POLYGAMY AND ITS IRONIES
By TaofeeK Yusuf
We live in a world of great ironies and paradoxes. One of such is the concomitant desperacy of men to add more wives to the first and the desperacy of women to resist having any one as co-wives under their men.
It is interesting to know that both genders are acting on their natural instincts and emotions. God created these irresistible urges in them. It would therefore be unfair and thoughtless to blame them or refuse to accept their dispositions towards these behavours.
Man loves sex. He also loves food. No one is loved by him than the one who readily offers him both. Man is ordinarily solid in nature. He is liquefied at the instant of food and sex. His solidity is put to test when denied both or either of these needs.
Much like he does not like to taste one meal all the time, he dislikes having the same women beside him repeatedly for many years (He may only pretend not to because he has some incapabilities). Therefore, he desperately wants to have the experience of how it tastes and sweets with as many women as possible. Free sex gives an unrestricted access or an all-time widely-opened door to that desire. Most men prefer that option. That is why it is popular in our society.
Marriage is generally believed to be a restriction or lock to that tendency. Therefore, many men want to enjoy more of free sex with as many ladies as possible before getting entangled in a ‘boundage’ of marital bond. They are not in any rush to get married. This is because marriage is preconceived as one-man-one-woman affairs.
Polygamy is conventionally a taboo, a deviant behavior of a sort. And because this convention seeks to suppress the insuppressible nature of man as a specie that is disposed to ‘new tastes’ and ‘alternatives’, no matter how they delay their marriage, monogamous men still ply their old ways after marriage! Sadly, these conventions are the ways today.
Both pre-marital and extra-marital sex are not approved anywhere socially and culturally especially in Africa. They are not established in any religious law. Both Christianity and Islam condemn them. This is why they are mere conventions. Whoever engages in them does not wish to do the right thing but to just swim with the tides in the society.
The only real men are those who do not give or accept sex except in marriage. They restrain themselves from unrighteous sex as both religious and social responsibilities. They marry to fulfill their natural attachment to sex. They would again marry-in-marriage to fulfill their desires for renewed sexual experience. They marry-after-marriage for the same reason in case of sad death of spouse(s). They marry-outside-marriage in case of unfortunate incidence of divorce. Marriage alone is what they know. They commit their money and persons. They take resolves to spend more and make more sacrifice just to satisfy their emotional and sexual needs. No hide-outs about it.
These are true and sincere men. Others outside their ranks and files are cheaters and liars. They are chameleons which blend their skin with the enviroment to evade suspicion. They are simply wolves in sheep clothing. They run a monogamous family home but practice illegal polygamy secretly. They pledge you and us till death do us part to their lone wives while they spend ‘nice moments’ with their multiple ‘loves’ at work, within neighborhood and even in the next door.
To my chagrin, women prefer these infidels than true men who announce their intent for polygamy. The non-Muslim ones take pride in the rings on their fingers as a symbol of loyalty and commitment of their men! Believing that Islam encourages man to be polygamous, the Muslims among them either go for non-Muslim men or commit Muslim suitors to making pledges not to take up other women as long as they are in marriage with them. To ensure the goats are well tied to their waists and held from every tendency to stray, it is now common to see Muslim women dragging Muslim men to court for nuptial oath as part of Nikkah programme!
An institution established by man to make him swear against his nature and right cannot be more than a scam. It is nothing but fantasy. It would continue to breed nothing except infidelity and lack of trust between spouses.
That women do this to themselves thinking it is good for them is part of their nature. Hence, we may not be able to blame them for working for what they think best protects their interests in marriage. We can only ask them to receive wisdom.
We must acknowledge that above all, women cherish love and care. That is what they are most disposed to. Unlike men, sex is not their desperate need. They only offer sex to a man in exchange for his love and care. Primarily, Godly men want marriage because of sex. Women do so because of their need for care and love. The most loving and caring to them is the one who is regularly available and close to them. The one who is readily accessible to share their views, feelings, pains and joy.
Financial and emotional supports are the major indices by which women justify a loving and caring man. And naturally, man gives this in abundance to them before marriage. He sacrifices all at his disposal to satisfy the needs of a newly met fiancee. As this continues, woman is desperate for real care as man does for real sex. If they are indifferent, they fall together for it sinfully before marriage. If they are believers, they hurry together to marriage.
Every woman wants this attention and attraction. She desires to monopolize it to herself as much as possible. This is why women advocate for monogamy, hate polygamy and feel uncomfortable with the aspect of Islam that supports 2-4 wives.
But as the life of marriage progresses, only women often sustain the blazing flame of love for considerable periods. The intensity of care and love the man started with before and during honeymoon usually gets weaker in gradual decline. The often repeated ‘I love you’ that used to send cross waves of love feeling that keep wives mesmerized would be coming less and less frequently until it eventually dies off completely.
This is to say women generally love their men than the men usually do to them. They are more kind and merciful. Please do not blame men or accuse them. It is also their nature. They are not created to be soft but solid.
Women are created to be fragile, cold and soft-hearted. Even under severe persecution, women rarely give off a loving heart for a man they truly love. So, with more women around him, man is supposed to be more lively, stable and healthy. This is when he truly feels like a man that is fully in control. More specifically, a man with a single wife suffers when the children had grown and dispersed away from home. The mother tours from the houses of one of them to the other. Man is left alone in the home at this terminal age. This is another factor why faithful men choose polygamy.
It has been said, man is polygamous by default. With this nature of man, Muslim women could not stop a man from adding wives. A Man is a leader and has a natural tendency to enforce his manly traits to achieve his aim. No amount of pressure can stop him from achieving his wills if he is a real man. Those women who are alone married to Muslim husbands should not be deceived if their husbands is yet to talk about taking more wives. One of these three factors is probably the reason why he is delaying or hesistant: 1.pocket frights 2. Bed fright 3. Wife or people fright.
Once a Muslim man’s financial strenght grows, sexual urge thrives and decisive will is strong, the first wife should prepare for a surprise of thaaniyah, thaalithah or raabiah.
I cannot understand why there is so much fear and anxiety about polygamy. Muslim women should fear their innocence than polygamy. A Muslim woman cannot suffer in polygamy if she is innocent. To the innocent women, polygamy is a blessing and a real trouble for her husband. He would spend more and struggle more to lead a greater family empire to sustain his heaven. No be mouth or child’s play brother. It is added responsibilities to seek added rewards.
Who is an innocent woman? The one who married not according to her desires from the beginning. Handsomeness, money, family and fame were not just the reasons she got attracted to the man. She married according to the ruling and preference of Allah and His messenger. She had considered the religion and moral uprightness of a man before agreeing to sink and ascend with him for better for worse.
Those innocent women who are always sincere and open while dealing with their husbands will not suffer in polygamy. Men married for their taqwa (fear of Allah) would always respect and fear Allah to be fair and just with their women. Those men married with good moral, humility and religious consciousness cannot be arrogant when they become rich. They cannot so soon forget their background and the sacrifice of their wives and then, treat them unfairly because they have arrived. They cannot close their minds against the call of Allah and His messenger for fairness, justice and equity among co-wives.
As a leader, such men would be merciful to their wives. Even when they are giants everywhere they go, they remain gentle with wives. Such men would have read seerah of the messenger of Allah among his wives. They would restrain their anger when geerah (mutual jealousy of love) occurs among co-wives.
In polygamy, such innocent women therefore enjoy free space when their husband is with their co-wives. They are less burdened during the period with cooking, washing, supervision and directives. They relax fully as the ‘chairman’ is away to a known destination. She earns for wishing for her fellow Muslim sister what she wants for herself.
When sick or in menstrual course, husbands’ frustration for sex is fulfilled with a known friend rather than cheating friends, students, neighbours’ wives etc. When indisposed, care of children or home can be overseen by co-wives.
In the occasion of divorce or death of a spouse, if a woman wishes to remarry, how many singles actually consider such once married women? Only polygamy offers such opportunities to be loved again.
What of a good wife suffering from infertility while the husband desires a child but does not want to divorce on account her fate? Only polygamy can remedy such situations. Such good women would be divorced or be under perpetual marital conflict and oppression were polygamy not an alternative.
With polygamy, no co-wife get a provision except she gets her shares. Thanks to the law of equity. Women do not often times get their dues in monogamy while the parasitic women outside take more. If a man fails to be fair, an innocent woman does not suffer. Allah would fight for justice on her behalf. And the man would blame himself.
Marriage with a single woman is a great responsibility. Man answers for every member and circumstance in that household just as Shepherd does for his flock. Polygamy is an extension of such guidanship. It is therefore a greater duty and trial.
No wise man enters into it because most of his friends have done so. It is silly if he does so because he does not want to look odd or he is tired of their abusive comments that he is a coward.
It involves a deal of spiritual, financial, social, emotional and intellectual commitments. The intent to marry another wife must be done with sincere purpose to be termed a religious action and acceptable as rewarding adventure. It is mischievous to use it as a weapon of threats, fear or intimidation for any of the wives. An innocent woman would not have had anything to do with men with such reckless attitudes.
I may not have a word for the guilty ones among women when the husbands they marry with no consideration for their God’s consciousness and devotion to religion treat them ruthlessly except that they should repent. What goes around comes around. They are the architects of their terrible fates in polygamy. Men who do not fear God cannot do justice or treat co-wives fairly.
As for the innocent believing Women, I urge you to be patient, prayerful and sincere to Allah. He is always on your behalf. He would protect your interests and keep what is matrimonially yours. Do not censure or accuse your husbands. His wish to marry again should not give you heart-attack. Do not lose sleep or flesh over it. It is more dangerous if it pushes you to abuse him, disrespect him or deny him his right. Remember he is your leader. The prophetic admonition is when a leader denies you of your right, you give his to him and look onto Allah for yours.
You cannot monopolize men to yourselves alone saying they should not exercise a right to the option of polygamy. Nagging, violence or trouble would not stop them. Destroying husband’s property violates his right that you are divinely commanded to protect as a wife. To abuse a woman in the public because she is the one your husband is proposing to marry violates her right to respect and protection from you as a fellow Muslim sister.
To curse your husband and expose his secrets because he is attempting to add a wife may cost you rewards of many siyaam, solawaat, sadaqaat and other good deeds of many days. Besides, they would only accelerate their steps to doing it. You can only increase their fear or diminish their quest for it with your exceptional gentleness, caring attitude and uncommon loyalty. Be so good to them till they will be confused on their plan. Lead them to a big challenge of who among women being proposed can match let alone surpass you in quality.
As for men, fear Allah in regards to your women. The messenger of Allah did not omit this statement in his last sermon. You marry them in their greens. They are sincerely devoted to taking care of yourselves, homes and children until their greenness is almost disappearing. Appreciate them and acknowledge that their jealousy is out of love not lust. They are jealous of your love as you are jealous of them. You know, the one who does not exhibit such traits of emotional jealous for his/her spouse cannot be said to be a true believer or truly in love.
When these geerah make them misbehave, remember that Aisha, Zainab and other noblest mothers of believers, wives of the messenger of Allah did something close. One of them even said: ‘I am a woman who is very disposed to jealousy’.
The best of you is the best in conduct to his women. This is another statement credited to the messenger of Allah. Be sincere in your intention to take extra wives. Be pragmatic and wise in your approach. Besides wisdom, separate kitchen, bedroom and toilet/bath for co-wives is essential to stem domestic rivalry. Women can agree to share common or living room. They use it occasionally. As for the former three, they ought to be their private dwellings. For those who are sincere, polygamy is ever their best life experience.
Men! Not all of you is good for polygamy. It is an option primarily. To some by extension, it is necessary. To some, it may be compulsory while to some, it may even be haram. What is not generally compulsory cannot lead to punishment if left for fear of fulfilling the conditions. It can only offer rewards if practiced with due sincerity and conditions.
Why do men rush into marriage generally or polygamy specifically before ensuring that their heavens is not at stake on account of their proposal? To remain single or monogamous and protect one’s name and religion is better than marriage that destroys peace and brotherhood.
Those who believe that the standard is two wives because Allah started with the word ‘mathnaa’ in the related Qur’anic passage are not fair with the content of divine words. Those who do not regard men with single wives as real men and vehemently counsel all men to go ahead and take another wives should fear Allah.
Such counsel is not good for all until their wisdom, circumstance and capacity are put into consideration. Everyone shall stand before Allah to answer for their roles in the homes, marriage and families of the Muslims.
To you all Muslims who speak against polygamy and keep on assuring your wives you can never do it, I like to tell you it is dangerous.
Polygamy is a God’s perfect order. And no God’s order is erroneous or capable of being faulty. When men’s ways of practicing a divine order is causing much instability, God cannot be blamed for it. I pray no one shall learn to appreciate the wisdom behind polygamy in the hard way.
That is when a spouse dies for the other or a woman is divorced or separated from her husband. Many women who had fought and threatened their husbands against polygamy and later lost him are now praying that other women accept them as co-wives.
Do not be an hypocrite or engage in Kufr by having reservations about anything legislated by Allah, polygamy is not an exception. Otherwise, you shall be faced with circumstances that would force you to admit that you have indeed been unfair and self-centered.
What is said right is from Allah. What is wrong is from myself and whispered by Shaitan. Allah and His messenger is free from all that. May Allah perfect our ways and protect Muslim families, amin.”