Friday, January 14, 2011

When Things go "Wrong" in Polygyny

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

I have mentioned before that we had a polygynous experience two years ago that did not work out. It was a real mess and shaytaan was pretty much dancing a jig every day. Qadr Allah, maa shaa fa'al! It was a time when I was truly tested and I came to some serious truths that made everything that came afterwards seem insignificant.

When the problems escalated, friends would tell me that I needed to safeguard my rights and be ready with a contingency plan. In other words, if things continued to deteriorate, that I should walk away from the marriage. To this advice I responded, "Getting my rights isn't important, Jennah is. This might be my entrance ticket in more ways that one. If I bear the situation with patience, Allah will reward me for my conduct, elevate my rank in Jennah, expiate my sins, and set things right in the dunya as well. If I was being treated unjustly and wrongly accused of bad intentions, then my sins would be given to my abuser or accuser. If I was truly oppressed, then my dua' has a straight  express lane to Allah."

I must expound on the part about not placing great importance on my rights. Just last week, my husband was telling me about a talk he had with a student from the Islamic University of Madinah. The student had been asking a religious scholar where does he draw the line about getting his rights. In a nutshell, the scholar told him, if you don't take your rights from the people in this life, they will be presented before you on the Day of Resurrection. You will have the option of either stopping to demand your rights from them, or skipping that step and going directly into Jennah. It's up to you, whether you want to stop first or not. Subhaan Allah, can you imagine bothering for one minute about those things when the gates to Jennah are right in front of you? Who cares about those rights? Allah is The Fair, The Just, The Balancer, The One to take Retribution. Those people will still have to answer for what they did. But the one who bypasses them for the greater goal just gets higher and higher ranks for his sacrifice.

There are no coincidences. Hearing this was amazing for me, because that was exactly what I had come to 2 years ago! I didn't care about demanding my rights, I just wanted that entrance...smooth and easy, bi ithn Illah, into any cost.

As for the possibility of being oppressed, the dua' I made to Allah, in the early hours of the morning in tears and desperation, was this:

"Oh Allah! If I am oppressed, please draw my husband to You. Please make him love what You love and hate what You hate. Please make clear to him the best course of action for both marriages.

Oh, Allah! Please draw my co-wife to You. Please make her love what You love and hate what You hate. Please make clear to her the best course of action for her marriage.

Oh Allah! Please protect our children from the hurt and harm that the fitnah of this situation may cause them. Please make me an anchor for them, and guide me to act for their safety and well-being.

Ya Rabbi,  please set right all my affairs and give me clarity on the best way to conduct myself! "

The dua' I said the most was the one for my husband. I realized that the better my husband is and the closer he is to Allah, the better he will be to us all. Islam turns a tyrant into a khalifah, therefore if my husband was being tested or misguided then it could surely bring him to right guidance. I knew that the only hope for my children to have a father who is a good role model, was to beg Allah to bring him out of the fitan (plural of fitnah) of the situation and increase him in emaan, taqwa, and understanding.

I share this with you all so those of you who struggle may have some inspiration. More than that, I share it so you can better understand why I welcome polygyny - the good and the bad of it - because it has brought me so far and been of such a huge benefit - even failed polygyny!


  1. Salams Mai, Alhumdulilah May Allah bless you. I definitely benefited from reading this post. I have said negative things regrading polygny before, mainly because I didn't see or know or any happy marriages that were plural. Allah knows best my future. You seem to have handled yourself in an outstanding way. Your dua for your husband, gave me chills when I read it. That was so beautiful. I so much agree with you. The closer we are to Allah the better we are for our families. Very wonderful advice!!

  2. Subhan Allah! Jazakullah Khair for sharing your experiences. Sister, in light of what you have experienced, would it be ok for a wife to say she would prefer not to have to interact with her husband's other wives - to avoid feelings of jealousy between them? Is this a decision only a husband can make? Is it better for the wives to aviod discussing their husband at all, in order to avoid misunderstanding or jealously - esp when the husband is known to be forgetful and may mention things to a wife and forget to tell the others? I'm sorry but i don't know who to ask, maybe i'm jumping the gun, but i feel i need to be prepared.

  3. Great post. Hmm makes me think, right now i am a 2nd wife and theres a lot of fitna. I am ignoring my co-wife but prank phone calls to my parents at all hours of the night, and text messages and phone calls blaming me for everything including global warming when she wants something is getting REALLY annoying. I am thankful (if thats the right word) that she has also taken to 'tormenting' our mother in law so its not just 'me' shes attacking, but yes there is definitely ALOT of fitna going on and im not sure how to end/continue

  4. Masha Allah! What a great post. I am finding a lot of comfort in reading your blog, especially reading the comments. I think all of us are sharing the same emotions. Its nice to know how to deal with emotions in the most islamic appropriate way. I am wondering how are you dealing with your husbands blog? I am sure you are reading it. Is it hard for you when he talking about your co-wife? Also, have you met her yet?

  5. @Umm Assad, barak Allah feeki. You must always KNOW that if Allah sends it to you, it WILL benefit you. Sometimes we only think about dunya and that doesn't seem like benefit, but when it comes to our Islam, strengthening our emaan, our taqwa, and bringing us to total reliance on Allah the benefits are amazing. Benefit for our aakhirah is far more important and fulfilling.

  6. @Umm Shudah, you cannot make blanket statements about how things will work wa Allahu a'alim. So much depends on your husband, who he selects as a co-wife, how he handles it all, and what kind of set up he is hoping for. You have to play it by ear and when you see the reality of your co-wife, the seek Allah's guidance accordingly.

  7. @Sweetlikechocolate, may Allah bring you all through this in the best of ways - ameen. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will change your situation more than dua'. Truly that is what got me through and turned much around. You focus on your marriage and put Jennah first. That is the way of stopping yourself from entering into the fitnah. Rely on Allah for the rest and just live your life. While you co-wife is annoying, haven't you learned from her example how wrong all that kind of behavior is? Hasn't it moved you towards better conduct?

  8. @UmmSalwaa, I enjoy reading my husband's blog and we talk about it normally. I tease him sometimes, saking, "How are you going to handle that one?" when someone asks a touchy question. We have had some big laughs about it all, wa alhamdul'Illah. It isn't hard for me at all, because it is positive and open communication. It is nice to have more insight into his mind. I certainly don't bother about him talking about his new wife. However, I haven't met her yet. That is going to make things clearer as to how we will relate to each other and how I deal with her. Hubby says she has deen, but it is the level of deen and the depth of emaan and taqwa that will tell whether we will be friends or just sisters.

  9. May Allah make things easy for you and help you and your co-wife enjoy a healthy and benifical relationship. Like i said earlier i am jumping the gun with my thoughts and queries, just scared, weak and Astagfirullah! Need to put up my guard against shaitan. Jazakullah khair for lending an ear. I appreciate you and your husband's efforts to explain the reality of polygny and provide info, advise and comfort to those who seek it. May Allah SWT accept it from you. Aameen.

  10. Yes I have learned that i never want to be like that-ever. I have begged her that i do not want to know her and husbands personal issues, if they have an argument its NOT my business and i dont want to know but of course, she then blames me for whatever random thing they are arguing about (not to do with me but im 'to blame') and I end up having to ask husband 'what ive done this time'....which has totally sucked out the honeymoon period of our marriage :p (married less than a year-this started almost straight after)
    As for where its got me now-im not that person that hates people for the sake of it, but right now i hate her Astaghfirullah! I dont appreciate people being told I sleep around, have/had other men etc just to tarnish my name but Im just hoping slander will be my way of clearing my sins InshaAllah and in time the truth of my character will be seen.

  11. @Sweetlikechocolate,

    It is always sad and frustrating to see others totally sucked in by shaytaan, wa audhu b'Illah! Most certainly the slander will only increase your co-wife's left-hand account, and you can thank her for helping clear yours! The truth sets us all free. Just keep on keeping on as best you can, please Allah, and all else will come to rights.

    I will say this though. Don't hate her, hate shaytaan for doing this to her and causing such havoc in your lives as a result. Feel sympathy for her, because she is sucked into shaytaan's trap. Pray for Allah to draw her to Him and fill her with emaan, taqwa, understanding, peace, and comfort. If you have been slandered by her, your dua' will inshaa'Allah, be direct.

    I wrote a post, "The REAL cause of Marital Problems", which applies to every relationship. Inshaa'Allah, it will help to change your focus and re-channel your energy towards the positive.

    I have found that whoever I have a problem with, the best thing is to pray for them. After all, if she returns to Allah and right thinking, then the whole picture will change from clouds to sunshine.

    My dua' are with you and your co-wife - may you both make it to Jennah al firdaus - ameen!

  12. Aameen. May Allah increase you in strengh and patience too sister sweetlikechocolate, I think that many a time a person does something outrageous because shaitan makes her feel that she's the one being oppressed and so she "won't take it sitting down" (Which is what we are supposed to do when shaitan whispers to us and we are angry - sit down) May Allah SWT protect us from oppressing our sisters and being oppressed by them.

  13. Ameen to the duas, InshaAllah i will continue trying to be patient.

    Heres a question on a total different topic-say your husband has rules that he expects of a wife, for example my husband doesnt want me travelling to other countries/far places alone-mahram issue. I accept and wouldnt anyway, but 1st wife does and he cant stop her but then whos paying the costs of her travels?

    would things like that make you lose respect for your husband :s

  14. @Sweetlikechocolate

    Hmmm. Tricky question, because in all honesty whenever there is a standard for one that is drastically different from the other, it is a source of fitnah. Sometimes, if it is a matter that isn't set out in Islam, our husband has to deal with each of us differently because we have different personalities, levels of deen, personal situations, and relationships with him.

    That said, if my husband doesn't enforce the rules Islam mandates in both households, then it would have an effect on my respect for him and cause me to think him a hypocrite. The man is in charge; how can he not stop his wife from traveling? You don't have to answer that question, I'm just voicing the obvious question.

    Sometimes I wonder if men make a mess of their first marriage and try to do everything right in the second one to make up for it. In my book, men need to correct and rectify the existing marriage first, because if they can't do it right even once, what kind of indicator is that for the second?

  15. In answer to the obvious question - a wife gets up and goes, the only way stopping would be to tie her up so she cant go/or in other situations, physically stop or make her do it. how can you 'stop' a wife without her screaming abuse lol :S

  16. Then it is simply disobedience on the wife's part. I have seen many men tolerate the wife's disobedience to show patience with them and to keep things stable for the children. In these situations, it is a very difficult decision a man must make and one that cannot be hasty. We all do the wrong thing in times of stress and hurt, some more than others. This is something we, as outsiders to their relationship, cannot speculate on. Bi ithn Illah, it will all come right in the end. My dua' are with you all, as you all have your own tests to deal with.

  17. I so should have found this blog a long time ago <3 you have much wisdom!
    JazakAllah khair for the duas, they are much needed

  18. were you always your husband's first wife? I.e. was he unmarried when you got married? Just wondering....

  19. @Anonymous
    Yes, mashaa'Allah, he was unmarried when I married him. Polygyny became a topic of discussion a few months after I gave birth to our first daughter. Since then, he has a variety of "prospects," some proposals that Allah guided him away from, and three experiences, including this latest one.

    This may be surprising, but when I married I was basically a single Muslimah with no children or history of drama. I wasn't considering marrying someone who was already married at all.

  20. I was wondering, because here in South Africa, polygeny often leads to divorce, IMO because the first wife is not religious enough and/or too young/financially independent to put up with it. So that's why I was wondering why your husband divorced his first wife (your stepchildren's mother). It's a shame really, because polygeny has the potential of making the Ummah stronger, but often leads to it being weakened by broken marriages.

  21. Mai- So this is your third time in polygyny? Do you think that you have become strong because he has married many times?

  22. @Anonymous, you are correct that divorce is almost always the result when the first wife, or one of the other parties, is not religious enough, immature, or independent enough to walk away. My husband wasn't polygynous prior to our marriage. Yes, there is much that needs to be in place prior to polygyny, for it to be successful.

  23. @UmmSalwaa,

    I was, mashaa Allah, very strong before I married. Every trial thereafter added to my strength. Prior to the first polygyny experience, I already had a clear view of what I wanted out of it and I already had a list of things I was happy for a co-wife to "take on." I'm afraid that might not sound good, but I'm not sure how else to put it. Most certainly, these polygynous experiences have made me much stronger and given me more clarity about the benefits, the dangers, and how I need to proceed in it. Really thought, the first one was such a disaster that it benefited me the most, wa al hamdul'Illah.

  24. May Allah reward you for your time and effort in writing/commenting on your blog. All of us are truly benefiting from it. Your husbands blog is a bit too real for me. Its like a reality check. So I am just sticking with yours......How to cope!