WOMEN AND POLYGAMY

Last night there was this documentary on TV about a Muslim royalty and his 4 wives. While it was a documentary that normally features everlasting love between couples, this series took a rather different turn by showing the love that can exist between a man and his wives. Basically, this series showed how a man balances his time and attention among 4 women. Not unexpectedly, these women ended up in conflict because the man spent the night with one woman, when he was scheduled to be with another. Another source of conflict was because the most recent wife felt she was getting less attention than the others…okay, pardon me, I’m just going to step out for a while…I need to laugh out loud.

(30 minutes later and still smirking) Pardon me again. I mean no offense to the Muslim practices on marriage. On the contrary, I am totally fascinated by how different it is from the liberated practices of the West. So fascinated that I decided to do some research, lest I should be accused of writing about what I don’t understand. Below are the links I read through before writing this piece, and I’m using the same not only as reference but also further entertainment….seriously.

http://www.zawaj.com/weddingways/tausag/tausag1.html

http://www.zawaj.com/weddingways/tausag/tausag2.html

http://www.zawaj.com/weddingways/tausag/tausag3.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_marital_practices#cite_note-6

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygyny_in_Islam

Going back to the the Sultan and his 4 bickering wives whose horniness cannot be dictated by their scheduled visits from the candy man…the first wife ended up walking away. She said although Sultan Candy Man insists he loves all of them equally, its not how she feels. And although she still loves him, she’s walking away to give him a chance to remember what she really means to him.

Is it really possible for a woman in her right mind to enter a polygamous marriage and expect that she, along with the other women, will be loved equally? Yes, that question goes for all the women – including the first wife. Nothing in my readings of Muslim culture indicate that a woman is deprived of her freedom to choose. She can always get out, and she can always choose not to be a part of the marriage. Also, a Muslim man’s liberty to get more than 1 wife is subject to the condition that he deals with them justly (words taken literally from the Qur’an – experts have different interpretations on what that means). If he can’t, then he needs to stick to only 1.

Here’s another interesting discovery: experts say that the intention of the Qur’an in allowing men multiple wives was really to protect and show compassion for women and children who lost their male relatives and husbands fighting for the prophet Allah and Islam. It had nothing to do with male sexuality. I’m just not sure if this philosophy still applies to an age where women are capable of taking care of themselves. In the olden days, the reason women needed to be taken care of was because they were cooped up at home and not allowed to get an education. No education means no job to make a living. Women had no other option but to get married and rely on their husbands for support. No such limitations exist today.

I can’t help but conclude that polygamy can be a self-inflicted prison for women. Yes, the Muslim faith allows men the liberty to have a variety of wives. But women also have the liberty to not be a part of his variety store.

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