I've been to a few weddings here in Muscat (and the mountains, Hajar). One was the wedding of a second wife. I sat next to the first. And I was just reading this post
http://sleeplessinsalalah.blogspot.com/2009/12/one-wife-two-wife.html# comments and as a Muslim, I have to say that I am GOOD with polygamy. WHAT YOU CRAZY GIT OF A WESTERN WOMAN? WHY?! Why, cuz I've seen it done right a few times. But mainly, men do it wrong, in a cultural, rather than Islamic way. For prestige and sex. Not as sadaqah (charity).
Westerners (and even alot of Muslims) misunderstand the concept of multiple marriage in Islam. I found this article explains it very well http://ilovehishmatheblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/when-would-i-consider-this-second-wife.html :
I am the first wife, so first off, I should begin with when I would accept a second wife (and a third:p). Or maybe I should begin with, I am the only wife, and my husband isn't looking. First off, my mother would kill him if he took a second wife (she is a non-muslim) and my mother-in-law (she is a Saudi Muslimah) would kill him. And being that it is against the law in my country it would make our lives difficult in general. And since it isn't a practice in my husband's family it would have to come out of some out-of-the-ordinary circumstances for us, since my husband is adamant that polygamy is a sunnah of exception, not a sunnah that is mustahaab. He says he would only consider it if half the male population were physically wiped out, and even then he still thinks that he would be too selfish to treat a gaggle of females fairly. It is alot of work, he says, upkeeping one wife, should she desire not to work one day, and to support all your possible children Islamically, helping them with the expenses of education and marriage and getting their first home.
BTW all, this post came out of some thinking after reading Aalia's post [here: http://chasing-jannah.blogspot.com/2009/08/ask-co-wife-interview.html ].
Still, I know women (even seeing my husband happily married to me!) eye my husband up as possible marriage material. One waitress at my favourite restaurant [not a Muslimah alhamdulilah---- I mean in this situation I would have been saddened by a Muslimah behaving this way--- not that I don't hope she comes to Islam:p] approached my husband with her phone number after I went to the restroom. The owner of the premise happened to be within earshot. "No thank-you Ma'aam, I am married," my husband informed her. "It doesn't matter," waitress said. "No thank-you," my husband said. After she went away the owner came up to my husband and apologised. (Yeah, it doesn't hurt that the owner is one of my favourite clients from my old job unbeknownst to my husband and she is the sweetest and most fiesty and independent lady EVER lol). She (the owner) informed my husband the matter would be taken care of, and she fired said waitress after service. My husband relates the experience to me, afraid it will make me feel insecure. He doesn't need to worry. I trust him already. Some Emirati chick already tried to pull the same thing. My husband generally doesn't look a woman in the eyes and always remains a respectful distance. The fact is, studies have proven, that women are more attracted to married (or engaged in a relationship) men than unmarried ones. It is wired into our brains:p Not that that is ANY excuse for behaviour without hayaa (modesty) and taqwa (fear of Allah).
Despite what alot of misinformed people think, polygamy is not encouraged in Islam. In Judaism and Christianity polygamy existed (with NOOOOOOooooooooo cap on how many wives you could have) up until the Jewish priesthood and the Christian church (not the teachings of either faith) put a kibosh on that. Islam actuallywas the first to make a move to do anything about multiple wives. Islam said you could ONLY EVER have four wives at the same time. It further specified that a man could only marry more than one woman if he could physically and mentally and spiritually treat all the women he aimed to marry fairly and equally. Which is where my husband whines, but I don't want to... Personally, I think he is CAPABLE, but I do not think he is WILLING to work that hard lol.
There is also another thing about that ayah in the Qu'ran permitting polygamy (allowing of course the four cap and the fairness part) that many forget, but let me quote it in whole first before explaining in depth:
And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [the] women such as are lawful to you - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one ...
THIS ayah SAYS THAT if you cannot be fair towards the orphans (which unmarried reverts, divorced women without families, and orphan children all are) [fair, means limit yourself to halal conduct and give sadaqah] IF YOU CANNOT DO JUST THIS, then, you should marry, to stop yourself from taking advantage of them or doing things improper. This is part of it (who you can marry when marrying more than one), coming before the cap, and coming before the "treat them fairly" bit. So if a man is marrying more than one wife, it should be a woman who is alone in the world, with little or no support. THEN, on top of that, if adds, of these women in your care, if you would marry one, do not marry another if you cannot treat her fair. It does not say you should marry three, or four, lol, if you can take care of the women without improriety within the shariah. But it says, to prevent impropriety you should marry them. Which doesn't make marriage to more than one a recommendation of the religion. The recommendation is that marriage itself stops impropriety, and the best kind of women to marry if one must marry, are those women who have no one to care for them, and really, the ayah states, that the only reason to marry more than one is to care for orphans (whether they be children who need a mother who is financially and emotionally capable to raise them, a divorced woman, a widowed woman, or a woman without family). It is quite literal, and is obvious in the Arabic AND translated text. I will say of course there are many men that abuse the meaning of the text, and thus so-called Islamic polygamy gets a bad rap, but that is not how it is. How it truly is, is very unselfish on the man's part, and an act of charity (not lust and self-satisfaction).
So having studied the sunnah of multiple marriages, I can conclude, I would accept if my husband married a second wife (even if our families both disowned us for this or my country prosecuted us for this) if she was:
a. a divorced woman who could find no other good Muslim man to marry her and she was lonely and having difficulty supporting herself and maybe even her kids (I'd be willing to work to help support her too even though Islamically my husband couldn't marry another if he alone couldn't come up with the income),
b. a revert sister without a Muslim family who couldn't find a husband but was lonely,
c. a widowed woman in the same condition as woman a..,
d. If I could not have children and my husband wanted some (then obviously he could marry from a, b, and c)
e. If I had some horrible illness that made me a vegatble, or like, paralyzed, or fatigued to the point of vegetation lol (here, and only here, he could marry any woman that he wants).
In all cases but e. I would have some further criteria... I'd have to get along with the other woman, so I'd have to approve of her too, on top of my husband approving of her. Personally, myself, I'd want us all to live in the same house (but a big house, with each wife having her own floor). I wouldn't want side by side bedrooms, ya know? Ick. But I wouldn't want my husband sleeping under another roof. I would feel vulnerable then. But I guess I would be able to live with it if wife two or three or four from categories a. and c. already owned their own properties and didn't want to sell them or move their kids. But that would be hard for me. I perfer the monster house with our own sections idea.
One of the happiest marriages I have ever seen was like this (there were three wives and two were close in age [the second and the third (the third was a divorcee with an abusive family)] and the second wife was a widow from her first marriage and was thirty years older than their husband and she was like the Mommy one the other two went to for advice. There were all extroidanarily close, and obviously, the husband sought out women that needed help and that would get along, and thus, lol, the marriage was actually harder on him (since he had to work to support all three) than it was one them. Plus, lol, since they were all so close, if he ever truly messed up, usually all three would be mad to him together lol.
So I have seen it work. So I know I could do it, if it was done right. I am totally not into the guy needing another woman (who isn't in need) when nothing is wrong with his first wife (so what, she gained some baby weight, what have you done lately?hmmm?!). I would do it if divorced or widowed if the wife or wives sat at the same table as the husband and no one was just picking me as the baby-making machine or the sex toy ya know? If that were the case I'd wind up divorced pretty fast because becuase I require intellectual depth from a spouse and require to be required for the same.
I`d also want the big house compared to seperate houses because of my own preferences. And I would never, never agree to marry a man if I knew he was already married and his wife wasn`t involved in the process. That`s about it.
I know I don`t have to worry about it in the slightest, but I thought I`d get all my thoughts and reasonings out, lol, to understand my entire stance on the issue.
LOL, I think Pixie knows the same Muscati family as me. In Qu'rum?
SO I am GOOD with multiple marriage with all the conditions in the article, except me, I'd rather have my own home, not a shared house. BTW, all married fellas that know my IRL identity, LOL, I am NOT interested in being your second wife even if I am okay with it. This little orphan doesn't need that kind of sadaqah, though jazzakallah kheiran in advance!