Polygyny: a single Muslim mum’s perspective.

A topic close to my heart that has received much criticism in the west from both the non-Muslims and Muslims is the subject of Polygyny.  Polygyny is where a man has two or more wives, polygamy in Islam refers to this but its actual definition in the west is the practice of having more than one husband or wife at the same time; for ease therefore, it shall be referred to as being called Polygyny in this article.  Polygyny, even between some Muslims is a controversial subject, we know it’s permissible in Islam but some people still have a hard time digesting the concept;

there are many reasons for this but one of the most frequent ones are to do with ownership and then having to ‘share’ what is yours.  We teach our children to share when playing with others because it’s polite and courteous and shows good manners and also because we should want for our brother/sister what we want for ourselves, so it’s interesting to see that some adults also, have trouble ‘sharing’.  We know it is a man’s haqq to have more than one wife, how much do women complain about having their rights stolen and why is it then fair to do it to a man just because we can’t control our emotions?  No woman in Islam can ever seriously say she is in the right for the condemning this practice in general (not in accordance to her specific situation) because that means going against something that Allah has made lawful and this is actually haram.  Some women say that they have no problems with Polygyny but that their own husband shouldn’t enter into it because of this reason or that reason.  Sisters, please stop making excuses and see it is just your jealousy speaking and that you will be held accountable for withholding your husband’s rights.  It is better for you to repent and ask Allah swt to help you have sabr in this situation.  This does not refer to sisters who have a legitimate reason for not wanting their husbands to have another wife e.g. he has no money to give her let alone another wife or cannot be fair to both.

Contrary to misconception, Islam did not start off the practice of polygyny, it existed a long time before Islam – we know this because we know that several of our prophets had more than one wife like prophet Ibrahim (alayhis salaam).  Many religions did and still do practice Polygyny;  other cultures still, are in the practice of having one wife but many mistresses whom, if they fall pregnant, do not have their child recognised by its father.  Islam restricted polygyny; it ensured fairness and gave women equal rights that they previously did not have. It limited one man to having up to four wives (when before they would take as many as they wanted) and only then if they could treat all four equally. The punishment for treating one wife better than the other is serious; RasulAllah (sallilahu alayhi wa sallam) was reported to have said:

“Whoever has two wives and leans unduly to one of them will come on the Day of Judgment with half of his body leaning.”

[Sunan Abu Dawud, Reported by Abu Hurairah (RA)]

meaning that if a husband is unjust in equality or kindness, on the Day of Judgment half of his body will be paralysed.

 

Whilst it is true that most wives may not want to share their husbands, Islam looks at the needs of society rather than the individual; which isn’t to say that the pain these women feel goes unnoticed for Allah is the All-Knowing and All-Seeing. ‘Aisha (radiAllahu anha) narrated that rasulAllah (sallilahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

 “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn.” 

[Al-Bukhari 544]

Allah tests those that He loves and whatever befalls us none can change.  There is wisdom behind polygyny, some of which is obvious: there are more women than men in the world; if every man was to only marry one woman then half of the world’s population of women would be left unmarried. One of the purposes of marriage in Islam is to procreate; if a woman has 5 partners she still can only have one child (unless twins etc.) at a time, whereas a man could potentially have 5 children.  The man will know he is the father and which wife is the mother but if the situation was reversed the woman will not know for certain which man fathered her child. And on a more personal note, a lot of single Muslim mothers know first-hand how difficult it can be finding a husband: there is a lot of stigma attached to divorcees, because people assume it was your fault you are seen as a second-class citizen; and women do not encourage their sons to marry divorcees.  Many men also do not wish this for themselves and we also know in Islam that RasulAllah (sallilahu alayhi wa sallam) encouraged men to marry virgins, unless it suited them for a specific purpose not to, like in the case of Jabir Ibn ‘Abd-Allah (radiAllahu anhum), who said:

 “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked me, ‘Have you got married?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘A virgin or a previously-married woman?’ I said, ‘A previously-married woman.’ He said, ‘Why not a young girl, whom you could play with and she could play with you?’ I said, ‘I have sisters and I wanted to marry a woman who could gather them together and comb their hair and take care of them.’ He said: ‘You will reach, so when you have arrived (at home), I advise you to associate with your wife (that you may have an intelligent son).’”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1991; Muslim, 715)

 

What then happens to the single mothers/divorcees/widows? This is where the beauty of polygyny shines through; I like to think that one of the reasons why polygyny is allowed is solely for the benefit of these women.  Left alone, life can be very tough especially if you live in the west where the government is anti-Muslim.  How does a mother raise her son alone to become a man; when he has questions about why his body is changing and what is happening right now.  Is it really helpful to tell him “let me just Google it”?!  Polygyny safeguards these women so they can still have their haqq and not be left to rot on the shelf. It lets them concentrate on motherhood without the burden of going to work and working hours that affects their children.  Polygyny, if gone into with the right conditions can be a blessing.  The conditions with which to enter into a polygamous marriage have been made very clear by scholars:

1-      Justice in dealing with the wives which includes being fair in financial matters, gifts, trips, entertainment, buying a house, furniture, car, health care …etc.

2-      Justice in treatment which means treating both or (all) wives kindly and not treating one wife kindly at the expense of the other.

3-      Justice in treating and raising children.

4-      Justice in the sexual relation.

5-      Not abandoning one wife for the other.

6-      Not making comparisons between the wives, which might hurt their feelings and make them carry hate and grudge for each other (those feelings are not encouraged or approved to occur among Muslims).

7-      Establishing a separate house for each wife according to her taste and standards.

8-      Dealing with every wife according to her personality and needs.

There is much literature available on this subject so my aim is to approach it from a personal angle as a single mother and as a woman, whilst also reflecting the opinions of brothers, whom I have interviewed for this article.

Some men love women; we know they have a weakness for them and this is one of the reasons why Polygyny was still allowed to continue within Islamic parameters.  A second wife (or more) can help smooth out any fine lines that a husband has in first marriage by giving the husband the balance he needs and therefore promoting harmony with all parties involved.   This sounds very male oriented but the truth of the matter is that men can sometimes be big babies, they constantly need attention and if you are a mother with children especially young children, you may often be too knackered and drained to want to take care of an extra child (i.e. your husband).  Things are different in a marriage after you have children, when our bodies don’t stay the same then how can we expect our situation to or our mindset?  Finding that balance and harmony again within the marriage is hard and for some people they struggle, in these situations many men feel that by taking a second wife they are restoring balance: they won’t be so frustrated with the first wife not having enough time so they therefore won’t have as many fights and their marriage won’t end in divorce.  This is not to say that all polygamous marriages occur because the first wife cannot satisfy the first and nor should blame be put on these women; in fact, some women may argue as to why the men don’t have more sabr in this situation.

I asked a brother who was looking to enter into Polygyny about his views and he replied:

“I have always been inclined towards it, as the messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wassalam) loved women and so do I.  Being brought up in the west, it’s [Polygyny] always going to be a taboo topic and relationships are deemed to only be in a monogamous (accepted) state.  So generally sisters brought up in the west or in a culture where it isn’t the norm, will most likely not succumb to it easily or at all.  If any woman reflects over it deeply they’ll see that it’s a mercy from Allah upon them; as the woman doesn’t want her husband around ALL the time, she likes her quiet moments to herself. Everybody has a lazy day(s) and if the hubby is expecting whatever, and doesn’t get or see that it can cause tension, etc.  But if there are days when he is absent she has time to prepare herself, the home, the kids, whatever, without any pressure.   For me, when I go away for a few days or couple of weeks and I come back home the statement ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ becomes a reality.”

 

I then asked the brother if he thought it was ever hard for the man in the marriage and was it really all about lust and desire and he replied:

“From those who are in such relationships, they’ve told me it is hard. But the hard is what makes it great!  Maintaining one family isn’t a walk in the park (as I always tell those younger or bachelor bros) so how about 2 or more.  But all strength lies with Allah.  As I said before, if sisters/women reflected over it then they would see it as a mercy for them.  Allah is most kind to his slaves and wants ease for us, NEVER difficulty.  So yes, they [women] do get a fair deal, as long as the husband knows and understands his role.  But, saying that, it does take two to tango, so the sister/wife must cooperate in doing good.

Being the bread winner and maintainer of the family isn’t an easy role to fulfil. Plus the being fair policy is very demanding. Emotions we can’t control. Aisha (ra) wasn’t jealous of any woman more than Khadijah (ra) and she wasn’t even alive! He, (sallallaahu alayhi wassalam ) even clearly expressed his love for Aisha (ra) more than anyone else. But he was still fair and just with them all, to the extent that his other wives knew how much he loved Aisha (ra) but never complained about it while he was with them as they were content with him.  If the companions state that they used to feel like the messenger was giving his undivided attention to them while with him, even though others were present, then how about when he was alone with his wives?!

Realistically I couldn’t handle 4 (and Allah knows best) but I think 3 would be my limit. Some brothers I know are living that life as I type, each has a different story.  Men love to love and women love to be loved.

I have friends who have 2-3 wives and all of them say, “…if your time-management sucks, then forget about it…” Which I totally agree with and they also emphasise that it’s not about the physical side to it, as that becomes duty bound instead of a desire, as you may be exhausted from a day’s work but your wife isn’t! For me it’s more than that, it’s being loved…”

I further enquired into what he thought about brothers marrying single mums as their second/third/fourth wife and the expectations surrounding this:

“[My expectations are] someone who has more practical experience of being both a mum and wife, who has learnt from her previous relationship, with that she’s wiser and stronger, more loving and patient. A previously unmarried woman is an empty book.  She won’t have anything to refer back to for reference except what she has had practical experience in via her upbringing.  But that will never have the same taste as her own marriage.  So [I would expect a single mum to be] more insightful.  It’s not a good deal that the sisters who are single mums get.  I do empathise with them, but I know single bros who will take on the challenge of a ready-made family.  If you look hard enough and are patiently persistent enough, you could find one.  Single mums aren’t damaged goods.  They’re diamonds that weren’t valued properly.  Anyone who values their own mother and knows her status will equally respect and value a woman who is a mother. We all need some TLC. As that’s how we’ve been created.  They [single mums] may have barriers as they may have come out of an abusive (mental or physical) marriage.  Women scarred may be fierier than those not.  But this is probably due to not letting go of old habits, if the new man is good, then time will heal that wound, inshaa Allah.  This can be overcome with patience and advice (after dua’).”

I had been wanting to get closer to Allah swt for a while and I just felt in my heart that the way forward for me was to enter into polygyny.  I had interviewed single brothers and even divorced brothers for marriage but it always seemed to boil down to the same thing: they had no clue as to how to be a dad.  I can appreciate that if you haven’t been in that situation you may not understand what is required of you, but I was expecting a father figure and these men who had no experience couldn’t be.  They didn’t understand the importance of family time vs. friends’ time, they didn’t appreciate I couldn’t marry them then just move abroad without any proper plans hoping the kids managed to find a school somewhere.  They didn’t even understand the cost associated with children!  Many were too immature and expected me to do the parenting alone without realising that my children would look to them as role models.  I then tried looking for divorced brothers with children but I too found that they had no clue, their mothers would look after their kids and they fell into the same category eventually as the single men.  It seems that the life of a single mum and that of a single dad are completely different subhanallah.  It wasn’t until I was approached by a brother on behalf of his friend about Polygyny that I even considered the idea, at the start I had an aversion to the idea but then the more I thought about it the more it sounded appealing.  I would still get to have my own life and see my friends and call my family round and get alone time with my children but I would also have an opportunity to extend my own family, not have to worry about income and get a loving husband insha’Allah, and in fact, a whole new family.  I got very excited about the idea; however I tried to look at it from all perspectives: how would the brother ensure fairness especially emotionally?  The answer the brother gave me really made me think highly of him mashallah; he told me that he had always tried to control his love for his first wife and to never let it transgress limits so that if ever anything happened to her first he could still carry on looking after their children and not let the grief consume him and make him go crazy like some people do.  I remember listening to a talk by a sister who said that even halal things like love for our partners or children can end up in shirk if we don’t control our emotions and stay within the limits set by Allah, that it can end up feeling like a prison when you love someone where you feel pain rather than feeling happiness.  Loving for the sake of Allah ensures you stay within your limits and is better than just loving because you fell in love.

Well things didn’t work out with this brother, but ever since then my mind was open to the idea of Polygyny and I started speaking to my friends and family about it.  Initially, many people were against it, they told me it was emotional torture to make another woman endure me stealing her husband and asked how I could be so cruel.  They said I would always be seen as the home wrecker and should consider the children whose father I had stolen; other sisters in polygamous marriages warned me to think very carefully as the support would always go to the first wife and that many men were not fair at all.  It gave me a lot to think about but I kept asking myself why I should miss out just because I was divorced?  Finding a husband when you’re divorced like I said is hard enough and finding a never married before one is near impossible, why then should I have to lose out just because some people couldn’t accept what Allah swt had made lawful?  I kept reminding myself that I was doing no haram and that this was allowed and would insha’Allah make me a better Muslim and teach me sabr too.

A year later I married a brother who was married, as his second wife.  We had discussed a lot via emails which was sent by him to my brother then to me then back to my brother then back to him; this was in fact one of the things that drew me to him – doing things the correct way and not finding rubbish excuses to not speak to my walli.  He was honest enough to admit his family would take time in accepting his decision and that his wife was upset but he hoped that in due time she would accept us.  He also told me he wasn’t rich and would give me whatever he could (which I understood as a certain amount).  He said he would spend 3 days with me and then 3 days with her and that if any of us needed him during the day that he would come and see us even if it wasn’t our day.  He was even honest enough to admit one of the reasons he wanted to remarry was to protect his nafs.

The problems subhanallah, started a week after marriage; his wife hadn’t been actually told when we married (which I later found out many men do to avoid aggro) and had a very bad reaction to our marriage, his whole family abandoned him as they felt him unworthy of being fair and he lost many friends too because their wives got insecure.  This put a lot of pressure on us, I had people sending me messages from his side that I didn’t even know telling me I was bad because I had done this to his wife and child.  Some of my own family said I should have foreseen this and weren’t very supportive; my husband was ordered to pay back a loan immediately his family had lent him even though he didn’t have the money.  Suddenly, I was caught up in the eye of the storm, doing the one thing I had wanted so desperately to stop having to do: fighting for my haqq.

I realised one thing straight away, that though I was stressed he had just lost every single thing because he married me.  I always thought the wife stood to lose more but in this case I had still had my children and family and home and he didn’t.  I paid off his loan with my meagre savings and tried my best to support him and be a good wife; I was angry at their lack of acceptance when he had done nothing wrong Islamically.  I was hurt at him defending his wife’s actions of getting people to send me hate mail by saying she was hurt and I should have sabr.  I endured many comments and when one day I had had enough and sent something back I was told off.  To appease him and repent to Allah I made a public apology; it just seemed to me she could do no wrong and I was expected to be the glue holding their marriage together.  It came to pass that he hadn’t actually been happy in his marriage for a long time, he let little things slip that gave me indications and I saw that for 4 years he had had sabr hoping things would change and tried his best to keep the peace but that he felt hurt because he felt unloved and neglected and that he just wanted someone on his side, like I want, like we all want.  I know losing his family hurt him so much, he adores his daughter and wasn’t really able to see her; he would still come home with a smile on his face though and give me attention and hide his grief.  The days I got mad at him because I felt oppressed and I thought about this, I really felt ashamed of myself.

Things just got worse and worse subhanallah; his business was failing and he not only had no money to give me or his other wife but I actually had to give him money too.  I was of course upset that he had entered into a marriage with me when he was living somewhat from hand to mouth; I explained to him that he should have made sure his finances were secure before marrying me.  I told him I had read the shayukh had said that you can’t be receiving benefits and be barely able to keep one wife then take another.  I told him that I am the one paying for the rent and food and clothes, his included and that he didn’t fulfil the criteria needed to take a second wife and that he shouldn’t have expected me to just give that all up.  He would talk to me about my anger and jealousy and I pointed out that he made me insecure by comparing us and letting his family say he should divorce me and saying nothing because he didn’t want to cause fitnah although it still did cause fitnah in our marriage.  I asked him that when he had been married for so long to a woman why he forgot that he had married a second woman, complete with womanly emotions; if one would be jealous then why not expect the other one to be too?

I felt like he was pinning so much on me and felt under pressure, it was like I had to be the glue holding him and them together.  I was bearing the weight of his stress and illness and financial burden alone, he couldn’t seem to cope and I had to be the strong one and manage my kids, control my nafs and fight off our oppressors.  I felt like I was getting it from all sides.  Somewhere though Alhamdulillah our love grew and we fell in love, we couldn’t even really enjoy that love because of all of the chaotic things that were going on with us which were not Polygyny related.  We both kept saying that we never had the chance to spend any real time together; it was running here or there or fighting or just plain stress.  When I fell in love with him and him with me, I started understanding the jealousy that other women feel; for me it was due to my insecurity of being second best.  The first wife had the family and his child and marital home and I was told to have sabr and that they knew her first, so I felt like an outsider and a monster.  On top of that when he compared us and told us I did such and such wrong that she didn’t do it made it worse; I felt like my back was up against the wall and I had no-one on my side.  I didn’t understand how he could be so in love with me and then go to someone else, and I was honest about my feelings; I said had he not made me feel second best and had he controlled his love for me and not made out like I was the centre of his universe that things may have been easier for me.  We had a long talk and he explained some things and told me how it was different, that he did love me but that she was the mother of his child and that it was different with us both, that when he was with her I wasn’t replaced and vice versa; he loved us both in different ways because we were different and both had different qualities.

I admit that talk made things more bearable, here was me thinking I would never fall in love with this man so wouldn’t care how many wives he had and yet I did fall for him and very hard.  I had a lot of talks with myself and realised that I could never be the centre of his world especially because he had two and that therefore I shouldn’t make him the centre of mine.  I shouldn’t sit there waiting for it to be my day with him but that I should use my time productively to do what I wanted.  Some days I spent the nights with my family and some nights on the phone with friends but then I started wanting to get closer to Allah swt again and I started reading up on Islam.  I have read many articles where sisters say that the thing that gets them through a polygamous marriage is their deen, I think this is a sad way to find Allah swt again but as long as we find Him, who cares right?  I questioned myself again and again, did I still believe in Polygyny, was it fair or was it cruel?  The truth is that it is fair and sometimes it’s people that make it unfair, I still stand by my beliefs but think it’s not as simple as men think.

Brothers, its not enough for you to say ‘I only have £20 (which feeds no-one) and I’ll split it half and half with both wives’; it is YOUR duty to clothe and feed them.  It’s not ok to think that marrying a second wife is better than divorcing the first because all you will then do is cause fitnah, it’s better to have a long talk with your first wife and tell her you aren’t happy and that this is your intention then leave it with her for a few months and then remarry if you wish when she has had time to absorb it.  You can’t put the burden of your first marriage onto the second because it’s not fair, fix your marriage and be content in it and then look to remarry.  A woman’s jealousy is a bit like this: we know if you are in water it’s when you panic that you drown, if you keep still you will float, when put in this position we panic due to our nafs and end up fighting and almost drowning.  When a woman calms down she will float and therefore insha’Allah accept the situation and not be so emotional; our first response unfortunately is to panic, we need to be still and have sabr but it’s so easy to say and so very hard to do.  Brothers, you may think that now you are in a polygamous relationship there is nothing wrong with falling in love with one wife over the other (if you aren’t already) but learn to control this; you don’t need to turn into an aashiq over the sister because otherwise how can you maintain emotional fairness?  If you love one more than the other and don’t control yourself then when the one who you love less, cries, you won’t be as bothered about her as the one who you do love more when she cries.  Of course loving one over the other is natural but you shouldn’t let it mean you disregard the other wives’ emotions be she first, second, third or fourth.  DON’T ever make your wives feel like they have to compete to get you to love them more, love isn’t always about how much someone does for you but just their very nature.  If you have taken another wife then understand that they take priority over your social life, if you wanted to chill all the time with your bro’s then you should have kept one.  You can’t say one wife gets one day and the other the other day and the other 5 are yours.  Please remember that the reason the punishment for unjust treatment of wives is so severe is because it is so easy to be unfair even when you think you may not be unfair.  I think more men go wrong with the emotional side than on any other bit, love them, make them feel loved, don’t compare them, keep what they have told you confidential and never be seen to be taking sides.  Many brothers threaten their wives with taking another wife as if it’s punishment; if your wife then has problems with your second wife then whose fault is it?  Marriage is always a blessing and not a punishment.  If your family won’t accept the other wife this of course will upset them and you can’t palm off the issue saying have sabr because what about the hadith where we are told to stop injustice?  The reward in polygamy is so high because it is so hard to be fair, just because you are tired of your first marriage doesn’t mean you meet the conditions to take another wife, if you want it then speak to an outsider and don’t disregard their opinion if they honestly tell you, you are not a fair man.  These are women’s and children’s lives we are talking about; maybe the reason its allowed for men but not women isn’t to do with a man’s jealousy being more than that of a woman’s but because women have more sabr in these things and are stronger emotionally.  Understand that even the pain in Polygyny is equal: the first wife feels she is losing her husband but the second wife gets the hatred thrown her way, how can we say who hurts more?

My aim was to talk about how Polygyny has affected me personally; it’s an ongoing struggle for us all; it was allowed to continue due to wisdom that we cannot fully comprehend owned by Allah swt.  We cannot hate it but we are allowed to find it difficult because it is a test; I won’t say you have to like it but you do have to accept it, even if you leave.  How many people starve in the world?  They know it’s a test, they don’t enjoy it but they have to accept it.  For some women Polygyny is a blessing and for others it’s a test that they always struggle with; every bit of pain we experience expiates some sins, no-one said it would be easy or that you have to be happy but it’s better for us all to be content with what we have and be glad our test isn’t so much worse like other peoples’.  In today’s society Polygyny is almost abhorred; men sometimes suffer more than women and what once seemed like a good idea really becomes a test.  They may lose family and friends who are ignorant, they have to deal with emotional women and children and most importantly, they live with the knowledge that it is so easy to be unjust and that if they are, even over a tiny small thing, that they could be resurrected half paralysed.  Compare that to the understandable pain you may feel over your husband having another wife and tell me which is worse?

 

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28 thoughts on “Polygyny: a single Muslim mum’s perspective.

  1. Asalamu alikum sis masha`allah what a excellent post i really enjoyed reading it … you make alot of really good points … may allah increase you in faith and keep helping you to better yourself …ameen

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  2. U have got it all, Maa sha allah, all the emotional aspects of both men n women, all points r so true, it shud be shared @ more places so dat evryone gets to know wht exactly or how exactly is polygyny!

    As far as i have read abt this topic, its the women who speaks, men who have been blessed with more than one wife should encourage other brothers to marry (healthy way) and to share their experiences!
    Money n emotional fairness are the key factors, and as u hav mentioned its all a test, evn if its a blessing even thats a test!

    May Allah make it easy for muslims!

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  3. There’s no need for man to have more than one wife even if Islam allows it. It was allowed because it was time of war and the low mortality rate. I would rather be single the rest of my life then be anyone’s second wife. Who the hell needs a husband when you have Allah (swt) in your life?

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    • With all due respect sister thats simply your opinion and a wrong one at that. your jealousy is the one talking, if it was only relevant then then it wouldn’t be mentioned in the Qur’an or are you saying that Allah the All-Knowing, couldnt see the future?! astagfirullah. There are double the ratio of women to men, so what should happen to these sisters? Marriage is half of our deen sister and a halal way in which to enjoy certain things that cannot otherwise be enjoyed. You dont have to want to be a co-wife but dont make up your ijtihaad about the meanings of the Qur’an because this is gunaah. For you to dislike a thing so strongly to the extent that you also advise other sisters to not do it when Allah made it permissible says what about your beliefs exactly?!

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      • Dear sister, an opinion is an opinion and we have to respect that. It does not say that it is a requirement to marry, only that it is permissible and only within certain circumstances as you have highlighted. There is a big difference. With regards to emotional aspects, there is a big difference again: the situation of being a first (as opposed to “only”) wife is not in her control. With regards to the man and the second/third/fourth wife, they have initiated the situation and therefore, to do/not do it is within their control. I find it more difficult to sympathise with people doing something themselves and then saying that they are suffering. Humans have the ability to think with understanding. Exactly what did they think the consequence would be? It would be lovely if human beings could share not only in this situation but life generally. It is a fact though that humans are very selfish. I am not saying to be heartless with these people but it is harder to show someone sympathy when they complain because they knowingly entered into a situation and inititated it but when its not as rosy, they suddenly realise exactly what they have let themselves in for. That is my view and I am not saying anything contrary to Islam. Its interesting that it is only permissible to marry more than one wife and that it is not a requirement. If it was just a case of because not everyone would be able to meet the criteria, it would probably have been said along the lines of “every man is REQUIRED to take for himself upto 4 wives, UNLESS he cannot treat them equally…etc, etc”. As far as I’m aware, it doesn’t say that anywhere. Its not a criticism of anyone elses comments – as I said we have all neen given the ability to think and should express their views. Maybe mine will again also be viewed as “jealousy”, if it is, that’s fine by me because I also have a great deal of life experience and am aware of how many men treat their only wives, not to mention second wives etc.

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      • There’s no need to lie to promote your argument by saying “There are double the ratio of women to men.” That is a falsehood. Worldwide, the ratio is almost even, with the greater number of women occurring only at the senior years (women live longer than men, in general). Likewise, in most Muslim-majority countries, men outnumber women. So what’s the excuse? You’re either misinformed or deliberately using a falsehood to strengthen your pathetic argument. shame on you.

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      • Please check your facts. Wikipedia clearly proves you wrong. There are more women to men even from the under 15 categories as well as over 65, so you are saying inbetween that time it levels off?! Pathetic argument?! It’s ALLOWED in Islam, if you can’t handle that then take it up with Allah swt. You have no hikmah or you would realise what you have said has serious implications upon Islam and therefore you ARE accountable. If I were you, I would hastily make tauba.

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      • Alhamdulillah I have no regrets in my decision, people make mistakes but the key is whether they change or not and Allah loves people who repent. Funny how you talk about emotional but try to insult my “long drawn out article”. Hate polygamy all you want sis, it’s halal, it’s here and it’s staying here and all of your hatred will not change that!

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      • Aslm
        What courage it must have taken you to write this very personal journey. I applaude you my sister. May Allah grant you sabr, baraqa, gayr and everything that is good in dhunya and agierah InshAllah. I too, have had a journey very similar to yours and find that yes, we do seek a support group with people \ women, who can relate and understand from experiance. If you feel that need then please feel free to add me on facebook or mail me Goodness knows, we have had enough resentment, anger and hate thrown our way. Woman don’t understand if they have never walked in your shoes… . JZK for sharing. Wslm

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      • Sister your post about the virgin thing is untrue the verse actually suggests that both men and women who are virgins should marry a virgin. what you have done is taken the hadith completely out of context.

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      • Asalaamualaikum akhi. I know the full hadith but for the purpose of demonstrating why it is beneficial for a single mum to consider polygamy I mentioned only a part assuming wrongly others would know the hadith too. Jazakhallah khairan for pointing out the error,I think I didn’t explain my point fully and did not mean for it to sound sexist. May Allah swt forgive me for my error.

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  4. Assalamu alaikum, sis. I think you were brave to tell your story, mashallah. But I also think your trials just add one more cautionary tale to the massive pile of “polygyny done wrong” files. Indeed, Allah has decreed tests for everyone: the righteous, the sinners, the liars, etc. all alike. No one is free from tests and as such, it would seem that it is logical that as Muslims we would try to limit the extra difficulty in our lives because we know for sure Allah is already testing our faith. Your husband may be a decent Muslim, but he did not display good thinking skills, compassion, emotional stability, financial savviness – all the main things that polygynous men need to be in ownership of before they even think to take on a first wife, let alone a second, third or fourth. It’s odd to me that through out your narrative you were able to make a thousand excuses for why your husband did what he did in creating the big mess, but you could not find one excuse for your sisters in Islam who are overwhelmed with story after story like yours and so many other single sisters who go out looking for help and care and assistance, but truthfully end up with a grown-up child who cannot control their desires long enough to really plan an effective way that will enable them to succeed in their marital lives. You truly want your sisters to end up with a husband who treated them as yours has? Is that loving to your sisters? Overall, I don’t think you are wrong to have an affinity for polygyny. That’s fine actually because it’s sanctioned by Allah, so of course when practiced properly, there are plenty of benefits for women. But every woman is not the same. You must realize that every woman can not thrive in that type of marriage. In fact, for some women having their husband away from them for a period of time could lead to fawahish or dealing with jealousy and other women could lead to a decline in their Eeman or even Kufr! Should those Muslimaat test the waters of polygyny for their husbands even though it is putting their own souls at risk? Of course not. Allah has commanded us to save ourselves first. Everything is not for everybody and as the sister Yasmine said, being single and worshiping Allah in peace of mind would be better than entering into a polygynous situation that is riddled with conflict, anger, fear, and hopelessness. Another thing, you mentioned that you needed someone to help with your children? How really does polygyny help this situation when the husband is spread so thin? Is not his time limited because he is dividing it between women, work, prayer, and children (and extended family)?

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  5. A very well written and insightful article, putting the intricacies of such situations very succinctly. I think the important thing is for sisters making their comments to respect that these are the opinions of the blog writer and if you don’t agree with them, whilst it is fruitful to discuss/share views with respect to them, this doesn’t mean that you need to get personal. The whole concept of a blog is designed to ensure that people have an avenue for discussing issues maturely, it is not for “people bashing”. If you need to do that, there are plenty of forums elsewhere where I’m sure they can accommodate.

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  6. Oh and by the way completely disagree with the statement that the ratio of me to women is equal! The UN report is a joke – you only have to look at other figures they give to realise that.

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    • Assalamualaikum.
      Thanks for sharing this NICE article.
      As i read the number of men and women even would be 1 : 50 . Pls try to find thsy hadith

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  7. Salaamz.. .A most in depth article by a practitioner of polygyny. masaha Allah. I regularly counsel individuals in polygynous situations, and most aspects I have dealt with are covered by the sister. Polygynous marraiges do have their challenges as do monogamous marriages. Polygyny is here to stay and abandonment of this Quraanic/ Sunnah -permitted natural act , over the years has led the Ummah down the same hell road faced by the west.
    Extensive research and day to to day experience on the aspect of male/female population ratio prove beyond all and any doubt that females have always, and do outnumber males.
    Sadly,from among the existing outnumbered male population, millions literally have opted the haram gay lifestyle. (Astaghfitullah), further lessening available males.
    The notion that polygamy was allowed because of war is equally fallacious, and has never been proven through any Quranic or Sunnah proof, and neither has the Quraan, Sunnah or any juristic law attached any such condition to it.
    Lastly, I have more than once come across vehement anti polygynists, who were first wives, and made a complete U turn , and adopted the pro polygyny view,when they lost their husbands, either through divorce or death, and were proposed to be second wives. So Allah is greatest!!! be careful about challenging His natural laws, for you might have to eat your words. Was salaam.

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  8. A/alaikum sister, this is an excellent post. I agree with almost all the points you have raised. I am a first wife, my husband has taken a second wife but I have come to accept it even though I don’t enjoy it (not because he is unjust, but because of my own jealousy). Even if we are jealous we have to learn to accept it since it is his God’s given right as long as he will be just. I have also learnt to accept it because I have come to understand the many wisdoms behind it.

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  9. Asalaamalikum, this is a wonderful article covering the issue from many angles. You are very brave to have told your story. Allah (swt) has given the man the option to have more than one wife and humans are not right to say this is a mistake (asthafarallah). I too would never have considered polygyny before in my younger days. Now, at neraly 50 years old, I find myself divorced with 4 young children (I got married late my children are all under 16 years old). Now, I have been considering this option because its not the fact the man is single or married its how his character is. If he was honest, trustworthy, willing to be a good role model to my children, a righteous brother, financially able, would I reject him because he was already married? Having read your article I would think twice now. Please add me to your facebook so we can communicate further. Jusaqallah khair

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  10. Sad sad sad that even though you yourself said your husband did not havr the money or hadn’t considered what would happen to his first wife and family you defend him and destroy your co wife who you forgot is your sister in islam. You also admot he wasn’t happy… did he forget he is half thr marriage and has as much a duty to make it work as she did? You are right to say to men to fix their marriages before making two women suffer because they don’t think.
    I know how it feels to have my husband just consider polygamy when he had no money and did not consider what would happen to me and it hurt so bad even though at the time I was very pro polygamous when the time was right. The fact is your sister could leave due to the fact that he didn’t have enough for her. She was not wrong and only protecting herself. In another situation if he was fulfilling all her rights then fine BUT you or any incoming wife cannot judge a previous wife for suffering or leaving as there may be some factor in their relationship you know nothing about. Perhaps he blamed her, perhaps he used polygamy as a threat to curb “bad behavior” and now she can’t cope etc. Make excuses for everyone BUT especially those who men don’t consider how we will fare when they remarry.
    I respect men who don’t just fall into their lusts and really plan out how to make polygamy work not just for themselves but to be a benefit to their entire family.

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    • That’s why you see it this way as you see yourself in her place. I destroyed no1 and whilst feedback is appreciated I won’t tolerate abuse just because you had a bad experience, sorry. Without knowing the full story you really shouldn’t assume sister because it turns into slander. And just like you said I can’t judge you can’t me. Salaam

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      • Perhaps you’re right and I was too harsh in my comment due to resonating with the other wife… but in itself you mentioned he had no money, you did not know that but still think you should make an excuse for his first wife insteadnof making thr husband out to be a saint. I never said you ruined her But it wasn’t her alone who ruined her marriage your husband had his part to play in the breakdown of their marriage.

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      • That is not my or your business. Like I said I know what you do not know and I purposely didn’t expose the nasty things she did. He had money when they married and lost his job when he became sick after marrying me. I said he couldn’t pay all the rent of mine. It that he wouldn’t give any. I am not naive enough to think it’s only one persons fault but I don’t need to tell anyone else that. And sister just because I wrote about my life in order to bring awareness to others it doesn’t give you the right to walk all over me like I have no feelings. Only Allah swt sees all, not you and not me. Salaam

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  11. The problem is polygamy is the only sunnah men these days want to remember. They forget everything else except their own desires. Muslim men these days are such hypocrites and have double standards. Polygamy is a tool they use to threaten their first wives and game they use to fulfil their own fantasies. There are no more real men around unfortunately.

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    • I understand your point completely and I feel that’s why most wives struggle to accept it. I really, honestly respect the men who will give their wives their rights before marrying again. Who will tell their wives in the interest of fostering mutual trust instead of sneaking around “because he can” and other horrible things they do that break the marital home because “islam says I can”. Yes you can, but we already acknowledge polygamy is hard, especially on the wife who has to watch her husband marry someone else. As a spouse, as a fellow muslim should we not strive to make it easy on them?
      Instead subsequent wives and the husbands want to do as they please and then also dictate how the first reacts and feels. Life just doesn’t work that way and we need to look beyond what is black and white and see we are dealing with people!
      There are real men around its just that the men who want polygamy even though they aren’t doing the fard are more vocal and encouraging the men who want to do right by their families, be it 2, 3, 4 or just 1 to sneak around, to marry that sister who will give up her rights while your wife is sleeping on the floor etc. Of course as long as women are willing to give themselves up for nothing we will get treated like we are worth nothing… and our co wives will be pressured to do the same in the name of being more righteous!

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  12. As Salamu Alaiki Sister SingleMuslimMums
    Not my hat by my heart’s off to you! Being so brave and daring to defend an aspect of Islam which the enemy and Macaulay’s children (products of their schools and universities) have reviled for so long!

    As for the hurts and abuses thrown your way, I would say what the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said while being hit and bleeding:
    اللهم اغفر لقومي فإنهم لا يعلمون.
    Allah! forgive my people for they do not know.

    Bravery and valor, gallantry and chivalry have traditionally been associated with men even among the Western hypocrites! But I must say Safiyyah and Umme Hakeem رضي الله عنها would be proud of you today!

    May Allah ease your hardships, grant you further Sabr and forbearance, make the Sabr you have demonstrated till now into the guiding light during the dark occasions of Qiyamah.

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  13. He doesn’t meet the criteria to have another wife to be honest. You can’t take another wife when you can’t support wife one and two. If he can’t help wife one and two he can’t help number three. My problem would not be with the sister but with my husband. Not sure where love comes into it either.

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