Polygamy, the topic that always sparks up a heated discussion. Most non-Muslim women will find the idea of multiple wives appalling and unfair among millions of other things. Some Muslim ladies might feel somewhat the same, or would never want it for themselves and rather have a divorce. There are those who remain neutral and hope their husbands will not marry another, but won’t ask for a divorce if they do. And on the other hand we have women who are defenders and spokes-persons for polygamy.
This might come as a surprise for many. I certainly never thought I would come across a Muslim woman who speaks FOR polygamy. I imagined all women would kind of stick to defending women’s rights and not men’s rights. But I was wrong. Sadly there’s always women who think of men’s feelings and needs as superior to women’s.
These polygamy-activists make co-wifery sound like a walk in the park. A pleasant, calm and enjoyable experience. But how come all of the polygamous marriages I heard/know about are nothing like that? I would rather describe them as roller-coaster rides or even as life on a deserted island. In most cases, polygamy makes the lives of the women and children miserable. The husband is the one walking in the different parks.
Personally I don’t understand women who think they must advertise polygamy. Sure, Islam allows it under certain conditions, but that does not mean it encourages it. Some very few women might of course want to be in a polygamous marriage even going as far as suggesting it to the husband or helping to find the second, third or fourth wife. Voluntary polygamous marriages where all parties live happily do exist, but they are extremely rare.
Polygamy is not for all couples and not every Muslim woman has to accept it as part of their own lives. The fact of the matter is polygamy breaks most marriages and traumatizes children affected by it. Defending men’s rights to take second wives on a whim or for sexual pleasure and saying women should just suffer for the sake of Allah and pray they become better wives is just strange and even offensive coming from a woman’s mouth.
It’s not a Muslim woman’s duty to accept being a co-wife. Women are different. Most cannot handle being a co-wife, and that’s perfectly normal and human. I think acknowledging that is important. Thinking this way should not be made a shameful thing. That is one of the issues I have with pro-polygamists. They tend to think women who deny their husbands polygamy are MAJOR SINNERS.
Polygamy fanatics like to raise themselves above other Muslim sisters by saying things like “how dare she have the audacity to deny her husband his God given rights“. They say stuff like “Allah gave men a much stronger drive than women and to help keep him from committing sins He gave him the right to more than one spouse” or best yet “none of us truly believes until we want for our sisters what we want for ourselves, and that includes sharing a good husband with someone who has not yet found one”.
Seriously? If you TRULY believe, the only way to show it is to share your husband, especially the good ones.
Sharing is caring!
The way polygamy is practiced in Saudi-Arabia today is just light years away from what it was back in the times of the Prophet Mohammed. The justification of sexual pleasure is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran, yet it remains one of the most repeated slogans from pro-polygamists. When speaking of polygamy, it should be considered how, where and why the verse was actually revealed.
The verse in the Quran was revealed after the battle of Uhud which left hundreds of orphans and widows behind “If you fear that you will not be just/equitable to the orphans, then marry as permissible for you, women, two, three or four. But if you fear you will not be just/equitable, then one or to whom you are committed to by oath. That is better so that you do not deviate from the right course“. 4:3
To me considering the background, this reads: If you’re a man and there happens to be a situation where there are much more women than men following massive loss from battles resulting in many orphans in need of a providing parent, then to solve this problem, and in this case only, you are allowed to marry up to four women from the mothers of those orphans in order to help them, but you must be financially, physically and emotionally equipped to treat them equally, and in order to be just to all, you must ask the first wife’s permission to do so, otherwise stick to just one wife which is better for you.
How can a man be just in his treatment anyway if he doesn’t get approval from the first wife? If she is against the idea, he is not treating her justly. Marrying another wife against her wishes results in one wife feeling betrayal and anger and thus getting unfair and unequal treatment. So from the start a man that marries behind the wife’s back or contrary to her wishes has gone against what the verse states as a clear condition to plural marriage.
Speaking about fairness and justice, I think this verse from the Quran “You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire,.. 4:129 sort of hits the nail on the coffin for pro-polygamy speeches.
If according to the Quran, no man will EVER be able to do perfect justice with his wives, in addition to just treatment being the condition to taking multiple wives, then to me that either implies polygamy is HIGHLY discouraged (but still permissible) or downright not to be messed with.
Despite these facts, polygamy activists have a mind of their own. They like to pull out the “sex drive”-card. Those poor men have such strong urges, they NEED more than one wife to get satisfied and not to go searching for prostitutes. And the first wife MUST accept and understand this. To me this is just disgusting. First of all, is that what the consequent wives are for, only to act as sex toys to the poor husbands? Is this how highly some women think of other women?
What about those poor women that have much stronger sex drives than their husbands? What is their solution? Why do some women condescend to viewing men as some sort of sexual predators that only think of sex? As if men are not capable of controlling themselves whatsoever. What about women? How can they control their desires? As if women don’t have any desires whatsoever.
Another excuse I hear from polygamy defenders in Saudi is that there’s just so much more women than men here, it makes taking more wives in fact, charity. It is simply a noble act. Just think of all those unmarried women out there! Anxiously waiting at home, twiddling their thumbs and dreaming of becoming third wives to 60-year old men with 25 kids.
To those people I would like to show these latest statistics.
CIA fact book from Saudi-Arabia:
0-14 years: 29.4% (male 3,939,377/female 3,754,020)
So in fact, there are 2,294,925 MILLION more men than women of “marriageable” age in Saudi-Arabia.
“One of His signs is that He created for you spouses like your selves so that you may live with them with affection and mercy – there are signs in this for people who reflect“. (Qur’an 30:21)
I wish some women would reflect and stop speaking for men’s rights over women’s. It’s a woman’s right to choose whether or not they want to be in a polygamous marriage.
It’s a mans world already, don’t make it worse.
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Hello there, I’m Laura, the author of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. I’ve been traveling around and exploring Saudi Arabia since 2008.
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