Sunday, March 27, 2011

Polygyny...Just a Little Quran and Sunnah

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Allah tells us in the Quran,
"And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]." (An-Nisaa’ 3:3). 
I hear so many people say that polygyny is not recommended in Islam, but it is permitted. How does that align with Allah's words? He, subhaana wa taala, didn't say, "Marry one woman of your choice, and if you can check off a list of requirements that she gives you and also be fair, then marry 2, 3, or 4."  Go ahead and look it up in Tafsir Ibn Kathir. So, to those who come with claims and opinions, I say to you, "Allah says what He means."

When it comes to practicing polygyny, there is much to be taken from our best example, Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.) His wives had varying dowers. They were of varying ages, physical attributes, personalities, and personal situations. They were all provided with their own home within close proximity of the others. They used to meet together for a while in the home of whomever night it was each day. They had to treat each other with respect and kindness. He was kind, loving, patient, and fair with them all. He did housework. He ate whatever was available and never put his wives to trouble about special food. He was fair and firm with them when they erred. As per his example, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, his wives situations weren't worsened by him marrying others.*

However, we must bear in mind that they were living as simply as possible...quite the opposite of how we live today.


I cannot tell you how many times I think of this hadith.
Narrated Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhuma), "Once the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) went to the house of Fatima (radhi Allahu anha) but did not enter it. Ali came and she told him about that. When Ali asked the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) about it, he said, "I saw a multi-colored decorative curtain on her door. I am not interested in worldly things."  Ali (radhi Allahu anh) went to Fatima and told her about it. Fatima said, I am ready to dispense with it in the way he suggests. The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) ordered her to send it to such and such needy people."
I look around our apartment and know that even though we have a much simpler home and belongings that the majority of our peers, the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would not want to enter. Our lives today are so far removed from what he enjoined, that a decorative curtain is an atom in the universe compared to the worldly things most of his Ummah have, accumulate, and covet.  AstaghfirAllah!

It is reported that Hafsah – Allâh be pleased with her – once said to her father (‘Umar, during his Caliphate):
Allâh has increased the provisions; if only you would eat better food than the food you eat now and wear softer clothes then those you wear now?! He said, “I will argue [against] you with your own self: Was not the condition of Allâh’s Messenger – praise and peace be upon him – such-and-such [when you were his wife]!?” He kept reminding her until she cried. He continued, “I have told you, by Allâh, I will share in their hard living (in this world, referring to The Prophet and Abû Bakr) so that I may partake in their good life (in Paradise).”
Hunâd b. Al-Sarî, Al-Zuhd article 687; Imâm Ahmad, Al-Zuhd article 201, et al. (1)
(1) Shaykh Abd Al-Rahmân Al-Farîwâ`î explains in his edition of Hunâd’s Al-Zuhd that this narration is sahîh if it is confirmed that Mus‘ab b. Sa’d heard it from Hafsah; otherwise its chain of transmission is mursal sahîh (i.e. it is authentic except there is a missing link between Mus’ab and Hafsah)
It is, for this reason, that I understand (yes, ME, personally, which has nothing to do with anyone else with a different opinion) that there is no success for us in polygyny until we let go of our own opinions and materialism. Specifically, in both monogamy and polygyny it isn't about having the bigger or more expensive home, the fancier decor, or the higher lifestyle. An increase in those those things just takes us further and further away from what our beloved example, our Prophet, approved of.

If both husbands and wives follow the words of the Quran and Prophet's example, all those personal criteria and opinions regarding how polygyny should be practiced, under what "rules", and by whom, will end up baseless dust.

We need to stop LIVING with Allah and His Messenger in our lives and start living our lives in worship of  ALLAH and gaining the approval of His Messenger.

*I have had someone named Nazia claim that I post without giving proof, but I don't know how I can write a blog post of any reasonable length and give all the hadith, quotes from the relevant books and seerah to support the things that I write. The things I write about are easily located in Tafsir Ibn Katheer, reputed books on the Seerah of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam), his wives (radhi Allahu anhunna), and major hadith collections. I don't write about obscure things, and if they are lesser known, then I include the proof.

10 comments:

  1. Masha Allah!! That was a great reminder of the materialism that we tend to fall prey to.

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  2. I believe you're complete ignoring the context in which that first ayat was.revealed. what's more is that any recommended act in Islam.would then have been recommended to all the ummah openly by nabi(saw), yet where are the hadith.ehorting men to marry more than one?

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  3. @ A: Perhaps you should read and study the Tafsir of this ayat with a shaykh; look at the live of the Prophet and his sahabah. If you do this, you will have all the proof you need.

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  4. @1fam2wives:

    My father-in-law is a Shiekh and Aalim, his son (my husband) is two-thirds through his Aalim course. I have gone over this ayat with them both numerous times and I repeat what I have already stated: the context of this ayat has been completey ignored in this post.

    Where are the hadith calling for men to marry more than one? If this was truly a recommended act, then there would surely be many and we would have surely had the Nabi (SAW) entire family (his daughters) practicing such an action (and it would have been far more easier for them to do so considering the historical climate in which they were living).

    Your assumption that I may have commented without knowledge is incredibly rude and arrogant. I hope Allah (SWT) allows us both to humble ourselves and to save our selves from our own fitnah.

    The life of the Prophet (SAW) is open, the lives of his Sahabah are open. They lived lives of balance. So should we. Lives that involve understanding and practicing things fi sabilillah and not half for the sake of Allah and half for the sake of our nafs.

    If there is a need, a benefit, any good that will come from a polygamous union then no-one can deny that it is certainly Islamic and permissible and RECOMMENDED. If the action is done for the most disgusting of reasons, such as neglect of an existing family for a new lease on life or the mans adultery that he wishes to now correct through marriage, then you cannot brand such an action as being Islamic or recommended (though perhaps permissible, Allah (SWT) will deal with him).

    There will always be conflicting beliefs amongst scholars and, of course, laypersons about whether polygamy is recommended or not. Those scholars who oppose your view are no more incorrect than yours. Find me proof of the Prophet (SAW) recommending this act to all his brothers and sisters in Islam and I can agree with you. Find me proof that outside of this incident (this ayat, which was revealed in a time of great need and desparity) that recommends mens should be polygamous? Perhaps if Mai had not chopped off the beginning part of this ayat (which helps refer to this situation), as so many people do, it would be more clear to others why I must disagree about this issue.

    Don't ignore the parts of the Quran that you don't want to address. The context in which this ayat was revealed is relevant (as is the context of revelation to any ayat of the Quran) and certainly argues as to whether it is a recommended action at all times or rather, an a recommended action during a time of need or benefit.

    To say that it is 'as clear as day' when information has been omitted is certainly deceptive.

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  5. @a
    As salaamu alaykum.

    Barak Allahu feeki wa fee hayaatiki. I have included the complete ayah, to eliminate that avenue of possible deception.

    Obviously, depending on which scholar, school of thought, and tafseer one uses, there are differences of opinion about the meaning of that whole ayah. We have been advised numerous times by scholars and students of knowledge here in Madinah of this explanation. Most certainly there are various issues of iktilaaf, especially between those who follow the Quran & Sunnah methodology and various madhaahib - especially the Hanafi madhab. Perhaps that is your leaning if you are talking of the Aalim program?

    At the end of the day, the point is that polygyny is permissible, the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and his sahaba (radhi Allahu anhum) practiced it, and it is quite possible for Muslims today to practice it well if they adhere to the examples and guidelines given.

    If you take from a different shaykh, or understand the whole thing slightly differently than me, it's not sending us to the hellfire inshaa'Allah. To you your informed opinion and to me mine...it's all good.

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  6. Assalamu alaikum Mai. I love reading your blog and discuss lots of the topics you bring up with my husband. It certainly makes lots of talk! But I think that many who read polygamy blogs are scared of it and don't know how to react to such a positive light except that they lash out. Lashing out because you are afraid of something is NOT an excuse to treat a sister with bad manners.

    But your blog is a continuous reminder for me that Allah could have something in store for me in the future that is not my favorite because life is full of tests for EVERYONE (whether or not we pass them) and maybe something that makes us think and wake up with hardship or difficulty and then turning to Allah day and night is better for us than Allah testing us by handing us everything we desire since there are many ungrateful and heedless! And the life of this world compared to the next is like a day or part of a day. And I got to pass my tests! I am running out of daylight! May Allah continue to strengthen your family.

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  7. @Em Hamzah

    If you're referring to my comment as a person 'lashing out', I think you didn't read it properly. If you're not, then I apologise for the assumption.

    @Mai

    Thank you for posting the complete ayat.

    For the sake of clarity, I am not arguing against polygamy in the slightest. Rather, I argue against the belief that polygamy is a recommended action over it being simply permissible. I believe it is absolutely essential that it continues to be practiced in this day and age, however, I do not agree that it was an action recommended for all men to practice. This is obviously stemming from ikhtilaf.

    As you said, we are good.

    May Allah (SWT) reward you for all the efforts you make with your blog and in your life, and give you and your family jannah!

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  8. http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/36486/four%20wives

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  9. A said;

    I am not referring to your comment alone, but I have seen many others that are displaying very poor adab. May Allah grant us success in our manners. Ameeen.

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  10. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Em Hamzah.

    I'm so glad that I give you and your husband plenty of quality topics to discuss! May Allah continue to bless your family with true guidance, submission, and satisfaction - ameen!

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran; you can never go wrong in reminding to the good. The written word is a dangerous thing because it depends on the eyes and what's behind them as to how it will be interpreted. I appreciate your true sisterhood; it's very heartwarming to feel that someone has my back, lol!

    As for the link, believe it or not, that is a blocked site in Saudi Arabia so I cannot access it. If it isn't overly lengthy, perhaps you could copy and paste it as a comment so we can see it?

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