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I Am Afraid My Future Husband Will Want Polygamy

16 October, 2021
Q Assalamu alaikum,

I apologize in advance for asking such a complicated question that may not be easy to understand.

I’ve been reading more about marriage in Islam and our rights. I am willing to try my hardest to do my part if I get married, in shaa’ Allah, but there are a few things I worry about.

I am aware that, in Islam, men can marry up to 4 wives. I know that this was practiced so that more women can be supported by men, and that Islam regulated it to ensure that men don't abuse this right.

I now understand this and am thankful to our religion for it, however, I really think it is unnecessary in current times to practice polygamy.

I think times are different since it is uncommon and we are raised in an environment where monogamy is practiced, and if a man were to do it now, it would be for his own desires and would hurt the wife's feelings.

Since it is permitted, I know I should trust Allah's wisdom, and I don't question it anymore. I don't even have to participate in such a marriage if I don't want to, and any man who wants to can do it for his own selfish reasons. I don’t blame the practice, rather the people who abuse their rights.

Since it is allowed, doesn’t that mean that a man would have more than one person to love and take care of, and therefore the other woman must live with not being his priority? I feel like in order to keep the heart safe, a man should not take up a big space in a woman's heart either.

My question is: how important should my husband be to me, even in a monogamous marriage? I have read an advice somewhere that says I should not become too attached to anything, or love anyone or anything more than Allah. Is this a warning to me in how much of my heart I should give to my husband?

Besides giving him his rights, how much should I love him or like him as a person? I have read that men have the desire to marry more than one woman naturally, so I feel like I misunderstood that a man can love one woman forever (maybe due to excessive TV and movies).

I fear that this could lead me to become cold or indifferent to my husband in the future, due to my cautious nature because I would not believe that he loves me on a deep level even if he is kind to me.

I feel like women back then could tolerate polygamy only because they didn't grow up with the idea that they should be their husband's one and only. Rather, they were more focused on marrying someone who could support them.

So, how important should my husband be to me, in a way that isn't unequal in terms of feelings?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Personal preferences and cultural norms should be respected when it comes to choosing a marital partner.

The permissibility of something doesn’t equal the necessity to follow it.

However, you can only build the marriage you desire by not letting fear control you and instead inviting vulnerability into your life.

At the end of the day, if you don’t feel valued, loved, respected, and adored by your husband, then it may not be the right marriage for you. As a woman, always remember that your worth isn’t wrapped up in a man. Your worth is with Allah.


Assalamu alaikum dear sister,

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Did you know that The Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, never married women who were from Medina? Though he did eventually have more than one wife at a time, once Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, had passed away, he was careful with whom he chose to marry.

The reason for this as many scholars noted is because Medinian women weren’t as comfortable with polygyny as Meccan women.

This is important for both men and women to understand because it offers space to recognize that personal preferences and cultural norms should be respected when it comes to choosing a marital partner. The permissibility of something doesn’t equal the necessity to follow it.

I Am Afraid My Future Husband Will Want Polygamy - About Islam

A man having more than one wife falls under this category. A woman, like yourself, not wanting to be a part of that kind of marital arrangement also falls under this category.

Ultimately for a man, the question of marrying more than one wife is whether it’s wise or not for him personally, for his first wife and children, and whether it’s the best choice as a whole. For most men the, answer to this question is no whereas for others it can be yes.

You Can Love Two People at Once

Many people have been led to believe that they can only have “one true love” in their lifetime. Whether it is from fairytales growing up or popular movies and songs. The drive to find “the one” is a repeated theme in pop culture.

The truth is that both men and women can maintain the ability to have romantic feelings towards more than one person at a time.

A woman could have feelings of love and desire for two men and have two separate relationships with them just as a man could do the same. The idea that we cannot love more than one person at once is utterly false.

What Is Our Capacity to Build A Loving Relationship?

Our capacity to honor the responsibilities of love, as human beings, is where we are limited.

Marriage itself isn’t just about feelings. Marriage is about building a life and a family together. It comes with roles and responsibilities. It comes with the burden of accountability in front of Allah for how we treat our spouses and children. It’s a heavy accountability.

Our ability, therefore, to build a solid family and maintain a solid relationship is limited. Most people are struggling to maintain one single relationship and make it a strong, healthy, and loving experience for both people.

The Qur’an addresses men here saying,

 “… but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one …

Non-Muslims often ask why men can marry more than one, but women can’t. This question is often asked with the assumption that men can just “get women” whereas women are trapped in awful marriages with men who are basically chronic cheaters hiding under the guise of religious right.

Islam offers a practical solution to real life. Part of marriage is having sex and the result of sex is often children.

In order to make sure a woman is provided for, for her entire life, and her children are provided for until they are old enough to work and earn income or, in the case of a girl, be provided for by a husband, a woman needs to be married to one man.

So, the limitations or allowances have nothing to do with our capacity to fall in love or with physical desire towards someone whether you are male or female. These rules regulate society and place strict rules on how people can have relationships.

It’s not a free for all for a man because Islam places such a high standard on his treatment of his wife. Rather, it’s a system of accountability and regulating men’s access to women and women’s access to men.

Regarding feelings, it may be helpful for you to first reflect on friendships when it comes to opening your heart. If you are really close to one friend, you share a deep and meaningful relationship with them. You may share secrets, enjoy their company, and build memories with them.

If that same friend also has a close friend you don’t know very well, it doesn’t mean your friendship is any less meaningful or real. It doesn’t mean that your friend cares about you any less because she also nurtures a relationship with a different woman.

In fact, her ability to maintain more than one meaningful friendship where each person she is with feels special and cared about reflects her emotional maturity and depth as a person.

This is the way it should be done and feel when it comes to marriage, if there ever was more than one wife.

The first wife should never feel like she is loved less or second to someone else. He should be able to have the depth to maintain more than one fulfilling and meaningful relationship with each wife where each one feels amazing.

He must also maintain the same level of financial living and support for each wife and his children. This was the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This is the standard Islam sets for marriage.

Real Men Are Committed

A proper man is committed to his wife and her feelings and would never want to do something that would hurt the woman he married and loves.

A man who fears Allah would not want to destroy his first wife because she is not from a culture or time where sharing her husband with another woman is acceptable to her heart.

The unfortunate reality in Western countries is that men who are constantly looking for the next wife regardless of how she feels are usually men who are neglecting their first wife. The second wife is part of a fantasy which is driven by selfish desires.

Such men are immature and would not be able to have a solid relationship with any woman. These kinds of men sadly wreak havoc with every wife they marry and are not true leaders in their families. This is not the model of our Prophet Muhammad.

How Much Should You Love?

All this being said, for you to have the relationship you desire when you do get married, you must go all in with your heart.

Trying to hold back feelings or close off in marriage to avoid being hurt also closes off the ability to deepen your love and connection with your husband. The relationship won’t be fulfilling for either of you.

Yes, of course no one should be higher in your heart other than Allah SWT. To understand what this looks like I would encourage you to revisit the Seerah and read about the relationship between Khadijah and our Prophet.

Then read about Aisha and the Prophet. Then Umm Salama and her love with her first husband before he died. Then Fatima and Ali. As you read on and on you will see relationships full of love, tenderness, commitment, and passion.

These are not women who held back their hearts or their love and as a result experienced the most beautiful marriages and love stories which we all love to relive over and over again.

These are also women who represent the best of the best in the Muslim Ummah as a whole! Their level of piety, worship, and sacrifice for the sake of Allah are unparalleled!

The goal of marriage in Islam is this:

“And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect.” (30:21)


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However, you can only build the marriage you desire by not letting fear control you and instead inviting vulnerability into your life.

At the end of the day, if you don’t feel valued, loved, respected, and adored by your husband, then it may not be the right marriage for you. As a woman, always remember that your worth isn’t wrapped up in a man. Your worth is with Allah
.

If you don’t feel like a man is committed to building the best marriage possible with you and taking care of your needs, then it’s time to get help and seek an intervention.

If that doesn’t yield results, you deserve to know that divorce is halal and a protection for a woman’s heart.

While no one wants to ever be divorced, it’s worse to live a lifetime of misery waiting for a man to realize your value in his life.

The choice, therefore, is always yours. No one gets to abuse you, use you, or take advantage of you unless you allow them to.

 Go all in or go all out.

May Allah grant you a righteous husband who makes you feel like a queen!

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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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Megan Wyatt
Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah where she offers training programs, live workshops, and relationship coaching for wives and couples. She is a certified Strategic Intervention coach with specialized certifications for working with women and marital relationships and has been coaching and mentoring Muslims globally since 2008. She shares her passion for Islamic personal development in her Passionate Imperfectionist community. She is a wife and homeschooling mother with four children residing in Southern California.