Polygamy

In this episode, Yassir’s mother insists that he take on a second wife. Amaar retorts that it’s against the law but she explains to Amaar that since the Nikah isn’t registered, it could be their little secret.

I’ve heard of men marrying two to three women where only one is actually registered. I suppose that isn’t proper because according to the doctrines, you can only marry more than one woman if you can treat them equally. 

Which countries currently allow polygamy? Are you in one of these countries? If it is Sunnah, why aren’t Muslim men marrying more women?

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35 Comments

Filed under Episode 7

35 responses to “Polygamy

  1. Sara

    I hardly know know any Muslim man who is married to two wives.. In Islam, one of the reasons you are allowed to marry a second wive, is if she cannot give children but only if you can look after both wives equally and show love equally.

  2. freshouttatime

    found a fun article on the issue
    http://islamlib.com/en/page.php?page=article&id=488

    good point to draw out of it, if the first wife doesn’t consent to the 2nd wife, it shouldn’t be going down.

    As for Prophetic tradition he (pbuh) remained monogamous until Khadija died, 2 or 3 years passed and he then re-married, but as indicated in extensive biographies and historical critiques they were done for alliance, social equity purposes.

    Now if that’s not good enough, most know the Quran indicates that up to 4 marriages are acceptable only if the man can treat his wives equally, and later goes on to assert that isn’t possible.

    I’m in no position to say if multiple marriages are wrong or legal, but the point is people, cultures and societies blended with religious doctrine allow for differing thought. As long as societal trends aren’t forcing Muslims or any individual into doing things that are clearly forbidden, one should be receptive to the society and culture they live in.
    For yassir’s mom in lebanon it was acceptable for marriage and in mercy- a microcosm of western society polygamy is social taboo.

    get whut i mean?

  3. Sara

    Correction:-

    If anyone wants to know about Polygamy In Islam please read the article in the following link –

    http://www.answering-christianity.com/polygamy.htm

  4. Bill

    With Homosexual marriage being on the verge of acceptability in the Western World no doubt polyamory will be acceptable in a generation or so.

    We are in a steep decline in Western society.

    http://www.polygamy.com/

  5. Yes you are asked to be fair and not to be unjust the quran says in the same surah 4.129 You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much on one of them (by giving her more of your time and provision) so as to leave the other hanging ( i.e. neither divorced nor married). And if you do justice and do all that is right and fear Allah by keeping away from all that is wrong, then Allah is Ever oft-forgiving most merciful.

  6. Sara wrote: “I hardly know know any Muslim man who is married to two wives.”

    Actually, I know a few (and no, I’m not one of them 😉 ).

    The moderator asked: “Which countries currently allow polygamy?”

    In SE Asia, Malaysia and Singapore both allow polygamy; Indonesia most likely does as well, but I don’t know for certain. I bring this up in part because most people probably don’t know that Singapore, which has a secular government like most countries, also includes some sections of Shari’ah among its laws. There are Shari’ah courts here that deal with various issues that affect Muslims (e.g., family issues, inheritance, etc.). Polygamy is allowed, but the number of Muslim men who take advantage of this is very, very small.

    “If it is Sunnah, why aren’t Muslim men marrying more women?”

    Because one wife is often more than enough to deal with, because of jealousy on the part of the wife, and because having more than one wife can be very expennnnnsive. 🙂

  7. FZ

    I believe polygamy is legal in most Muslim countries except Turkey and Tunisia.

    Most of the cases I know of (which all involve Egyptian men) mostly consist of an Egyptian man married to an Egyptian Muslim woman and a foreign woman/women, who more often than not, are Christians, not Muslims. The Christian woman more often than not is aware she is not the only wife and more often than not has no problem with it. I would argue that Muslim women are less accepting of it actually than the Christian women who agree to enter into such a plural marriage usually as the second wife.

  8. Canadian Christian

    The resonse from Yassir’s mother when he tells her that he isn’t allowed to marry another woman is priceless:

    “Why?! You have have three other wives I don’t know about?!”

  9. Zaraf

    Yes, pressuring a man into marrying another wife is not good since being married to multiple women at the same time is added responsibility for the man placed by God.

    I find it funny when people in the West seem to think that a man having more than one wife is some sort of “exotic harem” like thing. It is just a way to take care of a woman, who may otherwise not be taken care of due to various circumstances (she’s old, widow, barren, etc). Even if she is young, but if she is fine with being a co-wife, then what’s the issue? Of course, the added pressure comes on the MAN who must now split almost everything between the wives. And the West makes it seem like it is an advantage for the man….hahaha, that’s a good one.

    The only “advantage” the man has is that he is now able to legally have sex with two women (or up to four if he has four wives). But really, is this “advantage” worth the crazy life style the man would have afterwards?

    Today’s society has become as such that a man taking care of multiple women is exponentially more difficult. In the past, it wasn’t AS difficult as it is now, and that is one of the reasons you don’t see it as often anymore.

  10. Habibah

    Yeah, getting married to more than one woman would be such a headache. People need to grow up and think more critically, all people make of it is that the man has someone else to sleep with!! Now he has to care and provide for 2 individuals, not to mention me equal to them in every single way. It’s very tough. The men of today aren’t as pious as the men who used to practice this.

    I know a brother who’s falling into problems and wants to divorce a wife. He buys a ring for one, he’s gotta be fair and get one for the other. He buys a house for one, he’s gotta be fair and buy one for the other… it’s burning a hole in his pocket.

  11. Neutral

    So one can understand that in a society in which single women have a hard time supporting themselves, and one that has significantly more females than males, probably due to war, the option of multiple wives could be advantageous. But
    1) We should struggle to rectify these two problems before we resort to this rather apocalyptic solution and
    2) The above scenario assumes that these marriages, are for kinship, financial support, or alliance reasons, not for sex or romantic love. If one or more of the marriages were for romantic love (and, presumably, sex) than it would be impossible to love your wives equally because humans are, in general monogomous in relationships.

  12. I don’t think anyone is going to solve war and famine right away, one is in the hands of humans and the other is a natural phenomenom not under human control, but human society has to respond to the situations created for real people.

    I am partly of Russian ethnicity, did you know that in the Soviet era, under Stalin after WWII there was a great surplus of women and the Russian people were becoming fewer in numbers so Joseph Stalin actually proposed allowing polygamy in Russia so that the numbers of the Russian people could be restored after the terrible losses of men in the Revolution, WWI, and the Great Patriotic War, (WWII)?

    Although religion, all religion was illegal in the Soviet Union, the Orthodox Church still had some influence and they opposed the idea very much.
    Again this wasn’t for the men to have a good time so much as to protect the women and to replenish a depleted society with new members.

    In Western societies a lot of men have mistresses or go see prostitutes, not all, but very many do, and these women haven’t got any rights. This is heartbreak for the women who get involved many times, because the men will lie about their marital status, and the ‘other woman’ and the wife both suffer. The wife is decieved and suffers loss of resources for no explained reason, or worse she may know very well there is another, and the ‘other woman’ lives with promises that he’ll divorce his first wife and marry her, etc. I think that is really very dirty and evil to do to women. The same people that do all that get so upset about the idea of polygamy though!

    At least in polygamy, the children have some rights of inheritance that aren’t argued about, the women are cared for, and it’s not totally bad for the man, many men are not content with just one woman.

    And then there’s the health issues of secret immorality, no one knows the disease status for example of a prostitute, so men bring diseases home. Mistresses pose some of the same risk, maybe they aren’t as risky as prostitutes, but it’s probably safer for everyone if there are legal arrangements and everyone knows what’s going on.

    I shared this opinion with some other Christian friends of mine and they got really mad at me, they actually prefered the situation of a man having a mistress or seeing prostitutes in secret! This one woman in the debate got really upset about it, even though I proved all my points well, that polygamy isn’t as bad as it’s painted.

    I think there is a cultural problem with it because the Western perception is that polygamy is about sex when in actual fact the arrangement of mistresses, pre-marital sex, living together without marriage, and prostitution is infinately worse in it’s social consequences, and really IS totally about sexual gratification for the wayward male, with no concern for consequences to the women trapped in such situations, or the children that may arrive with out rights or protections.

  13. John

    The reason men have affairs is because they like the feeling of conquest. They like to know that they can still attract women for after all your wife is your wife so you don’t need to attract her anymore.

    Polygamy wouldn’t stop this need.

  14. John

    Also there are just some sexual acts that you feel uncomfortable doing with the mother of your child.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna-whore_complex

  15. Zaraf

    John, that whole concept of “sexual conquests” is a product of this sexually orientated culture in Western civilization. In Islam, there is no sexual contact outside of marriage, so there is no “conquest”. Therefore, there isn’t this “need” to go and conquer more women, since you’ve never done it in the first place. You went and got married. Chances are your WIFE conquers YOU 🙂 haha

    But yes, in Western society, where men tend to sleep around with many women, the ability to “attract women” becomes are sort of a “game” or “competition”. You’ve probably heard about all the crazy things that go around in college. Guys hanging used condoms on their “rival’s” doors to show “Ha! I conquered another one!”. Are women objects to be conquered? Are they the mere playthings of men? That is certainly what this mindset portrays, sadly.

    In Islam, women are treated with dignity, respect, and humanity. They aren’t used and passed around by men to do as they will. Rather, they are married to a man, who takes care of them, and provides in all aspects for them. You tell me if any sane woman would choose to be used and passed around over having a committed husband who supports them. Go and ask those single mothers who have kids to take care of, and jobs to handle, and a home to handle, and ask them if they would mind being a second or third wife in exchange for being taken care of.

    The enforcers of monogomy claim they are standing up for women’s rights. And women (mainly feminists) being stupid enough have fallen in this trap. Enforced monogomy primarily benefits the men, since they are now free to play around as they will, and don’t need to have any commitments with the women they have relations with. Disgusting, really.

    Katja has done an excellent job of explaining the whole concept. It’s better not to become culturally blinded when seeking enlightenment.

  16. John

    My point was that I don’t see how polygamy would stop men from committing adultery. I guess people who believe it would think that men commit adultery out of a desire for variety, whereas I believe it is out of a need for conquest as well as sometimes a desire by some to commit sex acts that they wouldn’t think of doing with the mother of their children.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna-whore_complex

    Even though we are becoming more decadent as a society, still most people consider adultery to be wrong and it is still most often a scandal when a person’s adultery is found out.

    I am against adultery, open marriages, and polygamy.

  17. John

    I should say that I am against polygamy in modern society. I can see its benefits in traditional society for protecting and caring for women who have been left as widows. The suggestion that Yassir’s mother made was motivated by her hatred of Sarah, but she also mentioned the need for the woman she wanted Yassir to marry to be taken care of.

    I would think multiple wives would become quite expensive, but I guess in traditional societies it is less so.

    I hear this commonly occurs when some guy dies and the brother decides to take over his family in order to protect them. It is too bad that such an act must have a sexual component to it. It would be better if the man out of the goodness of his heart let his brother’s family into his home, but his brother’s widow out of his bedroom, but such is not the case in traditional societies and it is better for the woman that the brother protects her. So in that case polygamy may be beneficial.

    But all of this isn’t in the dynamics of modern society, at least not in Western Society like Canada. A widow has the resources to take care of herself in Western society and doesn’t need a man to survive.

  18. Zaraf

    So you say all of this in the sense that only men need/want sex? Women have no desire for it? So the widow should be left out of the bedroom cause she doesn’t want it and it will be forced upon her? It is her right that her husband be available for her if possible, and vice versa for the husband.

    Polygamy isn’t about satisfying a man’s desire for multiple women, or even to prevent adultery. There are positive aspects of polygamy that do this, but the focus is to create and maintain a solid family and social structure. Men and women treating sex in a casual manner and going about it like riding a bus cause a corruption in society that eats away at the very core.

    I’m glad to see that you are against adultery, and open marriages and such (eg. “common law” relationships), but then you need to ask yourself…WHY are you against polygamy? Is it because you see it as an exploitation of women? Or do you see it as just a way for men to get more sex from different women “legally”? If it is either of these reasons, they are again thought up from that sexual mindset I’ve been talking about. Think about it in the family and social aspects. You said it makes sense for more traditional societies, but how does that change now? Is there suddenly an influx of men now that there is a 1:1 male-female ratio? Are there not still women who are stuck as single mothers? Women stuck in prostitution? Women stuck as being used and handed around as mistresses? Until there are more men than women, you can’t say there is no need for polygamy.

  19. John

    Here are the figures of the male and female population in the United States.

    http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/censr-20.pdf

    There is not a big enough difference between the percentage of men and the percentage of women in our society to justify polygamy as being necessary.

    And again, in our society, women aren’t as dependent on men as they are in traditional societies. They can own property, have careers, etc. They don’t need a man to take care of them.

  20. Neutral

    “Enforced monogomy primarily benefits the men, since they are now free to play around as they will, and don’t need to have any commitments with the women they have relations with. Disgusting, really.”

    Dear Zaraf,
    How about we just have monogamous husbands who don’t cheat? Is that so hard? If so, maybe some counseling is in order.

    If I were a prostitute or single mother, I would far rather have the opportunity to support myself economically, socially, and emotionally, rather than have marriage be my only way out. As for there being more men than women (which isn’t a huge deal in most countries except among the elderly because women tend to live longer) most women I know would rather stay single than be one of two or more wives. any women would miss monogamy/independence far more than they would miss romantic companionship.

    I love being a woman, but would not choose to be one under your terms.

  21. Neutral

    Sorry I meant “many women would miss” not “any.” I don’t mean to speak for every single woman.

  22. Brampton

    Well i think that after all this, the bottom line is all your base are belong us. Fin.

  23. Zaraf

    Dear Neutral,

    You mention that most of the women you know would rather stay single than be in a plural marriage. However, I ask you to think about something, what does it mean to be “single” for them?

    Does it mean that they have to fend for themselves completely, and that they have NO intimate relationship whatsoever with anyone? That they basically live a celibate life and might as well be nuns?

    Or does it mean that while being “single”, they basically have no commitment to anyone, and go sleep around with guys at the bars and clubs they meet, etc.

    The point of this is that if you are speaking about what I think you are, then you are mixing two moral beliefs (or rather, one moral belief, and one lack thereof).

    If you’re saying that a lot of women would rather have the “freedom” to be intimate with any guy they want without having any commitments, than to be in a plural marriage, then yes, I would have to agree with you on that point.

    However, in an Islamic society, there is no intimate relationships outside of marriage. Hence, if a woman were to remain “single”, she would effectively give up sex, children, and any other result of an intimate relationship with a husband. Either that, or divulge into sinful actions. So now if you were to give a woman the following choice:

    -Give up children, sex and any intimate relationship and everything that goes with it
    -Become a co-wife

    Then I believe the choice is clear. Of course, you’ll still have the “exceptions” who would choose to go for the celibate lifestyle, but I’m referring to what the majority choice would be.

    So you see, when you mix the wrong concepts together, things don’t make sense 🙂 You have to look at them in the correct perspective.

    Oh, and Brampton; it’s “All your base are belong TO us” 🙂

  24. Zaraf

    “How about we just have monogamous husbands who don’t cheat? Is that so hard? If so, maybe some counseling is in order.”

    Sure, that sounds great to me! Let me know how successful you are, since “Western” society hasn’t been successful in pulling this off in the last many hundreds of years.

    But the fact remains that in current Western society, enforced monogamy benefits the male population. Polygamy isn’t the rule in Islamic countries, it’s the exception. It’s an allowance for something to prevent problems you see here, and those that I mentioned earlier. Just because Islam says you can marry up to four women, doesn’t mean every man should, nor is it recommended for every man. In fact, there are STRICT guidelines that MUST be followed if he is to do such a thing. And it pretty much puts the man into an even HARDER situation than he would be with just one wife. So then the question comes up, why would a man even WANT to put himself in such a situation? The truth is, most plural marriages in Islam that exist today are not of the man’s own doing, but rather, the wife. The wife’s best friend’s husband dies, and she is all alone now with no one to support her children, and she’s too old now to get easily re-married, so the wife tells her own husband to also marry her best friend. That’s a common tale.

    Anyway, I can’t talk for much more since I got work to do 😛

  25. John

    Zaraf you still haven’t explained to me why a polygamous relationship is better than a monogamous relationship for a woman.

    In Western society the choice isn’t between no sex or polygamy. There are enough men for the women and vice-versa that everyone who needs to can live in a monogamous marriage.

    Perhaps in some other societies polygamy might be necessary for the woman’s protection, but not in North America..

  26. Zaraf

    You seem to have misunderstood something, John. I never said that a polygamous relationship is better than a monogamous relationship for a woman (or a man). Obviously the monogamous relationship is better overall. However, what I have been saying is that “eliminating” polygamy is a source of these problems like adultery, prostitution, etc. If polygamy were legal, those women who are unable to currently get married would have more choices. That is all I am saying in that aspect.

    You talk as if women are “safe” in North America…but unfortunately, the “predator” is much less obvious. I’m a distress/marriage counselor, so I get to see the raw facts of life in North America, and the problems people face. I’ve spoken to numerous women who are stuck in the sex trade, or drug trade, or other crimes, and they desperately want to get out, but they have no way out. No one is willing to give them a life line, so what are they to do? I’ve spoken to them about issues like polygamy and even asked them, if it took them out of where they are right now, would they be willing to be a second wife? I have yet to meet one woman in this sort of a situation who has said “No.”

    You see, both you (John) and Neutral up top are speaking from a privileged view point. You are mostly correct from your vantage, however, you are failing to look at society as a whole.

    Making polygamy legal doesn’t mean everyone will do it, nor does it mean people ‘should’ do it. It is simply an exception to the rule, but an “allowable” exception.

    Also, have you even studied polygamous relationship psychology? All of the various aspects involved? The biggest one that comes to mind is jealously, and yes, that will be inevitable, however, there is one factor that people often miss, and that is support. One of the biggest crisis in North America is domestic violence. The vast majority of the time it is a man abusing a woman. Domestic violence becomes almost non-existent in polygamous relationships due to the extra support (provided the wives get along, which is more often the case than not). They become like “sisters” for each other, and give support when the other needs it. For one man to try and enforce controlling power through physical means over multiple women becomes exponentially more difficult.

    Really, there isn’t much point in me trying to explain all of this to you. Until you actually open your mind up, and try to think outside of the box….rather than that small little box your mind has been raised up in….until then, there really isn’t any hope of you coming to an understanding.

  27. Sue

    The way our society is going I am sure that polygamy will soon be legal.

    By the way, Zaraf, what is your position on polyandry?

  28. Zaraf

    I position on polyandry is that it should not be acceptable. Polyandry is one woman marrying multiple men. There are VERY few places where this exists. One example is in Tibet where tribal societies have been devastated by female infanticide to the point where there are many more men than women. So most of the women end up marrying two men.

    However, this is “against” the natural way of things. If you look around in nature, you will find many many examples of polygyny but barely anything of polyandry.

    The Islamic standpoint is that polygyny (maximum of four wives at a time, with specific rules and restrictions) is acceptable, however, polyandry is forbidden. I accept the Islamic standpoint.

    Now the fact that your name suggests you are female, and that you even asked this question, you are probably of the mindset that “Sure, if a man wants to marry more than one wife, then a woman should be able to marry more than one husband.” I’ve talked to MANY people about polygamy in Islam, and many times have women said this to me.

    I will assume that this is also your mindset, Sue. If it is not, then I apologize, and I ask that you clarify your opinion.

    First, let me tell you why you may have this mindset. It is due to the whole “men and women should be equal in everything” state of thinking. This is not the way the world is, nor should it be. In Islam, there isn’t equality in this sense, there is equity. Men and women are both equal in soul. In front of God, both are equal except for their piety, which God judges between them. However, God made me and women different to complete each other. Men are stronger in some aspects, and women are stronger in other aspects. Women have some advantages which complements disadvantages of men, and vice versa.

    Now, you should know that men are more “dominating” over “what is theirs”. A man will be very protecting of his wife, his children, his property, etc. Now what would happen in the case that more than one man are sharing a single woman? If a child is born, whose is it? This, and many other problems arise which are unnatural.

    Women are by nature monogamous….they stick to one man, and that’s it. Men however, even though they can be monogamous, they tend to want to be polygamous. If you took statistics, you would find the vast majority of men would prefer to be polygamous, and vast majority of women would prefer to remain monogamous. It’s just the way things are. You can’t “equalize” everything, and nor should you. Men and women have roles which complement each other, and if you try to equalize things in this indiscriminate manner, then you will only cause problems (as we can see in the West today).

  29. Just because something is sunnah, does not mean it is fardh (compulsory). 🙂

  30. Max

    I don’t see the use for polygamy in modern society. In more tribal societies I can see the use of polygamy for the protection of widows, but other than that polygamy doesn’t provide the strong family bonds that are needed in a society.

    And I don’t think polygamy will end men cheating. Again, as others have mentioned, it isn’t because men like a “variety” that they cheat on their wife. It is because they like the conquest. So, no matter how many wifes he might have at home, he would still go out and cheat on all of them if he is so inclined.

  31. NonMuslimWesterner

    Zaraf, “common law” marriages are 100% valid legal marriages, and have nothing to do with “open marriage” which is hardly marriage at all.

    If a woman and man marry in their church or privately and do not involve the government or register their marriage with the state, after a certain period of time (7 years in some states) the government will consider it a “common law” marriage and it is treated legally the same way as a registered marriage. This is also true if a woman and man “live together” for 7 years – it is considered legal marriage.

    “Common law” marriage is just a legal term, it says nothing about the actual marriage or lack of marriage. Many people in a “common law” marriage were either religiously or privately married and are still married and would need a divorce to break up. 7 years is longer than many Government marriages last.

  32. NonMuslimWesterner

    Also as to the topic – I am sure in primitive or broken (by war etc.) societies polygamy or polyandry may have had advantages.

    Polygamy is nothing but a legal, government cover for adultery. Polygamy is by definition a form of adultery. Polygamists and adulterers are morally the same – the dishonestly of the adultery weighs against the cruelty of cheating on your wife in her own home.

  33. darkgold

    Sorry I don’t agree at all that women are more monogamous. If you teach and encourage one gender to be more perverted than the other that’s exactly what they’ll be. As for not knowing who the father is, first of all it doesn’t mean anything now that ‘fathers’ find it so easy to just make babies and run away. Who wants to live in acknowledgement that they’re a product of someone who was ‘naturally’ unable to keep his privates to himself? I wouldn’t care if he was Muslim or not, I would be ashamed to be related to such scum.

    I’d see polygamy as a solution for women who had little choice but to live off a man. Don’t forget Islam is for everyone, from the first to third world. Not every country gives educational rights to their women and no religion can change that, be it following one God or a hundred. If a woman had lost her husband say for example to a bunch of terrorist hunters and had about 5 wee mouths to feed but wouldn’t know how since she never went to school, what do you suggest she do? Blow herself and her kids up? Or marry someone who’s willing to support her even though he may be married already to someone else who, for some reason, doesn’t mind sharing her man? Knowing how smart and clever Islamaphobes can be I suppose they’ll gladly advise the first option or kindly donate a months salary to pay for a plane ticket for all these poor and defenceless Muslim women living in ignorance to join the popular immigration totals in the West we all love.

    Bleh. I wouldn’t consider sharing my man with anyone by the way. I’m the type of Muslimah who doesn’t want it where it’s been somewhere else just yestarday. That’s just my liberal heretical opinion so save the sermons for someone who’ll find some use for them.

  34. tatacin

    ok so I’m a non muslim westerner who would LOVE LOVE LOVE for polygamy to be legal (or at least accepted) for several reasons.
    1 Im a stay at home mom and when I”m sick the house comes to a screeching halt…so it’d be nice to have some more help….and yes my husband does…but he also works almost 12hours most days
    2 it’d be great to have some companionship
    3 seriously WHY is it any one else’s business what happens in my home so long as everyone that is participating is consenting?
    4 the more you love the more you are loved (in general) and I’m not talking about the act of loving.
    5 if something were to happen to me there would be someone already in place to tend my children and viseversa.

  35. The right sort of orbit puts the one where the other is at a later time for a convergence of their referential paths. ,

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