My blog is generally about my life and I do not focus it on religion. However, while chatting to a fellow sister, I agreed to do a series of posts of Polygyny. Polygyny is allowed in Islam. However it is brushed under the carpet by many, and misunderstood by plenty of others.
So InshAllah we will be doing regular posts regarding this topic on a Wednesday. Please note that these posts are not written by me, but a good friend and sister in Islam, who I will refer to as Sister H.
Please feel free to comment. However, I reserve the right to not publish any rude or disrespectful comments.
What would you want to know?
A sister’s husband proposed to and married her best friend without her knowledge. She and her best friend are pregnant at the same time, but wife #1 does not know that her best friend is married or pregnant. Wife #2 knows that at some point it will have to come out because her pregnancy will eventually start showing, but it is not her place to inform wife #1 of anything, it us up to their husband to tell his first wife that he is married again. In this scenario, nobody has done anything Islaamically wrong. However, as an only wife, how would you feel if your husband took on another wife without your knowledge and only told you after the fact?
In Islaam, a man is allowed to marry up to 4 wives, and contrary to what some people think, he does not need his wife’s permission to do so, and is within his rights to remarry without her knowledge, and to only inform her after the fact. It is however of good manners to inform her, and comfort her through any fears, insecurities and emotional issues which she may go through when her monogamous marriage becomes polygynous.
Every brother approaches polygyny differently, and how easy or difficult it is for a first wife depends on 2 things:
(1) her personal views and comfort level with polygyny on a whole, and
(2) the way her husband treats her and deals with her as he transitions his marriage to a plural one.
As women have no control over men, and cannot tell them what to say, do or how to act, it is up to us to look at situations and figure out how best we can deal with them, should they one day come our way. I cannot count how many times I have heard sisters swear up and down that their husbands want only them and would never take on another wife, only to see them devasted later on after learning that their husbands did exactly what they were sure that he could and would never do: desire another woman. It is for this very reason that I personally feel as though every woman should take some time to think about how she would deal with her husband’s interest, proposal and courtship, wedding planning, wedding, honeymoon phase, procreation and life, with other women.
How much would you want to know?
If your husband desired another wife, would you want him to come out and tell you? Would you want him to be honest and open with you about it from the start, or would you prefer that he hid his feelings of desiring another woman from you?
If your husband started being on the lookout for another wife, would you want to know about it? If yes, would you help him to look or would you prefer that he found someone all on his own? What if the person he found was compatible with just him but not with you? Would it bother you?
Would you want to know who was going to propose to? Would you want to be a part of the proposal, i.e. while he indicates his desire to marry her to her wali/wakil, would you want to indicate his deisre to marry her, directly to her as well?
If your husband wanted another wife or other wives, what type of relationship would you want with these women? Would you want everyone to stay in her own corner and have no interraction with you, or would you want it to be that there is 1 big family where everyone gets along and you have genuine friendships with your co-wives? If you wanted to get along with her after they married, then would you try to get to know her and be a part of the courtship process?
What if you wanted to be involved, but your husband wasn’t willing to have you be a part of the process, how would you feel? How would you deal with that?
Would you attend their wedding if you were invited? Would you be upset if you were not invited? Would you prefer that they marry first and not let you know about it until after their wedding? Would you help them prepare for the wedding?
I know that some people reading this may be thinking that they would never be in this type of situation so they don’t need to think about it, but trust me, it CAN happen to you. I’m not saying that it will, but it can.
Is it better to know before or after? What would you want?