As you may have guessed, this article is about the Islamic doctrine on men marrying up to four wives. Before I get started, let me get some definitions out of the way:
Polygamy: A relationship involving more than two partners
Polyamoury: A relationship involving 3 or more partners where all partners involved have a relationship with one another. E.g.partner A and B are a relationship, A and C are a relationship, B and C are a relationship.
Polygyny: is a polygamous relationship where a man has multiple female partners
Polyandry: is a polygamous relationship where a woman has multiple male partners
Islamically, while two women may have a relationship with one man, they do not have to (and most likely do not) have a relationship with one another. Women may not have more than one husband. Islamically, polygyny is what is currently practiced. For those who are fully appaled by the idea of more than one wife, please be aware that the Qu’ran only came to abrogate the Bible which states no limits of wives, concubines or sex slaves. Look it up!
So Islam technically allows polygyny. Fine. There are some conditions, however. The husband MUST be able to treat each wife fairly and equally and provide for both emotionally and financially. Oh wait, what?! That’s right, the Qu’ran does state that each woman must be treated fairly and equally.
Unfortunately, women have very little recourse to prevent their husband from judging themselves able to take another wife. BUT women have the right to write flat out in their marriage contract that they will NOT accept that their husband take any other wife, not even temporarily (nikha mu’tah). [That’s going in my marriage contract with a clause that if he does get another wife, I get absolutely everything.]
I’m all for consensual relationships, so any idea of a man to marry more than once without the previous wife/wives’ concent is very disturbing to me. The simple repercussions on consensual sexual relationships is enoguh to make me believe consent is mandatory and any marriage without it is NOT by any stretch of the imagination fair.
In Canada and in the United States, all forms of polygamy are illegal. Men and women are only allowed one husband or wife each. End of story. For a Canadian or American Muslim man to claim he can marry more tahn once is bullocks. How can you treat 2 or more wives EQUALLY when you can only marry ONE legally. You can potentially claim that Islamically you are married to all of them but the reality is that in the eyes of the law, only one of them will have legal recognition, inheritance and priviledge over her husband. That’s not equal.
Now, all things considered, you are in a country that allows polygamy, your first wife is okay with the second, etc. WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU WANT TWO WIVES?!?!?!?!
Most men have a hard time satisfying one of us, never mind two, three or four!
Let’s just take the issue of jealousy. Men and women have different responses to jealousy (that’s not my theory, that’s psychological facts); when men are jealous, they they to react edfensively and protectively, bonding themselves closer to their partner in order to repell any potential suitors. That’s the magic of biology for you. Women, on the other hand, have the reverse approach, where they tend to remove themselves emotionally and sometimes even physically from their partners. That might be swell from a guy who’s hoping that his wife will let him be with the new girl in town, but that also means that the guy will no longer have the same emotional loyalty from his wife as previously. Oh wait, what?! Yes, women who are jealous are more likely to go seek another partner. Of course, Shariah in most Islamic countries call for stoning if a wife cheats… so how fair is that to a husband to create a situation where jealousy is not only possible but likely and therefore could put his wives in potentially fatal positions? Not fair!
We have a population surplus in the world, so the need for creating an heritage is next to none, the need for extra wives is inexistant and the situations where it is possible for a man to treat all of his wives fairly and with equality is next to none. For the love of God, women, put a clause in your marriage contract that a man who cheats OR gets any other wife owes you his entire fortune, belongings, etc. You deserve it!
3 thoughts on “Polyamoury, polygamy and polygyny”
I wrote a paper on polygamy among Mormons in the 19th century for school, and they use the “mistress” system as one of their major arguments for polygamy: they argued that men would naturally stray and that polygamy gave their multiple wives a dignity that the mistress system didn't.
However, I refuse to accept that it is impossible for men not to stray. Most of them men in my family (with the exception of one great-uncle) have proved themselves either to be capable of being faithful to one women, or to be good enough at keeping affairs under wraps that no one in the family knew about it. I will admit that these are also all men that managed to stay married to their first wife their entire lives, so they were better at relationships than average.
I'm not a Muslim (Christian actually), but I admire the exhortation in the Koran for men to — if they took multiple wives — to take widows and fatherless women as their wives in order to support them. However, I think that's only a good reason for polygamy if there are a lot more women than men in the community.
I fully understand the role of polygyny in Islam and its philantropic ideals as lived by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). However, in the curent legal system in Canada and in the United States, it is not so much philantropic or as protective as one mihgt think. Instead, it puts some families at risk of legal pursuit, which I would have to argue is completely contrary to its original purpose.
Furthermore, the current SOCIAL system in Canada and in tne United States would have the families at risk of social isolation and potentially bullied or blackmailed. These are considerations which MUST be taken. This article comes from a place of anger, where a muslim man married a second wife in a different country without first telling his first wife (a friend) about it. I believe there are well-intentioned men out there who may be able to take care emotionally, more importantly than financially, of more than one wife, but those are few and far between and, therefore, polygyny should not be considered an ideal.
One should not forget that Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was married to Khadija until her death and never had any other wives during their marriage. She was a business woman and he was, for all intent and purposes, his superior (as in employer). So any Muslim that come with arguments against women's rights in the sake of Islam, is full of it!
as-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-raḥmat Allāhi wa-barakatuhu, sister!
Unlike the Western “mistress” system where women are used for men's pleasure, Islamic polygyny is a philanthropic institution that actually benefits women by holding men accountable. It is also a sunnah of our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), who married widows, slave girls and other women who needed support for themselves and their children.
Men are responsible to provide nafaqah (housing, food and clothing) to their wives and to give them equal time.
I totally agree that extremely few men have the ability to provide that quality of life to one special woman, let alone two or more.
May Allah protect us all from jealousy and work to accommodate the needs of our beautiful ummah and all its families.
I found some aspects of this talk to be beneficial: