Thursday, December 1, 2016

Another OPNO on Polygamy in Islam: Why I am not Okay with It

Now I know another one of our OPNO bloggers (who is, herself, in a polygamous marriage) has written here her views and experiences on multiple wives in Islamic marriages. It has been my intention to do a counter-post. See, I am more-or-less against polygamy myself.

I am a Muslim woman. I do consider it as part of our Islamic history, but I do not consider it a basic Muslim male right. It is a right, but then again, so is a woman's right to not even have to breast-feed her own child in Islam. So there you go.

A Muslim woman, technically, is allowed to say to her husband, "give me servants to clean my house" and "get a nurse for my baby" and "educate and physically care for these children yourself" to a man. Basically, the only things in Islam in marriage incumbent on a woman is sexual willingness, to tell her husband where and when she is going out of their home, having kids if he wants kids (although he has to care for her health mental and physical regarding this), to dress and smell nice for her husband, and to not fight with him unless he is erring under Islamic law. That's it.

But do modern Muslim women take these rights? No. Because they are too much, and not easy on men. We care about our men. We try to make their lives easier. These rights exist, but we seldom exercise them.  More than one wife for men, should be the same thing. Men should care to make our lives easier too!

The Qu'ran itself states that the best state is having one wife. This is easier, less a trial on one's soul. Do our souls really, really need any extra testing? Does anyone go, "Allah, give me another, harder trial?" "Bring it on, I can take whatever you throw at me!"

Of course not, no.

Being up for polygamy is like asking Allah to get you step up your Muslim game. To me it is playing a losing game of "how selfless can you be?"

Arab men often seem to think, that this means selflessness on a woman's part, but really, it should be about selflessness on their side. If they are doing it correctly anyways. And I'm against polygamy, because men aren't playing the game right 99.9% of the time.

...So I've tried and I've tried and I've tried to write this post (on my own views about polygamy in Islam) but I've failed. I am always coming across sounding petty, or small, compared to our other OPNO blogger's voice.

...But then, I started to write about her, why she's okay with her husband having another wife or two.

And I sincerely hope she's not insulted, but asking other women to be like her or think like her is really not fair, because she's not really like other women.

I mean, yeah, duh, she is. But, and it not just her looks because she does have something of that, I mean, people are always comparing her to Audrey Hepburn, but it goes beyond that really when it comes to her. People always think it is looks to men, and I've known her a while, and as she's getting older, I realize it is not just that. It is not even her intelligence, her passion, her fire, her skills, and her talents, which range pretty wide. Her self-sacrificing nature, which is strangely at odds with her uncompromising ideals and harshly-held-onto concept of self.

...It's not even all that. It is, and this I have recently decided, her "uniqueness". She's not jealous of other women because there's no one out there quite like her. Men know this, if she lets them.

So it isn't fair to hold me to that, because my ideals are different, and my uniqueness and value aren't as glaringly apparent to the world. Men have to seek it. I wasn't blessed to be able to just "pull that out and flash it around in an instant" type uniqueness.

But I know my self worth. Don't say that I don't. I'm not ugly or plain.

Funny people always assume to insult those against polygamy as being "not as attractive" somehow, or "more selfish". She'd be the first to tell you, that I am far less selfish than she is;).

It's just, I sincerely doubt, that any man married to our other OPNO blogger, will take another wife after her, and find that this other woman has something that she doesn't, in any other major way. She is a very complete person. And this isn't meant as an insult to any other woman or to her, but it is true. He can find than another woman has more of something, or can do more of something, but she doesn't lack much. What she lacks, obviously, she doesn't care to learn, or to do, or to assume. Not every woman out there is so blessed.

I don't want to be a person so complete, that I don't need another half, if that makes sense? I want to be true to another, which is what makes she and I so different, when I begin to try and pen my thoughts out on to why this is. She only has to be true to her own ideals. She loves those ideals more than she loves people.

Again, not meant to be an insult P! Please don't take it as such;).

I think that's incredibly strong and amazing of her, but most people, trying to do that, wind up cold-hearted and judgmental. Things, in Islam, we're not supposed to be. Maybe in Islam we should hold ideals higher than people, I don't know, but to be safe myself, I try to walk the middle line. The higher up one looks, the smaller others seem, when in the end, we're all the same, all flawed, and trying to get by and find happiness and meaning out of life.

So yeah, I found, I couldn't write a post (although now, well, I guess I kind of have) about why me and polygamy and Islam don't mix, but I wrote a poem instead:


The Girl Who Doesn’t Get Jealous

She’s that girl that doesn’t get jealous,
But that’s not the same as she who trusts.
So men, all the same I advise you to be wary of her
If it is love true that you wish to ascertain,
Not merely the art of her, or satiation of baser lusts.

No matter was it once to her that a man of her’s,
Once strung along a pretty string of ex-girlfriends.
Supermodels, cute braniacs, beauty queens,
And yes, even common whores.
I never saw her insecure.

“I don’t get jealous of other women,” she can say,
And be at peace with a husband marrying again.
But for me to feel the same, I’ll tell you when!:
She can afford the world in black and white ideals;
I’m a woman who firmly values grey.

I’ll let the other polygamists spout her sage;
And I’m sure my friend’s nonchalance is all the rage,
Among those who’d like to open up a harem.
And I’d think her well, a ‘Saint’, and say her heart is pure...
It is...only...that I know her more:

First off, she hardly seems to age.
She’s like some pixie-fairy-sprite
Like she’s always about to take flight,
And with this charm, can always make light
And laughs, even when the world is breaking.

Like a French woman, she cuts her own hair.
Doesn’t have to wear makeup to look good
And seems to subsist on sugar, and butter
And carbs without gaining a pound.
Had three kids, but not the decency to stay round.

Professors print their names on her thoughts,
And before she was Muslim, photographers
Liked to follow her around a lot.
Writers, artists, aristocrats, philosophers,
And politicians, formed her platonic male lot.

In ancient times, we’d call her a Muse.
...And while I’m certain it’s not a title she’d choose
When other men quote you or write poems
Of your eyes, you can’t help but know that you’re special
And it is with overt false modesty, ‘that’, she denies.

It really isn’t fair, but she’s also very stylish.
Even when she wears rags people
Come up to her to tell her she’s pretty,
And try to give her free expensive new clothes.
Yes, she’s been homeless, country-less, but without fear.

...For indeed no charity could long be denied
To such a strange little ‘dear’.
To others less fortunate it has always been clear,
That “alone” and “without” are true places in life,
But therein, she’s simply not the type to dwell.

It is not her fault, but put her in poverty, put her in hell,
Her stay will be brief, a short little spell,
And then she’ll have another charming, or funny
Or inspiring little story to tell.
She dares a lot, for she need not fear being alone.

Still, she is strong in her kindness, and brave
And they say a woman can’t change a man.
...But for her, I’ve seen men turn their lives:
The better ones, they become heroic,
The lesser ones, behave.

She would take a bullet for a friend or stranger
Bleed for you, cry for you,
Go hungry for you, works her nails to the bone.
And has words, such big words, that she could
Shake feelings from stone! ...And ideas from walls.
                            
Nowadays, she writes novels,
And paints in oils in her spare time,
Decorates, sews her own clothes,
Upholsters couches, hand washes, sweeps,
Does dishes, and hangs clothing on the line.

Confronts racists, resists rapists, and receives evil looks,
Changes diapers, burns dinners, and reads heavy books.
Breaks rules, and laws, and gives as much care
To tribal culture in the Arab world, as she does for her hair.
Her views on multiple wives, with these: should other women compare?

I don’t myself, and I’m her friend.
She is so herself, individual to the extreme
That men often see her and think “this is my dream”.
They confuse her uniqueness with love,
And she’s not jealous, because no one stands beside her.

Even more beautiful women do not bother her because,
Compared to us, she’s somehow always more, or different.
And a man can certainly in truth, or bluster, say,
She won’t ever be the same without him---
As he closes, on their love, the door...

...But it is he who leaves the two of them,
And braves the wider world, totally insecure.
For seek the whole world out
He will never find another one of her.
He may well find one to dwell in peace with.

...Which is, what men in truth should seek:         
A woman better suited to his moods
And a comfort, rather than a challenge, to his soul
...Rather than a woman well alone,
Even when she’s with him.  

...But, let us say, that if I was the woman
Who found him after she was through,
I’d always be afraid he loved something in me
That he loved first in her, and that would never do.
...Maybe that makes me small, but it makes me also ‘True’.

She is a woman not jealous of other women---
It is because she lives in a world of her own vision
And no man’s rules in this world guide her right
And her wrong, and it is everywhere, but to no country
Or to no one man’s heart, that she truly belongs.

And that must be lonely. For her, or for he,
Who would seek to dwell in comfort and peace
In her company. So men seeking to love her, know you
Will never entirely know her, or own her. And it is
Not you, but to herself alone, she stays true.

So boys, you Arab men, beware the girls who say they don’t get jealous!
They, you can’t control. They are not the easy thing you think:
They will not set you free, but will cage you
In high ideals... And escaping those...in memories.
It is not you to whom they pledge themselves, but every human soul.

2 comments:

Julina said...

assalaamu alaikum, I really love so much what you wrote. I'm not really sure how to define it. as i don't agree so much but i think you have eloquently expressed. i think you have done the noble job of saying a good thing about the person whom you disagree.

I think because when I was young I really did think like you do, vehemently, and was on the side of loving people and not principals. but after a time i got to see some other examples of polygyny which are all i can say is the very humble type men, who really you couldn't put a bad word against. like they give 110% to their families and have little for themselves, until you think they are like a poor men, so in the end i couldn't say that is not better than example ^serial manogamy with a selfish person^.

from there it is not even about polygyny or manogamy but more about that persons charachter, whether the person is humble, responsible and sincere or just in it for some quick selfish benifits, thats for the guy.

for the lady, really, who doesn't want to be free of worldy attachment.. theres enough happy gold diggers quite satisfied with sharing their sponsor as along as he's paying them all enough, but their attatchment is with the goodies, keep em coming, thats fine, whatever rocks your boat, what about if our attatchment is with the person, thats nice but not an extreme, i think i would rather choose to be her, who loves principals more, or say, my reward is with Allah, or be free of that pain of feeling too much for humans who continue to disappoint. Just so you know , I'm not naturally like that, but if i can logically choose, i would rather be her.

my main gripe with polygyny at the moment, it would be about my relation with the other sister, i would be better off not in close proximity but think living under the same roof would be very hard, for me anyway as i like my space.. so that is about myself, and that sister, but not so much the husband.

thank you for a thought provoking post

Anonymous said...

Nice article! Both the author and an opno from the poem are very interesting women! I'm married to an Emirati, so there's a hypothetical possibility of him taking another wife. Unless extreme circumstances forced me, I wouldn't want to be in a polygamous marriage. I would feel replaceble, devalued, unnecessary as a woman and a person. If he can get sex, tenderness, respect, admiration from someone else, what's the point of me sticking around. I'd want to be free and search a man for who I can be special and only.