Thursday, February 24, 2011

Polygyny Scenarios

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykkum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
A dear sister posted these scenarios in a polygyny group that is no longer in existence. The situations can easily be perceived as negative or problems.... so I'm making lemonade with them. I have never faced any of these situations personally, but they are quite easy to envisage. These were my responses, which I pray are pleasing to Allah.

The family is visiting husband's non-muslim family. Somehow one wife ends up sitting right next to hubby, and there are no other seats nearby.
Qadr Allah wa al hamdul'Illah. I sit somewhere else, preferably beside someone I know and can talk to...a female relative or hubby's dad.

Being first wife, you have control of the bank account. when the new wife arrives what happens to your job as banker?

I would ask if he wants me to relinquish my “banking position,” or suggest that hubby sets up a separate joint account for them and allocates funds there so she can do the same for that home...or he can manage that account separately.

You and husband are invited to a dinner on the night of the other. The hosts don't want your entire family there. Now what?
Ask the hosts to reschedule for my night. Hubby might ask the other to change her night so we can go, if it can't work otherwise. After all, I'd  do the same in a reverse situation.

You and co-wife are riding in the car and your cell phone goes off... it's him. When you're finished saying you're fine, etc what about the other sister? Do you give her the phone?
Yes, I give her the phone. Why not?

The husband told you he's on his way to a business seminar. You realize you haven't visited the sister in a while so you decide to go over since the husband is occupied with business.... so when you call to say you're on the way, guess who answers? Now what?

I would say, “Oh, sorry! I thought you were at the seminar and I was calling to arrange to visit my sister. Please forgive my intrusion.” Hey, Allah is the All Knower and Judge. He might have been there to say goodbye to her or make sure everything is in order in that home before he leaves. If he was lying and trying to deceive, then it is his account and I lose a few more sins from mine. Great deal really... About the time division, if that's how he is, he can stay there as long as he likes. Better to have LESS of the one who doesn't fear Allah or doesn't appreciate me.

The three of you want to go on hajj. How do you identify your selves? Wife, sister, friend?

Husband and wives.

You've got your kids and she has hers. When it's her time yours stay home with you. when it's your time, hers come with dad. No big deal?

Yes, big deal. This would depend GREATLY on how the children are raised. If they are on the same page as mine, well behaved, good adaab, akhlaaq, and iqraam and hubby is taking care of them primarily, then okay. If not, then not fair, not working, and no thanks. Also, totally monitored play with my children. I wouldn't want to feel any resentment that they were in anyway introducing bad habits or corruption to my children.  I have enough of that from school! Better safe than sorry.

You've been wanting that ______ for the longest. Now finally hubby goes to the store with you, but he says he cannot afford that one, so you settle for another one that is smaller. A couple of weeks later you are invited to the other house, and what do you see? The ______ that you really wanted! No big deal?

Qadr Allah, ma shaa fa'al. Allah exposed the situation to me, but I don't know if hubby bought that for her or she bought it with her own money.It may have been a wedding gift. He may even have taken her and offered the less expensive model and she chose to pay the difference.  If I thought badly of him about it, without looking at the possible circumstances, then I take a sin on myself. We need to think the best of others, not the worst...or even just okay thoughts. Allah is the judge, and if I have been unfairly treated, then mashaa'Allah, hubby's taking my sins for it so al hamdul'Illah! Things won't get me to Jennah, but a clean account will surely help inshaa'Allah!

You keep pining away for the kids that moved away. Your husband jokes that he'll just marry someone who can have more. Joke or hint?

Probably hint. Never forget, as with everything, it's about quality not quantity. It's a beautiful thing to have good children raised on correct knowledge and deep faith, but not just more children. To raise children well takes a great deal of time, effort, and patience. He may joke about it, but it won't be any laughing matter when he has to help raise those children....and if he doesn't help, he will suffer the consequences.

As for the wife who is no longer making babies, she no longer has those year long hormonal horrors that hubby has to deal with. She no longer has 40 days nifaas, and eventually, not even a menses to stop the relations mashaa'Allah. I long came to the realization that there are benefits in being past baby making years because you are always consistent and available...and offer a much more relaxing environment for hubby, mashaa'Allah. See, every side has it's benefits and attractive features. Qadr Allah, I must enjoy the benefits of my situation and make the most of them. I can live with being the retreat from crying babies and mayhem.


  1. Assalamu Aleykum,

    MASHALLAH once again a really wise post.I'm taking notes as I may have to face those situations some day.The way you would deal with her children is interesting, you definitely have a point here.And "Better to have LESS of the one who doesn't fear Allah or doesn't appreciate me."definitely makes sense :)

    Lot of love and JazakALLAH Khair for sharing!

  2. question #2: my co-wife managed the account for years before i came along. and she still manages it. she puts money in and takes out upon his requests. she even comes to my house (or me to her's) and drops money off when he can't do it. she even still does all of his paperwork (for business). it use to bother me. not any more that is one less thing i don't have to worry about. 1 less job for me to do.

    question #5: my hubby always goes to each home and makes sure we are ok/have everything before going out of town (which he has to do every once in a while). so not a big deal.

    question #7: there are times when the her kids come over on my night, and then there are times when my kids go over there. and sometimes the times won't be even. they want to spend time with each other. not so much with their dad or stepdad. so my co and i are fine with it. when we are tired of them staying (usually after 2 or 3 days) then they go back home. and we live only 5 minutes from each other.

    question #8: there are times when i want something and co wants the same thing. it hurts me when hubby buys her the thing i wanted. makes me feel like he favored her over me. and i'm left with nothing. then, later he buys me something else, that i also really wanted. and i'm happy. our hubby likes to personalize his gifts to us. so we are special. and then sometimes he buys us the same things (dish clothes, socks, etc.).

  3. @Umm Zakarya, Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh! I'm so happy you are back and happy. May Allah bless you and your new family immensely and keep you firmly on His Perfect Siraat until the day you meet him - ameen. Inshaa'Allah, you will only ever look at these situations as hypothetical. Wa iyaaki sister, wa barak Allahu feeki wa fee hayaatiki.

  4. @Huda, Jazaaki Allahu khayran for sharing your responses with us. It is so true that things balance out and we need to be grateful for what we don't have (like the bank account duties) just as much as for what we have (the gifts, the good relations, the care, etc.) It is very beneficial when someone can give a perspective from experience, mashaa'Allah. Barak Allahu feeki wa fee hayaatiki.

  5. LOL here are my responses. Lots of these questions & answers u posted are based on a good relationship with #2.

    Being first wife, you have control of the bank account. when the new wife arrives what happens to your job as banker?
    I'm still the banker. What's his is mine, why should this change? She can get her own account, and manage that.

    You and husband are invited to a dinner on the night of the other. The hosts don't want your entire family there. Now what? She needs to switch her night so we can go to the dinner party. Its not the host fault that hubbie wants to have 2 wives, why should she have to change date. The hubbie needs to change days to accommodate party.

    You and co-wife are riding in the car and your cell phone goes off... it's him. When you're finished saying you're fine, etc what about the other sister? Do you give her the phone? This would prob never happen bcuz i would never be that close to her without drama. But if i did, no I wouldnt let her talk on my phone. He can call her on hers if he wants.

    You've got your kids and she has hers. When it's her time yours stay home with you. when it's your time, hers come with dad. Umm No, sorry but wouldnt want to watch their kids. The dad would be responsible for making sure they have any relationship, not me. Not my responsibility.

    You've been wanting that ______ for the longest... If this happened. Well for one, I would just think the #2 is really trying to be like me copying my style. And also I have my own $ and he also gives me$ a mth. So I dont see this being a likely scenario for us. But if it did and he bought i for her after he told me he couldn't afford it, that would be a huge problem. He's paid for things for me, trips, cars, clothing, and told her he cant afford paying their total rent, ect. But she knew this already. I dont know about this one.I'd prob be very upset.

  6. Aww I remember these. :) Just a little insight cuz I never answered them the first time.
    Question #2 First is still in charge of the US finances, and I'm in charge of the ones in my household. I've almost never worked throughout the marriage, (I'm a SAHM) but First has, and she used to set aside $ for her and me special so we could go out to eat by ourselves once in a while.
    #4 We usually ask hubs if he has a moment to talk with the other. If he's busy he'll call them back later. Sometimes, if he doesn't realize we're out together, he'll hang up with one and call the other right after LOL.
    The rest of these are kind of shady. I might have had these situations come up but alhamdulillah there was almost always an explanation. Subhan Allah sometimes, shaytan can make mountains out of molehills. I say it's best not to take anything at face-value or assume the worst. I hope insha'Allah my reactions would be like Mai, and with Taqwa in mind.

  7. good answers mai!

    Heres a question to all 1st wives. Should 2nd wives live by 1st wife standards? Ill explain, say you come from a background where you have a certain standard of living that husband can afford and youre the 2nd wife. The 1st wife at marriage didnt have that standard of living, it grew after she married and saw the money... So for example if the 2nd requested a certain amount as mahr thats definitely more than you requested and husband accepts it, or she had her own money + fathers and you didnt, would you feel bad that she seemed to have a lot more than you? Not that 1st wife is deprived or anything.
    Ill give y'all an example of a scenario.
    1st wife doesnt have a bank account with husband because of something that happened before. i dont know the details, just that he now only trusts her with cash. I fully expect a bank account or 2. As a 1st wife, would you feel bad that the 2nd wife 'got' something, and as 2nd wife should i be expected to 'lower my expectations' because of 1st

  8. As salaamu alaykum Sweetlikechocolate.

    Everything depends on the situation at its given time. The scenario you give is clear. The husband has a reason for not having a bank account with number one, and it may well be a protection for her because what leads to haram is haram. He knows why she can only be trusted with cash...and so does she. If there are no such issues with number 2, then there is no problem... it's a bank account after all, not a physical possession like a Mercedes SLK! If the other wife needed a post office box for mail and you had a mail slot, are you getting less than her because he isn't getting you a post office box? She needs it for her convenience, you don't.

    As for mahr, these things aren't set by the man and they are based on what is asked by the female and what means the man has. Different situations, different times, different means, different woman = different mahr. Most certainly my co-wife's mahr was more than mine. As per the cultural expectations, she had a wedding party that cost money...mine was just a simple gathering for brunch. She lives in a newer, nicer apartment building...with many new things that we never had or even want. It is perfectly fine and normal...because it depends on the circumstances. Do I feel bad? Not at all. Whatever rizq Allah has written for me, is what I get. Whatever rizq she gets is from Allah, too. These are material things that have no weight on the scale of good and bad deeds.

    I worked before I got married. I have very expensive jewelry and clothes that I bought, along with various other items. I also own a little house in the USA, which I'm selling over a 10 year period, so I have my own money. My co-wive may never have such valuable jewelry in her life and doesn't have the financial security that I have. Qadr Allah. We just need to be happy with what rizq Allah blesses us individually with and know that it is best for us and blessed for us. (Ooh...I'm a poet!)

  9. Yes, Umm Hamza...brings back memories, doesn't it mashaa'Allah?

    What a nice set-up you have with your co-wife, mashaa'Allah! Thanks for sharing, as I know it helps others a lot when they read about these things and how they really DO work, bi ithn Illah.

    Taqwa is the key...because when we worry about ourselves (by obeying the Quran and the Sunnah in our dealings with others), we end up doing right by everyone else. Subhaan's so beautiful!

  10. Jaiyana - It really doesn't matter whether the relationship is good with number 2 or not. In polygyny attempt number 1, I had a co-wife who had so many stories that I didn't even know if the sky was blue anymore. That still wouldn't change how I approach issues because it's not about her and what she's doing to me or hubby or even herself, it's about me and what I do in the Sight of Allah. I will, bi ithn Illah, behave in a way pleasing to Allah as far as possible...because then, I cannot lose.

  11. Mai- So is polygyny a test for you? It just doesn't seem like you are struggling at all. Your not broken hearted or worried. It just seems like this is no big deal for you. Also, do you ever spend from your money to help out your husband. I know your spoke of one day returning to the US and purchasing land. Will you be expected to contribute? I am only asking because with him taking on another family, saving has to be difficult.

  12. Umm Salwaa, Of course it is a test. I must always be on my guard because I never know what the future has in store for me. However, I'm not broken-hearted and I'm not worried because I know that whatever happens is from Allah and good for me. How am I going to worry about that? I think that when you know what it entails and what to expect (even the unexpected) then you are prepared for the test and it just isn't a problem.

    My husband and I have a wonderful and blessed relationship, mashaa'Allah...and it is based on wanting to see each other in Jennah.

    As for money, I'm gradually getting my money back from my house purchase...and it's mine, LOL! I will admit that in the early days of our marriage, me buying the house was a big help to him and us because it made his going to college easier. It was a little help that paid off big time...because here we are in Madinah, him with his M.Ed, and me "falling back" as you say in the States! He gives me allowance every month - just for me. He buys me whatever I need and more.

    With our past experience, he knew well that he would have to factor in the expense of another household when it comes to saving. Although the savings are less, they are still proceeding and the expected property purchase is on schedule. I'm not expected, or allowed, to contribute in anyway. This is his responsibility and it's part of him being "the man."

  13. i'm the 2nd wife. i worked the first year we were married. and i still had some money coming in the second year. sometimes i gave money to hubby, and sometimes i had to give money to co-wife. what i mean by have to ..... hubby would ask me if i wouldn't mind giving co money for this or that. sometimes she would ask me for money herself. she doesn't/didn't work for many years. later i would ask her for some money,(her family and friends gave her money), and she would give it to me.

    we're family. and we help each other out. buy things for each other when we are at the store. and we take care of each other. and we do all of these things seeking Allah's pleasure and the jannah. she still is my sister in islam.

  14. also, co and i have a good relationship because we strive to please Allah and our hubby. doing these things are good deeds and brings us closer to Allah. they also bring our hubby closer to us. he loves me for the wonderful way i treat his wife and kids. and he loves her for the wonderful way that she treats me and his kids. it's a win, win situation.

  15. Masha'Allah. I love to hear about how polygyny works with other families because if it's harder than what I have, it makes me grateful to Allah, Alhamdulillah, and if it's easier than what I have then I have inspiration to try new ways to make it better insha'Allah. I hope we can have more of these discussions. I love this blog, Mai, masha'Allah Tabaruk Allahu feeki! I really miss the group. May Allah bless every sister here and her family and put love between us Ameen.

  16. MashaAllah-very good to hear you all so positive in regards to your co.wives! Here in my country-polygamy is very rare-and those that are in it have endless problems! And most of the time the man does 2nd nikah secretly without even his own family knowng- and I have never seen co.wives here having a friendly/sisterly relationship!and the men who do it here,do it after they have used the 1st wife till she is old and has lots of children to care for and her appearance is not like when she was younger--and then he secretly starts dating a young girl half his age; lies to his wife about his whereabouts-and in the end to make the relationship halaal-he arranges to hav a secret nikah at some secret location without any of his family present!! So what I have read above is unbelievable!!and I want to say MashaAllah to all of you!!!

  17. Asalamulakum mai, I have a question regarding how much info the current wife should tell the potential second wife about the husband. Such as only praying during ramadan or drinking? Should the first Tell the second even though the husband has told the first not too? The first has asked hubby to inform the intended of his problems as she believes that their marriage will not be halal as she will be marrying a kufar. Actually first believes that her own marriage may now be haram for the same reasons.

  18. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Anonymous.

    This is a joint answer from my husband and I.

    There are different opinions in regards to him not praying. The most stringent opinion is that if he misses one prayer intentionally then he is not Muslim. Other scholars say that if he doesn't pray for 3 days, he is not Muslim. It has been narrated that the difference between emaan and kufr is the salah. So all of this means that the individual who does pray when they know it is obligatory for them to pray, is not Muslim. We am not in a position to call someone a kafir; we only relay what has been said.

    If the issue were only his drinking, then he would still be classified as a Muslim, but he would be a sinner. When we look to the Shariah we see that the one who drinks alcohol is to be punished by being whipped, but the one who does not pray is killed. However, we are not vigilantes; we don't go around killing people. This is for a judge to decide.

    During the times when the Muslims ruled the world, they would go into other lands and give da'wah to the people for three days before they would make war against them. Similarly, Rasool Allah - salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam - would wait outside the city limits and listen for the adhaan. If he heard the adhaan called, he would not attack that village or town as this meant that the people prayed.

    It is our duty to protect the Muslims from the sins they may be drawn into. If this woman were to marry your husband, she could be jeopardizing her whole deen. The simple question is, would you marry your daughter to one who drinks and doesn't pray?

    There is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to Allah. Allah tells us to help one another in birr and taqwa. It is your duty to tell her. In matters of marriage and protection of the people, the prohibition of speaking about others is lifted.

    To reassure yourself of this matter, you may look at the e-book, "Guarding the Tongue" or various others. The woman must make an informed decision regarding marriage to your husband.

    May Allah protect you all and guide you to obedience and His pleasure - ameen.