Before marrying the second wife, wouldn’t the man have already thought about the pros and cons and known the reasons why he was marrying again. ”
      The answer is no, as is so very sadly demonstrated by the majority of toxic polygamous marriages, most men just leap in, thinking only of what they *want* and viewing everything through rose-colored glasses. Then reality sets in and families are destroyed.

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  44. Assalamu alaikum

    Good read , as for me i dont think i can treat them equally if i would marry more than one wife

    Jazakallahu khairan sister for this article. May Allah reward you and have mercy on you.

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  45. Love your article Umm Reem. JazakiAllah khair.
    But man, some comments are pretty depressing..next time there’s an article on this topic remind me not to scroll down
    lol

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  46. Salam alaikum Umm Reem :)

    Questions in my head:

    How do we justify marriage? Ya’ni, when two people like each other, why do they have to bring in the wali and witnesses, and announce it to the people? Why can’t they just start living together? Why is fornication haram? Just because of the genealogy argument? The kid deserves to know who her/his parents are? That’s it? Or is there more to it?

    Also, how many men in monogamous marriages truly remain faithful to their wives throughout their lives? Are there reliable statistics on this? What do they say? If fornication and adultery are truly harmful for us, then is it reasonable to allow polygamy to save (many of) us from that harm because a huge amount of people are anyways falling into it? If yes, then the only question remains why polyandry is not permitted as well.

    Assuming a man alone is responsible for bread and finances, and he is married to someone who actually has become ‘insufficient’ (accident/medical condition) and they both do not want to get separated, but someone needs to take care of his and their kids needs, and they and the new woman all see wisdom in a polygamous marriage… What if the provision exists as a mercy in cases like these, and as a test in all other cases? Does it still remain rationally unexplicable?

    And what exactly is reason? Isn’t it marred by our past experiences and our social upbringing? Is not having a rational explanation really a problem? Is there really a rational explanation for marriage? Or for the one man-one woman concept? How do we prove that rationally?

    What if it indeed is a test for both men and women to see how they deal with it, just like money (and every other aspect of life) is for the rich and the poor? Isn’t that a rational explanation?

    Nowadays people justify gay marriages on the basis of reason. Extending the same argument, a bisexual person should be allowed to marry a man and a woman, right? And if it’s okay to marry a man and a women, why not two women?

    Jazakillah for an honest article addressing an issue that’s there in most people’s minds. Perhaps we should discuss this issue with as many scholars (not just senior students of knowledge) as possible. Hikmah is from the blessings of all, yu’teehi man yashaa’. It’s possible that while 49 scholars may say the same thing, 1 may provide some really deep hikmah for it. I still have hope that maybe I’ll meet someone who’ll provide a satisfactory explanation for this and other such issues.

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  47. What about misyar marriage …. I think they are great … I think MM should write a article on this one .

    What I personally think is that .. Muslim women nowadays have education and career , so why do they need financial support . They can support themselves , and besides the primary reason a women marry is to have legitimate kids which is not true for most men .

    I think men should only marry women who doesnot have means to financial resources . Marrying a career women ,especially a muslim career oriented woman is a big big risk .

    I think misyar marriage is a great solution for men .

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    • And why exactly do you think any woman would want to take advantage of this “great solution for men”?

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    • Rationlist Muslim

      I am usually an unlikeable nerdy sciency guy with messed up hair but regardless, this comment was humorous. Misyar FTW!

      jazakAllah.

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      • Seriously …. no joking .

        I have done misyar marriage and it is truly fantastic . I am in my mid twenties and studying . I have no job currently so I can’t really run a home or maintain a official wife . Instead of watching porn , committing zina and masturbating , I use legal ways .

        Seriously brothers … if you have good physical features then go for misyar marriage . No worries , no tension and most importantly no babies .

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        • so what happened to the argument that polygamy is to increase the number of Muslims in our ummah?!

          And what happens when a man is already married, hence already has a wife to satisfy him, yet he wants a miyar marriage (a very common phenomenon between Qatari men and Saudi women btw).

          what happened to all that polygamy is to support a widow/divorce and her children and provide them with a home and financial support!

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  48. Let me ask a simple question to all those who are so worried about the status of my faith and iman:

    Why does polygamy have to be rationalized?

    When we wipe over our socks to make masah we don’t even try to rationalize the practice. We do it because that is what we have been taught.

    Why is it causing so much disturbance among my Muslim brothers (and some sisters) if I say that I don’t see any logical reasoning in polygamy. I never denied its validity neither did i belittle it. In fact, I very clearly stated that it must have khair since it is made permissible by Allah azzawajal.

    Why so much sensitivity?!

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    • Assalamu alaykum,

      “Why does polygamy have to be rationalized? ”

      Shaykh Tahir ibn Ashur says in “Treatise on Maqasid al-Shari’ah”:

      “From an inductive examination (istiqara) of numerous indicants in the Qur’an and the authentic Prophetic traditions, we can with certainty draw a compelling conclusion that the rules of Islamic shariah are based on inner reasons and (hikam) and causes (asbab) that delve upon the universal goodness and benefit of both society and individuals…”

      If we simply believe that there is khair in polygamy, but can’t actually see any of it, how are we to experience that khair? If we cannot comprehend the benefit of polygamy, how are we to defend our religion against those who criticize it and how are we to conduct ijtihad about that particular issue? Also, if someone has experienced khair in polygamy, can sou still claim that there was no rational reason for that person (or persons) to delve into polygamy?

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      • If we simply believe that there is khair in polygamy, but can’t actually see any of it, how are we to experience that khair?

        to see the khiar and then submit is not hard at all, but to not see the khair yet submit and hope for khair is a matter of blind faith.

        When a clamity befalls a person they can’t see the khiar at the heat of the moment. Yet being patient with initial extreme difficulty, tawakul in Allah and faith in His Decree comes the khiar otherwise a test remain a test.

        how are we to defend our religion against those who criticize it

        exactly my piont! We need to stop defending polygamy logically because it will not make sense… I have never seen anyone converting to Islam because of polygamy neither have I seen anyone becoming a devoted Muslim because men are allowed 4 wives!

        Whenever I defended polygamy “rationally”, the discussion only revolved around logical arguments, statistics, male/female nature etc.

        The day I said i can’t logically explain polygamy but i submit to it because it is a part of my faith, others asked me, ‘why do i chose to be a part of the faith that allows polygamy?” and then i took control over the discussion, ‘because my faith is not about polygamy, its not about my husband or marriage, it is about One Creator….” and the discussion took the right direction from there…alhamdullilah.

        And it will take the right direction among Muslims too especially among the sisters inshaAllah. So many sisters are spoon-fed by men around them to just somehow understand the “logical” explanation of polygamy and live happily ever after with this. They struggle with it yet they are too scared to ask because they are made to believe that any reflection of seldom dislike of polygamy will only show their lack of commitment to their faith!

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        • You’ve missed my point on both counts. If polygamy is irrational, you’ll never be able to see khair in it. Are you suggesting that women who do feel that polygamy is khair are unable to describe it in rational terms? If it is rational, than you can explain the khair that’s in it in rational terms both before and after you experience it (obviously, better after it passes).
          As for my other comment, do you actually think you’ll argue better for Islam if you say that one part of it (permissibility of polygamy) is irrational??? What’s wrong with you?

          “They struggle with it yet they are too scared to ask because they are made to believe that any reflection of seldom dislike of polygamy will only show their lack of commitment to their faith!”

          It’s completely normal for women to be jealous; it’s completely un-Islamic to try to provide intellectual backing for a weakness that this jealousy causes.

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    • Wiping over socks is the badal, the asl is wiping over feet. This is a provision made for ease following the legal maxim “Al mashaqqa tajlib al-tayseer” (Hardship is a reason for ease).
      What you could have said on this topic is why we wipe on top and not the bottom of the feet, like Ali (ra) explained. That may have been relevant.

      But you cannot compare this with polygyny. Some scholars (not sure if majority) will argue that the asl is polygyny and the last resort is monogamy. It was widely practised by the best muslims including the sahaba and the great scholars of Islam. I for one find it difficult that some find it so hard to find khair in this when it is as CLEAR as daylight.

      In fact, I’m sure it won’t take much for sisters to do a 180 degree on this issue. Many are probably single and have unrealistic romantic notions regarding marriage or perhaps are happily married with a lovely husband for a number of years and have many kids. I ask you, what would happen if Allah were to take the hubby away from you – either through death or divorce?

      You’ve not only lost the breadwinner but someone to be intimate with and provide emotional support. And now you are forced to put that aside and get your act together to earn and support the family. In this climate, how would it feel when none of the single men are looking your way because you are a divorcee/widow and have kids from a previous marriage. Perhaps, the benefits of polygyny will become clearer then.

      I would LOVE to hear from sisters who have been divorced with kids and struggling to get a look from the brothers what their thoughts are on polygyny?

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      • Never had the problem of “struggling to get a look from the brothers” after being widowed when I was 23 years old. My first husband died of acute myelogenous leukemia 8 years ago. I came to my second marriage with a whole list of liabilities-I was paying off medical bills, and attending a college that was a whole lot more expensive than what I could afford on my non-existent income. When I felt ready to possibly be married again, a family friend introduced me to a man a couple of years older than me who lived overseas, my family traveled with me to meet him and his family a couple of times, and then we became engaged and filed paperwork for him to immigrate to the US and get married. I had no need whatsoever to horn in on anyone else’s marriage, or share a man with anyone, just to be considered for marriage. My husband belongs to me, my child from my first marriage, and the child we recently had together. He doesn’t belong to any other women or families, and doesn’t want to. My son from my first marriage has a stepfather that loves and adores him, and he doesn’t have to share him with another family. For me anyways, the trials and anguish and devastating loss I experienced did not mean that the best I could ever subsequently hope for was a half-time husband and stepfather / father to my children.

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        • I’m sorry to hear about your loss, may Allah reward you for your patience.

          You did have a few things working in your favor though in this case:

          1) You were/are still very young
          2) Only one child from the first marriage
          3) The marriage was with a man overseas.

          wassalam.

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          • What does a women in her mid 30′s do when he husband dies and leaves behind 6 kids the oldest being 13?

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      • What you could have said on this topic is why we wipe on top and not the bottom of the feet, like Ali (ra) explained. That may have been relevant.

        yes that’s what i was saying. wiping over the socks means wiping on the top!

        and it can be said that monogomy is the asal and polygamy is the badal to cause ease for widows or in case of men being more than women!

        It was widely practised by the best muslims including the sahaba and the great scholars of Islam.

        many sahabas were monogamist and some didn’t even get married, same for the great scholars, Ibn Taymiyyah and An-Nawawi for instance.

        I for one find it difficult that some find it so hard to find khair in this when it is as CLEAR as daylight.

        clear for you because you find benefit in it!

        I ask you, what would happen if Allah were to take the hubby away from you – either through death or divorce?

        may Allah protect my husband and give him long healthy life with iman.

        True, for a woman with needs, polygamy is a blessing. My article, if you read it carefully, is from a first wife’s perspective who didn’t enter a marriage with a “shared” husband.

        Besides, lot of comments keep talking about marrying a women with children and needs, how many times do we see polygamy being practiced this way? Mostly, men go for a younger and NSA second wife who can easily find a single brother for marriage!

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      • As one of those sisters(divorced, 30s, with children), what she does is continue to be single while brothers promote polygny by marrying younger women without children.

        Even as difficult as my situation is(and there is much more difficulty to my life than being single and having to raise my children alone), I still would rather be single than devastate another sister by marrying her husband.

        I have been approached by a couple of married brothers and they were not considerate enought of their first wife for me to want to be a 2nd wife. Why would I want to marry a bad husband when I can do bad all by myself? I have sat with the wife of one brother who just cried and cried. How could I happily marry her husband thinking of the tears she is shedding?

        What happened to the sunnah of wanting for your brother/sister what you want for yourself? I want my sister to be happy. I do not want to hurt her. I would hope that this wanting for our brother/sister would include wanting for their spouses. How can a brother marry a sister knowing his wife is home crying? The thought makes me sick. I couldn’t imagine it being something that Allah SWT would be happy with His slave doing even if it’s lawful.

        Finally, I have never seen a brother of “quality” seeking a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife. And by quality I’m thinking of saying of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasalaam that the best of you(men) are those that are best to your families. Every brother, EVERY BROTHER that I’ve known personally who has sought polygyny has not been good to their families, and in particular their wives. There has always been some huge deficiencies: either he’s not providing, not praying, he’s abusive, cruel, ignores his children, doesn’t care about the well being of his wife(wives), doesn’t work, has his wife & children on welfare, marries for the sake of giving “sadaqah” but his “sadaqah” is taking his wife to the welfare office to apply for benefits or ignoring the needs of one family for another, etc. These are only the ones I’ve known personally and I live in an area with a high percentage of Muslims with a lot of polygyny.

        So it’s not logical to me. If it was practiced by a brother with even *some* of the good characteristics of our beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalaam, some kindness, some fairness, some actual concern about the sisters and children involved then maybe it wouldn’t be such a repulsive option to so many sisters.

        Allah SWT knows best.

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    • I agree sister Umm Reem. I also think that accepting something and having faith in even when your mind cannot rationalize it requires stronger iman than accepting something you’re genuinely and strongly convinced by. If anything, your belief despite not being able to rationalize is a sign of strong iman, and may Allah help us all to have it iA.

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    • It is ridiculous that people are worried about the status of your faith. I think some people just write things they don’t think about.

      In regards to why so much sensitivity? You know how many comments have been posted by now. I think 141!! And if you take a look at the articles on Muslim Matters about stories of the Prophets or fiqh issues or art pieces, you will maybe see 15 responses.

      It is an issue of controversy. Any time there is a gender role issue posted on any Muslim blog, you will get the most comments on that. Everybody has this stuff on their mind. The funny thing is, 99% of the commenters will not marry another wife or will not have a husband who would do so.

      If it has to do with sex, drugs, women, marriage, revolutions, dirty politics and rape, you will get hundreds of comments. If you post up articles on methods of and ways of improving your manners and characters, you will get maybe 10.

      It really tells us a lot about what is taking up the minds of most Muslim youth in the west.

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  49. Assalamu Alaikom,

    Polygamy is logical to us. It makes perfect sense. Sisters, please don’t burst your brains trying to understand why it’s permissible. It just is. Allah swt understands his creation best. Men will always be men. Look at the world right now. Men are either cheating, watching haram, or wishing for polygamy whether unhappily or happily married. Don’t you think there is a universal male yearning for more than one partner? We are not pigs, if you have any problems, take it up with your Creator.

    Even if a man has the perfect wife, he will still feel the need for another, especially today. I swear there is nothing wrong with you, and we’re not trying to betray you (like Umm Reem said Jazaha Allah khair). It’s in our genes. Sorry to break it to the single sisters.

    Sincerely,

    A man sick of apologetic responses to the question of polygamy.

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    • There are enough men out there not engaging in haram activities or lusting after women that they are not married to, that yes, we can say that the ones who do engage in those activities are, in fact, quite piggish. Toughen up, be like those men, and if you have a problem with the fact that your Creator created righteous men who can stand up to those tests and trials and remain righteous and upright without even remotely considering the idea of polygamy, take it up with Him.

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    • I’m sorry, but yearning for more than one partner, and actually taking an additional partner are two completely separate things. I have no idea how much interaction you personally have with women, but I hope you do realize that woman too yearn for more than one partner in many cases (and they control this yearning). I completely understand why taking multiple partners is not allowed for women in Islam, so please don’t interpret my point to be promoting this. I am simply saying that woman too get attracted to multiple men, so my apologies if I don’t see men as the victim here.

      I do agree that that Allah (SWT) understands his creation best. Perhaps it is with this understanding that He has made the population roughly equal with a 1:1 ratio of men and women. In fact, to be more technical, at this point in time there are actually MORE men than women in the world. Based on this, I find your argument that polygamy makes “perfect sense” for todays time period inherently flawed. Had Allah wanted this, he could have easily made the ratio of women to men a perfect 4:1 (or even 2:1). Furthermore, If YOU personally want to have multiple partners in life, go ahead, find sisters who are okay with being in a polygamous marriage and live your life. But do recognize that the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community worldwide (an estimated 98%) practices monogamy. Recognize that YOU personally might not be capable of handling this, but do not claim that all men are like you. Sorry to break it to you brother, but you might in fact be more rare than you conveniently perceive yourself to be.

      My apologies if this in any way came across as harsh, my intention is not to offend.

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    • “Men are either cheating, watching haram, or wishing for polygamy whether unhappily or happily married. Don’t you think there is a universal male yearning for more than one partner? We are not pigs, if you have any problems, take it up with your Creator.”

      Men aren’t pigs, but those men you’ve mentioned definitely are.

      Don’t speak on behalf of men when your views are so removed from those held by men.

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      • Just to clarify, since the three of you were too quick to judge, I meant that men aren’t pigs because they were simply created with a polygamous nature. What I stated is just to illustrate the manifestations of this nature and their negative outcomes because of the lack of polygamy today. OF COURSE people who do zina are blameworthy. Next time try to understand what a person is saying instead of getting excited and use an opportunity to bash. And Muhammad if you think that not all ( or at least not the majority) of men would enjoy the idea of more than one HALAL partner then maybe you should hang out with guys more. I hope that isn’t what you believe. And to Perspective, please, your female ‘perspective’ towards wanting another is NOT the same as a man’s. Please stop trying to understand what you can’t. And don’t assume support of polygamy means incapability to handle monogamy. TOTALLY different topics. Al hamdullah I am in an amazing monogamous marriage, and I NEVER late my gaze fall on what is forbidden. Your rude comments really illustrate your lack of comprehension of the topic from a male perspective.Think before you type, if you don’t intend to offend then choose your words carefully, enough fake disclaimers.

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    • Jazak Allah Khair for saying it just like it is :)

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  50. As-salamu alaikum!

    SubhanAllah ya ukhti this is a great article! And not because I agree with everything you have written but simply because it is well thought out, articulate, rigorous, and concise. I simply wanted to commend you on a great piece! I am happy to find a Muslim website such as MuslimMatters.org that discusses Muslim issues rather than the “Westoxicification” or bida’ah we see polluting the internet, confusing the youth of our Ummah in particular and the Ummah at large in general. Insh’Allah ta’ala I will discuss where I agree and disagree in a future post.

    Barak’Allahu Feek
    Wasalam

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  51. I say let go polygamy and bring in misyar marriage .

    Best solution for every men without hurting any one .

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    • “Best solution for every men without hurting any one” – what about the wives? Are they not ones who can be hurt, or is it all about men?

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  52. “I wasn’t yet married, so how was I supposed to know what it felt like to be jealous. It was only after I became a wife that I struggled with the idea of sharing the love of my life with another woman.”

    So what changed after marriage? What made you alter your opinion?

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  53. Seflfish R-We?

    Sr. Umm Reem,

    Very nice article, very bold. Alhamdulilah, I’m very pleased how you have let your Imaan overshadown your acceptance and not your emotion.

    I agree with all of your points of how sisters who are asked to co-wife feels. I live in NYC where we have much more eligible sisters than brothers. If every eligible brothers marry equivalent number of eligible sisters, there going to be still some eligible sisters unmarried. What is your solution for them? Do you expect them to live alone? Wallahi, in my neighborhood alone, there are sisters who are reaching their 30′s and 40s because they cannot find suitors. Alhamdulillah, Allah IS Just, thus He allowed a system, where everyone will may enjoy some degree of companionship and happiness, instead of some people living happily and others in depressions due to loneliness. But it is our selfish nature that we want to just think about ourselves and have it all, and are not willing to give up a little so someone else may have a little more.

    It is the sisters who may change the condition of other sisters. I know many brothers who don’t want/need to take a 2nd wife, but who are willing to take care of another woman— but they don’t even attempt to talk about it because their wife won’t even consider the idea. May Allah have mercy on us, give us proper wisdom, make life easy for us and help us make right decisions. And save us all from the fire and give us an abode in the paradise with His beloved Rasul (pbuh).

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    • I’m sorry but I can’t stand the argument that sisters are “selfish” for not being open to the idea of their husband taking a second wife. In fact, I think the opposite is more true. I can think of nothing more selfish than feeling a sense of entitlement over another sisters husband. As a woman, I would never even look at another sisters husband with the thought of marrying him if for any reason I was not able to secure my own husband. I think it would be selfish on my behalf to marry a man knowing that his first wife is hurt by this action, that his children will now see less of him, and that his first family will likely suffer. By marrying him, I am thinking completely in my self interest, so how is the first wife selfish if she is thinking in not only her, but the interest of her children? As a woman, I sympathize with unmarried sisters, but not to the point of potentially harming someone else’s marriage.

      I agree with you that Allah is just, but I do not agree that polygamy is the only form of marital justice for many unmarried sisters. If sisters in a certain part of NY are struggling to get married, before they try to marry an already married brother, exhaust every other possible alternative. Look outside NY, even look outside of the country if you need to. Many older unmarried sisters in their 30′s and 40′s have turned down several eligible bachelors in their younger years for a variety of reasons (career, guy not “good” enough etc). If this is the case, perhaps they should reflect on why they are in that position, and then seek to be more openminded towards future prospects.

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  54. young and naive sister

    Sahabah practiced it = totally rational.
    :P

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  55. I would be far more comfortable understanding and feeling better about polygamy if the first wife, upon learning of her husbands second marriage, was able to divorce without having to make a special clause just for this in her contract (which is easier said than done and not easy in women in many circumstances and countries)…or if the men had to ask the first wife’s permission? I have no issue with polygamy and accepting it, but only when all parties actually want this. Can anyone shed some thoughts or wisdom to help this settle with me?

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    • I agree 100% with you sister! Having known two sisters, one of whom was divorced because the brother wanted another wife and the other trying to adjust with the co-wife – I really feel so bad that these sisters’ lives were made difficult and sad for no mistake of theirs. May Allah give them peace.

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  56. Salam alaykum to all

    note: Islam does not permit polygamy(which includes polyandry, polygyny, and polyamorous relationships), rather polygyny specifically. And Western societies do not necessarily promote monogamy either, since the ending -gamy refers to sex cells, the gametes, and not necessarily marriage. What the West actually promotes is monandry(the practice of having only one husband at a time), and promiscuity. Only Islam promotes monogamy, the practice of having only one spouse or mate in life, barring certain circumstances). These differences may be seen as trivial to the point of hairsplitting to some, but us social scientists tend to be very technical :). However with these definitions in mind, when one looks at how things play out in Western societies, these distinctions make sense.

    As a social scientist(anthropology) I would like to weigh in on this discussion, but first I think we need to distinguish between reason, logic, rationality, rationalization, morality, and ethics. The colloquial use of the term reason suggests “calculation” and “providing an explanation for a fact”. A more technical usage gives “the ability to comprehend”. Another definition of reason is “intelligence”. In the Islamic context we see that Allah never gives any reason for why polygyny is permissible, only He provides occasions for when this permission may be exercised. This is where many “liberal” and “progressive” Muslims fail, trying to convince us that the only conditions where polygyny is acceptable is “if you fear that you cannot be just to the orphans. then marry two or three or four”(Quranic paraphrase). Since Allah gives us no reason for this permission, we can only find rational explanations that make sense to us, but in the end these are mere speculation. This is why many rational explanations make no sense to many women. On this I can agree with the author. However, this does not discount any rational explanations.

    Logic is something misused in all human societies, Muslim and non-Muslim, Western and non-Western. In many ways logic, rationality, and rationalization are used interchangeably, contributing to the confusion. Rationality involves using our reason to explain realities so that they become intelligible to other intelligent beings. Rationality is primary in communication between sentient beings. Rationalization, akin to providing a rationale for something, is to provide justification for our whims and desires. This is where logic is misused, especially in societies that believe that better arguments yield truth. So a logical argument, in this sense becomes just as false as an illogical argument. In its most technical sense logic is the science of the principles and criteria that deal with the validity of demonstration. It is easy to see that this is imperfect, and just like in the Western concept of “democracy”, we see an imperfect thing that belongs in a comprehensive system as an aspect contributing to its completeness and rigor and validity being trotted out as an end in itself. This is where I introduce my own personal concept called the Knowledge Pathway, but it is based on an Islamic perspective and understanding. 1400 years ago the correct Knowledge Pathway was given to us in the Qur’an through the Final Prophet(saws). The Knowledge Pathway is how humans acquire, use, and understand knowledge. I provide a somewhat crude explanation of it here.

    Knowledge Pathway

    1. Intuitive- very similar to instinct but distinct from the common understanding of intuition. It is what some religious people mean when they say that certain concepts in a religious texts “click” or resonate in their mind such they fully understand it, but they could never explain with words. This is from Allah’s Grace, understanding Qur’an.

    2. Intellectual- this is knowledge acquire as a result of reason, namely use of the faculty of reason(intelligence) to “calculate, explain, justify” observable and mental reality.

    3.Emotion-based- This is where intelligence is put to the service of whims and desires, yielding rationalization. Intellectual thinking can also yield rationalizations, but these are frequently more of an impersonal nature.

    4. Instinctive- This is the faculty we share with the animal kingdom. It explains how humans can recognize danger(in most instances) if it compromises survival or well-being.

    It goes without saying that most of society suffers from either emotion-based thinking or the belief that intellect is superior to intuition or some nonsensical, harmful combination of both. Without going into details about why I believe this, I will say that I think that the entire world is suffused with the mentality of Western Civilization, not because of its superiority, but because of its military, political, and economic hegemony, which translates and yields sociocultural hegemony and influence.

    This is what I hear from most of the Sisters and the Brothers when it comes to the issue of polygyny. Instead of an Islamic perspective I hear an essentially Western perspective justified using Islam. This type of subtle social conditioning is what allows Muslim women to say ” I will accept plural marriage because it is a decree(permission not obligatory command) from Allah”. Accept? As if distaste for something from Allah, accompanied with submission, magically yields piety? Is this is how we feel about other sunnah? No happiness or joy with it? No happiness, knowing that our Rabb could never allow something that is ultimately harmful? How is it Sisters are hurt when their husbands decide to or express interest in another wife? Would Allah azza wa jal permit something that hurts the Sisters, or is this “hurt” really nothing more than social conditioning that results when the Knowledge Pathway is corrupted?

    Remember Allah has said that you may dislike something that is good for you and like something that is harmful(Quranic paraphrase). I admit that no human beings are perfect, and Brothers cannot simply expect the Sisters to be angelically overjoyed that we would want another wife, but let’s be real here polygyny is never a moral issue, hardly an issue of rationality and rationalization, only tangentially an emotional issue, but it is primarily an ethical issue. Not every Brother who wants multiple wives( keepin’ it real Sisters, almost all the Brothers do, and it’s usually for sexual reasons) deserves it though.

    To Be Continued…..

    Jazak Allahu Khair for reading.

    Barak Allahu Feek

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    • Without getting into a discussion of semantics like you did (I don’t find it particularly helpful for this issue), I would like to point out that there are many things which Allah may have permitted due to the circumstances in which the Quran was revealed which may not technically apply any longer. For example, slavery, although discouraged, was permitted by the Shariah. But do I feel happiness and joy when I think of this practice like you say I theoretically should? No, I do not. Do I accept this as part of the shariah and Quran? Yes I do, and I think simple acceptance instead of elation is perfectly fine.

      Furthermore, in regards to social conditioning, we are all products of our environment. The Prophet (SWS) was the best of men in character and action, but he too was subject to the prevailing circumstances of his society. Islam was revealed 1400 years ago into a largely barbaric society and much of the shariah deals with situations specific to that society (and perhaps future societies) . For a second, as a simple creative exercise, just imagine if Islam was revealed to the Western world in 2011 rather than in 7th century Arabia. Do you really think slavery would be included? Very unlikely, because it is a concept which modern day society as a whole has already rejected. Similarly, if the majority of individuals today view monogamy as the more practical/just form of marriage, I find it very difficult to believe that we would be FORCED to accept an entirely unconditional form of polygamy. Only that which is fardh would remain without a doubt the same. Now this is not to say that polygamy is without wisdom, Allah is all knowing and there is definitely wisdom behind polygamy in certain circumstances. However, the brothers who want to force this concept down a sisters throat regardless of the society and situation in which they live should really ask themselves if they are abusing a right given to them by Allah for other reasons.

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      • Salam alaykum,

        Before I respond to your points, I hope that in your response you will let me know why you have taken such a seemingly dismissive tone towards my comments. After all, at the end of the day we both did nothing more than offer our personal opinions. Every single Muslim should support polygyny, so the issue, that I tried to point out in my previous post, is not emotions or anything else, but ethics.

        Continuing on. I find three things in your response. Please do not take what I am saying as harshly as I took your comments. My intent is not to antagonize you or disrespect you.

        What I have noticed in your response is 1. unnecessary dismissiveness, a hallmark of emotion-based thinking, 2. adherence to subsidiary matters, and 3. fallacious reasoning.

        These are the very reasons for my original post, and your response to me. And the other subsequent responses simply confirm what I was saying before: instead of an Islamic perspective I find an essentially Western perspective being justified under the cover of Islam. Nothing wrong with this per se, since life is a spiritual journey in physical body and we are all imperfect in this respect. Islam is also a spiritual journey so this is not an indictment, and not everyone here is guilty of what I say.

        First off, why are you so dismissive of semantics? What I find is that Muslims are extremely preoccupied with subsidiary matters and I merely wanted to reorient the focus. All over the net and in my personal interactions with Muslims and non-Muslims, I notice that matters such as these elicit such unreasonable interest and heated discussion, yet a discussion on aqaai’d, tawhid, fiqh, tajweed, etc, elicit very little interest, if the number of comments can be used as reliable indicators.

        Semantics is the study of meanings, so I really cannot see how proper meanings, especially in the context of rationalization, logic, reason, and rationality with regards to polygyny and the Shari’ah are not of paramount importance. Things need to be approached in the proper order. It reminds me of discussions with Ikhwanis and hizbis like the Hizb-ut-Tahrir who focus so much on politics and Khilafah instead of ‘Aqeeda first. Same thing here; Shari’ah legislation taking a backseat to feelings and emotions, whims and desires: Subsidiary matters.

        Even in your response you played the semantics game while dismissing my semantical approach as an introduction to discussion(elation versus joy versus acceptance). The point still stands: Islam does not permit polygamy. Full stop.

        My criticism applied to both the Brothers and the Sisters. That’s why it is primarily a Shar’ issue and an ethics issues. Sisters talk about feeling hurt and Brothers talk about it(polygyny) with a sense of entitlement devoid of any responsibility and the Sisters should just shut. I sincerely hope that you did not get the impression that I am dismissive of my Sisters’ feelings because of my discourse of joy versus acceptance.

        Whenever someone uses this word “acceptance” we have to look at the context to get the semantics to see if this word “acceptance” has a negative or positive meaning for them. After all “islam” carries the meaning of “acceptance”, since this is the real meaning behind the denotation “submission” anyway. Non-Muslims see “submission” negatively, for the most part. We Muslims do not, again, for the most part. What I hear from the Sisters in their use of the words acceptance instead of joy is negativity. I think the Sisters need to acknowledge that this is a wholly emotional response, and a negative one at that. And I hope the Brothers, or anyone, don’t come with the “women are more emotional than men” nonsense. That is pure patriarchal mythology.

        As far as the slavery and social conditioning issues are concerned, here is where I believe your reasoning is fallacious. Slavery was not merely discouraged by the Shari’ah, it was prohibited in the same way that alcohol was prohibited. Thus your analogy is a false analogy. Why do I say this? Firstly all of the verses in the Qur’an related to slavery have this in common

        1. “slaves” are actually prisoners of war.

        2. The language of the Qur’an(and this is where semiotics(syntactics and semantics) comes in, overwhelmingly condemns slavery in the modern colloquial sense.

        In fact, in Surah al-Baqara, ayah 177, we find that the manumission of slaves is embedded in the discussion of aqaa’id( belief in Allah(tawhid), yaum al-qiyyama, and angels) and pillars of ibadah(prayer, zakat). In fact, tying the freeing of slaves to righteousness and piety strongly suggests that the intent of the Shari’ah is to abolish slavery in increments in a society where it was prevalent, where an outright ban would not be feasible or obeyed.

        Same with alcohol drinking. There is no verse explicitly saying that drinking is haram, but based on the language, no one can ever suggest that the Qur’an does not ban alcohol drinking. So instead of abolishing a practice incrementally( drinking, slavery) we find in the case of polygamy a number of restrictions (polygamy becomes polygyny, which itself becomes conditional and restricted to 4 wives). Restrictions not abolition, therefore your analogy is false. Furthermore, modern day rejection of slavery has really only a tangential connection to the discussion since taking war captives(POW’s) is still an acceptable practice in modern society and the Qur’an already condemned what the modern world understands by the term “slavery”.

        As for social conditioning you have again merely confirmed my point. Acknowledging that we are products of our environment in no way negates the fact that this social conditioning can in many cases be responsible for an erroneous paradigmatic worldview. If your society inculcates a corruption of the Knowledge Pathway this needs to be accepted and corrected not debated disingenously. As a product of his environment, the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, still never let this conditioning override Islam in any way. That is the point I was trying to drive home.

        Nowhere in the Qur’an does it suggest that monogamy is superior to polygyny, or vice versa, or that either one is the norm. It doesn’t even suggest that they are equal either. It merely shows that one is halal, and the other is a conditional permission(and still halal). And it is Muslims who have inferred some sort of norm and superiority for monogamy. Or that fact that Allah starts with two before he mentions “marry one”, means to others that polygyny is encouraged. We should not read into the sources what is not there.

        What the majority of individuals view as more practical/just has no bearing whatsoever when it comes to Allah azza wa jal and His Decrees. I agree that Brothers should not try to force this concept on Sisters, but this idea of unconditional polygyny that you alluded to has nothing to do with Islam anyway. I’m sure you know that. As I said this is primarily an issue of ethics more than anything else. The Brothers and Sisters are focused on subsidiary issues. Insha’Allah ta’ala I was not to harsh or dismissive of your points and our disagreement does not engender any animosity between us. :)

        Barak Allahu Feek,
        Wasalm

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      • Assalamu’alaikum,

        Well said! I actually posted something similar to what you’ve explained- before I read your post. This is how I’ve always understood polygany in the light of Islam and it pains me that some people think that they have to enforce this practice on themselves as a means of becoming a ‘truer’ Muslim.

        The logical explanation for polygany is that it is a form of marriage that is deemed acceptable in some societies, which Allah has allowed but limited to 4. You will understand this if you live in a society of Muslims where monogamy is the norm. Many elder practicing Muslims in our communities are really worried (and frankly put-off) by the way younger Muslims are approaching polygany. This whole topic and the number of comments illustrate that we’re making an issue out of something that is so simple- If you prefer polygany then marry someone who is ok with it and preferably whose circle of family and friends is also ok with it. If monogomy is the only form of marriage you’ve ever known and accepted, then marry someone with the same outlook as you.

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  57. Asalamolaykum,

    Looking for rational explanation or the objectives of the Shariah makes sense to me when it comes to practices obligated or prohibited by Islam or those introduced by it. However, looking for rationality behind a practice which was pre-existent before Islam and was something restricted by the faith doesn’t make sense. In fact, monogamy has been preferred in the Quran.

    The general rule in Shariah is that all things are permitted, except otherwise stated. The revelation of the Shariah also follows a similar pattern…it worked from the outside in i.e. initially everything was allowed and gradually the restrictions came. The Shariah limited the number of wives one could marry and added conditions to this form of marriage. To me, the restrictions on this practice (and the preference to monogamy) are indicative of divine recognition that polygamy is not the wisest choice for the average person.

    Sisters shouldn’t be losing their iman and struggling simply because the Shariah didn’t entirely ban a practice. The shariah left open many practices that have the potential to cause harm. It didn’t ban divorce, it didn’t ban marriage to people of the book, it didn’t ban junk food or reckless camel riding :p

    I don’t believe the Shariah came to ban every practice that could potentially lead to emotional or physical harm. Quite frankly, we muslims look quite foolish trying to justify and rationalize practices such as polygamy in the modern world. Yes Islam permits polygamy; if you don’t like then don’t practice it and don’t marry someone that practices it. Islam has permitted wearing the niqab too; not every muslim is required to be comfortable with it. If a guy is not okay with his wife wearing a niqab, how many would advice him that it’s a trial from Allah?

    Just because this practice has been allowed in Islam doesn’t mean that women have to put up with emotional abuse and tell themselves it’s a trial from Allah and be quiet. Every trial is a trial from Allah, but doesn’t mean the guy has to be exonerated from the sin of mistreating his wife.

    I’ve heard a number of shuooyh (including authors of MM) that won’t do nikkah between a Muslim man and Christian woman; though this is permissible in the Quran. They base their opinion on the harm this can lead to considering we are living in non-muslim lands. However, this logic is not practiced when it comes to polygamy…especially considering the fact that it’s illegal in our countries, its an obvious harm to the woman and children due to its illegal nature in most cases…and also the fact that people have apostated because of the abuse of polygamy. Its time our scholars stood up and did some justice!

    Waleed

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    • Well said br. Waleed!

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    • I agree with Hansa–lots of many good points brother, mA!

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    • Well said.

      Another factor that men seem to forget is the fact that a second wife is often not afforded the same legal rights as the first (i.e. defacto partner). How does a man who practices polygyny justify his position of treating both wives justly if the law does not?

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    • MashaAllah, some bang on points!

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  58. To the supporters of polygamy, would you like to marry your daughters to a man who already has a wife?How would you feel if your son-in-law took another wife? Your hypocrisy and double standards disgusts me.

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    • “If there comes to you one whose religious commitment and attitude pleases you, then marry [your female relative who is under your care] to him, for if you do not do that, there will be tribulation on earth and much corruption.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1084).

      That you would refuse outright to marry your daughter to another man simply because he has one wife is a sign of denial of the Sunnah of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam).

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      • “That you would refuse outright to marry your daughter to another man simply because he has one wife is a sign of denial of the Sunnah of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam).”

        Please try to be reasonable in what you say. The Prophet himself intervened so that S. Ali (AS) would not hurt Fatima by marrying another.

        There are MAJOR consequences to men, women, and children in a polygamous marriage.

        As such, walis are allowed to consider any relevant factor in the best interests of their daughter. Just because it is halal for a person to live in Antarctica, that does not mean that it is wrong for a father to refuse such a marriage if he knows it will be an unreasonable hardship on his daughter. Similarly, a father has every right to consider that a polygamous marriage will subject his daughter to jealousy, marital problems, limited time with her husband, and limited resources for her and her children.

        Our beloved Prophet (SAW) himself opposed Ali (AS) from marrying another woman at the same time as Fatima, and he included in his reasons not just the identity of the woman in question, but the emotional impact on Fatima.

        Unfortunately, unlike many of the men on this forum, the beloved Prophet (SAW) understood the nature and emotions of women, and did not punish them or deny their iman for feelings Allah created in them.

        From Sahih al Bukhari:

        Volume 4, Book 53, Number 342:

        Narrated ‘Ali bin Al-Husain:

        That when they reached Medina after returning from Yazid bin Mu’awaiya after the martyrdom of Husain bin ‘Ali (may Allah bestow His Mercy upon him), Al-Miswar bin Makhrama met him and said to him, “Do you have any need you may order me to satisfy?” ‘Ali said, “No.” Al-Miswar said, Will you give me the sword of Allah’s Apostle for I am afraid that people may take it from you by force? By Allah, if you give it to me, they will never be able to take it till I die.” When Ali bin Abu Talib demanded the hand of the daughter of Abi Jahal to be his wife besides Fatima, I heard Allah’s Apostle on his pulpit delivering a sermon in this connection before the people, and I had then attained my age of puberty. Allah’s Apostle said, “Fatima is from me, and I am afraid she will be subjected to trials in her religion (because of jealousy).” The Prophet then mentioned one of his son-in-law who was from the tribe of ‘Abu Shams, and he praised him as a good son-in-law, saying, “Whatever he said was the truth, and he promised me and fulfilled his promise. I do not make a legal thing illegal, nor do I make an illegal thing legal, but by Allah, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle and the daughter of the enemy of Allah, (i.e. Abu Jahl) can never get together (as the wives of one man) (See Hadith No. 76, Vo. 5).

        JazakAllahu Khairan.

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        • Moreover, the Prophet (SAW) also married widows, divorcees, mothers and women much older than him.

          The vast majority of Muslim men today would refuse to consider women in these categories.

          Are you in denial of the Sunnah?

          PLEASE, before you make such sweeping statements about the iman of others, *TRY* to consider obvious alternative arguments and the perspectives/feelings of parties other than yourself. THAT is one of the greatest Sunnahs our beloved has left us.

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          • I will not take into account the opinions of someone if they attack people who say that polygamy properly practiced is a Sunnah (do not start AGAIN on that assertion that marrying exactly the same kind of people that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) married is the only Sunnah- because if this is true, then the first marriage of anyone is not a Sunnah unless it is to someone analogous to Khadijah, which is clearly a falsehood- if you have such a statement from one of the Salaf to bring forward in support of this view then by all means, do so, otherwise refrain from expressing it) and call them ‘hypocrites’ and people with double standards!

            Fear Allah before you call something He made permissible impermissible, regardless of the circumstances- you can say ‘polygamy is impermissible for the one who is abusive or neglectful,’ and this is obviously true, but what of the one who is neither of those things? If your assertion is that he does not exist in the world today, then, well, bring forward your proof. Anecdotal experiences are not proof, and I am the first person to agree that people who marry multiple women and then abuse them are not good people- but stop attacking the institution because it was explicitly made permissible by Allah and is therefore not to be attacked.

            And please note my statement ‘simply because he has one wife already.’ Why it is that you infer all these secondary conditions on the person simply because he has one wife already (neglect and limited resources) is beyond me. If there is reason to suspect such things may take place, then there should be reasons for the suspicion beyond an indictment of marrying more than one women.

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  59. Why is admin deleting my comment? I am not abusing anyone. I am simply asking two straight forward questions to the supporters of polygamy.

    To the shameless supporters of polygamy:

    1. Would you marry your daughter to a man who already has a wife?

    2. How would you feel if your son-in-law took another wife?

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    • Its a benefit to society. If my daughters are honored and overall happy, its fine by me. If the Prophets, the sahaba, the mothers of the believers and honorable men and women since the dawn of humanity who marry are shameless, I should be fortunate to be in such company. I think they are honorable and so are their actions so much as what they do is just.

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    • Subhanallah!! Was one of the objectives of the Shari’ah to eradicate polygyny in stages. If you are Muslim. I invite you to rethink your stance.

      Barak Allahu Feek

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  60. Women should leave husbands who take another wife. That is the only way to teach polygamy obsessed men a lesson. And in that manner, no man will be able to have more than one wife. Polygamy will be eradicated.

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  61. Boston Muslimah

    Salam alaikum,My husband just took a second wife eight months ago. I can’ exactly express how I feel, because things have been very difficult between me an dmy beloved husband. I know this sister, and I feel that I have been stabed in the back. I love my husband deeply, because he is a decent brother and he does his best to stay on his deen. I work, and I excepted the same from the cowife. My husband is responsible for all of her bills, and yes,it is a burden.We live on a good income, but since he remarried, money has been tight on his end. Our money to take trips is basically gone out the window. I know that sounds selfish, but it was nice to go out of the country for a few weeks with my husband every year.

    The day of the wedding I was filled with such anger and resentment. I even left the house for a few weeks. My clothing is now too small and my face broke out with very bad acne. I always knew he admired this sister, and I guess he was just waiting till she became available. I was told by another sister in the masjid that she is excepting a baby, and of course I have fallen into a deep depression.

    I have been looking at other brothers, and considering divorce. I don’t want a divorce, but everytime my husband attempts to have relations with me, my whole body goes cold. I have physical needs, but I no longer want to sleep with him. He has been very patient, but I just don’t see an end to my misery.

    I’m told to pray, but it can’t take away the anger and resentment that I feel towards my husband and cowife. I rarely interact with her, I try to stay out of her way during Jummah.I attended their wedding, and even salamed the sister, but i keep my distance from her. Now that she may be pregnant, I no longer feel like my husbands wife, I feel like I have been replaced.

    I advice all sisters to give their husbands a chance, because not all men take a second wife out of lust. I do know that everyone has their breaking point, and if you can no longer bare sharing your spouse you have the right to your own happiness. ALLAH(SWT) hates divorce, but niether does he want you to stay in a unhappy marriage. Seek refuge in ALLAH(SWT) and be patient with your husband.

    I don’t know where we stand, so I can’t say I will leave. I know he is under a great deal of stress, because the reality of the situation finally hit him. polygamy is not something that is easy, it is difficult and sometimes fruitless. I see how hurt he is when I turn him away, but I just can’t stand to fake what I don’t feel right now at the moment.

    I have seen them together and they make a beautiful couple(Mashaaallah). They seem very happy ! and deep in my heart I am glad that she is no longer alone, but I still resent her.My husband does set strict boundaries, and he never brings her up when he is with me. I know he is upset because I can no longer give him affection. The Imam tells him to be patient, and may ALLAH(SWT) bless his heart, because I know he is going through jihad right now.

    She has only called my home twice, and I kindly adviced her to call my husbands cellphone and not my home phone. My tone was normal,but I could tell she was offended. I have never called on her days, and I except the same amount of respect from her. She will never feel my pain until she walks in my shoes, and a part of me wants her to feel what I am going through so that she may understand another womans paradise is another womans hellfire.

    Insha allah I will pray that I am still married to my husband by the end of this year, because I don;t want to give up on our marriage of 6 beautiful years, but right now I just don’t know anymore.

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    • Sister, I am so sorry for what you have gone through. Your experience, like many others who have suffered through this, is truly devastating. This is exactly why I think a husband should NOT take a second wife if his first wife is against it. Does the good from the second wife outweigh the tremendous amount of harm brought upon the first? I wouldn’t wish such suffering upon a stranger, let alone my own spouse. Its so sad that many Muslim men (and even some women) somehow manage to justify this behavior.

      I too would not want to be physically intimate with my husband if I knew that he was being intimate with another woman the night before, the thought alone disgusts me. I am happy that your husband is at least showing some patience and understanding in this respect, I’m sure this must be far more difficult than he initially imagined.

      In regards to your situation, I’m certain that many people will tell you that this is a “test” from Allah (SWT) and you should find khair and see it as an opportunity to increase your emaan. Im sorry, but cancer and other illnesses, death, poverty and other unchangeable circumstances entirely out of our control are tests. Your husband willingly taking a second wife while knowing that you will be devastated by this action is his CHOICE. To rationalize this behavior and call it a test brought upon by Allah (as if the man had no choice in the matter) seems like an incredibly convenient way for men to justify this cruel act, it is truly the saddest excuse I have heard Muslims use. Unfortunately, even many women play into this mentality and start to think that their sadness is somehow their own fault, if only they could be more “pious” and accept their husbands actions. Please do not force yourself into thinking like this. If you wish to stay in the marriage out of your own free will than do so. However if you choose to leave, please don’t feel as though you have failed in your deen simply because you have not passed this “test” created by your husbands actions. Either way, I will be praying for you and other sisters forced into this terrible situation. May Allah (SWT) ease your suffering, and bring you the marital satisfaction that you truly deserve.

      As a last comment to the brothers reading this – please show some respect and remorse for your wife if you are considering taking a second. She is your spouse, your supporter, and the mother of your children. She has likely made many sacrifices for you and your happiness. Do you really feel entitled to bringing her such pain just because you can? Do you truly feel that you will not be held accountable for this suffering because something is merely permissible?

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    • May Allah give you patience, ameen.

      Polygyny, for a man, will be as difficult (or easy) as his other wives make it.

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      • It will also depend on why the man married another woman, his ability (or inability) to be fair and just with his wives, etc. Best not to omit the other side of the equation.

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      • Actually, polygyny is as difficult or easy for everyone involved as the the HUSBAND makes it.

        If he is kind and generous to the utmost, caring and just, providing for the needs of all fully then insha Allah the wives and children involved will be more amicable to the situation.

        It also matters if he chooses wives that are agreeable to polygyny. If he knows he intends to practice polygyny then he should choose wives who are more agreeable to it. Trying to force it on a wife that is not agreeable to it is a recipe for disaster.

        So again, it has more to do with how the man/husband handles things and the choices he makes. He is supposed to be the Amir and Imam of his household. As such he should choose carefully and treat everyone with the best treatment if he wants the same treatment in return.

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    • JazakAllah khair for sharing your thoughts and feelings. May Allah make it easier for you. I can’t even begin to understand what you are going through.

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  62. I haven’t read all the comments, but just wanted to share my view/opinion on the topic. I’m your average everyday muslim and I have to say that I would be absolutely devastated if my husband were to take a second wife, but what if we look at it from the other persons point of view? What if someday my husband is no longer with me (inshaAllah this never happens) and I’m left to fend for myself with my children. it would be so hard for me to find a decent single man willing to accept my situation. I have seen this so much, women who are unable to marry because of the perceptions if society. What would I do then? Would I not be willing to find splice in a man who is already married? We are all very disapproving (I am too) but it would be a time like that, where you would be so grateful for the ruling of polygamy.
    I also believe and this is a defence towards non Muslim critiscm of polygamy… That is it not better to have a few wives rather than one and a few mistresses on the side? This is the way the west is today, they criticise polygamy in Islam yet they are all for relations outside of marriage. Polygamy actually gives a respectful environment for all women concerned and obligates the man to provide for them.
    This is only my opinion. May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and may he in his infinite power grant us hidayat and strength to deal with these situations, ameen.

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  63. Alhamdullilah, this is a very interesting discussion and I’m proud to see so many people of varying opinions being respectful of one another. I hope Allah (swta) is pleased with us as we discuss a very sensitive topic. Here are my thoughts:

    Though it is a woman’s right to stipulate in her marriage contract that she is not willing to be in a polygynous marriage, I think it needs to be phrased in a way that she is granted a divorce if the husband decides to take another wife, not that the husband is never allowed to take another wife. It’s not our right to deny our husbands a right to something that Allah (swta) has granted them!

    I am my husband’s second wife. Though his first wife was informed of his intentions to practice polygyny prior to being married, she never accepted it and always pretended that he would never follow through with it. When I was married to him 7 years later, she did considerable damage to her Iman, her marriage, and her children’s stability as she fought first against her husband, then against me (trying to make things so miserable for me that I would abandon my vows), then against polygyny, and then against Islam in general. So I have given my word that when my husband takes another wife, insh’Allah, I will treat her the way I deserved to be treated, insh’Allah, and be thankful for any opportunities for blessings and growth that can come from it. Notice I say when and not if. I’m not hoping for or against it, because it’s not up to me!

    By striving to be an excellent wife according to the guidelines that Allah (swta) has laid out for me in Islam, I have FREED myself from taking it personally when my husband decides to take another wife, insh’Allah. I know that it won’t be because I am lacking in any way in the eyes of Allah (swta), but rather that my husband is making a conscious choice as to what he feels he needs to do as a man and a Muslim, and he’s not doing it to hurt me. Let me tell you, sisters, this is the most liberating thing you can do for yourself and your marriage.

    I feel more free than many women who feel jealous or insecure every time their husband looks at another woman, who live in fear of their husbands “cheating” on them, or whose self-esteem is devastated when their husband leaves them for another wife (serial monogamy). I know that if my husband is serious about marrying another wife, he’ll do it according to Islam and my position will still be secure. And by openly supporting my husband and not questioning his future decisions, I have endeared myself to him and it has helped our marriage grow stronger.

    Jealousy does not have to be an ever-present companion of polygyny. I really urge any sisters in polygyny, myself included, to focus on your own strengths and weaknesses and not those of your husband or co-wives. In the end, we’re all going to stand alone on the Day of Judgement and you’re not going to be able to justify to Allah (swta) that you thought this or did that or didn’t do this because you were jealous and envious. That’s not going to get you where you want to ultimately end up. I pray for my husband’s First Wife because she has said and done some terrible things during her times of uncontrolled anger and envious rage. I pray that Allah (swta) forgives her and gives her strength, insh’Allah.

    Polygyny highlights all of our weaknesses as individuals, and it definitely challenges me to keep my house, body, mind, and behavior in order. In that regard, I know the presence of another wife has pushed me and forced me to grow and improve in ways that I would not have been motivated to do so otherwise. If you are in polygyny you have to truly want for your sister what you want for yourself, insh’Allah.

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    • Bravo! MashaAllah! May Allah reward you with Al Firdous and bless other brothers and sisters with such acceptance, ameen.

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  64. Quick points:

    - Polygyny is a conditional permissibilty. It is not recommended, or “sunnah”.
    - If you’re a sister who thinks that you won’t be able to handle polygyny (note, this is not a reflection of your imaan), you can include a condition in your prenup which gives you the right to divorce if your husband marries a second wife. Keep in mind that this gives you the right, but not the obligation, to divorce him. You are free to make the decision when and if the situation arises.

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    • Good afternoon,

      I see. So, the way the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) entered the bathroom- that is a Sunnah, but the way he married, that is not a Sunnah?

      Subhanallah! Let us not forget what is a Sunnah and what is not a Sunnah! When do you think these whisperings against this Sunnah began, did they begin before the absurd whisperings of modernization began to crawl around the minds of Muslims? Polygamy is Sunnah and arguing otherwise would bring you loud laughter from the classical scholars who are now in their graves!

      “It was narrated that Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said: Ibn ‘Abbaas said to me: “Have you gotten married?”
      I said: “No.”
      He said: “Get married, for the best of this ummah are the ones with the most wives.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5069).” (IslamQA)

      Look, we’re in a tough spot today. Everyone agrees, we must go back to the Sunnah. We must keep to the Sunnah. We must hold to the Sunnah with our teeth and not let go no matter what. But whenever a Sunnah is brought up that breaks with the Western mindset that many of us have been brought up in of one hundred percent monogamy (assuming you ignore the promiscuity messages, as I’m sure we all do) then we kick and scream like a group of Sunnah-hating babies, deny that it is Sunnah… Subhanallah! What is this? Is something not Sunnah because we dislike it now? Is fighting not Sunnah because we dislike it? How, by Allah, can any sister say both that they love the Sunnah of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) and say that they will fight tooth and nail to divorce if their husband dares to take a second wife when the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) had many more wives?

      And yes, I know the conditional response; we are not the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) or the Companions, or the Tabi’een, or the Tabi’tabi’een, we are not the dust on their shoes, how could we measure up to them, et cetera. To this I would say, is this reason to discontinue practice of other Sunnah? “We do not measure up to the Predecessors, therefore we should not dress the Sunnah, it causes much fitna in these modern times.”
      “We do not measure up to the Predecessors, therefore we should not grow beards. It causes much fitna in these beardless times.” Or a sister saying “I love the Sunnah, but I hate beards on men, they are unattractive and ugly.”
      How would someone respond to the above statements? With a resounding ‘Yes, absolutely, I agree?’ If the answer is yes, then I encourage you to take a look at yourselves! Islam did not come that we could bicker about what fits into our ‘modern lives’ and what does not- we must accept it, ALL of it, and enter into it whole-heartedly, whether we are able to do every Sunnah or not! We are not to parse and pick and choose like a group of Christmas-and-Easter-Christians.

      Subhanallah! If there is a practice of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) that is so distasteful to us that sisters are willing to divorce at the thought or mention of it and brothers are refusing to acknowledge that it is part of their fitrah, then it is a problem with us, not with the practice, and this is the clear and plain truth, and anyone who would think otherwise has entered into manifest error.

      -Think.

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      • Maa sha’Allah I could not have said it better myself.

        Jazak Allahu Khair

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      • ابو عبد الله

        Barak Allah fik…

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      • If you want to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (SWS) than by all means do so. Begin with the following:

        1.) Be man enough to marry a woman 15 years your senior, who is more successful than you, and is in a more prominent socio-economic position than you are
        2.) Love her unconditionally in a monogamous marriage for the majority of your adult life, all while working in HER business
        3.) IF she dies before you, THEN marry again but let the majority of your wives be widows and divorcees

        THAT is the Sunnah, by all means practice it. So convenient for you to simply view the Sunnah in such a limited respect and criticize sisters who are appalled by how a practice of the Prophet (SWS) is abused today. Rather than simply harping on an action (polygamy) within the Sunnah, instead focus on the character of the Prophet (SWS) and how that character influenced his actions in regards to Polygamy. Assisting women in disadvantaged situations, and securing political ties were the primary reasons for his marriages. Many men today will happily marry multiple women and call it the “Sunnah”, but WHY they do this will be far from what the Prophet (SWS) practiced. Marrying disadvantaged women who are often older and have children is very rare today. Majority of the brothers practicing polygamy do not do this, yet they still take such pride in their superficial implementation of the “Sunnah”. Instead of focusing on how the Sunnah is being warped, you are criticizing the sisters who are the victims of this injustice.

        Furthermore, your analogy between practicing polygamy and practicing other Sunnah, although well intentioned, is incredibly strange and contains several logical fallacies. If your character is not up to par with the Prophet’s yet you choose to dress like him or grow your beard like him, then thats fine, since no one will be harmed if you are not able to implement these practices correctly. These actions inherently only affect YOU. However, if you do not practice polygamy correctly, major harm will be done to your wife and children. Human lives will be severely adversely affected. Therefore, in this case, it is better to abstain from an action of the Prophet (SWS) if we cannot carry it out in a correct manner like he did. How can you logically compare marrying multiple women to growing a beard?

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        • I love you Perspective. JazakAllahu Khairan for beautifully articulating the feelings of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of Muslim women.

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          • By the way Perspective, are you a lawyer? If not, you should seriously consider it. You have beautiful writing skills, excellent ideas, and a wonderful persuasive talent.

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          • JazakAllahu Khairan for your kind words sister. The responses from so many brothers on this posting have been rather disheartening, and they have made me realize that unless sisters stand up for themselves and their Islamic rights, many brothers will indeed take advantage of the “Sunnah”.

            Also, I’am currently in the process of obtaining my JD InshAllah :)

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        • I have a question.

          Does the fact that some people take advantage of an institution make that institution invalid?

          Now, I don’t think either of us are saying what we think we’re saying. I don’t think you’re saying that you have to establish absolutely perfect justice and balance between wives, and I don’t think you think I’m saying that the vile predators who abuse their wives should marry four of them to spread the abuse around.

          The question is, do you consider marrying more than one woman, for whatever reason, with whatever halal intent (which includes lowering the gaze) so long as you can fulfill the rights of both, to be a Sunnah?

          As for your comparison, well, let’s see- the Prophet (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) said that marriage was part of his Sunnah; as far as I am aware, he (salallahu alayhi was-salaam) did not put all those conditions on marriage being part of his Sunnah that you have, so I don’t see how that’s really a valid series of conditions to have fulfilled the Sunnah.

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          • Brother Think:

            I don’t know what conditions you think Perspective is placing on marriage, but it is clear that that was not the purpose of her post.

            She is simply making the (obvious) argument that many men (including most of the ones on this forum) love to justify the nobility of their actions through whatever aspects of the “the Sunnah” they find appealing, while leaving many others Sunnahs they find too difficult collecting dust on the shelves.

            Personally, I think the beloved Prophet (SAW) would be very saddened by how many of the men who claim to be following him have interpreted his message, which was always one of generosity and sensitivity to the feelings of others.

            He himself (SAW) opposed S. Ali (AS) marrying another woman at the same time as Fatima, and he included in his reasons not just the identity of the woman in question, but the emotional impact on Fatima. The Prophet (SAW) himself had the same feelings and concerns as many of the women on this forum, and he expressed them publicly!

            Unfortunately, unlike many of the men on this forum who claim to only be trying to follow the Sunnah, the beloved Prophet (SAW) (who was the sunnah), understood the nature and emotions of women, and did not punish them or deny their iman for having feelings Allah created in them:

            From Sahih al Bukhari:

            Volume 4, Book 53, Number 342:

            Narrated ‘Ali bin Al-Husain:

            That when they reached Medina after returning from Yazid bin Mu’awaiya after the martyrdom of Husain bin ‘Ali (may Allah bestow His Mercy upon him), Al-Miswar bin Makhrama met him and said to him, “Do you have any need you may order me to satisfy?” ‘Ali said, “No.” Al-Miswar said, Will you give me the sword of Allah’s Apostle for I am afraid that people may take it from you by force? By Allah, if you give it to me, they will never be able to take it till I die.” When Ali bin Abu Talib demanded the hand of the daughter of Abi Jahal to be his wife besides Fatima, I heard Allah’s Apostle on his pulpit delivering a sermon in this connection before the people, and I had then attained my age of puberty. Allah’s Apostle said, “Fatima is from me, and I am afraid she will be subjected to trials in her religion (because of jealousy).” The Prophet then mentioned one of his son-in-law who was from the tribe of ‘Abu Shams, and he praised him as a good son-in-law, saying, “Whatever he said was the truth, and he promised me and fulfilled his promise. I do not make a legal thing illegal, nor do I make an illegal thing legal, but by Allah, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle and the daughter of the enemy of Allah, (i.e. Abu Jahl) can never get together (as the wives of one man) (See Hadith No. 76, Vo. 5).

            The state of our Ummah in almost every measurable meter of human development supports the idea that in general, we are not following the true spirit of our beloved’s message. Rather, we’ve bartered hard work, selflessness, and sincerity for foolish lives filled with excuses where all we do is pick and choose Islamic justifications for our latest desire. It’s a sad state of affairs, and one Allah seems to be rewarding with constant humiliation in the world community.

            Polygamy is halal. It has useful social purposes in some settings. That does not change the fact that it is not mandatory and is not supposed to be the norm (Allah created Adam and Hawa (AS), not Adam, Hawa, Hana, Hala, and Hanan).

            That polygamy is halal also doesn’t change the fact that it is being abused and justified through the Sunnah by people whose commitment to the Sunnah is limited to finding ways to pursue power and pleasure without regard for any other human being involved. None of the Prophet SAW’s other noble actions are of any interest to them.

            That was Perspective’s point, which I commend her for expressing with such eloquence and sincerity.

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          • Brother Think,

            I think the point of my response was more than clear, and I think sister gratitude has more than adequately responded to your contentions, so in the interest of time I will leave it at that.

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        • Actually, most of the Prophet (SAW)”s wives were BEAUTIFUL and had noble lineage! It is wrong to think they were dejected in society etc, when they clearly weren’t.

          For instance, Aisha (raa) said that she was not jealous of anyone as much as Maaria (raa) I beleive, because she was sooooo beautiful.

          Also, we know from the actions of those men CLOSEST to the Prophet (SAW) that we don’t need to marry widows and divorcees. If one can do that, then alhamdulilah, but it is not a condition. Marrying to help lower the gaze is ALSO noble! No brother should feel guilty of using a perfectly halal system.

          The Prophet (SAW) may have married a lady older than him (a point disputed anyway), but this was not necessarily the sunnah of the khulafa al rashideen who we are also commanded to follow. The point wasn’t the age or whether the lady owns a business or not. In fact, Khadija (ra) is described to have been from all 4 categories: Rich, Noble lineage, Beautiful, Pious.

          We do have a clear verse that many scholars hold encourages polygyny.

          I do agree that it is not something that every man should do given the problems it creates due to their unfair treatment. But I encourage ALL fair men who can afford to do so to start doing this so that it becomes normal and acceptable in society again.

          Also, it is easy for women to dismiss polygyny and point to other sunnahs that the brother can do. However, the fact is, if a brother fears falling into haram then polygyny is not a sunnah, but waajib for him!!! So this whole give sadaqah instead of marrying another woman misses the point completely.

          Also, gratitude, the hadith you paste is completely out of context. The Prophet (SAW) prevented Ali (ra) because he was planning to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl – a bitter enemy of Islam!! For your information, Ali (ra) did marry more than one wife later on.

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          • That is a dramatic oversimplification of the Prophets wives. Regardless of beauty and lineage, women as an entire demographic were largely disadvantaged during this time, especially those who were widowed or divorced (as the majority of the prophets wives were). To say they where beautiful or from noble lineage does not remove the stigma and difficulties that women in such situations clearly faced.

            As I’m sure you already know, Polygamy is something that is merely permissible, it is not fard nor is it even recommended. You mention that some scholars encourage it, yet you conveniently fail to mention that many other scholars also discourage it, due to the various harms affiliated with the practice. If something is merely permissible, meaning that Islam is completely neutral towards the practice then Allah (SWT) in his wisdom has left it up to us to decide whether we chose to implement the practice or not. There is nothing “extra” Islamic about practicing polygamy, nor is there anything unislamic about favoring monogamy instead.

            The general rule of thumb towards permissible practices is that they should only be practiced in instances where more good results from the action than harm. We should abide by this not only as Muslims, but as logic minded human beings. Why pursue an action if it causes more harm than good?

            As a permissible practice, Polygarmy is no different. It should also only be practiced in instances where it is more beneficial than harmful. If the first wife is severally emotionally or mentally harmed (as she often is), or if the children from the first marriage are negatively affected (as they often are), a brother should sincerely ask himself why he is pursuing such a damaging path and if he is taking personal advantage of a right given to him. More often than not he will find that his only reason is sex, and he will ultimately have to answer to Allah (SWT) on the day of judgement. Now if YOU personally believe that such reasoning is “okay”, than so be it. Im not trying to change your mind, especially via a blog post, simply trying to stimulate thought and reflection.

            Simply put, polygamy in instances where all parties agree to it and no one is harmed is justified. Since it is clear that you wish to practice Polygamy, simply do it with like minded women. Find someone who is okay with the practice and live your life, but do NOT force anything on someone which is not fard, especially on the often misused basis of it being the “sunnah”.

            Lastly, the hadith that sister gratitude posted was to show that the Prophet (SWS) prohibited Ali from taking another wife due to the harm that it would cause Fatimah. The reason for forbidding the marriage was not simply the identify of the woman, but more importantly, the hurt that would be brought upon Fatimah (as a result of Ali marrying this woman). The point was to show that the Prophet (SWS) placed extreme consideration on the emotional impact of actions.

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          • Also brother Talwar, the hadith you quoted about lady Maaria and Aisha is incorrect.

            Lady Aisha was in fact most jealous of Khadija, not because she was “sooooo beautiful,” but because of the Prophet (PBUH)’s undying love and respect for her during and after her death, and his declaration that she was the best wife he ever had, despite her advanced age for most of their marriage.

            One day the Messenger of Allah was praising Khadija when Ayesha said: “O Messenger of Allah! Why do you talk all the time about that old woman who had inflamed gums? After all, Allah has given you better wives than her.”

            Muhammed Mustafa said: “No Ayesha! Allah never gave me a better wife than Khadija. She believed in me at a time when other people denied me. She put all her wealth at my service when other people withheld theirs from me. And what’s more, Allah gave me children through Khadija.”

            She herself said once: “I have never been so jealous of any woman as I am of Khadija.”

            Please do not ascribe the emotions of the men on this forum to the greatest human being who ever lived.

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          • Subhanallah, the length to which some people go to defend their narrow beliefs:
            “The Prophet (SAW) may have married a lady older than him (a point disputed anyway), but this was not necessarily the sunnah of the khulafa al rashideen who we are also commanded to follow”

            All of a sudden, Sunnah of Khulafa Rashideen surpasses the Sunnah of the Prophet saws as it fits your point better ….

            Polygamy is something allowed by Islam, and it is not something encouraged. Individual scholars
            may encourage polygamy but Allah (SWT) has permitted us men to marry upto 4, where does Allah “encourage” us ?

            What is encouraged from ahadith is that muslims should be “fruitful and multiply”.

            Polygamy will become normal again when women outnumber men by a ratio of 120-100 instead of the current 103-100. Why do we need to “encourage” the process, it will happen automatically
            Otherwise you would have poorer men unable to marry.

            Already in many North Arab countries, you have a serious problem of men unable to marry before their 30′s.
            Would we want to aggravate that situation ?

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        • Perspective,

          With all due respect to you, so long as you admit that;
          1) Polygamy is permissible and a Sunnah (and not with the odd preconditions you place on it for which you have brought no classical scholars or Salaf to back up)
          2) Polygamy properly practiced is perfectly permissible and even encouraged in certain circumstances
          3) There is nothing inherently wrong with it

          Then we have no quarrel.

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          • @ Genges: No it is not incorrect, I know about the Khadija hadith. There is also another narration about Maria (raa).

            @ Perspective: You need to differentiate between a fatwa and a hukm. A Hukm is what Allah has ruled. A fatwa may change that ruling depending on a host of circumstances.

            Example, Riba is haram – that is the hukm. Riba may be allowed in very extreme circumstances when there are no options – a fatwa can be made depending on the extreme requirement of the situation.

            You bring up the topic of scholars discouraging polygyny because of the harm associated with it – i.e. men abusing the system. That is their (scholars) fatwa and not the hukm.

            @ Think: Agreed! Truce there!

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        • I’m so happy to hear that Perspective! Your talents will iA be of great use to our Ummah :)
          Btw, are you Canadian? I feel like I might know you (and it not, I would like to :).

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  65. No longer muslim

    I’m not a troll and I was born muslim. I was raised in the masjid and I watched muslim women put up with things that you only see on tv. I refuse to be part of a faith where womens rights are largely ignored. There are big issues in the ummah, and I refuse to stay quiet. All I ever heard was keep your husband happy! it was rarely ever spoken to keep your wife happy also. Who wants to be part of a religion where a womans word is not even comparables to a man. Where she gets less of asn inheritance because men are the caretakers. A religion that throws the mother of the believers under the rug and only talks about his niqab wearing wives. I refuse to be part of a faith where a woman must request a divorce from her husband. I refise to be part of a faith where the children go to the father, doesn;t matter if he is abusive. I refuse to be part of a faith that says it’s best to stay home and if you get depressed you just aren’t praying to ALLAH hard enough. Oh please, most of the young muslim girls I went to highschool with are living in poverty with 100 kids and a no good muslim husband. A few got lucky and made decent lives for themselves. Some sisters even married nonmuslim men to escape the sexism in Islam. Some like myself just left the faith and never looked back. I can’t imagine living in Saudi where even at the age of 50 I am still being ruled over by male relatives and can’t even drive a car. I can’t answer my own door, or my father chops off my head because I was texting a boy on a cellphone.I’m forced to walk around with a niqab/tent for calm beastly mens sexual desires. Yes, this is not Islamic, but it is being done by MUSLIMS.They find one surah and hadith, so they destroy milllions of muslim womens lives. The ummah is sick, and you can try to cover up a corpse, but it still stinks.

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    • I agree with you 100% with the issues that exist within the ummah, these issues are prevalent all across the world. Seldom are they talked about or addressed, they are usually thrown under the rug as if they don’t exist. Alhamdulillah, MuslimMatters is one of the avenues which are helping to address these issues.

      Unfortunately, if we were to judge this religion by the actions of man, then few would be muslim. A sad reality in this day and age. Alhamdulillah that we do not judge this religion on the actions of the people, but on the faith itself(which we know is beautiful and perfect).

      Sexism doesn’t exist in Islam, but people use Islam to try to justify it. Islam does nothing but elevate/honor/respect women. (All the money she earns is hers to spend however she pleases, but the money men earn, he is financially obligated to pay for her expenses, she doesn’t even have to use her own money)

      I can’t pretend to know what you went through in a polygamous marriage or your negative experiences with Muslims. I know you must be angered by the actions of Muslims, but we should not let Islam be the scapegoat. Let’s not let the actions of men/women decide who we are or become. Instead, we should channel this energy to take active/vocal roles in fixing/addressing the many problems within the ummah.

      Those who try to leverage this religion to fulfill their personal desires might get away with it in this world. But we all know Allah is All-Just, and everyone will be judged before Him for any and all wrongs(including psychological, emotional, physical, financial abuse)

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      • Very wise and articulate post Brother, JazakAllahu Khairan.

        Sister “No longer”: I agree with you that the Ummah is sick. But please, do not allow the bad behaviour of the creation destroy your relationship with the Creator. That would be giving people you know are misguided much more power than they deserve, and is a much bigger loss than anything we can imagine experiencing during our lives.

        Our Ummah needs people who have identified our problems and are affected enough to work to solve them. How will we ever change otherwise?

        Whenever I feel sad about anything in our Ummah or the world, I try to always remember this beautiful Hadith about how it’s all about Allah, regardless of the behaviour of any of His slaves:

        “I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assemble better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” –Hadith Qudsi

        Please rethink your stance, and try your best to forget about people (I know it’s very hard). Take a direct path to Allah, and ask Him to use you for good.

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  66. As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuhu

    Dear sister Umm,

    I have a question to ask you but I don’t know how to contact you. If you don’t mind, please leave me a word to my email. Thank you very much !

    Wasalaam Alaykum

    Sister shan

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  67. The debate doesn’t exist whether you can or not, the debate should be about whether you should or not.

    From my experience there are 2 reasons why men in the west want to have more than 1 wife.
    Reason 1 – they are having an affair, they don’t want to leave the 1st wife so this is the only other way they can be with the mistress.
    Reason 2 – their sex drive is so, that this is the only way they can fulfil their desire

    Reason 1 – your having an affair because there are some serious issues within your marriage that creates the need for you to play away, address this issue with your wife not your mistress. How does the problem in the 1st marriage disappear by you taking a 2nd wife.

    Reason 2 – is your sex drive that great that you can’t control yourself, surely not. A menstrual cycle can last up to 10 days and whilst a women is pregnant the period where you cannot be closer to your wife is longer. Do you think that a women’s on holiday in this state, this is a sacrifice she has to make, she has to go without aswell – practice some self-control and sacrifice some of that desire for your wife.

    To be honest where do people find time to have more than 1 wife. Relationships can be difficult in the best of times and they require a lot of work for both parties. My typical day consist of Looking after my kids, my wife, working, Praying and other projects and I’m always complaining that there are not enough hours in the day for me to do all this, so where would I fit wife number 2 in.

    All of this is about men’s desires. I’m not arguing whether we can or not I’m honestly asking whether we should or not. For me this is a No No. Yes I am a Man and I love women (Multiple), do I act on this, NO. Why? my religion tells me not to so then this becomes my struggle (Jihad). The knock on effect of this, I have more quality time with my wife, and when I can’t be close to my wife, I spend the days looking forward to when I can. I control myself plus it gives me a chance to catch up on my lack of sleep:)

    If people take more than 1 wife because for the love of Allah then who can argue this, but I don’t know anybody who has done this, they do it because they can.

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  68. To the brothers… four wives… nice idea :D

    But are you ready for four mother’s in law?? Think about it!

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  69. Really, polygamy is the WORST form of abuse? Subhan Allah, just because some may abuse it and be unjust while practicing it, does not mean that it is itself abuse. Our creator who knows us best has legislated polygamy as a permissible practice, and in some cases recommended, who are you to judge otherwise?

    Furthermore, the issue of wiping over the socks is one of khilaf in which the scholars differed.

    Barak Allah feek

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  70. I’m surprised that no one hasn’t really developed a “justification” of this practice from a family point of view. Let’s face it one womb should only produce X amounts of kids, its unhealthy to keep stressing a woman’s body and we are encouraged to have numerous children (I’m not talking about doing it irresponsibly, benefiting off of hard working taxpayer’s money and being a burden on the US /Canadian/ British government, I’m saying historically benefiting from the generosity of the old school Khilafah, instead, GET A JOB and make something of yourself inshaAllah, until then wrap it up ;-) ). Marriage is a vehicle of satisfying lust and also procreation. Its not like certain Christian beliefs (Catholicism) where lust is seen as evil. Its about both. I am not saying this is a justification (I’m a guy, naturally I don’t have as many hangups as some women may have) but clearly when looking at all the encouragement pertaining to family and satisfying a desire and raising children, there seems to be a little more leeway and the wisdom behind this can be seen (i.e. not running away from children produced out of your lust being responsible to your family). You can tell me to wear protection and get down with family planning, but we know what we’ve been encouraged to do (i.e. have large families). Our poor women would die if we didn’t spread that other task out. Or we could just stick to one woman have a couple of kids, whatever. Allah knows best. I’m just surprised we can’t think about the child bearing aspect of this complicated Divine equation inshaAllah.

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  71. Muslim_Observer

    Btw, stats prove somethign today and disprove the same thing tomorrow. So dont go by that. I’ve been married for 10 years to one wife Alhamdulillah. I can actually see in my marriage why Allah swt has allowed polygamy. Talking to my friends and there stories about their marriages, women do not appreciate their husbands. Sex has become a “husbands” thing and the wives dont look at it as the same. Ibadah in allowing your husbands desires even if you dont have the desire yourself. Please husbanding is please Allah, in halal acts of course. Everyday its a excuse for women today for not allowing intercourse to the husbands. 1) Headache, 2) Dont feel like it, 3) Tired, 4) Not Today 5) Back hurts from last time (a week ago), etc etc etc. excuses…

    If wives had to share their husbands and they wont see them every night, that would make the appreciate the time they spend together.

    Monthly PMS for women, polygamy takes that into account and you spend nights with other wives.

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  72. Very interesting article but I have to disagree with your main point .. How could you justify something by saying it could not be justified logically ? I believe that as humans we are required to think, analyse, and conclude.. The holy Quran has many verses that encourage Muslims to think..
    I do believe that many Metaphysical issues are beyond our limited human mind .. But most if not all life issues should be rationalized, polygamy included .. To me I believe that Islam is suitable for all times and places, with its flexibility. If something is not a “Fard” or “Haram” then we could legitimize it at certain times and locations and consider it illegitimate at certain times and locations .. For example let’s assume , though it’s hardly possible but not totally impossible, that at a certain Muslim country the number of males exceeded the number of females with a relatively high ratio, should we then keep polygamy permissible?
    And take slavery for example.. The Prophet (PBUH) had a slave, and slavery was permitted in Islam, because slavery was acceptable at that time..but now most Muslim countries consider it illegitimate because it is unacceptable.. This is how I consider Islam suitable for all times and places, because it’s flexible
    I understand that polygamy is a very sensitive issue in Islam especially that our beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) practiced polygamy.. And many Sahaba did as well .. That does not mean that polygamy is Sunah or “Mustahab” .. The Quranic verse is very clear regarding this issue .. when permitting men to marry up to 4 wives with the condition that they be just and treat them equally, and also stating that they won’t be able to be just .. I am aware that there are many interpretations of that verse that would argue that men won’t be able to love their wives equally but would be able to treat them equally.. But men are human and even if we assume that a polygamous man tried to be just with his wives , he will definitely slip at times, which makes me wonder why would they want to add more reasons that would make them sin..
    I do not believe that polygamy is outdated and I am not against it.. I just believe that It was “permitted” to protect the rights of the women who do not want to get divorced and their husbands plan to get remarried for any reason..
    Plus sexual desires are one of the main if not the main reason why Muslim men ( and some women) get married .. yes marriage is not based on lust .. but sexual appetite is one of the main reasons that would lead to marriage.. Furthermore many studies argue that 50-60% of men do cheat and approximately 90% fantasize about cheating.. Which proves that most men fancy multiple women.. Which makes me believe that this is the main rational reason behind permitting polygamy ..

    Allah knows best

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  73. The comments here are even more interesting than the original article, although I did enjoy reading your perspective Sister. I personally am a young Muslim woman living in the West and have always had the impression that I would be fine with a polygamist marriage. However, I think people here are confusing what it means to follow the Sunnah with what is explicitly stated in the Qur’an. The men during the time of the revelation of Islam were different than men today. They had cleaner hearts and were simply more likely to treat their multiple wives more fairly. While following the Sunnah is encouraged, you must also abide by what is in the Qur’an, which does imply that you should participate in polygamy only if you can treat your wives fairly, along with other stipulations. People rush into these marriages without truly considering what these stipulations mean. It is extremely difficult to be able to handle more than one wife and her children fairly, not to mention supporting them all financially (which many men cannot afford to do). Now, I am not saying that polygamy is wrong and is bad but it is not meant for everyone! Probably only for that small percentage of the male populations with the financial means as well as the personality and character to do it successfully. I am Somali and it really sickens me when I hear about the number of Somali men practicing polygamy who cannot support their wives because they have no job or are working at some grocery store. It is not fair to the wives nor is it fair for the men who will have to answer to this during Judgement Day.

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    • Now lets break down your comment and analyse it ….

      You said , The men during the time of the revelation of Islam were different than men today. They had cleaner hearts and were simply more likely to treat their multiple wives more fairly

      Seriously ? …. Are women of today like Hazart Khadija or Hazart Ayesha or any of the women at the time of prophet . Do women of today obey their husband as instructed ? Women of today think that obeying their husband means that they are subhuman . Look at the divorce rate of U.S.A . 68% of the time it is the women who initiate divorce on nonsense issues . Women of today have big egos .Harzart Khadija used to to bring food and other things to prophet when he was in Ghar-Hira . I don’t know whether you have been to Saudi Arabia , but it takes 2 hours to go up and 2 hours to come down . Hazart khadija used to bring food and other utensils under the scorching sun for many years to prophet . Tell me how many women are willing to endure that much pain for their husband . They can’t stand anything . With this so called women rights and empowerment , look what this had done to the muslim family structure . America has 95% pre-marital sex rate which also includes muslims also . Muslim women of today can’t keep themselves pure till marriage and then they expect their husbands to treat them as princess ..lol.

      And besides . Muslim women of today have education and jobs so why do they need their husbands to support them . Just because Quran says to support your wife . If for example the husband do supports his wife but do the wife obey the quran when the quran says to obey her husband ? Why there is so much double-standards .

      Tell me how many women are willing to marry a poor religious guy who has nice character . Probably no one . Hazart khadija married prophet despite the fact that the prophet was poor . Now-a-days most women are gold diggers .

      P.S Hazart khadija conducted her business through third party contacts meaning she appointed men who represented her during business transactions . She didn’t went outside to do the job unlike the muslim women of today . Islam has not changed , it is the same as 1400 years ago . Muslims have changed , both male and female .
      I apologize as my post is disorganized ,nevertheless I want to end this post by saying that both men and women are not angels. They are not the same beings that were present in the times of prophet .

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      • I never said anything about the state of women in today’s times. You are simply making incorrect inferences. In a polygamist marriage, while all parties have a great deal of responsibility, it is clear that men in such relationships have a greater responsibility. I am acknowledging this greater responsibility by stating that it is difficult to do this successfully all the time. Not many men can do this successfully and it is not fair for others to assume that men can and it is also not correct for men to overestimate their abilities in going in to these marriages without fully considering the pros and cons. To make you feel better, let’s say the situation was flipped. That is to say, pretend for a moment we are talking about one woman marrying multiple men as husbands and imagine for a moment that she was to be the caretaker and provide financial support to all of them as well as care for their other needs (let’s also pretend that in this world, men do not have significantly different sex drives). It goes without saying that many women would probably not be able to handle this situation well. Some probably could but not ALL. My point is, in my community of Somalis, the majority of men over the age of 40 appear to be married to more than one wife and generally speaking from what I have observed, they are not doing a good job. Some are, but not most. I don’t know how this would apply to the larger Muslim population, but I just think that the drive to be a part of a polygamist relationship really needs to be toned down. Men and women alike need to realize that plenty of us can’t do this very well and we should focus on how to make our monogamist relationships better and sustainable.

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  74. Asalam aleykum Warahmatullahi

    My message to the author of the article is this:

    1. Fear Allah – anything you do, say or write, you will be questionable on the Day of Judgment when you will be standing before Allah haafian aariyan [meaning with no shoes and without clothes].

    2. Ask authentic scholars regarding any Islamic issue including Polygyny. This religion is taken from scholars and not from laity.

    3. Be sincere to yourself. This is because, in some parts of the article, you were either lying to yourself or you were just ignorant. I understood from you that polygyny is “rationally unexplainable”, or in your other words, “it is almost impossible to rationalize polygamy”. You even said “I can no longer ‘logically’ defend polygamy.” By Allah, this is not true. Polygyny is logically explained, it is very rational. I don’t have time to discuss the rational explanations for polygyny. My question is: why is it you haven’t stated even a single rational explanation of polygyny you agree with. I mean of all the said (researched) and unstated rationales, you can’t even state a SINGLE ONE you agree with. SubhaanaAllah, this is either insincerity or ignorance. Or maybe I didn’t see it in your article.

    Some logical defenses for polygamy which you will agree (if you are sincere are):

    a). Personally I want to marry many wives because I want to have at least 32 kids. The Prophet said: “Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you.” [Abu Dawud Bk. 5, No. 2045.] In another hadith, the prophet advised Jabir saying ““(O Jabir!) Seek to have offspring, seek to have offspring!” [Bukhari Vol. 7, Bk. 62, No. 173.] This, I believe is a strategy for Islamic domination. Here in Kenya, non-Muslims are now scared because Muslims are rapidly increasing and “may take over the country” due to their high birth rate helped by polygamy. Islamic Finance has now emerged thanks to the Muslim growing population. To understand this point, please read the chapter “Will Islam dominate” in the book titled “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” freely downloadable from this link: http://extremelysmart.wordpress.com/download-my-book/

    b.) Men are innately attracted to multiple women. As someone pointed in the comments, this is different from the point that men have “stronger sexual desire” which is also true. By Allah, I wish I could have more than one wife because I have an inherent desire to possess more women and to enjoy variety. Am an African man. In Africa (and maybe all races in general) more women, more pride/tranquility/happiness/status e.t.c.

    I swear by Allah, these two reasons are logical enough for polygyny but you haven’t acknowledged them in your article. Fear Allah Sister. Also the other rationales like surplus of women – due to war, more women than men, same sex affairs – are also logical. Please accept reality and stop lying to yourself.

    4. Also remember there is a principle in shariah that says “Annadra laa hukma lahu. Walhukmu lilghaalib” meaning “rulling is for the majority and not the exceptions”. A good example is that in many situations and ages women are more than men but maybe in some places or time in history there are more men than women but in such varying contexts, scholars look at what is the most occurring phenomenon. And they will base everything on the fact that there are more women than men. They wouldn’t consider the exceptional cases. This is Islam sister.

    5. My last advice. Please do further research about this issue from authentic sources. E.g. The website of Shaykh Muhammad Swaleh Munajjid http://www.islamqa.com and also from the great works and fatwas of Shaykh Muhammad Swaleh Uthaymeen. Ohh by the way, Bilal Philips has written a good work titled “Polygamy in Islam.” And whether you find a logical explanation or not, scholars have a beautiful statement which you should memorize. They say, “Fa alaaAllahu amr wa alaa Rrasullil balaagh, wa alaaina Rridhwa watasliim”. Meaning, “To Allah belongs the right to make a Judgment, and it is upon the prophet to deliver it to us. And our duty is to be PLEASED with it to SURRENDER to it”. Are you pleased with the hukm of polygyny. Ask yourself.

    All in all, you may research and get the truth. But it depends whether you will be willing to accept and acknowledge the facts. I suggest that you at least acknowledge some logical explanations of polygamy in this article. Please edit it. The door for repentance is open, ask Allah to forgive you for your insincerity and He will forgive you. May Allah increase all of us in knowledge.

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    • ابو عبد الله

      Barak Allah fik.

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    • brother Muhammad, the “desire to enjoy variety” is not a particularly good reason for polygamy as you dont know if you will want vaeriety even when you have 4 wives? What will you do then, Keep divorcing and remarrying?
      Allah swt has permitted polygamy out of His wisdom, we men have the right do it, but its not good to find wrong reasons for it.
      You mention more wives meaning more happiness in Africa, AFAIK, many African leaders have more than 4 wives, in your effort to enjoy the benefits of African culture, would you marry more than 4 ?

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      • The desire for variety is still a rational argument. Men out there, seriously don’t you want to see yourself crowded with four beautiful eemaan-filled Muslimaas!!!?? You may love to sleep with a tall and slender wife, the next week, a short big-eyed syrian wife, then you may enjoy dating your pretty fat American wife….”Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?” Say, “They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.” Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know. ” [Quran 7:32]. This verse simply says that ALLAH HAS NOT FORBIDDEN THE GOOD LAWFUL THINGS. Apple, dates, chocolate, ….anything which is lawful you are free to consume. if for you, sex [or more sex, or more sex with different women] is GOOD for you, then our beautiful religion gives you the consent to enjoy the variety as long as it is through marriage [polygyny]. By Allah, this is a rational argument. maybe men dont talk to one another but i think most men love to have a variety of women. and even if not all men enjoy variety, then the minority men [me included] enjoy such variety. so still for this men, polygyny is perfectly rational. something the author of the article lies to herself [that she cant find a rational explanation for polygyny]. if she [the author of the article] eats rice every day for a whole year and she dosnt find the rational argument to have a variety of meals, then it is a different story. am sure, the last one week, she ate different types of meals (food). ofcourse halal meals. similarly, i strongly love to sleep with different women and enjoy the varierty of tenderness, the variety of sounds/voices, the variety of kisses…. as long as its halal [through polygyny] Allah HAS NOT FORBIDDEN IT. is this point not rational to men???????? Fear Allah sister

        Secondly, when i say men inherently love variety i don’t consent people divorcing and remarrying. In fact i believe, a normal man will feel satisfied with 4 women. and thereafter, maybe his desires may reach to the end. And to shock you brother Ali, Islam allows a man to divorce and marry another wife. YES ISLAM. however, a man with four wives after he divorces one has to wait for the period of woman’s eddat [waiting period] to end before remarrying. so in other words the man also goes on eddat!!!! One thing you may fail to realize is that in marriage, there is love and rahma for spouses. you may want to divorce one of the four wives because maybe love has diminishes [or for any other reason] but because of rahma, you decide to retain her. the point is that if polygyny is practiced by pious men, then waw, its the best thing for both [the man and the wives]

        last thing brother Ali mentioned is about african culture. i will inshallah marry more wives not to enjoy the African culture of polygamy but because Allah has permitted it. my culture is Islam. if any other culture is not in conflict with islamic culture, i totally agree to it. then, if u read my comment, my biggest reason to marry many wives is that i want to be a father of 32 kids at least. Also i dont shy away from the fact that i want to marry many wives because i love variety and inshaAllah Allah will enable me be just to them.

        May Allah make you strong and enable you fill this planet with Muslim kids. In the christian magazine , Christian Today, its reported: “It’s because Christian and Jews are refusing to have children, refusing to get married, [and] having such low birth rates that the Muslims are going to inherit the Earth,” said PRI spokesman Joseph D’Agostino to OneNewsNow. See Christian Today. “Muslims Could Overtake Western World with High Birth Rates” 4 Feb 2007.

        BaarakaAllahu fiikum

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  75. Assalamu alaikum,

    In the interests of taking full benefit from this article there are two key discussion points in my view:

    1) How do we instill fair and loving conduct in polygamous marriages, such that men are sensitive to each wife’s need for companionship? How can the wives best enjoy each other’s company?

    2) As married women- how do we prioritise our husbands in such a way that they feel fulfilled? Why is it so hard to dress up and to make time for relations?

    I believe that a healthy marriage is about mutual giving and mutual appreciation. Whether you have one wife or four if this disappears, an important part of the marriage goes with it.

    May Allah place joy and comfort in each of your marriages and the marriages to come Insha Allah. May Allah put barakah in everything you do for one another- amen.

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  76. Why second/third/fourth wife agree to already married man?

    If women have big issues with men marrying second wife, they should join forces and never marry a man that already has a wife.

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  77. If polygyny is a sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), then so is monogamy (his marriage to Khadija, his first wife). Looking at the poll that accompanies the article, it is clear that most Muslims (male and female) prefer to be in a monogamous relationship. This is the ideal for most people. As for the others who wish to practice polygyny (male and female), they should do so with like-minded spouses. And interestingly enough, the poll shows that people who wish to lead this lifestyle (or feel they can at least cope with it) are pretty evenly matched among male and female respondents. So, before you get married, perhaps it is wise to discuss this point with your prospective spouse in order to understand where you both stand.

    I think that polygyny continues to be relevant in today’s world. The world does not revolve around America and what people think and do in that country. But even in the United States, there are many situations in which polygyny could be desirable. It is obviously much better than committing some form of zina. That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone should practice polygyny as most people are already incapable of maintaining a solid first marriage.

    The Prophet said, “I do not like the tasters, men and women,” and “Allah does not like the tasters, men and women.”

    This hadith refers to those who seek a variety of sexual partners through their marriages. I believe the reference is to serial marriage and divorce, but there is still wisdom there for people contemplating polygyny to reflect upon.

    For the brother (and others like him) whose wife has been pregnant five times in five years of marriage, the obvious question one might ask is why you do not practice some form of birth control so that your wife can take a break between children and also devote sufficient attention to each child, practicing the sunnah of breastfeeding for two years, for example. What about taking some responsibility in your role in your wife’s exhaustion and unavailability? Do you not see that she is making sacrifices for you through these pregnancies? If you truly understood what she was going through, your focus would not be on how to obtain sexual satisfaction for yourself during this difficult period. It would be on how to help your wife cope and make it through the fifth pregnancy as smoothly as possible so that you can finally settle down together and return to a normal life. This might take a while, but your patience and help will pay off in the end.

    As for the article itself, I think it is “honest” but perhaps lacking in understanding about the “big” picture of why polygyny is permissible. As I mentioned before, life in contemporary America should not be the benchmark we use to judge whether something is rational or not. Polygyny is rational for all the reasons mentioned and many more which the author did not mention. The fact remains, though, that most people do not know how to practice it properly and also make the mistake of trying to practice it with an unwilling spouse, which makes it a recipe for disaster for many people.

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  78. My response – summarizing my understanding.

    A young American Muslim woman was conflicted by polygamy allowed by her Islamic religion and noted in the Quran. Her commentary is most intriguing as she argues that in today’s world, the impact of modernity has dismissed many of the reasons outlined in the Quran that allowed men to have more than one wife. She took each justification and provided an intellectual response.

    Early in her discourse she noted the catalyst for her study, “I clearly remember the day my husband proposed to me, he informed me that he planned to take another wife later and asked if I would be okay with it. I answered, “How can I stop you from something that is allowed in Islam?”

    Her commentary (in brief), logic applied, on the Quranic justifications follows:

    “War Zone: We are no longer in a time where men die more in war than women…. there is no discrimination among men, women, children, elderly; all in proximity are annihilated.

    Periods/Post-Partum Bleeding: Seriously?! …a wife…menstruating, … is (there) nothing else she can do to satisfy her husband temporarily…. What happens if a man gets married to a woman whose cycle coincides with that of his first wife? Or what if the wives give birth to children around the same time?
    Men have Stronger Sexual Appetite: ….New statistics demonstrate that men and women are not far apart in their sexual appetite….ovulating women have been found to have increased sexual desire….women in their 30s also experience an increased sex drive. Since this quality can vary from person-to-person, sexual appetite cannot be used to rationalize polygamy either.

    One Man for One Woman: I grew up believing there is one man for one woman and vice-versa. Remember, we’re products of our society and culture, and that is not blameworthy. We cannot ostracize “Western” culture for this ideology because it is just as much a product of “Eastern” culture too, if not more. Typically, in Eastern cultures, parents continue to advise their daughters to be patient with their husband and work on the marriage, but as soon as the husband takes another wife, the entire family forces her to return back to her parents’ house and take a stand.

    “Shared” Husband: ….Along with society, women have moved from a more group-centered reason of existence to a more individual-centered reason for existence…. most women refuse to share their husbands… the entire society has taken an antagonist view of (polygamy).

    “Insufficient” First Wife: In many communities, once a man weds a second wife, society does not loiter in assuming fault in the first wife. Why else would her husband feel the need to find solace in another woman? People talk, families accuse, and consequently, wife number one feels she is insufficient for her husband. Her insecurities rise just as fast as her self-confidence and esteem spiral downward, leaving her feeling like an utter failure.”

    Her rational conclusion:

    “With all these widespread stereotypes against polygamy and apparent lack of “logical” explanations, how can we expect Muslim women to simply swallow this concept, accept it, and live happily ever after with it?”
    When she addressed her concerns with an Islamic scholar he side-stepped her major question and personal concern responding with, “Do you believe Allah is Just?” Is that a double-entendre or what? At least a loaded question. How else could an Islamic woman answer but, “Yes.”

    So after her review, her Islamic (I consider irrational) conclusion:

    “…I have to come to terms with it (polygamy). Because no matter what my objections may be against polygamy, it is permissible in Islam, it was practiced by our beloved Prophet…and was common amongst the respected Companions. Who am I to object to it?”

    She does, however, make the following statement, “this matter remains rationally unexplainable.” That may be more a reflection of ‘doubt’ as to Islam, than justification for Polygamy. She is caught in the web of Islam.

    What can I say? Is this blind faith or what?

    This next statement may summarize the explicit requirement for Muslims to not think, just ‘obey’, “…it only humbles me to accept a far greater truth about Islam – that there are issues within the deen we may not fully comprehend. Disagreement with our logic in matters of deen cannot yield rejection.

    In another article on MuslimMatters.org website discussing the rational vs. irrational aspect of Islam this statement was made, “We Muslims think, ponder, reflect, and use our minds to understand the truthfulness of Islam, to find our way to Islam, and to appreciate the guidance of Islam. But once guided to Islam, we surrender and submit to what is revealed.”

    So think and consider only Islam, especially if not already a Muslim, but once a Muslim, then it is only that which Allah Revealed (in the Quran) that is to be adhered to, followed, accepted, and not debated. That is my take when questions asked of scholars are responded to with, “Do you believe Allah is Just?” What if I were a Muslim and my answer was “NO!”

    Anyway the next several words written by this woman questioning Polygamy were, “Polygamy is allowed unconditionally (so long as the husband treats his wives equally), unbound to time, place or people. To accept this fact is a part of my faith, whether I like it or not. However, Ever Merciful is my Lord Who has comforted the believers by saying:

    “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Sura 2:216)”

    This is not logical, not for me anyway. It is a wonderful support for a man that wants to have sex with more than one woman. We haven’t even discussed temporary wives or weekend marriages in which many Muslim men engage. This appears to me to be more to the mortal and sinful nature of a man incorporating his desires in his dairy, and his hope for what Allah would allow.

    The now dedicated Islamic woman’s justification for accepting Polygamy even if it is not rational follows:

    “First, …I cannot rationally understand polygamy, but I accept it because I submit to Allah…, and I believe the One Who decreed it is, without a shadow of a doubt, The Most Just and has allowed it in His Perfect Justice. I understand now the wisdom of my teacher questioning my belief in Allah’s Perfect Justice.

    Secondly, … polygamy is a trial from Allah, not from the husband…. like any other trial, it is a time to come closer to Allah…, with submission, patience and tawakkul. … time to evaluate oneself and to increase good deeds; … not a time to rebel. More importantly (what seems like a never-ending task,) we must strive to separate the anger we may feel against our husbands and channel it towards accepting Allah’s decree.
    Instead of perceiving the situation as “my husband did this to me”, it should be, “it is my Rabb’s Decree and He is testing me”. The real struggle lies in accepting it as a test rather than a “betrayal” by one’s husband. It is indeed an emotional “Jihaad” (exertion) to separate the two. Perhaps this is also the most effective recipe to cope with polygamy.

    Thirdly, …there is always khair in Allah’s Decree; although we may fail to see it when we are being tested, the goodness always shines through….We may fail to see it, but it is there….

    At one point she mentioned what I have in all likelihood interpreted wrongly and I do not wish to be demeaning on dismissive, but it had to do with the hold on Muslims, she called it a ‘rope’, stating, “That is the primary rope to hang on to – to submit to Allah’s Perfect Justice.” Total submission – no logic to be applied. She also noted by accepting Polygamy as the law of Islam, accepting it as Allah’s Will, not the husband’s, she can ‘cope’, acquiesce to that which she disagrees, as it is her suffering that can make her better.

    Taking a Comment made addressing the article from a woman who is no longer Muslim – her attitude towards Polygamy presented, and possibly her leaving her Islamic faith was due to accepting the rational and the logical, “I have seen polygamy destroy many sisters lives. I don’t like how it is being practiced in the west. polygamy gives a man the right to sleep with all the women he wants. He is free to marry nonmuslim and muslim women.He meets a sister and takes her to the masjid and now he can have lawful sex with her. what a load of bs. their is no authority to control these serial polygamist. Nobody cares to stop them and have them really think about what they are doing to their wife and children. He does not need the permission of his wife, and he is free to tell her about the new wifer whenever he feels like it. He is free to produce numerous amounts of children with no care in the world who will take care of them. It’s 100% okay if he’s been married 10 or 15 times.His first wife accepts all the disrespect because her faith tells her to do so.She could ask for a khula, but she may not get it. She basically the slave of her husband Polygamy is a curse to Islam. Why is it a curse? you think reverts have a proper understanding of sexuality in the west. Sex is highly abused, and adding polgamy to the pot makes it boil over. I can’t tell you how muslim women are on welfare and foodstamps so their husbands can freeload off of other women. It’s disgusting that women are at the mercy of their husbands whims. Thank GOD I am no longer Muslim.” (posted July 4, 2011)

    There was a counter to the above suggesting upon judgment day Allah would not be happy with this apostasy.

    I can say that God will allow her entry, his grace prevailing, as He is a loving and rational judge and knows when man’s laws attempt to confuse and turn people away from the truth; which is a loving God would not allow the harm caused, the suffering, from acts not in accord with the proper marriage and purpose of the union of one man and one woman. It can be said there is enough suffering in insuring the union remains until ‘death do us part,’ and the role of each partner is to work towards the happiness of the other, self interests aside. A union (one man, one wife) where the man and woman are dedicated and focused on their relationship with honesty results in happiness, cooperation and an expression of God’s love.

    One other response to the article: “Polygmay is not a trial from ALLAH. It is from the lust of men. You can’t blame GOD, because man has free will, and your husband decided to take a second wife. ALLAH didn’t make him do it. Most polygamist marriages in developed nations do not last. They last in poorer nations because women have little to no social economical power. I was in a polygamist marriage for 3 years, and It was a joke.”

    Many comments expressed sincere hope that the women who have been offended by polygamy and left Islam return, but not to a faith that excludes this suffering, but one that continues to accept the practice.

    It is my sincere prayer that the eyes, hearts and minds of all women will give serious consideration to the logical facts presented and decide independently the path they choose. May it be Islam and acceptance of the Will of Allah, or God, of the Trinity, whose good news frees all from the suffering of sin, providing His grace, and offering hope for a life eternal for those who fully accept His sacrifice and the gift of intellect and free choice, apostasy aside, that accompanies a heart open and receptive to God.

    May the Love of God, the Grace of God and the fellowship of God be with you always. Grace and Peace. Salaam.

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    • Tom,

      Please take a look to the comments by ‘Perspective’ which are very comprehensive.

      There is no mistaking that each one of us desires to know our Creator. Let us all pray to our Creator to guide us to the Truth, and bless us with sound understanding of the way of life that He has preferred for us all. Peace

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  79. Let me know when one of you manages to convince the other

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  80. Ultimately, as the author admitted, polygyny is perfectly permissible and some scholars would argue it is encouraged.

    Further, the author stated that she used to be an ardent supporter of polygyny before her marriage. Then she had a paradigm shift after marriage and understood that she could never share her husband.

    I have NO doubt that if sisters are tested again with the loss of their husbands and they have many children and find it dificult to marry, they will have ANOTHER paradigm shift and become SUPPORTERS of polygyny! Simple as that!

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    • Not so.

      I know many sisters who are divorced/widowed with children and polygyny still isn’t an option because 1)they have no interest in hurting another sister and her children for her own enjoyment -and- 2)they have no interest in sharing a *bad* husband – which seems to be the majority of brothers who seek mulitple wives.

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  81. Interesting talk mashaa’Allah… relevant to the topic:
    http://myfiks.org/uncategorized/can-we-talk-part-1#comment-506

    Wasalamu alaykum.

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  82. Great article.I didn’t read all the comments, but I glanced over many of them, so forgive me if someone already mentioned these points. I think we need to remember that our Prophet (saaw) was a great example and role model for humanity. As Aisha (ra) said “He was a walking Quran” or ” Quran was his character”. The Prophet (saaw) did not take a second wife until Khadijah (ra) passed away. The rest of his marriages came with great wisdom and tought us many lesson for the benefit of society. I won’t elaborate on the lessons, if you wish, you can read the seerah of wives of the Prophet (saaw). To those men with the selfish fantacies of being with other women when you are already in a happy committed marriage, because your wife is devoting her attention to children or what not,to you I would say, ask yourself, “What would the Prophet (saaw) do?” Would he take a second wife to satisfy his sexual desire?”
    And by the way, who said women can not be attracted to more than one man? Men are attracted to multiple women.. Um.. so are women..that’s why Allah (swt) commanded BOTH men and women to lower their gaze, and gave us instructions on how to protect ourselves from the waswasah of shaytan.

    Polygamy is Halal for those who can keep it halal. Because the majority of men can not be fair and treat multiple wives equally, because Allah (swt) commands only one is BETTER for you.

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  83. Someone earlier posted a link to Mai’s blog. I was quite amazed reading her letter to a co-wife.
    http://maitotheextreme.blogspot.com/2011/01/letter-to-my-co-wife-my-rose.html

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  84. @Tariq: Then she simply marries a widower, instead of destroying another household for her selfish purposes.

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  85. @Muhammad: Reply button is not working so I’ll type it here. According to people like you, a woman is a baby producing machine, whose health or will to have more children is of no consideration to you. It is because of Muslims like you that Islam has a bad name. It is because of Muslims like you that Muslims like me have to go around telling Muslim women and non-Muslim men and women that not all Muslim men are like that.

    *comment edited: please refrain from personal attacks*
    There are so many bearded men who have only one or two kids, and the moment they want to win a debate, they bring in Hadith, whose meaning they don;t even understand.

    - Concerning polygamy, Prophet Mohammad was married to Hazrat Khadija for approx. 24 years and did not take another wife. It was only after her death that he took more wives and the purpose was to spread Islam.

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  86. It is nonsensical that every time someone talks about polygyny, inevitably the topic of widows and older women comes up. Why??

    If there’s no such condition for marrying the first wife, then what is your reason for bringing this up for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife. It is PERFECTLY halal and noble for a man to marry to help him lower his gaze and control his desires. Staying away from sin is a GOOD deed!

    Also, regarding equal treatment, no doubt it is a BIG responsibility. However, Allah does not burden us more than we can bear and perfect equality is as you mention impossible. Yet, the Prophet (SAW) and his companions and the great scholars of Islam and other muslims did marry more than one wife. The understanding of course is that one needs to do his utmost to treat them equally. As long as he is striving to do his best, then who can blame such a person?
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    The equality argument is a poor one. We are also expected to treat our children equally, but NOBODY uses the same argument to discourage people from having more than one child! Thought of that one?

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  87. Assalamua Alaikum,

    The article is interesting and useful, but falls far short, as is evidenced by the numerous comments. It completely lacks an honest discussion of the sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the Quran, from an objective point of view that sees the wife and children and their rights as equal in importance to those of the husband. Today we see rampant abuse of polygamy through secret marriages and the ridiculous claim by the self-righteous that lying about multiple wives( even to the women) is permissable. Islam is not deceit. Furthermore, I question those muslim men who claim righteous belief there are no limits on polygamous decisions. The Sunna and the Quran are clear that the family is a unit and wives are to be consulted , respected in their opinions, and are “partners and committed helpers”. Yes, men can have multiple wives, but the Prophet gave his wives the right of divorce if they did not want it on at least one occassion. That is, in the end, the only recourse a couple has if they disagree, whether we like it or not. Furthermore, is it allowed to marry women only “Islamically” holding out them as illicit relationships legally, and their children as illegitimate? I was humiliated to have a long bearded brother and sister end up in court due to custody and child support issues testifying they were Muslim, so the children had to be raised Muslim, but they were not married. Not to mention the lie being told by some women to get welfare, food stamps, and medicaid. If the brother could not support them he did not have the means to marry. That is Islam, and it should not be bent for the men, and optional when women’s rights come in. Last of all, men weep about how unIslamic community property is, but do nothing to secure the rights of their children from multiple marriages, nor the wive’s maintenance and inheritance rights. If the wife ends up supporting the children from every penny she earns because the man is a bum, he staunchly quotes the hadith saying this is charity from her and she has no right to repayment of the maintenance or repayment out of inheritance. The result is to deny women that accorded them by Allah, but grant to the men more than their share. That is not Islam. Polygamy is allowed, but not required. The rights of the wives and children are required. Furthermore, I wonder if it is possible to marry more than one wife in this society and secure the rights of the wives and children. I will not say polygamy is haraam in the U.S., but it is extremely difficult to practice Islamically given the laws, nor it is a requirement in Islam, rather the Quran states it is better to take only one. The factors and facts of the Prophet’s life rarely replicate in this regard, but when they do, polygamy is fine–though I personally, may not be able to accept it as a women, I cannot prohibit what Allah allows. Last of all I do not believe we lie and break the laws of the land to perform something religiously optional–only that religiously required. Do remember the best among the brothers is he who is best to his wife. Strive for that, as it is not required Islamically to have more than one wife to be best.

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    • Alhamdulillah. Good post.
      But it will probably not receive any response from brothers who are seeking multiple wives just for the sake of having multiple wives with no interest in the sisters’ or childrens’ right.

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  88. No longer muslim

    One of the most destructive behavior patterns a person could have is blind obedience tops the list. To me, the most dangerous thing in thw world is teaching people to do things without thinking for themselves. This mentality has caused millions upon millions of people to be killed and abused.Any woman in her right mind wouldn’t just stand there loking crazy while her husband takes a second wife. All you can say is that ALLAH(SWT) is testing you and you must agree with polygamy. That is a load of BS, and anyone who believes that is cattle to the slaughter. The prohet wa smarrie dto his wife for I believe 24 or 25 years. he also live in a momnogamus relationship and went through a great deal of pain after her death. his life shows that muslims have options. On another note, I’m tired, esecially with the saldfi sect pushing polgny like it’s a