Saturday, 28 January 2012

Polygamy and Women

Sorry for posting somewhat repetitive topics since Susan AlShahri and OPNO have covered this particular topic at length.

As an Omani, it is common to have a relative who is either married to two women or is wishing day and night to marry two. Though it is true that polygamy is a dying art here (up north), it is not something that I have not grew up with. My grandfather was a polygamist. He married two women, the first was his cousin and the second was an orphan (my grandmother). She was nine when my grandfather proposed to her. To those who might want to scream out.. pedophile.. please spare your breath. I was told once by a person who thought a lot of himself that the Prophet (pbuh) was a pedophile for marrying a nine year old. I could not but simply be deeply offended. Though I am not the most religious person on earth and sometimes judgmental on certain aspects of it, I was offended. Simply because I think it is of the utmost stupidity to judge an era with the standards of today.

She lived in a village that was about an hour away from where my grandfather was. I do not know how he heard about her, but her mother owned a date-palm farm. She was a widow at a very young age and had five children to raise. She didn't wear black abayas, covered in all sorts of clothes they make us wear today. No, she wore plain pants that compliments the colorful short Omani dress. She was known to be a strong self determined woman, god bless her soul.

When my grandfather went to their farm, he sat with my great grandmother. By this time, my grandfather had a wife and two girls. His wife, cousin, gave birth to children that died at a very young age. Some died at the age of two and less, others were a few years older. My grandmother knew she had someone coming to propose to her. She was told he was a very old man and she was very nervous and scared. She did not want to marry a white haired man. When he arrived, she snuck behind the door and peaked through the cracked wooden door. "He wasn't old at all," she told us smiling. Apparently, he was around thirty years of age with black hair. "He was handsome," she said blushing.

My great grandmother told him that she was concerned. Her daughter was young, and he had a first wife. If she said yes, then he needed to take good care of her daughter. My grandfather came from a good family. He promised she will be taken care of.
An Omani Bride, from the National Geographic
Her wedding day was simple, as all weddings during that time. They did not have cars and so my grandmother was carried in a camel with another behind her carrying her Mandoos (a wooden chest). That year was a difficult one because as a nine year old, she kept going outside to play with the kids. She laughs every time she tells us that. She didn't have children till she was fourteen.

My grandfather divorced his first wife a few years later. It was her request and he obliged. She did not want to raise another woman's children and I do not think he treated her well.

As for our current times, I do not think polygamy is fair and healthy for the children. I know a couple of families who married a second wife without the knowledge of the first wife. I have a hard time not seeing that as cheating. Throwing the words Bism Allah and Mohammed Rasool Allah does not make a marriage. It is as selfish as someone who plainly cheats and destroys his family.

Men do not marry for religious reasons. They marry a second wife because Islam gives them the right to do so that is all. Today, women's role in the society has drastically changed. A woman is a mother, a wife, a supporter, and a bread winner. She is no longer a weak human being who needs support. Many times she supports herself and her children, and other times she saves up her salary for her children's education. So yes, it would be an insult and hurtful for her to agree to allow a second wife into the equation.

I also do not understand the concept of treating your wives equally since the Quran clearly states that it can never be accomplished. Financially, maybe, but to assume that a woman is okay with her husband taking on another as long as she gets the same number of sleep overs and money is ridiculous. As if that is all a woman should ask for from a man. Wait, does it mean that if the husband has xes with his first wife once a day, he must have it the same amount of times with the other wife? hmm.. I wonder


  1. Once again, a fascinating post. Very thoughtful and well written. Thanks for sharing this.


    I wanted to answer your last question;) about sex. And about the Qu'ranic verses on fairness: Treating your wives equally means in all visible and signable (if that is a word) ways. What can never be accomplished is what is in the heart. What cannot be made known to the wives. This was what was evidenced in a dua of the Prophet Mohammed S.A.W. where he asked Allah S.W.T to protect him from the things he could not control, such as some feelings. These do not have to be made equal, but on everything that can be controlled and acted upon, such as what the women are made to know about such feelings, has to be done equally. :)

  3. I personally don't find anything wrong with pologamy.

  4. Fantastic topic. i also wonder how a man can equalize between wifes! But regardless of what quran states about marriage, some men arent enough with one women. Betrayal should always be considered by wifes, no matter ethics and religion. those who havent enough `whatever it could be` they could resort to haram`other girls`. i hope u got the idea. keep it up