Practicing Polly Gummy
Wifey and I spoke over dinner about an ustazah (female religious teacher) who has been going around telling her adult (and almost middle-aged) students that they must acquiesce to their husband’s need to practice polygamy. Both Wifey and I find this plain hogwash. I have written on this before so I shall reproduce here:
While it is supported and condoned in the Quran, it must be understood that the general recommendation is towards monogamy.
(4:2,3) Give unto orphans their wealth, exchange not the good for the bad (in your management thereof) nor absorb their wealth. Lo! That would be a great sin. And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hand possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.
If a man can be fair to all his wives, then he can take more than one wife. Fair here means: I leave house #1 at 8.45pm tonight for house #2, then tomorrow on the dot at 8.45pm, I must leave house #2 for house #1. If I arrived house #2 at 9.00pm the previous night, I must arrive house#1 at 9.00pm too. If I buy a RM20 dress with the face of Batman on the right chest for one wife, I must buy the same for the other(s). How many men can be as fair as that?
The following verse emphasizes the fact that it would be extremely difficult to deal justly between more than one wife. If one does put himself in that situation, it is only right to insist that one should not ignore the first wife, but fulfill all the outward duties that are obligatory on him in respect of her.
(4: 129) Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
Here we clearly see that Allah Almighty tells men that they will never be fair to their wives.
We must understand why and how verse 4:2 and 4:3 came about. The muslims during Muhammad (pbuh)’s time fought many ghazwah or battles, that were costly in terms of lives to the Muslims. Therefore there were many widowed women, and they had to be cared for as to not cause any social problems later.
The verses above (4:2,3) is the one that has been used and abused by men for over a millennium, as a free ticket to marry more than one. That verse came down for the purpose of protecting the Orphans and to increase the number of the Muslims by allowing the men to marry multiple wives (preferably from the grown Orphans at that time), up to four wives only. The purpose was absolutely not for man’s sexual pleasure nor privilege, nor was it to support man’s personal ego. It was revealed to solve a major social problem to prevent major sins such as illegal sex and prostitution.
Polygamy is not encouraged in the Noble Quran, nor Allah Almighty had allowed it because He really liked it. He was clearly careful to highly discourage polygamy to men by telling them “but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one…(4:3)” which clearly orders men to either be fair or to not marry at all, despite the fact that we lost many men, Allah Almighty still didn’t want polygamy to really take place. That’s why He later told men “Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire…(4:129)” which clearly nullifies the excuse that He gave them to practice polygamy. Is this a contradiction then? Absolutely not!. It clearly proves that when Allah Almighty allowed polygamy, He only allowed it because we (the Muslims) had an emergency; we lost almost half of our men in those battles if not even more.
So the other argument is, I am filthy rich, or my wife is barren and I want a child, or my wife is sick she cannot fulfill me: go back to verse (4:3)…and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hand possess….
If you can be fair, go ahead. If you can not cause hurt in your wife’s heart by implying she is of no use to you sexually, go ahead. If she is barren and you are filthy rich, go seek other ways for her to conceive as there are modern methods, if your lineage is what concerns you most.
However, I will stay away from polygamy, touch wood, as I know I can never be fair. I have committed enough sins in this life. I do not want to add more sins and the headaches of having to deal with one or two bickering and nagging wives.
When you get married, you will know what I mean.