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Legalizing Polygyny in Canada

Zainab (AnonyMouse)



bountiful.jpgBountiful, B.C.: The first thing that comes to mind is a recollection of the media frenzy surrounding the ultra-fundamentalist Mormon community, which under their so-called “prophet” Warren Jeffs practices an extreme form of polygyny.

The Vancouver Sun has a huge “exclusive report” on the subject, covering it’s history, legal standing, and the court cases against Warren Jeffs and other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. I recommend going through all the articles, which are fascinating (in a horrifying way) in and of themselves, as well as making us fervently grateful to Allah for the Shari’ah He blessed us with that would prevent such a situation from occuring amongst Muslims (assuming that the Shari’ah was being properly implemented and practiced; and yes, I know that reality is very different from our ideals). There is so much that is so wrong about what’s going on in Bountiful that I won’t even bother writing about it – the shock you’ll feel as you read about it will be the same feeling I experienced, along with horror, pity, and the urgent desire to go make Da’wah to them. Anyway, moving on:

One such article is titled “Legalizing polygamy” and discusses two sides of the story: how legalizing polygyny can provide protection for the (currently unrecognized) wives and children of polygamist men, and the bureaucratic nightmare it would be for lawmakers.

Hypothetically, if polygamy were to be legalized (which I highly doubt it will), what would it mean for Muslims? While polygyny in the Muslim community of B.C. (and most likely elsewhere in Canada) is extremely rare, I personally know of at least two families in my old city that are polygynous. As with the Bountiful cases, the second wives (as far as I know, there aren’t any kids from the second wives) aren’t recognized in Canadian law.

The polygamy/ polygyny issue leads to another hot Islam-related topic in Canada: the re-legalizing (is that even a word?) of religiously-based arbitration and family law, which was banned after the “Shari’ah law in Canada” fuss a couple years ago. Legalizing polygamy would mean recognizing the fact that some religions permit this practice… and more often than not, those same religions have rules and regulations that deal with polygyny – such as Islam. Would this mean that Canadian law would permit Muslims to refer to religious authorities so that they can deal with polygyny-related family law Islamically? If so, how would the system be set up? Would we have Shari’ah courts (of a sort) in Canada? Who would be chosen to sit as a qadhi, and on what basis would they be chosen? Taking into consideration the schools of thought, not to mention different mentalities (e.g. Salafi, Traditionalist, Modernist/ Progressive), you can imagine just how crazy the situation would become.

Keep in mind this is all hypothetical, and as I said above, it’s highly unlikely that polygamy will be legally recognized and allowed in Canada… which means that the scenario I mentioned above would probably be non-existent. But the possibly exists. Polygamy exists, amongst Mormons and amongst Muslims and who knows who else. Will the Canadian government, and the Canadian masses (regardless of religion) dare to do something about it besides simply outlawing it (which people will, and do, ignore) and occasionally taking practitioners of polygamy to court?

On a totally different tangent: does anyone else see the double-standards at play here? While there is outcry and outrage against the Mormon’s version of their own khilaafah in Bountiful, it’s nowhere near the level it would be were it Muslims instead of Mormons. I wonder why there aren’t any loud public protests, in B.C. or elsewhere in the country, calling for the dissolution of the Mormon community in Bountiful or the criminalization of all Mormon men who engage in polygyny (with underage girls or otherwise).

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a young Canadian Muslimah, originally from the West Coast of Canada. She writes about whatever concerns her about the state of the Muslim Ummah, drawing upon her experiences and observations within her own local community. You may contact her at She is is no longer a writer for



  1. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:10 AM

    Bountiful is an interesting story. I’ve always found the double-standards to be quite silly, but considering that their leaders are facing jail-time, I can’t say they’re being treated that well either.

    I don’t think faith-based arbitration is a can of worms we’re ready to open, even if they did become allowed. Precisely because we’re not organized enough amongst ourselves to pick leaders that we can agree on, and as you said, we have too many differences amongst ourselves to make it work. I don’t see it working, and I think we’d make ourselves look foolish and silly if we tried.

  2. Amad


    October 23, 2007 at 12:04 PM

    It is amazing though… how far something like homosexuality is come, in terms of acceptance, yet polygamy that is really recognized in one way or the other in most divinely inspired religious traditions, continues to be a crime!

    Relative morality will continue to create its own strange social standards…

  3. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 2:00 PM

    There is certainly more than one double standard in operation here. Am I the only one who ses it? What about polyandry? Canada is essentially a Western society, and women in western societies have achieved a high degree of equality. In fact most Western societies consider women the equals of men in law, even if in practice, the law and society still often fall short of that ideal.

    Still, if polugyny were to be legalized in Canada, polyandry would soon have to receive the same recognition. Most polygamy is part of religious practice, of course, and since almost all modern religions are based on patriarchy and male dominance, you might find that the idea of a woman having more than one husband would be – at least – the equal in controversy to gay marriage.

    But here is another problem that isn’t always taken into consideration – especially when men contemplate the delights of ‘owning’ more than one woman: the resultant shortage of males. It’s a huge problem among the FLDS, who have been leaving their escess boys on deserted highways for years, so that the more powerful, older men who collect dozens of wives won’t have to compete with the more interesting young males. The ratio of male births to female births is about equal. So if some men have more than one wife – even only 4 wives – some men will have none. (Leaving out concubinage, that is, which seems to be OK within Islam as well).

    Of course some of the ‘leftover’ men might be gay, and some completely uniinterested in sex with anyone at all. But the majority probably don’t fall into either of those categories, so in a democratic society, I should think that a certain amount of discontent with the injustice of plural marriage would result.

    And in FLDS towns, of course, nothing remotely like democracy or equality is extant at all. So the young girls who are assigned to various men – often much older men, have no say in their lives, and generally submit. But unless Canadian society undergoes a reversal of women’s equality, most women raised in a free society won’t submit – and no law can make them.

    However, go ahead and open that can of worms. All of these ancient notions need radical reconsideration.

  4. Amad


    October 23, 2007 at 2:17 PM

    I don’t think anyone here is advocating that the legalization be done, but rather discussing issues in the news and social trends.

  5. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 2:25 PM

    I was commenting on the ‘double standards’ that someone mentioned. One hundred years ago, even in Canada or the US, the idea that women might claim equal rights in such a matter as polygamy, would have been silly, to say the least. And probably most men who approve of polygamy aren’t thinking of that aspect even now. But I assure you it would arise.

  6. Amad


    October 23, 2007 at 2:30 PM

    oh ok. Got it now.

  7. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 2:38 PM

    “Most polygamy is part of religious practice”

    Wouldn’t you describe men/ women with multiple sexual partners at one time to be a type of polygamy? When a man gets a mistress, or a woman seeks pleasure with someone other than her husband (or their long-term partners), doesn’t that count as polygamy of sorts?
    When I see what’s common today, I see God’s wisdom in allowing polygyny as it exists within the Shariah: something permitted, but with MANY rules and restrictions.

    For example, limiting it to 4 wives, and with the financial obligations that come with them (each woman must be given housing and provision of equal value, or at least that which she’s pleased with within reasonable limits), would mean that men would more likely *not* marry more than one (or two)… and since Muslim women have the CHOICE to enter such a marriage or not (they aren’t “collected” the way FLDS does it), then again I’m sure the amount of polygamous marriages will remain pretty low.

    And as Amad pointed out, nobody here is actually advocating legalization of polygyny; just exploring the hypothetical situation.

    Thank you for comment, Mollyfurie, I enjoyed reading it! :)

  8. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 2:54 PM

    No, I wouldn’t consider adultery as polygamy. Polygamy must entail some of the obligations of marriage. Amd even within FLDS, the wives have some marital obligations and some rights – unfortunately, these rights (unlike those of Muslim women) are all reserved for the after life, so have little bearing on her life on earth – and are unproven and unprovable in this one, like all promises of heaven.

  9. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 3:57 PM

    Hi Mollyfurie,

    Are you atheist? Because the other day, I was thinking about a question I would like to ask an atheist, and I live in a small, conservative town where I’m still relatively new…so the internet seems to be my next best option.

    If not, it’s cool. Atheist websites and explanations just use too many big words…lol.

  10. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    I’m not precisely an atheist, but I might as well be, because I believe organized religion is evil, that god is unknowable by humans, and that the best we can do in this life is be good to other humans and species on this planet. In all of thse things, I am closer to atheism than to conventional religion, and some of my best friends are atheists. So ask – maybe I can answer.

  11. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    Uhm, a *lot* of ignorance here. First, the Mormon church no longer recognizes polygamy and excommunicates anyone who practices it.

    Second, “and since Muslim women have the CHOICE to enter such a marriage or not” Mouse, don’t pee on my head and tell me it’s raining, ‘K? Moslem women are treated no better than chattel.
    (Insult to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) removed – MuslimMatters staff)

    • Avatar


      March 19, 2015 at 5:43 PM

      Mainstream mormons only “outlawed” polygamy when they sought statehood for Utah since under US law it is considered illegal. However, according to their core beliefs that hasn’t actually changed; the mainstream mormons seeking acceptance among the American public don’t engage in this practice yet they haven’t openly denounced nor criticised it either.

  12. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM

    I am not technically an atheist. I believe that god is unknowable by humans and organized religion originated as a mind control technique for the purpose of gaining power over others (outside of the more direct methods of warfare and politics) and for the control and distribution of available females. However, many of my best friends are atheists and I might be able to answer your question – or know someone who can.

  13. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 5:08 PM

    Hello Nazia

    I’ve tried to answer your question twice, but it isn’t showing up on the site. I’m not an atheist. I don’t think any human can know god and believe religion is a method of controlling others, especially women, gaining power and getting money. Many of my best friends are atheistsm tho’ and I might be able to answer your question. IF my comments are permitted to be published on this board.

  14. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 5:28 PM

    “First, the Mormon church no longer recognizes polygamy and excommunicates anyone who practices it.”

    FLSD obviously allows it.

    “Moslem women are treated no better than chattel.”
    You were saying something about ignorance…???

    Please read our comments policy.
    We’d appreciate if it you refrained from insulting our beloved Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). At MuslimMatters, we expect people to have a civil dialogue without resorting to such a low and crass level.

  15. AnonyMouse


    October 23, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    Hey Mollyfurie – sorry about that! Akismet is hungry today…

  16. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 5:39 PM

    I lived in Utah for a brief period in the 60s (seemed much longer to this California girl) and my impression was that women were not well treated there within the bounds of the mainstream Mormon church and from what I’ve studied of Mormon doctrine, women are not men’s spiritual equals either, as they will be back in polygamy in the hereafter.

    I contend that patriarchy is the norm among all the world’s religions, actually, so the LDS need not apologise as far as I am concerned!

  17. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 5:49 PM

    I contend that patriarchy is the norm among all the world’s religions

    Except Christianity. Yannow the whole “Mary mother of God” thing?

    And Shinto, where many of the Gods are Goddesses

    And Hinduism

    Almost all religions incorporate the feminine into the narrative. Except [Islam] (latter part of sentence removed by MM staff)

  18. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:03 PM

    In Islam, women are equal to men in the eyes of God.

    For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)

    Whosoever does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life. (16:97)

    (On women’s rights)
    O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good. (4:19)

    And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)

    All this is from the Qur’an. There is much, much more in the Qur’an and Sunnah that emphasizes good treatment of women, respect of women, honouring of women.

  19. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:04 PM

    Hi Mollyfurie,

    Thanks for trying to respond quickly. I think you should be able to answer my question…if there is an answer. How does an atheist feel about the injustice in the world? Like, a person who constantly oppresses others without any consequences and dies in a state of luxury without any question. What is your opinion or belief about this subject?

    Thanks in advance.

  20. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:09 PM

    Uh oh. I think the same thing that was happening to Molly happened to me. I’ll try posting my question a second time…

    Molly, I wanted to know about your belief or opinions regarding the injustice in the world? For example, if a person lives his life constantly oppressing others without consequence and dies in a state of luxury without question. What do you take of this person? Similarly, the people that he was oppressing and their misfortune, what do you take of them?

    I know people of faith believe in a Hereafter in which our deeds will be accounted for, but what are you thoughts?

    Hope my question goes through this time.

  21. Amad


    October 23, 2007 at 6:10 PM

    Joseph, seems you came here from the LGF cult blog. So, unless you tone down your arrogant and condescending remarks, you’ll be history.

    Before you talk about stuff, brush up your facts. Lets start with JudeoChristian traditions vs. Islam:

    Are you kidding that Hindus treat women better? Have you heard about Sati? I guess you should:

    Here’s another blog entry you should read about Hinduism and women:

    * Ten million girls have been murdered by their parents in past 20 years in India!
    Again, remember, any more insults and you’re out.

  22. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:26 PM


    **comment edited as per house rules**

    And don’t be editing my comments. I know the instinct to oppress is first nature to Moslems but you are in *my* country and you will respect our rights, even if we are Kuffar.

    **Its Amad, not Anad, nitwit. Its Muslims, not Moslems. Secondly, I am in your country, as much as YOU are in MY country. Get the xenophobia out of your head… Muslim-Americans are as much Americans as Christian-Americans, Jewish Americans, Hindu Americans, name it. If there is anyone with “special rights to ‘Americanship'” its the Native Indians!

    I’ll do what I wish on MY blog. I know you have the instinct to follow the neocons and right-wingers of this country in supporting the invasion or stealing of others’ territories and then calling the natives who are seeking their freedom from foreign rule as terrorists….

    Unfortunately, your instinct has met an American knows American rights better than a bigot like you… so unless your comments are not of trolling and religion-insulting nature, they’ll be gladly deleted… I am sure you hate being bumped off by a “brownie”… get used to it… we’re here to stay and we usually use more brain than you right-wing neocon-loving sheep**

  23. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:38 PM

    Yep, we now have our token LGF zombie trolling the comments section!

    “I’ve read the Koran and other Moslem works”
    Riiiiiiiight. So what do you say about the Qur’anic verses I listed above?

    “but you are in *my* country”
    I’m a Canadian through and through… it’s the only home I know. I cheer for my hockey team, proudly pour maple syrup onto almost everything (including carrot soup!), and have visited a Parliament building without blowing it up.
    How is it any more YOUR country than it is mine?

  24. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:52 PM

    Don’t worry, Amad, I’ve contacted the FBI and made them aware of this terrorist-supporting blog. Expect a knock on the door soon, you Islamofascist.

    I have to absolutely approve this precious comment from Joseph. This is exactly one of the reasons why our country’s law enforcement has been rendered ineffective by fools and bigots like Joe who run to mommy to complain because “they won’t let me be a bigot”! Poor cry-baby Joe… I feel kind of sorry for how pathetic you are. I hope the rest of fair-minded Americans are seeing where our tax money is going… running after false alarms and cry-babies who try to turn others in when they don’t get their way. FBI, DHS, and all our state and national agencies and department are completely welcome to visit our site. In fact, I bet they will be glad to see Americans practicing their right to be Americans!

  25. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 6:53 PM

    O Bigotry, how I hate it when you rear your ugly head.

    On somewhat of a tangent: I’ve recently been wondering about these kind of communities and how they are left to function unchecked. I mean, are there any kind of state institutions (police, local gov’t, etc.) to oversee or tend to them?

    They must pay taxes and what not…are polling sections set up at election time?

    Sorry if this is somewhat off topic, but if anyone knows, fill me in :)

  26. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 8:31 PM

    I don’t think anyone should be practicing polygny b/c its illegal in the land we are living in.
    You have to be sneaky and hide your other wife and children from the government, not so nice.

  27. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 9:38 PM

    In answer to Nazia’s question. Injustice is always wrong, whether or not there is a god or a heaven or a hell. The existence of injustice certainly doesn’t prove that there is a god. Some people use exactly the opposite argument – the terrible things that happen in the world prove that there IS no god. But as Marcus Aurelius – a Stoic pagan emperor – noted, whether there are gods or not, we owe each other a duty of kindness and cooperation.

    It is true that there is some recognition of ‘the feminine’ in many , if not all, religions. They may be left over from an earlier time, when, some say, god was considered to be a woman. A mother goddess. But that doesn’ mean human women are treated well in those religions where there are goddesses. In some versions of the Ramayana, the heroine is killed because she was raped!

    Catholicism wasn’t able to stamp out the presence of goddesses in Europe, so it incorporated them. In some ways, that gives women a higher status among Catholic Christians than among protestants. Women, of course, can’t be popes or priests, or cardinals or bishops. Of course they can be nuns, but more impressively, they can be saints – and many popes were no saints, believe me! And women in their convents were educated, so they could be theologians, composers, artists, philosphers, scientists – all of the pursuits that were effectively forbidden them in secular life.

    Many of the statues of Mary were originally statues of Ceres or some other goddess – so you will see statues of her holding a sheaf of wheat, or with stars around her head, like Isis.

    In the Catholic church, brides were not supposed to veil their faces or be ‘given away’ by their fathers because of the implication that the woman was not acting of her own free will. Since marriage is a sacrament in the RC church, it requires consent in order to be valid. (I would not be surprised if lots of marriages were forced on them anyway.)

    In the Old Testament women WERE chattel – bought, sold, traded, stolen, and even executed on a bet with the deity – see Jephthah’s daughter.

    For its time and place, Islam probably was an improvement. But I have spoken to Muslims about this, and they admit that a woman’s testimony is only worth half as much as a man’s in such countries as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. And to balance out Sati, there are honor killings throughout the Middle East – in fact, one happened right here in California during the 80s. (Of course there are also informal ‘honor killings’ of women by jealous husbands, etc. everywhere.)

    In general, women are not liberated by religion, but by their own efforts.

  28. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 9:43 PM

    Got bumped again! OK – in answer to Nazia’s question, the presence of justice or injustice in the world does not prove or disprove the existence of god. In fact, some people say there can’t be a god because so many terrible things are ‘allowed’ to happen – and the tyrants who cause them so often get away with it. The mystery of our existence, complete with our intelligence and consciousness, is not easily solved.

  29. Amad


    October 23, 2007 at 9:59 PM

    “Comments missing”… unless your comment was deserving of the “history” command… sometimes comments find their way into the spam folder… completely randomly… but nothing gets deleted until we look at it… so sometimes it may take a bit but it will be unspammed and brought to life… sorry for the inconvenience.

  30. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 10:13 PM

    So injustice is a mystery for an atheist? I know we owe each other a duty of kindness and cooperation theoretically, but what about the corruption of so many people around us that goes unnoticed? How do atheists feel when they see this corruption where innocent people are the victims and nothing is done to help them?

  31. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 10:48 PM

    “I’ve recently been wondering about these kind of communities and how they are left to function unchecked. I mean, are there any kind of state institutions (police, local gov’t, etc.) to oversee or tend to them?”

    If you read the Vancouver Sun’s reports, you’ll find that, interestingly, what was going on in Bountiful was well known – the problem is that no one really wanted to do anything about it because of the “sensitivity” of the issue.

  32. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:04 PM

    As I said, I am not an atheist. Most of the atheists that I know are progressive politically, and work for peace and justice in this world. As do I. But most of my friends are artists and already quite liberal anyway, whether religious or not. Perhaps there are – somewhere – atheists who revel in injustice and evil. I don’t know any.

    I personally feel terrible about injustice, sometimes I send money to this or that cause and hope it is used well. Sometimes I call or write my legislators to demand action on some cause. Often I participate in demonstrations. I don’t expect god to do anything about it. Indeed, my whole lifetime has witnessed so many massacres, famines, wars, and genocides, that I figure that god – if there is a god – is probably expecting US to act on them.

    A few of my friends are conservative religious people, and it may be entirely coincidental, but they are the ones who support this war, for instance – which I consider unjust. In fact, they tend towards authoritarianism.

    Most atheists are humanists. I am a humanist myself. Humanism is not known for its cruelty or practice of injustice. I don’t even believe in capital punishment.

    There is a site on the web devoted to Republican child molesters. It’s a long list, and most of them were very religious people as well, and outspokenly intolerant of other religions and lifestyles. Add that to the recent Catholic priest pedophile scandals, and it really does begin to look as though strict religion, which too often encourages intolerance and repression, also produces much hypocrisy.

  33. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    October 23, 2007 at 11:10 PM

    “For its time and place, Islam probably was an improvement. But I have spoken to Muslims about this, and they admit that a woman’s testimony is only worth half as much as a man’s in such countries as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. And to balance out Sati, there are honor killings throughout the Middle East – in fact, one happened right here in California during the 80s. (Of course there are also informal ‘honor killings’ of women by jealous husbands, etc. everywhere.)”

    mollufurie: I just wanted say about this part of your comment that Sati is a ‘religious’ act, which can be found in the holy book of Hinduism. However, honor-killing is more of a ‘cultural’ thing and has obviously nothing to do with Islam.

    And you are right about women being killed/abused everywhere, as you can see here:

    “On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner.”

    But whatever happens elsewhere is never associated with the religion of that particular country, however and unfortunately whatever happens in Middle-easter countries or Pakistan always puts Islam to trial although it may have nothing to do with Islam!

  34. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:10 PM

    My last post went missing, but I trust it is only temporary and I don’t wish to double post. Both Canada and the southwestern US states have been reluctant to interfere with polygamous communities. The second and all subsequent wives are not married in a legal ceremony, so it becomes a matter of behavior among consenting adults. Except that, as it turns out, the women are not always adults and rarely have other choices. Warren Jeffs was known to expel men from his church for some reason and ‘reassign’ the man’s many wives and children to other men. These people are singularly unaware of the rights of a citizen in the United States – or Canada for that matter.

  35. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:18 PM

    Well Nazia I will try again briefly. Atheists are mostly humanists, in my experience, and not at all in favor of injustice. How they fight it or express their disapproval is probably as individual as the ways in which religious people do.

  36. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:32 PM

    Many apologies, Mollyfurie, for the eaten comments… Akismet is acting up today!

  37. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:33 PM

    You’ll have to explain Akismet and his/her/its temper to me.

  38. Avatar


    October 23, 2007 at 11:41 PM

    Akismet is the spam catcher that WordPress provides for its comments… usually it’s well-behaved but there are times when it seems to have eaten something that doesn’t agree with it, whereupon it takes it out on other people’s comments :)

  39. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 12:24 AM

    a spam catcher? How disappointing! I thought it had something to do with ‘kismet.’ Fate, I mean – only THIS fate is capricious.

  40. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    In Texas they recently changed the law to try and prevent the Spread of Polygamy and their cults. The laws prohibit the marriage of anyone to their cousins.
    In Christianity that is forbidden but in Islam it is common for people to marry their first cousin.
    Islam does not prohibit marriage of cousins but it does suggest in hadeeth that it is discouraged.
    I wonder if Muslims realize that some of their marriages are illegal or against the law in certain states of the US.
    This same analogy can be used for polygamy. Will those Muslims who say that Polygamy can not be practiced because it is against the law of the land we live in, should get divorced from their cousins.

    There is going to be a new group of Muslim leaders who are aware of the law and have background in Mediation or Conflict Resolution to create an Islamic family arbitration system here. Canada was making strong efforts but the media and press outflanked them. Here in the US it will need to be done as well.
    How will Muslims make these changes in perception for the western world. We have to change the way we talk about certain issues.

    We need Muslims in media, press, politics!
    Not pretty, but necessary.

    and by the way…how is it that we can have swingers and nudist colonies everywhere but polygamy? No way.

    I say we call Islam the new swingers group, except it is only for men with up to 4 women…now it is ALL American !

    Salam all

  41. AnonyMouse


    October 24, 2007 at 1:44 PM

    @ Mollyfurie
    Yes, I’m afraid it was nothing so interesting as true kismet!

  42. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 1:45 PM

    Wow that Joseph guy just makes me shudder, I cant believe that there are people out there like him. I mean my God! Are they human?

    Muslims in politics and the Media… Several have tried few have succeeded, the filter is will catch any and all that may enter the sphere of politics, law, and the media…well media may be able to work I have to do more research on that but being careful is the key word. Because people like Joseph are, and I say this with great pain, out there to ruin the lives of people when they are only trying to keep their rights.

    Yes the Muslims to do need people in these red areas…. The question is how do we get by the filters and the Josephs?

  43. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 1:52 PM

    Well it is very difficult.
    You have to make sure you are a positive change agent. You have to promote the the ideas of freedom, civil right, freedom of speech, and press. You have to understand the way the political and media world work.
    Check out my website and listen to my radio show on Islam. I am working on the concepts right now.
    Use audio video, viral content, liberal arts.
    It is difficult!
    You have to prove yourself with education or experience, so that you are not branded as a turncoat and find yourself in an orange jumpsuit in Cuba!

  44. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 1:55 PM

    Oh and about the polygamy thing which this post was about at the beginning… :)
    Sadly people take advantage of these rights and abuse them to a point where now women and men dont trust it anymore. It has been tarnished and it will take alot to rebuild its credibility among men and women, mostly women. The good judgement on having polygamy legalized now doesntt even wiegh a thing compared to the bad omen it carries with it. Women all around the world are being abused and hurt because of this and other women are being abused and hurt without it, the middle ground has been lost and burried.

  45. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 1:56 PM

    Islam is the middle ground

  46. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:03 PM

    O Yah definitley without a doubt dont get me wrong, I was referring to the western mentality. Nothing of Islam is being considered in the west its being thrown into the melting pot with the other religions. for example the Freedom for other religions in the Golden age of Islam surpasses democracy like the heavens and the earth. Political policies in Islam are so awesome I wish I could tell it to the World.
    In that sense I meant the middle ground is lost and burried because Islam isnt being shown as a social system rather it is shown just as a faith.

  47. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:06 PM

    Moiez @ 1:45 – I think this comment was meant for another thread (Canada: A Nation of Bigots? or the Holy Land Foundation post?)… should we move it there?

  48. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 2:08 PM

    To your point, in the Golden era of Islam….
    the Muslims allowed the other Religions to have their own arbitration courts or laws to govern their own rules within their communities.
    Rabbis and Priests were able to hold mediations and arbitrations of their own religious laws. Especially when it came to family laws and marriage, inheritance, trade within their community.
    Interesting concept that the Islamic way was to allow freedom of religion in a Muslim country and yet Joseph is willing to kill us and kick us out of “HIS” country.
    Anyone who sees me, knows I am a total white boy! I come from here.
    Like Richard Gere in an Officer and a Gentleman, “I Got No Where Else to Go!”

  49. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:09 PM

    And I definitely agree w/ you about the middle ground being “lost” – it seems that most people get carried away by the emotional connotations of a thing (e.g. polygamy) rather than thinking about the practical aspect of it (legalizing it would help protect the second/ third/ fourth wives and their children).

  50. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:11 PM

    No it was this one it refers to Joseph up at the top and to S.S’s comment sorry ill try to stay on topic next time :)

  51. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:25 PM

    Oh okay…
    Nah, it’s all right – that’s what makes blogs so special! Randomness is welcome here at MuslimMatters, especially at my posts :D

  52. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:27 PM

    “………………… Political policies in Islam are so awesome I wish I could tell it to the World.
    In that sense I meant the middle ground is lost and burried because Islam isnt being shown as a social system rather it is shown just as a faith.”

    Some of the defenses you mount in Islam’s favor are definitely going to rub Western minds the wrong way. The Western ideal is SECULAR gpvernment.

    However most Muslims really feel about these things, there are some notoriously bad examples of theocracy out there. I can still remember when thousands of women were executed in Iran after the Ayatollah’s takeover. Women in Pakistan – no, GIRLS – and elsewhere in Islamic states, have been stoned to death. And I don’t even CARE if it was for adultery! In Saudi Arabia, girls were trapped in a burning building by religious police because they weren’t properly covered. And of course the excesses of the Taliban are well documented.

    Few women would ever want to live in such a society. And few women would want to live in polygamy in any society where they are equals. Islam may be less oppressive to women than the FLDS, of course, but women are no more likely to want to share their men with other women than men are to share with other men. Such a system can only be born and maintained in a framework of inequality – not only of women, but of the many men who simply won’t be able to marry at all.

  53. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:33 PM

    @ Mollyfurie:
    The examples you give are all of Muslims doing things in the name of Islam, which are not neccessarily Islamic (or not done in an Islamically correct manner).

    Just as the justice system of a secular goverment can be twisted and manipulated, so too are the justice systems of theocracies.

    Sadly, a lot of times practices are carried out which are given the name of Islam but which are the results of CULTURE (e.g. honour killings).

  54. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 2:39 PM

    It is part of Human nature to feel jealous. Even our mother Ayesha was tailing the prophet and hiding in the streets of Medina to follow him and see where he was going.

    She did that whole thing with the honey drink and caused a ruckus!
    I say all of this with love. It is up to men to be MEN. You want more than 1 wife, step up and draw them to you. Be the confident male, the alpha male.
    In this society they have whole organizations devoted to being a Pick-Up artist. The goal is to bed as many women as possible.
    When you hear about that…marrying four and taking responsability is a big difference.
    There is a show on HBO called BIG LoVe.
    It is about the LDS and they show some interesting points of view. Polygamy is not all fun and Games, it is HARD work…pun intended!

  55. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:40 PM

    Oh and the cousin marriage thing. It is legal for first cousins to marry in many states in the US. However, what has been going on in the FLDS is unique. EVERYONE is descended from TWO guys there. And few, if any, people have ever converted and joined the FLDS. It’s tyrannical, for one reason. So first cousins have been marrying first cousins for generations. The kids there look like clones. And now it turns out that a birth defect so rare in the rest of the world that there were only 5 or 10 known victims is quite common in this very small community.

    Unlike Islam, which requires a man to support his wives,, the FLDS has them all living on welfare and food stamps and medical aid to the poor. The government is unwilling to let them starve, so it looks the other way while these welfare queens (I mean the men) rob them blind. And their reckless, dangerous breeding practices are being subsidized by taxpayers who would NEVER approve of such a lifestyle, and would sooner have all the men in jail. And meanwhile, the men drive around in big new cars, while the women and children are living in dire poverty.

    Perhaps it is safe to marry a first cousin in one generation – and then, maybe several generations later. But even an animal breeder knows that some fresh genetic stock is important.

  56. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 2:45 PM

    Thats exactly right.
    When my dad asked me who I wanted to marry…
    I said,

    ” I want Fresh Genetic Stock” !

  57. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:56 PM

    But Saleem, these are Western nations. They may agree to leave polygamists alone – to look the other way, but most Western women would prefer to support themselves and live alone than share a husband! The sexual experimentation that is now the norm for young adults of both sexes in the West, is a form of advanced dating – whether anyone approves of it or not. And it has exploded quite a number of myths. For one, the myth of superior male sexuality. But marriage is still another matter and most young people expect fidelity from their spouses when they do marry.

    Big Love is a situation comedy, albeit with a highly unusual situation, and most fundamentalist LDS people are shocked by the sexual part of Big Love. They are quite straightlaced and believe sex is for procreation – which they tend to do in vast numbers.

    Finally, the h**l with alpha males! Look around. Who starts the wars? Who lives like kings while others starve? This leftover from ape society should just go out for sports – preferably sports that give them a chance to knock each other off – and PLEASE not run the world!

  58. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 2:58 PM

    Saleem – what if you’d said “I don’t want to marry. I want to live alone and have a career” – would your father have wished you well?

  59. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 3:06 PM

    You got the wrong guy Molly
    I might sound religious and be a person who gives sermons in the community but I was raised in a very “healthy” muslim home

    My dad is from India and he married a British Christian woman. My mom converted.
    My father wanted me to study and I was the one who wanted desperately to get married.

    Islam encourages early marriage because we dont date or have the extramarital situations that are so common in the west.

    Growing up here is more difficult because we are eXposed to a lot!

    My father did support me in everything I have done
    Allah blessed me with amazing parent.

    “Live Alone” who wants that Molly?

  60. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 3:16 PM

    “Saleem – what if you’d said “I don’t want to marry. I want to live alone and have a career” – would your father have wished you well?”

    Funnily enough, there are quite a few Muslim parents who actually do tell their kids to get a career before every marrying… in fact, my aunt did that, and now she’s regretting it!

  61. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 3:29 PM

    I got the wife first and never regretted it.
    I just finished law school a year ago, my wife is in her third year of dental school and I have 5 kids…I think…
    there are a lot of them, I lose count!
    anyway…the sunnah is there for a reason.
    It is important for Muslim to talk about these issues in the same way the Christian Right talk about the importance of family values.
    Louise Farakhan just talked to the Nation about the importance of two parent homes.
    Strong Family values is the key in Islam

  62. Amad


    October 24, 2007 at 3:55 PM

    I have 5 kids…I think…

    Hope that doubt is not an ominous sign… just kidding :) Mashallah… way to go Saleem!

  63. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 4:03 PM

    I was just curious. Worse than that, Saleem, I assumed you were a woman! I don’t want to live alone – in fact, I never have. I followed a fairly old-fashioned model in my youth – an early marriage, two kids, a house in the suburbs. In my case it was a misery and I left the marriage after 16 years. I never caught up on the education I missed however. I love family though. I have 6 grandchildren.

  64. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 4:14 PM

    This leads back to the polygamy discussion.
    The prophet encourage marry the loving woman and the one who will have many children.
    We are a nation that does not need violence to spread Islam.
    We spread Islam by procreation!
    The west is having a big problem. Europe and the U.S. is in PoPulation decline.
    There is something beautiful about having a lot of children. Yes being a parent is a difficult job, but Islam is all about family. Extended family system has been killed in the US.
    The US 2.4 kids a dog and the white picket fence leads to decay.
    When molly says leave home and be on your own, this is how you lose your way.
    Importance of family, and even extended family.
    I met someone who had two wives and it was a blessing. When you are married and have kids, you dont spend a lot of time together.
    With two wives, each wife has a day off and gets to spend quality time with their husband.

  65. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 4:20 PM

    “In my case it was a misery”

    Personally, I think that since every individual is different, we can’t really follow the exact same model when it comes to such things as marriage, education, etc.

    There are Muslims for whom marriage is something eagerly anticipated and looked forward to, some who would prefer to live a while on their own before marriage, some who love marriage but don’t want kids (got a couple of these people in my family, lol), some who actually not want to get married at all (a lot fewer of these, though! ;) ).

    In the end, as Muslims we have certain obligations that we *must* fulfill, and other things that are optional (while extremely beneficial and highly recommended). Marriage is something which can be either an obligation (when staying away from it means getting drawn into fornication), or optional (when there is no real danger)… and polygyny is one of those things which is most certainly optional, and can only be practiced when certain rules and regulations are followed.

  66. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    October 24, 2007 at 5:08 PM

    AnonyMouse: There was another article on polygyny in Macleans (they are bigots but have some good stuff) that talked about Muslims a while ago, maybe check it out. I think as a community we need to take the marriage issues one step at a time–we have plenty of parents not letting there kids get married and they get caught up in the haraam. We need to solve that first and then we can entertain thoughts of polygyny.

    P.S. Is it just me but do a lot of the discussions here get steered into Muslim-nonMuslim interactions? It’s good, alhamdulillah, but we kinda got enough issues already hmm? -sigh- distracting…

  67. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 5:20 PM

    Before you can have two wives, you’ll have to persuade two women to share your affections. This will get more and more difficult as time goes by – especially when women are living in the west.

    As for many children – I was raised next door to my cousins – 8 kids – and was very much part of that family as well as of my own. But I am a socially conscious person, and early on decided that I would not contribute to global overpopulation. Five million kids starve to death every year. No, they don’t live here in California or Canada, but there is no doubt in my mind that the pressure on food and water supplies by affluent cultures contributes to the problem. While there are always exceptions (especially when a couple can afford many kids) in general, the birth rate goes down where women receive an education. Lots of racists like to point out that the Mexican families coming over the border always seem to have a lot of kids. But this I know: their daughters will assume the American norm – 2-point-something kids. So as much as I love a big family, I wouldn’t ever advise anyone to have one. Soon enough, the human race will be fighting for its life – and our dear, monstrous US military establishment predicts wars over water and arable land. Unfortunately, they are preparing to win those wars, rather than working on plans to help the rest of the world live better, and teaching Americans how wo live more simply.

  68. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 5:24 PM

    c’mon fellas – you keep talking about polygamy and poygyny, but you are ignoring the obvious. In Canada, any law that legalizes plural marriage will make it possible for women to have more than one husband. And I wonder how you will deal with that? I once knew a woman who lived for a number of years with three men – all of whom treated her child as their own and all of whom loved her – and got along pretty well, too. Then she fell for a guy who refused to share her, married him and was divorced after a short stormy period.

  69. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 5:45 PM

    “In Canada, any law that legalizes plural marriage will make it possible for women to have more than one husband. And I wonder how you will deal with that?”

    Probably the same way we’ve dealt with/ felt about gay marriage: Islamically, we strongly disagree with it, but since Canada isn’t an Islamic state, we can’t really do anything about it.

  70. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 6:00 PM

    My response to the big family issue got bumped again. It boils down to this:

    ” The population reached 1 billion in 1804, 2 billion in 1927, 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion in 1974 and 5 billion in late 1986. On October 12th 1999, the human population of Earth reached 6 billion. The population has doubled from 3 billion in 1959. ”

    “10 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 1998 and nearly 8 million of them did not reach their first birthday. About 98 percent of child deaths occurred in developing countries, with the least developed countries accounting for a third of all deaths under age five.”

    “The world’s richest 1 billion people use 80% of the world’s resources. . . . the other five billion plus people use only 20%.”

    “. . . the number of fish in the seas is a fraction of what it was a century ago. Marine biologists differ . . . . Some argue that stocks of many large oceangoing fish have fallen by 80 to 90 percent, while others say the declines have been less steep. But all agree that, in most places, too many boats are chasing too few fish. ”

    “The world’s demand for water has tripled over the last half-century” The Pentagon predicts that wars of the future be fought over WATER.

    “Scientists say wildlife extinction rates are soaring. The die-off, they claim, threatens the planet’s web of life or biodiversity which sustains farming, forestry and oceans”

    We are also losing topsoil, agricultural land, and the forests which help make our air, from population pressure. The increased market for meat contributes considerably to global warming too. And countries in which people are going without proper nutrition are growing our cotton and coffee and even foods like tomatoes for the US market – when we can grow those ourselves. Come to think of it, California is a big cotton-producing state – but all of our ag land is endangered by subdivisions.

    That is why so many young Americans in MY generation stopped at two children. I took Sartre very seriously when he said one should judge one’s behavior by asking ‘what if everyone did as I do?’

  71. AnonyMouse


    October 24, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    When it comes to kids, I actually (sort of) agree with you, Mollyfurie… even though Islam encourages having children, it also encourages sponsoring orphans and others in need: so much so that the Prophet said that the sponsor of an orphan will be next to him – the Prophet – in Paradise.

  72. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 24, 2007 at 7:31 PM

    I will be on the air tonight talking about polygamy and dating in Islam. Along with the concepts of marrying People of the Book
    11pm central
    you can call into the show to ask question or make comments

  73. Amad


    October 24, 2007 at 8:31 PM

    I reckon most women would find having more than one man at a time in their life quite despicable. I would say the opposite would be true for most men even among those who are not inclined to polygamy or adultery. There is a difference in our programming, there is no doubt about it. While you the percent of sexually harrased women is quite high, how many times do you hear of the opposite? Of course there are exceptions but generally speaking men tend to be the ones who have a harder time controlling their lust than women.

    Remember the husband’s addiction to porn post… I doubt you’ll find husbands complaining that their wives are addicted to porn, at least not many. Of course this does not justify this behavior… it is just a symptom of the differences between the sexes.

    Of course there are other social problems with polyandry, like who is the father (in the absence of dna testing). In any case, from a purely religious perspective shared by the “abrahamic” religions, there were examples of many Prophets engaged in polygamy. And no one is forcing this concept on anyone else… if individuals are free in the West to engage in homosexual activities, then why the restriction on others, esp in the presence of mutual consent?

  74. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 9:09 PM

    Isuspect that the mutual consent part is what you’ll find very little of in the West. Besides, as John Stuart Mill pointed out, no one knows what the REAL man or woman is like – we only see them through the lenses of the societies they’ve dreated – or rather, the societies that men, as the physically stronger sex, has created.

    In some of the polygamous societies, for instance, there is a custom of what is called ‘female circumcision’ – it is widespread enough that now, countries like France and England and America, find themselves in the position of banning it, in the interests of women’s rights, and in the face of a large influx of people from another culture. And what is it designed to do? Only one thing: to curb or abolish sexual desire in women. (“diminish, but do onot destroy, the prophet is supposed to have said – but the destruction continues – and why diminish?) And why would any Frenchman or American want to do such a thing? They would not. It is designed to facilitate polygamy – and nothing else.

    And I would argue that it is probably necessary, too, since women actually have a greater sexual capacity than men. If they did not have at least equal desire, then female genital mutilation would never enter anyone’s mind.

  75. Amad


    October 24, 2007 at 9:33 PM

    This is the first time I have heard of the “new” link between polygamy and female circumcision. Of course you should note, since you kind of implied the opposite, that Islam does not condone or mandate the latter. Rather it is practiced in many parts of Africa by Muslims and non-Muslims. I am quite positive that it is not done in the Middle East, I know it is not done in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, etc… so definitely not an Islamic practice, but a cultural one. And sadly, it seems to be brutal in the way and conditions it is practiced and this should be condemned by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    What I mentioned in my comment was in reference to men and women in all societies… of the East and the West. The differences are natural and exclusive of circumcision. So, then I don’t see your point at all.

    P.S. What quote are you referring to from the Prophet?

  76. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 9:52 PM

    Perhaps you have not heard of Nawal El Saadawi, a woman doctor from Egypt – who has spent a few years in jail for her activities – and a devout Muslim. It is from her book, The Hidden Face of Eve that I got this enformation. And a few other books – actually they were written by Middle Eastern women, although I know the problem is far worse and more extreme in Africa.

  77. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 10:24 PM

    Yes, I’ve heard about FGM in a few Arab countries – but it’s almost always done amongst the lower classes, the Bedouin, those who cling to their culture.
    As Amad said, there is NOTHING in Islam that condones FGM… in fact, it’s forbidden in Islam.
    The practice of female circumcision (to be differentiated from genital mutilation) is something that the Prophet (saw) permitted so long as it did not harm the woman in any major way.

  78. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 11:16 PM

    I was refering to the time of the 4 caliphs(Golden Age of Islam) that the Islamic state had some pretty decent political policies, It is true that this society is secular no doubt but even if the “few” women want to be placed in a polygamous society, they are considered in this society a minority party and minority rights are to be protected. Regarding FGM definitley agree with Mouse on that one,
    “so long as it does not harm the woman in any major way”
    not just harm but protect her from future harm if it helps her by preventing a severe illness. It makes much more sense that way for FGM to be used. Although I wouldnt think that would count as mutilation but as surgery, you get the point.

    Correct me if im wrong but I dont think there are any women who want to marry more that one husband in the minority party is there?

  79. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 11:24 PM

    Moiez, please be careful when you talk about female circumcision… there’s a difference between the sunnah-style female circumcision, and what’s referred to as FGM – female genital mutilation, which is totally haraam.

  80. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    October 24, 2007 at 11:25 PM

    The hadeeth that mollyfurie is referring to can be found on (search for ‘female circumcision’ or something similar). I’m not certain if her exact wording is precise, however.

  81. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 11:26 PM

    @ Dawud – sorry, your comment got buried pretty fast and I didn’t notice it!
    Which issue of Maclean’s was the article in? I’ll try to look it up, insha’Allah…

  82. Avatar


    October 24, 2007 at 11:44 PM

    Women tend to adapt to the society into which they are born – like men. In our day it is clear that women have as much sexual desire as men – but that was denied for centuries. In fact, in some places it was said women had NO sexual desire. Along with other things, such as women didn’t have the brains to make a good use of a college education, or hold high positions in government, or understand science or math. All of those ideas have been considered beyond question at one time or another. But they are now disproven.

    We don’t know what women can be. Maybe some women would want more than one husband. High maintenance women, for instance. We know there have always been women with many lovers. The only difference in polyandry is the ceremony, and the fact that they might all share living quarters. Fatherhood is easy to determine now with DNA. And among the Tibetans (who practice polyandry but not for the women’s benefit) all of a woman’s husbads are considered responsible for any children she has while married to them.

  83. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 1:40 AM

    Actually, contrary to popular belief promoted by CSI and other such TV shows, DNA testing is still not precise at all times. (Aside: many of the testing such as gun-powder residue testing, fire scene re-tracing, etc. are flawed scientifically and have been proven to abduct the wrong people as criminals. I watched this documentary on Discovery once where they documented such these cases).

    It’s very, very high probability that the DNA results are correct (like 96% or something), but its not spot-on. So the issue of the “who’s-the-dad” is still unresolved. We can’t really toss a coin to decide the dad, can we?

    Also, what happens if a woman has multiple husbands and she is having her period and whatnot? Are the men to sit around and twiddle their thumbs while she gets done, or do we now propose (for the first time in human history) a harmonious many-to-many relationship? I love many-to-many relationships, but only when I’m designing software. This is real life, not software design!!

    As for high maintenance woman, they can write a clause in their marriage contract that they want the man to not marry another woman (as far as I know, this is Islamically acceptable), and if he does, the marriage is over.

    Moreover, the scarcely-mentioned pre-requisite for the multiple wife option is that the man has to treat all of his wives fairly (of course, he’d be naturally inclined to one over other, but fair treatment is still required in terms of time, money, etc. etc.). If the guy knows that the woman is high maintenance, surely he will be able to gauge this and realize that one is enough for me, no?

    Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), one needs to realize that the multiple wife option is just that: an option. In the past, it was a very common and many men exercised this option. In our times, its not. No big deal, it’s not like you have to marry 4 women to be a good Muslim! It’s a great option to have since it solves so many societal problems, but by no means is this a requirement!

    Men and women are different physically and physiologically (but not spiritually). Try equating two dissimilar types, and you get a type mismatch error. Can someone please inform our friends at the feminist movement of this? This is the root cause of all this “Why-not-women?” syndrome.

  84. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 1:59 AM

    Let me try this again, my comment keeps getting caught by the filter…

    mollyfurie said:

    “In our day it is clear that women have as much sexual desire as men – but that was denied for centuries. In fact, in some places it was said women had NO sexual desire.”

    The thinking that women have no sexual desire or limited sexual desire is purely cultural and has been stated in the East and West. Islam has never stated anything close to this. What Islam has done is recognize the differences in men and women in terms of sexuality and make sure to remind husbands that the duty of sexual gratification is a 2 way street.

    For example, there are that hadith indicate the importance of a husband building intimacy with one’s wife.

    `Not one of you should fall upon his wife like an animal; but let there first be a messenger between you.’ `And what is that messenger?’ they asked, and he replied: `Kisses and words.’

    `Three things are counted inadequacies in a man. Firstly, meeting someone he would like to get to know, and taking leave of him before learning his name and his family. Secondly, rebuffing the generosity that another shows to him. And thirdly, going to his wife and having intercourse with her before talking to her and gaining her intimacy, satisfying his need from her before she has satisfied her need from him.’

    `Your eye has a right over you, your guests have a right over you, and your wife has a right over you.’ (Bukhari.)- In relation to a wife who complained to the Prophet PBUH that her husband would spend all night praying and all day fasting.

    “We don’t know what women can be. Maybe some women would want more than one husband. High maintenance women, for instance. ”

    I can only relate this to Islam, but I’m sure there are Muslim women who wish to marry more than 1 man. I’m also pretty sure there are Muslim men who wish to have more than 4 wives, but what it basically comes down to is following what has been prescribed to Muslims in the forms of the Quran and Hadith.

    But since these desires are outside the bounds of what is allowed Islamically they cannot be fulfilled. Is it fair? No, but then again this life isn’t meant to be fair. Yes we are to enjoy this life within the bounds of Islam to the fullest, but one must remember that this life is a test and that control of one’s desires is a fundamental part of Islam.

    It may not make complete sense on why in today’s society with women being able to achieve the earning power of men polyandry isn’t permissible, but the basis of Islam is submitting to God’s will and that the wisdom of God’s rules will not always be apparent to us.

  85. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 25, 2007 at 2:17 AM people.
    You know it hate it when we start talking about what a man might desire and what a woman might desire.
    That is never really the basis for how we as Muslims think of things.
    This is especially to Molly. When we say we are Muslim we accept that we have submitted to the will of Allah. And that means we leave it up to the wisdom of Allah to proscribe the law. In Islam we believe that the religion is completed and perfected. That means that all of these issues must have already been settled. As well as the reasons given. In the case of sexual desire we see a lot of people confusing the debate with polygamy adulterty and even homosexuality.
    Sometimes Muslims in the west get caught in the natural desire argument and that even compromises their position on the homosexual nature nurture argument.
    The desire of a person whether male or female is not the issue. The point is what has Allah proscribed as the best way to have a healthy society at large. Islam is a religion for all time and all places. Not a history/ future or East /West argument. The best answer for the world is the middle ground as we discussed earlier.
    That middle ground is called islam.
    The healthiest relationship is where a woman is with one man. That is the best situation for her as the way she was created. For her to be with one man. From a social point of view. As well as the nature of the woman to be cared for and protected. To have someone wit her, a companion. That is her nature. It has nothing to do with her intelligence or ability to function in society, or even her sexual desires.
    A man may lust after many women or even other men and islam does not alloy him to follow his desires. Nor are the desires of a woman to be used for a determination.
    When it comes to men, that need to have one single solitary partner is not there. It is not an emotional need, for security with men. We have a hard time here in the west just adjusting to gender roles. There is a big backlash as we have changed the nature of our society. Women only started going to work because of the last war and the amount of sacrifice by the men while fighting. That affected our culture in the US.
    Now women are finding more and more ways to stay home, with different forms of leave to raise their kids…
    anyway I am rambling…
    my point is that we dont follow the islamic system because it is compatible with our animalistic sexual desires, but because this is the way Allah has told us, as the most healthy for society.
    Long explanation with little substance…apologies. It is late.
    Peace. Salam

  86. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 2:18 AM

    One last response and then I’ll stop:

    “And to balance out Sati, there are honor killings throughout the Middle East – in fact, one happened right here in California during the 80s.”

    I just want to reiterate what has been stated before and that Sati is a religious practice. Honor killings are a purely cultural practice that has no place whatsoever in Islam. It was never practiced by the Prophet PBUH or his companions and there is not any evidence condoning this act.

    Honor killings are the work of ignorant, uneducated, cruel men who would be carrying out their “honor killings” regardless of whether they were Muslim.

    Any mistreatment that Muslim women face is due to cultural influences that have been mistakenly thought to be associated with Islam.

    One only has to look at the Prophet PBUH and his marriages where he treated his wives with love, dignity and respect.

    What is disappointing is when a Muslim’s imperfection is associated with Islam. The media always gets a kick out of using the isolated actions of a few misguided Muslims and then painting the entire faith of Islam with it.

    Isn’t it strange how this standard never seems to other faiths?

  87. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 7:23 AM

    sorry guys I was using FGC and FGM interchangeably my mistake if you guys can edit that in my comment that would be great just change FGM to FGC.

  88. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 8:35 AM

    The solution isn’t necessarily to legalise polygamy/polygyny but may also be to simply ‘privatise’ marriage.

    The marriage contract could then be treated like any other private contract between consenting adults. i.e. they have absolute freedom to contract with whoever and with how many parties as they wish, with whatever terms they agree, and the contract would be as legally enforceable as any other.

  89. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 11:12 AM

    “Also, what happens if a woman has multiple husbands and she is having her period and whatnot?”

    Positively antidiluvian! She probably never wants it more – sorry to be crude.

    female circumcision, however liimited, accomplishes nothing for health or any other purpose except curbing female sexuality.

    I realize that the entire Muslim world can’t be held responsible for the actions of some – but you must face this: the offenders are not a small minority. Governments that permit stoning, that hold girls to be adults as young as 13, that say a woman’s testimony is worth only half of a man’s – try Pakistan, for instance – they are not just a few. Of course it is probable that most Muslims are in the West for the purpose of getting away from such things, but some of those ‘things’ have followed them abroad.

    There are also problems in Europe and Australia. In Australia a Muslim leader said than men aren’t responsible for rape, that if ‘meat’ is left uncovered and the cat gets it, it isn’t the cat’s fault! And Europe is having to pass laws against forced marriages, fgm, and other barbarities that they haven’t had to deal with for decades or centuries. And they’ve had to take seriously the complaints of girls who have said that their families were going to kill them – because it happens now. And again, the religious leaders in those countries say that it is the women’s fault, and warn European women against dressing in a way to incite rape.

    Do I need to mention that these developments are frightening to Westerners? Perhaps Muslims should be distancing themselves from the impression of female oppression, rather than trying to introduce polgyny into Western nations in which women have long been accustomed to equality.

  90. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 11:20 AM

    “Perhaps Muslims should be distancing themselves from the impression of female oppression”

    Muslims in the West have been constantly repeating themselves on this issue as well as that of terrorism – but if the media ignores us just as constantly, are we to blame?

    “rather than trying to introduce polgyny into Western nations in which women have long been accustomed to equality.”

    Again: Nobody here is trying to introduce polygyny into Western nations. This post was initiated because I read what was going on in Bountiful, B.C. and wondered what the reaction would be should polygamy be legalized in Canada.

  91. Amad


    October 25, 2007 at 12:45 PM

    I like Amir’s idea of “privatization”, which I imagine is consistent with the libertarian thought on this?

    However, I wonder how you would manage it in terms of for example, healthcare for spouses, and the myriad of other private and public benefits that come with “official marriage”? The recognition to function as a couple has to have some sort of official sanction, no?

  92. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 12:56 PM

    In Canada we have something called “common law marriage” which, as far as I know, isn’t actually marriage (not recognized in any special service or ceremony) but basically means that when two people live together for a long enough period of time they eventually gain legal status as a couple… that’s what I can remember off the top of my head; if I’m wrong, please do correct me.

  93. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 1:05 PM

    “…….to function as a couple………” Wouldn’t that be as a triple or quantuple, etc.?

    In Canada, isn’t everyone entitled to health benefits quite apart from marital status?

    How would you handle inheritance? In California, a spouse is entitled to one-third of the estate (at least). But four thirds seems out of the question, and leaves nothing for the apparent ideal multitude of children. I must say that leaving one’s children nothing does seem to fit into the Western scheme of things these days. Also, in the west, there is a tradition of community property – that means that half of all of a couple’s assets belong to each spouse, regardless of their origin (except those that predated the marriage) – so would these be divided four ways? But if you followed the Utah model, only ONE wife (the first) would be wed in the law – so the others would be legal outsiders, possibly with no claim on the inheritance. Complicated…………………

    And here’s a question. What do you tell a man who is unable to find a wife because all the wealthy men (since Islamic rules do say the man must be able to support all his wives) have monopolized the available stock? Of course that is VERY hypothetical. I am sure there are lots of men dreaming of polygyny – perhaps hundreds to every woman who would consent to it.

  94. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 1:48 PM

    See, Mollyfurie, those are all the sorts of things that come to mind when we think of what legalizing polygamy would mean – and why it’s probably not going to happen. The cost of drastically changing existing laws would be too much for the government (who don’t seem to have a problem wasting it on other things… grrrr!).

    I think that the major question is: would the benefits of having second/ third/ fourth wives/spouses legally recognized and protected for in the eyes of the State be worth legalizing polygamy?

  95. Avatar

    Saleem Siddiqui

    October 25, 2007 at 3:24 PM

    Amir point is the legally correct way in the west.
    You can have civil unions in certain states. This can be done with any form of partner you chose. The freedom to contract is always there. The issue only comes up when dealing with people who have the states make their decision. If you have legal help and plan for all contingencies , then you can define everyones role and legal standing in contract. There can be no way to prevent it. Anyone can contract with anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

    There are not a lot of Muslim Lawyers, nor are they thinking on this line so the documents are still being developed. The same can be said after divorce or prenuptial agreements. You can create the contract to be Islamic in the very start. Yet, it would still be legal and binding in courts of law here in the US.
    This is America. You dont need to explain yourself to anyone, or provide reasons for why you and another consenting adult are intimate!

  96. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 4:08 PM

    “Indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.” (22:46)

  97. Avatar


    October 25, 2007 at 11:13 PM

    Hypothetically, if polygamy is privatized what would be the case if problems were to occur, everything that is privatized eventually has the government step in, which is not a problem but it will get to the point where it becomes more public than private. If that sounds confusing to you as it does to me, and I was the one that typed it, let me know so I can explain a little better, or if someone wants to give it a shot go for it.:)

  98. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 12:13 AM

    Just curious again – and btw, I don’t think Islam is worse than other religions (which I abhor universally) if you wanted to take a second wife and your first wife objected – tho’ she wished to remain in the marriage – what would your response be? I am going here on the convention that a man can divorde a woman merely by pronouncing the sentiment 3 times. And what would you do if, for any reason, your wive – or one of them – wished a divorce and you did not? What rights has she?

  99. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 1:49 AM

    Moiez, not necessarily. Contracts often have dispute resolution mechanisms in them and, even so, the state could interfere in as much it was enforcing adherence to that contract.

  100. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 4:06 AM

    “I am going here on the convention that a man can divorce a woman merely by pronouncing the sentiment 3 times. And what would you do if, for any reason, your wive – or one of them – wished a divorce and you did not? What rights has she?”

    A woman can initiate a divorce from her husband if she wishes. I’m not sure of the exact procedure but it can be easily searched.

    Besides, female initiated divorces are nothing new and happened during the times of the Prophet PBUH:

    “An instance was reported at the time of the Prophet when a woman came to him saying that although her husband was a good man and she had no complaint against his treatment, she disliked him greatly and could not live with him. The Prophet directed that she should return to the husband a garden which he had given to her as her dowry, as the condition of her divorce.”

    “What do you tell a man who is unable to find a wife because all the wealthy men (since Islamic rules do say the man must be able to support all his wives) have monopolized the available stock?”

    This is an unrealistic situation that will never occur. How many men are wealthy enough to support 4 wives? How many women want to enter into a marriage and become a second/third/fourth wife, remembering that both men and women have the right to refuse to enter into any marriage contract.

    Although there are some women who are content with being a second wife I’d say the majority would not want to be in the situation which is their right.

    Just because marrying multiple wives is an option doesn’t mean people are going to flock toward it.

    Polygyny was practiced more commonly during the Prophet PBUH yet there wasn’t a shortage of “stock.”

  101. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 4:33 AM

    However, I wonder how you would manage it in terms of for example, healthcare for spouses, and the myriad of other private and public benefits that come with “official marriage”? The recognition to function as a couple has to have some sort of official sanction, no?

    The ‘benefits’ that married couples get from private organisations are typically not the result of legislation but for other reasons. For example, marketing reasons or because married couples may be less risky. I have no doubt that if people were allowed to contract all forms of civil unions, that these companies would likewise offer benefits to people in these sorts of contracts because it would make good business sense to do so.

    Already, some companies and organisations offer discounts or deal favourably with defacto or common-law relationships so this would not be too different.

    Of course, privatised marriage contracts that allow polygany and the settling of divorces according to Islamic law has a side-effect that some might not like: that if a man can marry two, three or four women, a woman can also marry two men; or, for that matter, a man can marry another man or two men or two men and a woman; etc

  102. Amad


    October 26, 2007 at 9:07 AM

    I think for a company to provide medical coverage for multiple spouses would be a financial drain and I think there’ll be significant resistance to it, ESP. since medical costs are becoming a huge burden these days. I do feel that medical expenses in America is a big discouragement for multiple partners, even if you could privately contract it.

    Polygamy is a dead-end zone… it isn’t going to happen. Starting from the fact that most Western Muslim women will never accept it, and ending with the fact that Western society is very hostile to this concept. I think incest will be accepted before polygamy does… sad and disgusting reality… but weren’t people equally disgusted by the concept of homosexuality 20-30 odd years ago?

  103. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 11:16 AM

    Incest will not be legalized and in fact, may be more strongly legislated AGAINST, due to the astronomical rate of birth defects now being seen in Utah among the FLDS. The care of fumarase deficiency children is too expensive for most people to deal with – so – and especially among the FLDS, where all the women are on welfare (FLDS men don’t have to prove they can support a multitude of wives in order to have them) the State will have to put up the money – and taxpayers are quite likely to revolt at subsidizing reckless breeding.

    Work-related health insurance plans wouldn’t cotton to polygamy, because of the doubled risks per insured male worker, but a national health plan would cover anyone regardless of marital status, etc.

  104. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 1:36 PM

    “I am going here on the convention that a man can divorde a woman merely by pronouncing the sentiment 3 times.”

    That’s actually a misconception – he only has to say it once, whereby she is divorced and enters what is called the “Iddah” (waiting period). If they agree to get together again before the Iddah is over, then it counts as one non-final divorce. This may occur one more time, but the third time is considered final (i.e. he can’t take her back, she has to be married to someone else and consummate that marriage, after which if the second marriage is terminated she and her first ex-husband may get married once more).

  105. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 2:48 PM

    some interesting views of divorce as it pertains to Islam:

    “Egyptian Women See Divorce as Religious Right

    CAIRO (WOMENSENEWS)–As Egyptian women push to eliminate gender bias in divorce laws here, they find themselves entering a struggle over competing visions of Islam.

    “We always use Islam now,” says Iman Bibars, director of the Cairo-based Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women, which has long struggled to amend Egypt’s divorce laws.

    To make their case, many advocates are advancing a vision of Islam in which men and women enjoy equal rights in all matters, including divorce.

    “Men control the subject in a backwards way,” contends Dr. Zeinab Abdel Meguid Radwan, a member of the National Council for Women and a scholar of Islamic philosophy. “This is why there is a big difference between true Islamic Sharia, and what happens in reality.” Sharia is the Islam-derived legal code whose meaning and interpretation vary according to different theological schools. Egypt’s constitution states that Islamic Sharia is the principle source for legislation.

    Radwan says the Islamic Sharia reflected in divorce law resulted from men picking those aspects of Sharia that fit their world view.

    Under Egyptian law, men have an absolute and unilateral right to divorce. Women, by contrast, must turn to the courts, where they must provide exacting proof of abuse. The decision is left to Egypt’s male-dominated judiciary and decisions can be appealed by husbands wishing to prolong the process.

    With approximately 8,000 judges and 14 million pending cases in Egypt, a divorce settlement can take years. While the case slogs through the legal system the woman is left in legal limbo, her husband oftentimes no longer supporting her, and unable to remarry until the case is decided.”

    And here is a very odd case – from GERMANY!

    ” Thursday, March 22, 2007
    German Judge Says Woman Can’t Get Divorce, Men Have Right To Beat Their Women

    The case seems simply too strange to be true. A 26-year-old mother of two wanted to free herself from what had become a miserable and abusive marriage. The police had even been called to their apartment to separate the two—both of Moroccan origin—after her husband got violent in May 2006. The husband was forced to move out, but the terror continued: Even after they separated, the spurned husband threatened to kill his wife.

    A quick divorce seemed to be the only solution—the 26-year-old was unwilling to wait the year between separation and divorce mandated by German law. She hoped that as soon as they were no longer married, her husband would leave her alone. Her lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk agreed and she filed for immediate divorce with a Frankfurt court last October. They both felt that the domestic violence and death threats easily fulfilled the “hardship” criteria necessary for such an accelerated split.

    In January, though, a letter arrived from the judge adjudicating the case. The judge rejected the application for a speedy divorce by referring to a passage in the Koran that some have controversially interpreted to mean that a husband can beat his wife. It’s a supposed right which is the subject of intense debate among Muslim scholars and clerics alike.”The exercise of the right to castigate does not fulfill the hardship criteria as defined by Paragraph 1565 (of German federal law),” the daily Frankfurter Rundschau quoted the judge’s letter as saying. It must be taken into account, the judge argued, that both man and wife have Moroccan backgrounds.”

  106. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 3:37 PM

    Divorce is something allowed to both men and women in Islam… and physical abuse is something forbidden in Islam. The German judge was way weird.

  107. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 6:59 PM

    Yeah, that judge is a nutter. But how many countries that, like Egypt, consider themselves Islamic nations adhering to Shariah law, grant women equal rights in the matter of divorce? Technically, women are equal in Buddhism, too, but it doesn’t work out that way in practice. Or in Christianity much of the time also.

  108. Amad


    October 26, 2007 at 7:14 PM

    I am sorry Molly, but we don’t represent Egypt, Saudi, Pakistan or any other country. We represent simply, everyday Muslims. If you want to ask us about Islam and Muslim, we can tell you. But if you want to ask us why this or that country does it the “wrong” way, we won’t be able to help you much there.

    Unfortunately this discussion is going down to familiar quarters… starting with throwing out all the crimes that Muslims do against women (as if this has something to do with the religion), about the “shariah” bogeyman, and so on…

    So, let me ask you a different question Molly. What do you know about Islamic fundamentals? About our basic beliefs? About God, the Prophets, angels, etc.?

  109. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 9:10 PM

    Actually I have read some sizable ‘chunks’ of the Quran (not particularly impressed, by the way), but fairly early in my life, I read the Old Testament, and the New Testament, and I came to the conclusion that neither of them represented anything like the TRUTH – the Truth worthy of the creator of the universe.. I also read some Hindu texts (much more impressive in terms of time and space, btw), and was entranced by Buddhism for a few years. The fact is that none of us know god, and I don’t believe godis knowable by the human race in its present form One of the ways that this is made obvious, is by the actions of Christian nations, Muslim nations, and the Jewish nation. Also the Hindo nation and the Buddhist nations. Secular nations come closes to creating a decent society – and by their fruits ye shall know them, right?

    Here is a god big enough to create an infinite universe, with uncounted numbers of galaxies, filled each with billions of stars and star systems, who yet chooses some pitiful tribes on an unimpressive planet circling a lesser, outer star in an unimpressive galaxy to be his/her ‘chosen’ people and to give them a ‘truth’ they can actually comprehend! This is mythology – no not even that, because mythology is beautiful and contains at least some psychological truth. It is superstition. Those who began these religions were not the brave or the wise – who rule directly or influence directly – but the crafty, who found a way of controlling others through fear of a god and a hell they cannot even see or prove. And while they were at it, they crafted a system by which women were owned and controlled by men – and bought, sold and traded.

    I haven’t the slightest fear that any of these things are true.

  110. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 9:11 PM

    P.S. I don’t believe in Santa, either.

  111. Amad


    October 26, 2007 at 9:18 PM

    In other words you don’t know much about Islam. Sizeable chunks of Quran without background may not be that helpful sometimes.

    Do you understand Islamic monotheism and its difference from all other faiths, sects and cults?

  112. Avatar


    October 26, 2007 at 9:37 PM

    Yes – but Judaism is also monotheistic and even Muslims refer to Jews and Christians as the People of the Book, no?

    But are you familiar with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch? I don’t really concern myself much with god and his rules – all the world’s religions date back to more primitive times and reflect those values and science. I am much more interested in the treatment humans receive at the hands of their governments. I can’t really judge every Muslim by the actions of those governments which call themselves Islamic, but it is hard to ignore the fact that all of those countires have appalling human rights records – as does Israel, to be fair, and every Christian theocracy in history as far as I can tell.

    Really, the old guy in the sky doesn’t interst me in the least.

  113. Amad


    October 26, 2007 at 10:18 PM

    The monotheism of Muslims is very different from any other religion or sect. I am sorry but since you are on a Muslim blog, we are concerned about God Almighty :) And I will say that a good Muslim will be a natural humanist. But in order to understand what drives Muslims and what attracts so many converts to it, despite all the negativity and misconceptions about the religion, you have to understand Tawheed (Islamic monotheism). So, if you will allow, I and other Muslim readers can share some basics of what Tawheed means, for the benefit of all our readers.

    You mentioned all the “bad” things going in the Muslim countries, and Israel. If you talk to people over there, their image of Americans isn’t the most stellar either. There is a reason for this… usually the news that makes it across the wires is what is sensationalist. Usually sensationalist news is bad. So, when the lady in Texas drowned her 5 kids in the bath-tub, you can bet that news made it yonder. How many people do you think now believe (in the East) that this is a common event in America? You can bet a lot. Similarly, the few horrible events of “honor” killings, beatings, etc. from that side become screaming headlines over here. And the stereotypes hence are reinforced about Eastern society similar to the stereotypes prevalent about Western societies in the East. I was raised in the Middle East… my family is still in Pakistan and there weren’t many more outrageous events over there than over here. My mom and almost all other “aunts” were treated just fine. In fact, Pakistani women usually ran the show in many households, and I kid you not. I personally can’t think of anyone who treated his wife much worse than regular folks here.

    Furthermore, if you consider the stats of sexual harassments, wife-beatings, and the other “bad” stuff here, there is a chance it may be worse here. So, as fair-minded individuals, we need to temper our perceptions with the reality of how news travel.

    Ok, now back to Tawheed, should we?

  114. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 3:17 AM

    You are right Amad. This so-called ‘Christian nation’ (the US) has some very very dark aspects – the most prominent of them being our behavior in the Middle East. And those things – the support of Israel in the persecution of the Palestinians, the unprovoked and brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the perhaps unavoidable war on Iran – are of far greater consequence than even the unfortunate occurrences of honor killings. If I were an Iraqi, I would no doubt have joined the resistance by now. What else can a freedom loving person do?

    Personally, I am deeply ashamed of the part America has played since before the first Gulf War. And I am horrified that it is being done in the name of Christ – for while I am not a Christian, I believe that such murderous acts should not be done in he name of a person who mostly preached for peace.

    Nothing will make me believe in religion, but I do think there have been good men and women throughout history who have worked for peace, love, and harmony among people and among nations.

    I am afraid that it is more convenient for people to worship those ‘prophets’ than to live what they taught.

  115. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 10:10 AM

    “I believe that such murderous acts should not be done in the name of a person who mostly preached for peace.”

    ….so whats the difference between this and people doing heinous acts which are not part of our religion in the name of Islam? or the Prophet? sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

    No offense, but if I find a lot of what you’re saying to be really rude and arrogant.
    “not impressed by it [the Qur’an]”, sorry but reading it english doesn’t even come close to arabic. It was reaveled in arabic, and its miraculous nature is arabic. Anything other than arabic is only a mere attempt–an attempt- to capture it’s beauty, so until you learn arabic your critcism really has no basis.

    “Really, the old guy in the sky doesn’t interst me in the least.” Learn about tawheed.

    You’re going to find bad people in all religions and it’s really not fair for you to use evidence from isolated cases, which in fact have nothing to do with Islam but their culture against the muslims. Seems kinda backwards, don’t you think?

    Good luck mollyfurie.

    wAllahu yahdee mayn yashaa’u ilaa siratil mustaqeem, subhanAllah.

  116. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 12:52 PM

    I’m sorry, Ibelieve you misunderstood me.I don’t believe that Christianity is particularly superior to Islam, or Judaism, or Rastafarianism – or vice versa. The world’s religions were begun by well-meaning people, it seems, but in the end they have ALL been used to oppress and murder and excuse heinous acts. I am not a Christian, nor much of a defender of it. And I think orgainzed religion is the curse of humanity.

    All the world’s religions have a BOOK – a Holy Book, usually written or dictated by God. We know it was written (or dictated or inspired) by God, because it SAYS SO…………….in the book. (And they are all beautiful books too. Really bad prose doesn’t survive 10 or 20 centuries, y’know?)

    But all of them are used for controlling others’ minds and behavior – and not always for good. In fact more wars have probably been waged in the name of god than any other cause. Which is too bad, because religion is the one cause for war that is NEVER legitimate. Oh alright, conquest is not legitimate either, nor empire building. But as you can see, The President of the US is still deluded into thinking that his imaginary friend in the sky told him to ‘smite’ Saddam Hussein, and that is why we are now in a war which promises no gain, no end, no peace and no honor.

  117. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 2:47 PM

    Regarding the earlier question, which I dont think was answered, was if a woman already in a marriage didnt want a second wife, what would be the response of the man, A man cannot have a second wife without the consent of the first. If the first wife does not wish to share a marriage than the man cannot marry the second woman. This I believe comes from Abraham(AS) and his talk with his wife who could not have any children and she ALLOWED him to marry the other women, had she said no Abraham(AS) could not marry the other woman.

  118. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 2:57 PM

    “A man cannot have a second wife without the consent of the first.”
    Erm, this is actually incorrect… in the Shari’ah, the man does not *need* the permission of his first wife, although it’s considered basic decency/ common sense to tell the first wife about it, listen to what she has to say, give her the option for divorce, etc.

  119. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 3:03 PM

    Mollyfurie, I have to say that your reasons for rejecting religion are the same as that of many atheists, and one which I view as fundamentally flawed:

    You say that religion is the cause of so much evil, that the Holy Books have been and are used to manipulate and control people… yet the fact is that religion is not THE ONLY cause of evil, that the Holy Books are not THE ONLY things used to control and manipulate people.

    Just because something has been twisted to evil ends, does not make IT, in and of itself, evil.
    The truth will remain the truth, eternal and everlasting, regardless of who tries to twist it or reject it. The most courageous are those who will not fear it because of it’s potential for evil, but because of the universal truth within it.

    You could say the same for science (see iMuslim’s latest post). Technological discoveries have been made by those who had good intentions, yet they can be used for evil purposes.
    Will you say, then, that because of that you’ll have nothing to do with science? That you’ll despise it simply because of what it has (sometimes) been used for?

    You say you believe in God’s existence. Awesome. That’s one step forward.
    Now, may I ask why you don’t believe in God as we (meaning, Muslims) believe in Him?
    Is it that 1) you don’t know how we believe in Him, or 2) that you don’t think God bothered letting us, His creation, know about Him so that we can worship Him properly?

  120. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 3:03 PM

    “in the Shari’ah, the man does not *need* the permission of his first wife”………………..
    and this is ‘equality?’ It is similar to the ‘equality’ granted women by all religions, I see.
    Well I’d have nothing to say, unless you consider the sound of a pistol being cocked a language…………… ‘-p

  121. AnonyMouse


    October 27, 2007 at 3:09 PM

    In Islam, our concept of equality between the genders is not the same as the Western concept.
    Here’s an awesome vid. by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi (one of our writers on MM) on the subject, which explains it.

    You could summarize it by saying, “Equality without sameness.”

  122. Amad


    October 27, 2007 at 3:28 PM

    The argument that religion has been the cause for much evil and specifically for a lot of killings is completely bogus and not historically proven either. If you look at even the last century, more people died because of ethnic or land-based conflict than religion. Think of the Rwandan massacre… ethnic based. Think of Stalin… and for the most part Hitler… again, not religiously motivated. And if you review historical data, there have been many occasions where religion has been used as a battle-cry ONLY to motivate, but usually far from being the main underlying cause.

    So, again, though this argument is oft-repeated, it is rarely backed (because it can’t) by historical facts.

  123. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 3:37 PM

    Mouse: Can you give me a reference to that because Im not sure I agree with the no need of consent, I only said that because I heard it from a scholar and it makes sense to me and of course I could have misunderstood. Jazaks!

  124. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 3:55 PM

    Think of the witch-burnings of the Renaissance and late Middle Ages. Estimates run from 50,000 (mostly women) to millions over three centuries. Some towns in Germany were left with only one or two women after the priestly witch-hunters were through. Only religion could have caused such a slaughter. hmmmmm Think of the Crusades. Just before the Conquistadores came to Mexico, an estimated 45,000 people were sacrificed to the gods on one of the great pyramids of Mexico. Meanwhile, the Conquistadores murdered hundreds of thousands, no doubt, in the name of somebody they called “the Prince of Peace.” And how many women have been burned alive in the ritual Sati?

    Someone said, “Men never do Evil so cheerfully as when they do it in the name of god”

  125. Amad


    October 27, 2007 at 5:24 PM

    50,000 to possibly millions over 3 centuries?

    How about Stalin with 20 million, the Rwandans at 1 million and Hitler’s Germany about 6 million?

    Right there, in JUST the last century, I have given you 27 million reasons that non-religion based killings exceed probably all killed on religious basis in the last 20 centuries.

    I am not saying that a perverted sense of religious duty hasn’t led to some unjustified killings, but statistically you’ll have to be a fool to believe that it is worse than “secular murders”.

  126. Avatar


    October 27, 2007 at 9:40 PM


    Scroll down to the very bottom, and it says that there’s no evidence in the Qur’an and Sunnah saying that the first wife’s permission is a must.

  127. Avatar


    October 28, 2007 at 12:11 AM

    hmmm, I see Im going to revisit the place I heard this from and find out what was really said from the scholar. Jazakallah Khair Mouse!

  128. Avatar


    October 30, 2007 at 1:46 AM

    Eating pork meat is prohibited beacuse it harbours taenia solium parasite which resides in brain,calcifies there and results in epilepsy,mental ailment,tumour and death.Secondly the moral side is that pigs have peculiar habits i.e.female pigs r very much prone to be polygamous.this finding explains the western world’s moral behaviour

  129. Avatar


    October 30, 2007 at 1:51 AM

    mr.Mullefurie should read the sorah albaqra which says that Quran is a guidence for the pious and pure and it will not help the ones who r away from piety and purity.He should learn how to become pious- not by seeing common muslims or maligned by propaganda but rather should dive in the sea of piety and experience himself.Old prejudices never work in education and inquisition of knowledge.

  130. Avatar


    October 30, 2007 at 4:23 AM

    Every religion is the only one true religion – it’s sometimes the only thing they have in common. I was raised in the only one true religion too, and according to twenty centuries of Roman Catholic teaching, y’all are goiong to hell, no doubt about it). But of course I now regard such teachings as bigotry. Wherever they appear.

  131. Avatar

    scene girls

    June 11, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    Hah! That really made me laugh – thanks!

  132. Avatar

    Murat Kumbasar

    June 10, 2017 at 3:15 PM

    Asalamu alaikum
    I’m Murat.
    I am 67 years old. I live in a small town Djelandy in Tajikistan
    In need of dentures, The ones I have now are worn down and broke. Eating mostly with front teeth.
    I do not smile,do not go out of my home because I am embarrassed cause of my teeth. I avoid ring around family and friends. I do not grocery shop anymore.
    Please please help me to smile again. Your generosity will be. Greatly appreciated. Owe around 1700 TJS (US$ 200 ) in past due doctor bills.
    Whom every helps can pay directly to the dentist. Allah bless you all thank you for taking time to read this .
    If I was wrong. Tell me who will ask for help.
    I will be grateful for any of your help.

    Sorry for my bad english.

    My PayPal

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How Do Muslims Plan for Disability




Families with children with disability have an extraordinary set of challenges and blessings.  Disability (or special needs) is a broad term.

Many disabilities will prevent what we often think of as “normal.”  It may hinder or prevent educational opportunities, and employment. Many people with “special needs” can get educated, get married and live long and productive lives.  The problem for many parents of younger children with special needs is that they typically have no certainty about their children’s future needs. Even if the situation looks dire, it may not stay that way.  

How do parents plan for a world where they may not be around to see how things will end up for their special needs children?  What can they do to help their children in a way that does not violate Islamic Inheritance rules?

Certain types of disability, especially the loss of executive decision-making ability, could also happen well into adulthood.  This can be a threat to a family’s wealth and be the cause of internal conflicts. This is the kind of thing every adult needs to think about before it happens.  

The Problem

The issues are not just that parents believe their special needs child will need more inheritance than other children. Muslim parents usually don’t think that. Some parents don’t want their special needs child to get any inheritance at all.  Not because of any ill-will against their special needs child; just the opposite, but because they are afraid inheritance will result in sabotaging their child’s needs-based government benefits.    

Many, perhaps most special needs children do not have any use for needs-based benefits (benefits for the poor).  But many do, or many parents might figure that it is a distinct possibility. This article is a brief explanation of some of the options available for parents of special needs children.  It won’t go over every option, but rather those that are usually incorporated as part of any Islamic Estate Planning.

Please Stand By

Example:  Salma has three daughters and two sons.  One of her children, Khalida, 3, has Down Syndrome.  At this point, Salma knows that raising Khalida is going to be an immense challenge for herself, her husband Rashid and all the older siblings.  What she does not know, however, is what specific care Khalida is going to need through her life or how her disability will continue to be relevant. She does not know a lot about Khalida’s future marriage prospects, ability to be employed and be independent, though obviously like any parent she has nothing but positive hopes for her child’s life.   

In the event of her death, Salma wants to make sure her daughter gets her Islamic right to inheritance.  However, if Khalida needs public benefits, Salma does not want her daughter disqualified because she has her own money.

Her solution is something called a “stand-by special needs trust.” This type of trust is done in conjunction with an Islamic Inheritance Plan and is typically part of a living trust, though it could also be a trust drafted into the last will.  I will describe more about what a special needs trust is below. For Salma, she is the Trustee of her trust. After she dies, she names her husband (or someone else) the successor Trustee. The trust is drafted to prevent it from becoming an “available resource” used to determine eligibility for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits that go with that.

If it turns out that Salma passes away when Khalida is 5, and her assets are held in trust for her until she is 18 and her Trustee determines she does not need a special needs trust, she will get her inheritance precisely like everyone else based on their Islamic right.  If she does need benefits, the Trustee will only make distributions to Khalida that would not harm her eligibility.

This way, there is no need to deny Khalida her inheritance because of her disability, and she is also making sure giving her daughter inheritance would not harm her daughter’s healthcare or other necessary support.  

Munir Vohra is a special needs advocate and an athlete

The Shape of Special Needs Trusts

A stand-alone Special needs trusts, which is sometimes called a “supplemental needs trust” the kind without the “stand-by” variation I described above, are a standard device for families that have children with special needs. A trust is a property ownership device. A Grantor gives the property to a Trustee, who manages the property for the benefit of a beneficiary. In a revocable living trust, the Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary are typically the same person.  

When the trust is irrevocable, the Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary may all be different people. In a special needs trust, the person with a disability is the beneficiary. Sometimes, the person with a disability is also the Grantor, the person who created the trust.  This might happen if there is a settlement from a lawsuit for example and the person with special needs wants it to be paid to the trust.  

In many if not most cases, the goal may not be to protect the beneficiary’s ability to get public benefits at all. Many people with a disability don’t get special government benefits.  But they do want to protect the beneficiaries from having to manage the assets. Some people are just more susceptible to abuse.

The structure of the arrangement typically reflects the complexity of the family, the desire of siblings and extended family to continue to be involved in the care and attending to the needs of the person with a disability, even if they are not the person directly writing checks.   

Example: Care for Zayna

Example: Zayna is a 24-year-old woman with limited ability to communicate, take care of her needs and requires 24-hour care.  Zayna has three healthy siblings, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her father, Elias, earns about $70,000 per year and is divorced. Zayna’s mother Sameena cannot contribute, as she is on social security disability. However, Zayna’s adult brother and sisters, brother in laws, sister in law and several aunts, uncles want to help Zayna meet her needs E.lyas creates a third party special needs trust that would ensure Zayna has what she needs in the years to come.

Zayna receives need-based public benefits that are vital to her in living with her various disabilities and her struggle to gain increasing independence, knowledge and dignity.  So the trust needs to be set up and professionally administered to make sure that when Zayna gets any benefit from her trust, it does not end up disqualifying her ability to get any needs-based benefit.  

Contributions to the special needs trust will not go against Islamic Inheritance rules unless made after the death of the donor.

If Zayna dies, her assets from the special needs trust will be distributed based on the Islamic rules of inheritance as it applies to her.

When disability planning is not about Public Benefits

Perhaps most families with special needs children do not use any needs-based public assistance.  They are still concerned about special needs and planning for it.

Example:  Khadija, 16, is on the autism spectrum. For those familiar with the autism spectrum, that could mean a lot of things.  For her parents, Sarah and Yacoob, other than certain habits that are harmless and easy to get used to, it means Khadija is very trusting of people. Otherwise, she does well in school, and her parents don’t think she needs way more help than her siblings and she has just as good a chance of leading a healthy and productive life as any 16-year-old girl.  

The downside of being too trusting is that the outside world can exploit her.  If she ends up getting inheritance or gifts, she may lose it. The parents decide that when she gets her inheritance, it will be in a trust that would continue through her life.  There will be a trustee who will make sure she has what she needs from her trust, but that nobody can exploit her.

In some ways, what Khadija’s parents Sarah and Yacoob are doing is not so different from what parents might do if they have a child with a substance abuse problem.  They want to give their child her rights, but they don’t want to allow for exploitation and abuse.

Considering your own needs

There are many people who are easy marks for scammers, yet you would be unlikely to know this unless you are either a close friend or family member, or a scammer yourself.  While this often happens to the elderly, it can happen at just about any age. Everyone should consider developing an “incapacity plan” to preserve their wealth even if they lose their executive decision-making ability.   

There is this process in state courts known as “conservatorship.” Indeed, entire courtrooms dedicate themselves to conservatorships and other mental health-related issues.  It is a legal process that causes an individual to lose their financial or personal freedom because a court has essentially declared them not competent to handle their affairs. Conservatorships are a public process.  They can cause a lot of pain embarrassment and internal family strife.

One of the benefits of a well-drafted living trust is to protect privacy and dignity during difficult times.

Example: Haris Investing in Cambodian Rice Farms

Haris, 63, was eating lunch at a diner.  In the waiting area, he became fast friends with Mellissa; a thirty-something woman who was interested in talking about Haris’s grandchildren.  The conversation then turned Melissa and her desire to start a business selling long distance calling cards. Haris was fascinated by this and thought it made good business sense. Haris gave Mellissa $20,000.00. The two exchanged numbers. The next day, Mellissa’s number was disconnected.

Haris’s wife, Julie became alarmed by this.  It was out of character for her husband to just fork over $20,000 to anyone on the spur of the moment.  What was worse is that the business failed immediately.  

Three months later,  Haris meets Mellissa at the diner again.  She then convinces Haris to invest $50,000 in a Cambodian rice farm, which he does right away.   His wife Julie was pretty upset.

How living trusts helps

As it happened though, Haris, a few years before, created a living trust.  It has a provision that includes incapacity planning. There are two essential parts to this:  The first is a system to decide if someone has lost their executive decision-making ability. The second is to have a successor Trustee to look over the estate when the individual has lost this capacity.  This question is about Haris’s fundamental freedom: his ability to spend his own money.

If you asked Haris, he would say nothing is wrong with him.  He looks and sounds excellent. Tells the best dad jokes. He goes to the gym five times a week and can probably beat you at arm wrestling. Haris made some financial mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.

Julie, and his adult children Haroon, Kulsum, Abdullah, and Rasheeda are not so sure it’s just a mistake.  The living trust created a “disability panel.” This panel gets to vote, privately, in if Haris should continue to act as Trustee of his own money.  If they vote that he should not manage his own money, his wife does it for him.

The family has a way to decide an important and sensitive issue while maintaining Haris’ dignity, privacy and wealth.   Haris’s friends don’t know anything about long distance calling cards or a Cambodian rice farm; they don’t know he lost his ability to act as Trustee of his trust.  Indeed the rest of the world is oblivious to all of this.

Planning for everyone

Islamic inheritance is fard and every Muslim should endeavor to incorporate it into their lives.  As it happens it is an obligation Muslims, at least those in the United States, routinely ignore or deal with inadequately.  However, there is more to planning than just what shares go to whom after death. Every family needs to create a system. There may or may not be problems with children or even with yourself (other than death, which will happen), but you should do whatever you can to protect your family’s wealth and dignity while also fulfilling your obligations to both yourself and your family.

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Cleaning Out Our Own Closets This Ramadan: Bigotry

Why Eliminating Hate Begins with Us




Before Muslims take a stand against xenophobia in the U.S., we really need to eradicate it from our own community.

There. I said it.

There is no nice way to put it. Muslims can be very intolerant of those outside their circles, particularly our Latino neighbors. How do I know? I am a Latina who came into Islam almost two decades ago, and I have experienced my fair share of stereotypes, prejudice, and just outright ignorance coming from my very own Muslim brethren.

And I am not alone.

My own family and Latino Muslim friends have also dealt with their daily doses of bigotry. Most of the time, it is not ill-intentioned, however, the fact that our community is so out of touch with Latin Americans says a lot about why we are often at the receiving end of discrimination and hate.

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (The Qur’an, 13:11)

Recently, Fox News came under fire for airing a graphic that stated, “Trump cuts aid to 3 Mexican countries,” on their show, “Fox and Friends Weekend.” The network apologized for the embarrassing error, but not before criticism of their geographical mishap went viral on social media. The reactions were of disbelief, humor, and repugnance for the controversial news channel that has become the archenemy of everything Islamic. People flooded the internet with memes, tweets, and comments regarding the ridiculous headline, Muslims included. American Muslim leaders quickly released statements condemning the lack of knowledge about the difference between Mexico and the nations of Central and South America.

Ironically, however, just about two months ago, my eldest son wrote an essay about the bullying he experienced in an Islamic school, which included insults about him being Mexican and “eating tacos” even though he is half Ecuadorian (South America) and Puerto Rican (Caribbean), not Mexican. I include the regions in parentheses because, in fact, many Muslims are just as geographically-challenged as the staff at Fox News. When a group of Hispanic workers came to replace the windows at his former school, my son approached them and spoke to them in Spanish as a means of dawah – teaching them that there are Latin American and Spanish-speaking Muslims. His classmates immediately taunted him saying that the laborers were “his cousins.” Although my son tried countless times to explain to his peers the difference between his origins and Mexico and defended both, they continued to mock Latinos.

On another occasion, a local masjid invited a famous Imam from the Midwest to speak about a topic. My family and I attended the event because we were fans of the shaykh and admired his work. A few minutes into his talk, he made a derogatory remark about Mexicans, and then added with a smile, “I hope there aren’t any Mexicans in the room!” A gentleman from the community stood up behind my husband, who is Ecuadorian, and pointed at him saying, “We have one right here!” Some people chuckled as his face turned red. The shaykh apologized for his comment and quickly moved on. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes. This was nothing new.

Imam Mohamed Alhayek (Jordanian Palestinian) and Imam Yusuf Rios (Puerto Rican) share an intimate moment during the 16th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day. Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

Once, I visited a Pakistani sister, and as I enjoyed a cup of warm chai on her patio, she turned to me earnestly and said, “You and (another Latina Muslim) are the only educated Hispanics I know.” She then asked me why Latinos did not have “goals and ambitions” because supposedly, all the Hispanic students in her daughters’ school only aspired to work in their parents’ businesses as laborers. She went on to tell me about her Hispanic maid’s broken family and how unfortunate it was that they had no guidance or moral values. I was shocked by her assumptions, but I realized that this was the sentiment of a lot of Muslims who simply do not know a thing about our culture or have not taken the time to really get to know us.

When I accepted Islam back in 2000, I never expected to hear some of the narrow-minded comments and questions I received from those people who had become my brothers and sisters in faith. After all, I came to Islam through the help of an Egyptian family, I declared the Shahada for the first time in the presence of people from Pakistan, and I was embraced in the masjid by worshippers from places like Somalia, Sudan, Palestine, India, Turkey, and Afghanistan. A white American convert gifted me with my first Ramadan guide and an Indian sister supported me during my first fast. I expected to be treated equally by everyone because Islam was for everyone and Muslims have been hearing this their whole lives and they preach it incessantly. I do the same now. As a Muslim Latina, I tell my people that Islam is open to all and that racism, colorism, classism, and xenophobia have no place in Islam.

Nevertheless, it did not take long for me to hear some very ugly things from my new multi-cultural community. I was questioned about whether I was a virgin or not by well-meaning sisters who wanted to find me a Muslim husband. My faith was scrutinized when my friend’s family introduced me to an imam who doubted I had converted on my own, without the persuasion of a Muslim boyfriend or husband. I was pressured about changing my name because it was not “Islamic” enough. I was lectured about things that I had already learned because foreign-born Muslims assumed I had no knowledge. I was even told I could not be a Muslim because I was Puerto Rican; that I was too “out there,” too loud, or that my people were not morally upright.

I know about good practicing Muslim men who have been turned down for marriage because they are Hispanic. On the other hand, I have seen sisters taken for marriage by immigrant Muslims to achieve citizenship status and later abandoned, despite having children. I have been approached by Muslim men searching for their “J-Lo,” who want to marry a “hot” Latina because of the disgusting exploitation of Latina women they have been exposed to from television, movies, and music videos. I have made the mistake of introducing this type of person to one of my sisters and witnessed their disappointment because she did not fit the image of the fantasy girl they expected. I have felt the heartbreak of my sister who was turned down for not living up to those unrealistic expectations, and who continues to wait for a Muslim man who will honor her as she deserves. An older “aunty” once said to my face that she would never let her children marry a Latino/a.

I met a brother named José who was told that he had to change his un-Islamic Spanish name so that he would be better received in the Muslim community, even though his name, when translated to Arabic, is Yusuf! I have been asked if I know any Hispanic who could work at a Muslim’s store for less than minimum wage 12 hours a day or a “Spanish lady” who can clean a Muslim’s house for cheap. I have spoken to Latino men and women who work at masajid doing landscaping or janitorial services who have never heard anything about Islam. When I approached the Muslim groundskeeper at one of these mosques with Spanish literature to give them, he looked at me bewildered and said, “Oh, they are just contractors,” as if they did not deserve to learn about our faith! I have heard that the child of a Latina convert was expelled and banned from returning to an Islamic school for making a mistake, once. I have been told about fellow Hispanics who dislike going to the masjid because they feel rejected and, worse of all, some of them have even left Islam altogether.

Latina Muslims share a laugh during the 16th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day.
Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

A few weeks ago, news was released about the sentencing of Darwin Martinez Torres, who viciously raped and murdered Northern Virginia teen, Nabra Hassanen during Ramadan in June 2017. The story made national headlines and left her family and the entire Muslim community devastated. Although the sentence of eight life terms in prison for the killer provided some closure to the public, the senseless and heinous act still leaves sentiments of anger and frustration in the hearts of those who loved Nabra Hassanen. Muslims began sharing the news on social media and soon, remarks about the murderer’s Central American origin flooded the comments sections. One said, “An illegal immigrant from El Salvador will now spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison where all his needs will be met, and his rights will be protected… When we attack efforts to stop illegal immigration and to deal with the criminals coming across the border every day, remember Sr. Nabra… we should all be united in supporting common-sense measures to ensure that our sisters do not walk in fear of attacks. (And no, this is not an ‘isolated case’…).”

Although I was just as relieved about receiving the news that there was finally justice for our young martyred sister, I was saddened to see that the anti-Hispanic immigrant sentiment within our own community was exposed: To assume that Latino immigrants are “criminals coming across the border every day” is to echo the very words that came from current US President Donald Trump’s mouth about immigrants prior to his election to the presidency. To blame all Latinos for a crime committed against one and claim it is not an “isolated case” is to do the same thing that Fox News and anti-Muslim bigots do when they blame all Muslims for a terror attack.

Why are we guilty of the same behavior that we loathe?

I do not like to air out our dirty laundry. I have always felt that it is counterproductive for our collective dawah efforts. It is embarrassing and shameful that we, who claim to be so tolerant and peaceful, still suffer from the very attitudes for which we blame others. As I write this piece, I have been sharing my thoughts with my close friend, a Pakistani-American, who agreed with me and said, “Just like a recovering alcoholic, our first step is to admit there is a problem.” We cannot demand our civil rights and expect to be treated with dignity while we mistreat another minority group, and this includes Latinos and also other indigenous Muslims like Black Americans and Native Americans. I say this, not just for converts, but for my loud and proud, half Puerto Rican and half Ecuadorian children and nephews and others like them who were born Muslims: we need a community that welcomes all of us.

Latinos and Muslims share countless cultural similarities. Our paths are the same. Our history is intertwined, whether we know it or not; and if you don’t know it, then it is time you do your research. How can we visit Islamic Spain and North Africa and marvel at its magnificence, and travel to the Caribbean for vacation and notice the Andalusian architecture present in the colonial era structures, yet choose to ignore our shared past? How can you be proud of Mansa Musa, and not know that it is said his brother sailed with other Malians to the Americas prior to Columbus, making contact with the indigenous people of South America (even before it was “America”)? How can you turn your back on people from the countries which sheltered thousands of Muslim immigrants from places like Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey after the collapse of the Uthmani Empire, many of which carry that blood in their veins?

Latino Muslim panelists during “Hispanic Muslim Day” at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center, Union City, NJ Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

We need to do a better job of reaching out and getting to know our neighbors. In recent years, the Muslim ban has brought Latinos and Muslims together in solidarity to oppose discriminatory immigration laws. The time is now to establish lasting partnerships.

Use this Ramadan to reach out to the Latino community; host a Spanish open house or an interfaith/intercultural community iftar. Reach out to Latino Muslims in your area for support, or to organizations like ICNA’s WhyIslam (Por qué Islam) for Spanish materials. A language barrier is not an issue when there are plenty of resources available in the Spanish language, and we have the universal language that has been declared a charity by our Prophet, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and that is a welcoming smile.

There is no excuse.

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How to Teach Your Kids About Easter

Don’t tell my dad this, but growing up, I was sure I wanted to be a Christian. It had nothing to do with the theology though, it was – really and truly – all about the chocolate.

Zeba Khan



Don’t tell my dad this, but growing up, I was sure I wanted to be a Christian. It had nothing to do with the theology though, it was – really and truly – all about the chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not grow up in any sort of conservative, chocolate-deprived bubble. My mother was – and still is – a Christian. My father was – and still is – Muslim, and our home was a place where two faiths co-existed in unapologetic splendor.

My mother put up her Christmas tree every year.  We children, though Muslim, received Easter baskets every year. The only reason why I wished I was Christian too, even though I had no less chocolate in my life than other children my age, was because of the confusing guilt that I felt around holiday time.

I knew that the holidays were my mother’s, and we participated to honor and respect her, not to honor and respect what she celebrated. As a child though, I really didn’t understand why we couldn’t celebrate them too, even if it was just for the chocolate.

As an adult I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this conflicted enthusiasm for the holidays of others. Really, who doesn’t like treats and parties and any excuse to celebrate? As a parent though, I’ve decided that the best policy to use with my children is respectful honesty about where we stand with regard to other religions.

That’s why when my children asked me about Easter, this is what I told them:

  1. The holidays of every religion are the right of the people who follow them. They are as precious to them as Eid and Ramadan are to us.
  2. Part of being a good Muslim is protecting the rights of everyone around us, no matter what their religion is. There is nothing wrong with non-Muslims celebrating their religious non-Muslim holidays.
  3. We don’t need to pretend they’re not happening. Respectful recognition of the rights of others is part of our religion and our history. We don’t have to accept what other people celebrate in order to be respectful of their celebrations.
  4. The problem with Muslims celebrating non-Muslim religious holidays is that we simply don’t believe them to be true.

So when it comes to Easter specifically, we break it down to its smaller elements.

There is nothing wrong with chocolate. There is nothing wrong with eggs. There is nothing wrong with rabbits, and no, they don’t lay eggs.

There is nothing wrong with Easter, but we do not celebrate it because:

Easter is a celebration based on the idea the Prophet Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was Allah’s son, who Allah allowed to be killed for our sins. Easter is a celebration of him coming back to life again.

Depending on how old your child is, you may need to break it down further.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Created the sun, Allah is not a person whose eyes can’t even look directly at the sun. Allah Created space, Allah is not a person who can’t survive in space. Allah Created fire, Allah is not a person who cannot even touch fire. Allah is not a person, He does not have children as people do. Prophet Jesus [alayis] was a messenger of Allah, not a child of Allah.

Allah is also the Most-Merciful, Most-Forgiving, and All-Powerful. When we make mistakes by ourselves, we say sorry to Allah and try our best to do better. If we make mistakes all together, we do not take the best-behaved person from among us and then punish him or her in our place.

Allah is Justice Himself. He is The Kindest, Most Merciful, Most Forgiving Being in the entire universe. He always was, and always will be capable of forgiving us. No one needed to die in order for Allah to forgive anyone.

If your teacher failed the best student in the class so that the rest of the students could pass, that would not be fair, even if that student had offered that. When people say that Allah sacrificed his own son so that we could be forgiven, they are accusing Allah of really unfair things, even if they seem to think it’s a good thing.

Even if they’re celebrating it with chocolate.

We simply do not believe what is celebrated on Easter. That is why we do not celebrate Easter.

So what do we believe?

Walk your child through Surah Ikhlas, there are four lines and you can use four of their fingers.

  1. Allah is One.
  2. Allah doesn’t need anything from anyone.
  3. He was not born, and nor was anyone born of Him. Allah is no one’s child, and no one is Allah’s child
  4. There is nothing like Allah in the universe

Focus on what we know about Allah, and then move on to other truths as well.

  1. Christians should absolutely celebrate Christian holidays. We are happy for them.
  2. We do not celebrate Christian holidays, because we do not accept what they’re celebrating.
  3. We are very happy for our neighbors and hope they have a nice time.

When your child asks you about things like Christmas, Easter, Valentines, and Halloween, they’re not asking you to change religions. They’re asking you for the chance to participate in the joy of treats, decorations, parties, and doing things with their peers.

You can provide them these things when you up your halal holiday game. Make Ramadan in your home a whole month of lights, people, and happy prayer. Make every Friday special. Make Eid amazing – buy gifts, give charity, decorate every decorat-able surface if you need to – because our children have no cause to feel deprived by being Muslim.

If your holidays tend to be boring, that’s a cultural limitation, not a religious one. And if you feel like it’s not fair because other religions just have more holidays than we do, remember this:

  • Your child starting the Quran can be a celebration
  • Your child finishing the Quran can be a celebration
  • Your child’s first fast can be a celebration
  • Your child wearing hijab can be a celebration
  • Your child starting to pray salah can be a celebration
  • Your children can sleep over for supervised qiyaam nights
  • You can celebrate whatever you want, whenever you want, in ways that are fun and halal and pleasing to Allah.

We have a set number of religious celebrations, but there is no limit on how many personal celebrations we choose to have in our lives and families. Every cause we have for gratitude can be an opportunity to see family, eat together, dress up, and hang shiny things from other things, and I’m not talking about throwing money at the problem – I’m talking about making the effort for its solution.

It is easy to celebrate something when your friends, neighbors, and local grocery stores are doing it too. That’s probably why people of many religions – and even no religion – celebrate holidays they don’t believe in. That’s not actually an excuse for it though, and as parents, it’s our responsibility to set the right example for our children.

Making and upholding our own standards is how we live, not only in terms of our holidays, but in how we eat, what we wear, and the way we swim upstream for the sake of Allah.  We don’t go with the flow, and teaching our children not to celebrate the religious holidays of other religions just to fit in is only one part of the lesson.

The other part is to extend the right to religious freedom – and religious celebration – to Muslims too. When you teach your children that everyone has a right to their religious holidays, include Muslims too. When you make a big deal out of Ramadan include your non-Muslim friends and neighbors too, not just because it’s good dawah, but because being able to share your joy with others helps make it feel more mainstream.

Your Muslim children can give their non-Muslim friends Eid gifts. You can take Eid cookies to your non-Muslim office, make Ramadan jars. You can have Iftar parties for people who don’t fast.   Decorate your house for Ramadan, and send holiday cards out on your holidays.

You can enjoy the elements of celebration that are common to us all without compromising on your aqeedah, and by doing so, you can teach your children that they don’t have to hide their religious holidays from the people who don’t celebrate them.  No one has to. And you can teach your children to respect the religions of others, even while disagreeing with them.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are bound by a common thread, and there is much we come together on. Where the threads separate though, is still a cause for celebration. Religious tolerance is part of our faith, and recognizing the rights of others to celebrate – or abstain from celebration – is how we celebrate our differences.

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