Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh my dear sisters,
May this post find you all firmly on Allah, subhaana wa taala's, straight path (siraat al mustaqeem) and aware of His Love and infinite Blessings - AMEEN!
I have found reading the posts from different sisters on polygyny very easy to relate to. In fact, I'm not going to reinvent the wheel with what I write in this post. No question, the issues we all face in polygany are very big tests from Allah that I hope and pray we all will pass for Allah's ultimate pleasure - ameen.
I have been in polygynous situations twice; once as recently as last year masha'Allah. The experiences have been of benefit and great growth to my Islam, my marriage, and my priorities. At times, I too was plagued by shaytaan with negative thoughts. My answer to this is to recognize them for what they are - efforts to sabotage my success in Islam and as a wife and mother. The more I recognize this, the less these thoughts come and the more positively I can view the whole situation.
As for issues of jealousy, whether sexual or emotional, one thing I was advised when I was previously a second wife was that what all wives should focus on is their own relationship with their husband. If that relationship is lacking, then we must work on improving it and making it a success. If it is successful, then we must work on keeping it that way and always strive for improvement. THAT is our business.
In reading The Ideal Muslimah, I realized that the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to focus on OURSELVES. We all want to get to Jennah, we all want Allah to be pleased with us, we all want to be good wives and mothers and the only way we can succeed with that is to work on dealing with everyone, from Allah to the world at large, as Islam prescribes. That is an all-consuming, 24/7 job! Between attending to our families, keeping house, mealtimes, day-to-day events, keeping up with our extended family and friends and maintaining the ties of sisterhood we are often begging for 5 minutes to read the Quran or try to learn something towards our Islam, and yet it is something we MUST do.
For many of us with children, if we truly want to have the time to grow and learn in our Islam, be a good wife and mother with a lovely home and beautiful meals on the table or floor (LOL, we have a sunnah dining table) then it is probably not going to happen unless and until our husband takes a second wife! Of course shaytaan tries to sabotage this reality with thoughts of jealousy and whisperings of insecurity - after all, that's his job. But the practical reality is that there truly are advantages that need to be looked at and appreciated. Having no pressure (even if it is self-imposed) of getting back on track after the birth of a child or during menses. Having some time for yourself. Going to bed as early as you like, even if you have to wear the kids out first! Being able to cook and eat what YOU like on your 'off' days, without having to make something separate for hubby.
The Prophet's wives, radhiAllahu anhunna, all had time to grow in Islam and a few were narrators of many ahadith. We never hear of them being occupied all day with housework and cooking. Although they cannot be compared when it comes to children, in other respects we can see that the division of time gave them great freedom.
Of course, things don't just fit neatly into the formula and sail along all the time. Hardships and tests on top of tests will come. The key, I believe, is in remembering that tests are a reminder from Allah that He loves us. He wants us to learn from them, pass them, and have His Success. Sisters, keep your eyes on the goal, focus on yourself and your Rabb, love for your brother and sister what you love for yourself, and remember: on the day of judgment we will all stand ALONE before Allah, subhaana wa taala. We will not answer for the mistakes or virtues of our husbands, co-wives, or anyone else - only ourselves.
May we all meet in Jennah, pleased with our Lord and He pleased with us - ameen.
Your sister from the heart,