Polygyny is Everyone’s Business!
[Buy this shirt at http://www.stophatin.com ] One of the biggest obstacles faced by polygynous Muslim families is other members of the community who really, truly believe that the family’s private business is their business. Mind you, gossiping is forbidden in Islam, but hey, that’s just the religious ruling. It doesn’t really apply when something as juicy as polygyny is up for discussion.
People dis the first wife if she’s OK with it and dis the husband if she isn’t. They dis the second wife no matter what, even if the first wife is OK with it, and speculate constantly about whether they should’ve done it and whether it will last, and if not, which wife will stay and which will divorce….. And while Americans usually only say these things behind the family’s back, Arabs will come right out and say it to your face. “How could you allow your husband to do this?” “How could you marry her husband?” “How could you do this to your children?” Oh, the criticisms go on and on.
And at the root of them all, for the women anyway, is fear. Fear that if one woman “allows” her husband to marry a second wife, then perhaps their own husbands will start to get ideas, and then their own status as only wives could be in jeopardy.
If these women would open their minds a bit to the advantages of polygyny, they wouldn’t have to live in such fear of it. Reading the seerah and stories of the companions is a good way to examine polygynous lives without having to actually involve yourself in other people’s business. When you read about the Prophet’s companions (sal Allahu alaihi wa sellam) you see how normal polygyny was for them. It becomes more normal for you, too, then. It does not have to be some big, scary monster lurking around the next corner to steal your husband away. It can be seen as a second option for marriage, period. Something that Allah allows because there can be good in it, just as there is in monogamy. I know several women in plural marriages who are perfectly content and wouldn’t choose to go back to monogamy even if it were all their decision.
But even those women say that what problems they do encounter often have more to do with other people’s reaction to their situation than the situation itself.
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