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“I Won’t Let My Husband Have a Second Wife!”

A Muslim Woman's Thoughts on Polygamy

Polygamy has always been and will continue to be a controversial issue since it has to do with the most important and ever lasting relationship on earth, the relationship between man and woman.

Being a Muslim woman, I know that Islam gives the right to men to have up to four wives. However, to me, I still believe that Islam hasn’t invented the idea of polygamy but it just puts rules and conditions to restrict it; because having one wife is the nearest option to human nature and common sense.

Islam has emphasized that the basic objective of healthy marital life comes from mutual love between husband and wife, which normally can be found in the common form of marriage when a man is married to one woman. This mutual love is the main guarantee for a smooth and stable marital life as well as a strong family.

It is hard to imagine this comfortable and stable atmosphere in a house when there are two wives or more; especially because the nature of woman doesn’t accept a rival in her husband’s heart. A woman always expects her husband to be loving and caring for her feelings.

Is It Men’s Right?

In such discussions, and when men do not have a true reason for a second marriage, they say it is their right that Allah granted them, and that women (wives) by refusing the idea of the second marriage for their husbands are contradicting what Allah, the Gracious, has allowed.

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They also say they are helping Muslim girls preserve their chastity and establish more Muslim families. However, I believe that since men have the right to marry more than one woman, women also have the right and the freedom to accept or refuse being part of this polygamous marriage.

Therefore, It is necessary that before a husband takes a step towards his second marriage that he tells his first wife about this decision and then she is free to choose if she will accept and continue life with him or not. But what men usually do is different. They choose the easy way for themselves and hide the whole story. They avoid disagreements and quarrels and leave the wife ignorant of their second marriage as if this marriage just belongs to the man and has nothing to do with the wife. However, in most cases, when the secret is revealed, the wife never accepts the situation nor forgives the husband.

At this point, the man has destroyed his relationship with his wife and in many cases, they end their marriage. And here comes the argument: what is the benefit of establishing a second Muslim family after destroying the first one?

Real Manhood

I’m not trying to say that polygamy is a bad thing- if it was, Allah would have prohibited it- and I believe that in some cases it is a solution to many martial problems. However, what I don’t agree with is the attitude of some men towards this issue as they use this permission that Allah gave them in an unfair way, ignoring the wife’s rights and feelings.

Allah, The Almighty, says in the Holy Qur’an:

“And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”(Qur’an 30: 21)”

So, for those who think that part of manhood is to make whatever they like regardless of their life partner’s feeling is totally a childish way of thinking.

True manhood is to have the power to control oneself for the welfare of your family, it is to have the kindness and passion that surrounds wife and family, it is to have the courage to deal with the wife as a life partner and an equal party who have every right to share every single detail in her husband’s life.

He is a truly gentleman who values his wife’s feelings and cares about her happiness . He is a gentleman who respects his wife’s rights before using his absolute rights and who seeks her permission before a second marriage. If the wife agrees, then he is a very lucky man!

First published: February 2014

About Hasnaa Hasan
Hasnaa Hasan is the managing editor of Aboutislam's Family & Society. She holds a B.A. in English literature from the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University and is currently a post graduate student at the American University in Cairo. Hasnaa is interested in family and social issues, especially those related to youth, marriage and children.You can reach her at: [email protected]