Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Halal/Haram,

Permissable/Forbidden,

I can/I can’t,

Why does a dog lick his bottom?

Because he can.

It is halal to live in a tent. You can live in a tent, on the side of a hill. No running water or electricity . You could even say living like this is in keeping with the Sunnah, a similar sort of lifestyle to the Prophet saw.

Most people, if they have been used to living in a house with modern amenities, would not want to live in a tent.  If a man and woman were discussing marriage and he suggested this, the chances are the marriage discussion would end there, because the woman would know that she would be very unhappy in such a situation.  If the couple were already married and the husband suggested this, the wife would probably protest strongly. She could not live like this, the children could not live like this. If she decided to leave her husband, to divorce him, people would understand, because after all, these are unreasonable expectations.

Marrying more then one wife is also permissable in Islam. Note the word permissable. It is allowed, an option and yet men, and it always men, will insist it is their right and no one and nothing should stand in the way of them taking their rights.

I am astounded at the arrogance of such men. You could have a wife pleasing to you in every way, loving, appreciative, a good mother and for the sake of your appetite, your ego and more often then not, the contents of your trousers, you could smash her happiness to pieces.

That is not to say there are no benefits to polygamy, particularly in a societies that have seen the male population blighted by war. However, maintaining a happy polygamous marriage is incredibly hard work.  I think unless you are in a culture where polygamy is the norm, you will find it very difficult to adapt to it and be satisified. Also, and no one likes to admit this, the man needs to be rich. I’m sorry, but if he is wanting to have one then one wife, that means he will have more then one family and they can’t all live above the kebab shop.

I’m not fond of lying, especially lying to yourself. Most women know that they would not be happy in a polygamous marriage, so why do we have to mumble demurely about it being halal and wives being patient? Stuff that. You wouldn’t agree to living in a tent (probably),  or living in the North Pole (also probably), why agree to something which would not only cause you both unhappiness in this life, but also have consequences in the next life too?

If you know that polygamy  would cause you great sadness, make it clear both pre and post marriage. Don’t be shy or scared of being seen as a ‘bad muslimah’. Just smile and say “You can have up four wives, but I won’t be one of them”.

One of the first questions I asked Mr Outlines was about taking a second wife. He said no, because he only had one heart in his body. I wasn’t satisfied with such a soppy answer, so I asked if he had any other reasons. He went on to talk about the ayahs concerning polygamy and how he felt he could never be just, so he would only marry one wife.  Now being married to him, I know he wouldn’t take another wife, because it would mean less time for his other true love, books and studying.

I try not get angry. I get annoyed fairly easily at times, but rarely angry. Which is good, because when I get angry, it is a wave of heat that passes through me and I feel like I could start throwing cars or pulling the clouds down from the sky.  When I hear of men taking second wives, especially those who have done so without telling their first wives – Aouthobillahi. “Never do this to me”, I inform Mr Outlines, with the same solemnity that you might use to tell a child not to swim in shark infested waters.  If he did (Oh  Allah protect me from this), I don’t know what my reaction would be, but I sense it would not be permissable.
Islam is about more then what is allowed and permissable, it is about using this short time on earth to be the best person you can be. Doing something “because I can”, is not the way of enlightened humans, it is the way of animals. Rights always come with responsibilities.

For this life and the next.

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13 Responses

  1. Good one. 🙂

  2. Salaam waleykum! Great post. “Why does a dog lick his bottom? Because he can.” HA!
    I think your thoughts echo many Muslim womens’ (at least mine, definitely)! Polygamy may be allowed, but that doesn’t make it “okay.”

  3. Here, here.

    I just don’t want more than one wife because one is enough of a headache. My fiance is already energy-intensive and a troublemaker, I need more of that? no thanks.

    I have a similar response to some Muslims when they say smacking your wife is halal (which I believe to be false anyway); “Well, let’s say for a minute in spite of all linguistic and historical evidence about Qu’ran and Sunnah that say this is incorrect; is that a good enough reason to do it? It’s your wife, you asshole.”

    Muhammad also prayed 52 rakkats a day, how many of the polygamists are completing those kinds of sunnah?

  4. Salaam Alaikum everyone and thanks for your comments.

    Dave – Further to what you said about your fiancee (energy-intensive, I like that, I think I’ll use it about myself), my husband will tease me, saying: “Ya Habiti, only a fool falls in the same hole twice”.

  5. Amen. Exactly how I feel.

  6. Hear! Hear!

  7. He needs to be rich. Too true! My aunt’s a first wife. They couldn’t have children, so he married again. At one stage, his kids from the second marriage lived with my aunt for a few years because their mum was (mentally) unwell.

    A European friend of mine who converted to Islam 2 1/2 years ago became a second wife earlier this year. She lives in Saudi, and is now very unhappy. I won’t go into the reasons because it’s too long, but his first wife wanted him to take another wife. Unfortunately, my friend is not very happy in her new life…

    Another friend’s friend who is a second wife too was proposed to by the first wife! Alham, they’re very happy.

    What women forget is that Hadhrat Fatima(RA) made Hadhrat Ali (RA) sign a contract saying he wouldn’t take a second wife. We can do that too.

    Men today certainly don’t marry again for the ‘right’ reasons, and more often, they re-marry after being involved in an affair with the soon-to-be 2nd wife.

    My aunt’s nephew-in-law did this (and he was supposedly such a strong, practising Muslim) There’s a joke in that family that all the men of that family have a wandering eye.

    And maybe it’s wrong to say this, but I can’t stand these submissive women who live their lives in a (sometimes fake) bubble of piety and superiority who say “If your husband wants to take another wife, let him. You are committing a sin by not allowing him to”

    Btw, i’m not married:-)

  8. Interesting post. There are actually two aspects to this. All the ayahs that talk about polygamy emphasize on justness. Actually if you read between the lines, what the Quran actually is saying is, that you cant be just and that you are better off with one wife.

    Secondly, as per Islam it is imperative that you have the permission of your first wife and that she is totally willing. The marriage is not valid otherwise, and so the same goes for people taking second wives without telling their first wives. Like someone mentioned in one of the comments, when Ali wanted to marry a second time (it was Abu Jahal’s or Abu Lahab’s daughter or niece, I dont remember), the prophet didnt allow it since Fathima was against it. Many proponents of polygamy have argued that this was because the girl was related to Abu Jahal (or Abu lahab) who was an enemy of Islam. But in Islam no one carries another one’s sins, and no one can bear fruit of other’s good.

    Its not a matter of being a ‘bad muslimah’. This is your life, take control of it.

  9. I love how you worded this post. I agree completely.

    “Muhammad also prayed 52 rakkats a day, how many of the polygamists are completing those kinds of sunnah?”

    WORD!

  10. My husband is a child from “polygamy gone bad.” His mother and six children were abandoned, she was never divorced, and never given her rights. He grew up dirt poor, met his “brother from another mother” at school and saw him dressed to the nines with his Reeboks or whatever. Anyway, it was a rotten childhood; my mother -in–law, by the time she was my age, was SO DANG OLD from all of her struggles and disappointment and heartbreak.

    So I, alhamdulillah, take some comfort in knowing that my husband had his little boy heart broken, grew up without a father, watched his mom suffer, etc., and could never do the same to me.

    SubhanAllah.

  11. salam alaikoum
    preach preach preach!
    I am ganking the line, but you get full credit, on the 52 rakahs a day! I have to tell my MIL she will fall out! Love!

  12. *edit* that would be Parallel Sidewalk’s line btw

  13. Salaam Alaikum,

    Molly & B – Thank you

    bb.aisha – Thank you for telling me those stories. I can relate to your last paragraph. After all, it’s about choices and even within Islam, women get a lot of stick for their choices.

    Gazzal, I agree with your interpretation, people miss the bigger picture sometimes.

    Mona – Thank you.

    Umm Farouq – That’s such a sad story. I like the way you worded it. Children can get their hearts broken too, and when it’s by a parent, it often takes a lifetime to heal.

    cncz – Bah, is my stuff not good enough to be ganked? 😉
    Actually Dave/Parallel Sidewalks is one of my favourite bloggers, so I don’t mind, he deserves the appreciation.

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