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I Don’t Want to Live in Polygyny; Is It a Sin?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 07, 2019

Question

I come from a polygamous family. My mother is the second wife suffered many injustices both at the hands of my father and at the hands of the first wife. She was beaten and abused. Having witnessed all this has really traumatized me.

My family has still torn apart because of my father's decision to be polygamous. This has made me very sensitive to the issue. Thus, I want to know, in Islam are a woman forced to accept polygamy? Is not wanting to be in a polygamous relationship a sin?

I have been married for several years and my husband signed monogamy and states that he has no intention of marrying another woman, yet if he ever decides to take a second wife and I decide to divorce because of that, is that going against Allah’s will?

I have not learned how one could possibly share their husband with another woman. I understand from research that Allah has permitted this for many great reasons, yet my heart is not willing to go through such a process. Does that make me a bad Muslim?

My relationship with Allah is the most important one I have. I do not want to love any creation more than my Creator. If not wanting to ever be in a polygamous marriage in my life is sinning, then I will repent to my Creator and accept His commands. But this has really been eating me up for a long time.

I have so much doubt; I can't even enjoy my marriage because I am so scared of the day in the future when this might become a problem. Is making dua to Allah that He keeps me from ever being in a polygamous marriage a sin? I’m so confused. I do not want to transgress against my Lord. Please help me!

Counselor

Answer



In this counseling answer:

• Outside of accepting that Allah has made polygyny permissible (under strict conditions!), it is not obligatory for any Muslim woman to accept polygamy for herself.

• Turn to Allah and seek His help in filling your heart with tranquility and contentment.

• Have a sincere, heart-to-heart talk with your husband about your fears.

• Seek counseling or therapy to help work through the trauma that you witnessed as a child.


As-salaam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakaatuh,

I am so sorry to hear about your painful childhood experience with polygamy. It is heartbreaking that you were witness to such injustice and unfairness at such a young age, especially when it goes against all Islamic principles and ethics.

As for your question about whether you are sinful or disobedient to Allah for not wanting to experience polygamy yourself: no, you are not!

karim serageldin & naaila clay

What is required of us is to know that Allah did indeed make polygamy permissible in Islam. However, under strict conditions! Of those conditions is justice, ensuring that each wife is given her Shar’i rights and that neither wife is abused in any way.

{And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].} (Qur’an 4:3)

The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever has two wives and favors one of them over the other, will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides leaning.” (Tirmidhi)

Outside of accepting this, it is not obligatory for any Muslim woman to accept polygamy for herself. If a man has already agreed to the condition that he will not marry any other women, that condition must be upheld and agreed to.

A Muslim woman has the choice to turn down a proposal of marriage from any Muslim man offering her the position of a second, third, or fourth wife; and if someone is already married to a Muslim man as his first wife, she is permitted to leave that marriage if he chooses to take on a second wife. A Muslim woman is allowed to seek khul’ (divorce initiated by the wife), or to request a talaaq (divorce given by the husband), in such a scenario.


Check out this counseling video:


Allah does not expect anyone to put up with injustice or oppression, or even to accept things in their lives that are beyond our capacity to bear. In Islam, patience is not to suffer in silence, but to seek the most appropriate resolution to a matter while seeking to please Allah. If remaining in a situation will cause you undue distress, and even damage your spiritual well-being, then you are absolutely permitted to leave that situation, so long as it does not involve disobeying Allah.

Allah tells us:

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear.” (Qur’an 2:286)

With regards to your fears about your marriage, I suggest that first, you turn to Allah and seek His help in filling your heart with tranquility and contentment. Spend time in prayer and in dhikr, and supplicate to Him regularly. Shaytan loves to make the believers feel depressed, and the best way to combat these fears is to seek Allah’s comfort.

“O you who have believed, seek help in patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.” (Qur’an 2:153)

I also recommend having a sincere, heart-to-heart talk with your husband about your fears. I am sure that he is a good man who loves you dearly, and does not want you to feel distressed. However, it is also important not to dwell overmuch on this matter – instead, focus on your marriage as it is right now, and on developing it further to become even stronger and happier, inshaAllah.

If you still find it difficult to overcome your fears, I suggest seeking counseling or therapy to help work through the trauma that you witnessed as a child, which have undoubtedly contributed to your distress.

May Allah ease your heart and grant you peace, tranquility, and contentment in this world and the Next,

Ameen!

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Polygyny Then and Now: Rethinking Islamic Practice

Polygamy Survival Guide

What Are The Conditions for Polygamy?




About Zainab bint Younus

Zainab bint Younus is a young woman who finds constant inspiration in the lives of the Sahabiyaat and other great women in Islamic history. She hopes that every Muslimah is able to identify with the struggles of these inspirational women and follow in their footsteps to become a part of a new generation of powerful Muslim women. She blogs at http://www.thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com

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