Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Polygyny - Behind Closed Doors

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah Wa Barkatuh.

This is a sensitive subject, but it is the biggest and hardest aspect to deal with for many women in polygyny - marital intimacy. I know that many women feel that they never want their husbands to touch them again once he's been with another woman. They struggle with feelings of diminished confidence, jealousy, suspicion that he is lying when he says he still wants them, and disgust. It can be even harder because, with polygyny, it is not a secret; he has legitimately taken another wife and is living with her for part of the time.

I'm sure some of you may have wondered how I handled this and if I went through those feelings. Most certainly some of those negative thoughts went through my mind, but I knew they were from shaytaan. I also avoid my own slanted interpretations of things. After all, if I have no reason to think I am undesirable or less in some way, then why on earth should I think it?

Certain factors will always play a big part in how the woman feels and how she copes. Much depends on how the husband handles the situation. He must make her feel especially wanted and desired to compensate for the fact that he is also enjoying someone else. He must make it his responsibility to ensure the existing wife/wives are well taken care of in this area.

However, a different approach can be taken to the whole subject. Women don't get married to be left hanging and frustrated. It is the husband's duty to keep his wife/wives fulfilled, regardless of his obligations to, and desires for, another wife. If a wife is left feeling frustrated or ignored, it could be a huge source of fitna and resentment of his other marriage. It is essential to eliminate all aspects that will sabotage positive thinking and success in polygynous situations.

So, rather than think to yourself, 'I don't want him to touch me now he's been with someone else,' think instead, 'I'm getting some of my marital rights from him.' For every night that you think he is pleasing her, ensure he pleases you on your night/time, inshaa'Allah. I'm sure it must seem quite a tough approach as opposed to the hurt and confidence shaken one, but it can work very well bi idhn Illah ta'ala.  Even if you imagine that your husband is having relations with his other wife on every one of her nights, exercising your marital rights on your nights gives you equal psychological footing.

As my husband so clearly stated on his blog, it doesn't go down well in polygyny for the man to be too tired or have a headache, LOL. From a female perspective, I think that most men think they are "too much man" for one woman and can always handle more, maashaa Allah. Just say to him, "Prove it." ;P


  1. Conjugal rights has nothing to do with sex silly person. It means marital rights and obligations as family law courts see fit.

  2. Oops - too much typing, not enough thinking! Thanks anonymous, I've edited that now. Hey, how did you know I was silly, LOL?

  3. I do believe a man can handle more than one woman. But can a man be the same in the bed after sleeping with his new wife. Every woman who is tuned knows her husbands body. If he had a loooong :-) night with his other wife, doesn't he return sort worn down. Yes he can perform, but is it the same excited performance? I remember in one of Bilal Phillips he stated that you should only sleep with the woman whose night it is. So when you visit the first After Asr you don't sleep with her. To me it makes sense because the other woman wants you to be at peak performance, and its difficult if you already released steam earlier in the day.
    I know the intent of some women is to wear him down, so that when he visits the other he is not at peak performance.

  4. Mai-When your husband got married the last time. How did you feel emotionally the first three nights? Did you ever cry because it hurt?

  5. You are so right, Umm Salwaa, mashaa'Allah. We most certainly can tell the difference and men often underestimate that. There is a huge difference in the male performance when he has already expended himself.

    Although it is all fair if he chooses to sleep with another minutes before going to the next, consideration for giving his best to each wife should be taken into account. I sometimes wonder if men understand that they will be taken to account for following his desires or indulging the one wife at the expense of short-changing the other. That just adds to the existing wife's case that polygyny is a loss and injustice to her. Hope those prospective polygynous men are paying attention to this, LOL!

    Allahu aalim, but I'm totally with Bilal on that point.

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran sis! I've missed you.

    1. as salaamualaikum wa rahmatuAllahi wa barakaatuh

      "If a man has two wives and happens to have sexual relations with one wife (in the day time), and that day is the night of the other female, is there a problem in such an action?

      Answer: Yes, this is a sin.
      Sheikh Saleh Al Fowzan"

      Brother Mustafa George's blog...

      In the book Supporting The Rights of the Believing Women on page 124 at the top of the heading it says: He Does not have sex with his wife during the time of a different wife except with the permission and willingness of the other wife.

    2. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Umm Katheer.

      Jazaaki Allahu khayr for the information.

      I looked at the site, but found that there was no supporting proof from the Quran or the Sunnah for Sheikh Al Fauzaan's statement. That does not mean I am ignoring it, wa audhu b'Illah min dhaalik, but how does that align with our understanding that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, "visited" all his wives on one day/night, and various other ahadith on this matter?
      Shk Uthaymeen clearly states that the nights belong to the women, not the days where the man goes about his daily affairs.

      In addition, as these things are private matters that aren't discussed, how would a man seek one wife's permission to have relations with the other during her "time"? What about if one is in a state of nifaas, haydh, or ill?

      In any case, it will be most beneficial if we can find more information and daleel on this matter to safeguard those in polygyny from committing sins. Truly Allah makes clear the best and most beloved paths for His sincere believers. Barak Allahu feeki, ukhti, and if you find more, please add it here.

  6. Umm Salwaa,

    Which last time? You mean to Zainab or before her? I have never cried from hurt over those three nights...not on any of the occasions.

    In fact, the first time I ironed all his clothes and let him use my special eye cream helping him prepare for his trip to get married. I also don't try to contact him at all those days, so the new wife has her time with him.

    This last time was no different, except I didn't help him prepare; he had that under control and it was a local marriage. Also, I had a funny feeling about this marriage, so I steered clear of it a bit more.

    I long accepted the fact that my husband loves me and appreciates me, but he is wants more. I'm okay, my world is okay, so it's okay...and I'm so busy that it is a relief to get a little rest and free time, LOL.

  7. @ Anonymous again,

    I must mention that to a non-Muslim conjugal may well mean matters pertaining to a marital relationship under family law, but in Islam, marital rights include physical satisfaction of both parties. I changed the wording because it will make this more universally understandable.

  8. It's a healthy way to see it and deal with it when you're willing to live with polygamy and have a husband who is willing to put in the effort for things to be fair in the way you need it to be. :) Nice to hear this type of perspective.

  9. I have a hard time with this. My husband is married but has yet to have the wedding, consummation.....yet. He will have 7 days with her and I will be about 6 months pregnant and not looking forward to this. I dont know how to make the hurt go away. I was ok with it before I got pregnant, now it just seems I want to run and hide... Any suggestions? The thought of me being big, fat and pregnant and him enjoying his time with his virgin bride sends me into a big bawl baby every time I think of it Ughh!

  10. Daisy,

    You represent something extremely special to your husband. The fact that you are carrying his first child is HUGE, mashaa'Allah.

    Although it's true that you are in no physical or emotional state to take this easily, but in truth isn't it better to have him take 7 nights when you are in a state where you will probably be grateful for the rest? It is much worse when you are your normal self, fully available and functional, and he's gone for a week. However, by then you may not be missing so much in that department. Believe me, you will be on his mind the whole are even more precious to him with that child inside you.

    In addition, you can assure yourself that regardless of him having 7 days, it is never just hearts and flowers when two people are just married and have to get to know each other and used to each other. He will also have to deal with any insecurities and jealousy that the new wife has, knowing you are pregnant and he is happy with you.

    By the end of that 7 days, he will be anxious to return to the comfort and familiarity of you...and your growing belly, inshaa'Allah.

  11. Thanks Mai.. yes, growing belly is right..Ugh! LOOl Yes, you make perfect sense. It really is hard. I know they keep saying they can wait until after the baby comes but I know 2 things, one, I will not want him to travel to another country with me at home with a newborn. Secondly, the longer this is taking the harder it is on me. I dont think my nerves can take much more. Its kind of like a bandage, just rip it off fast and it wont hurt so much. I think we can handle things much better when they are a reality then when they are just a mere discussion. Thanks for the advice! :)

  12. Mai- I am wondering what kind of relationship do you foresee with your co-wife? Will you let your children go to her home? Will you try to be close with her, or even visit each others home?

  13. Umm Salwaa, you always ask those "nitty gritty" questions, LOL!

    Although my year of observation has not ended yet, I can safely say that my co-wife is not a kindred spirit. I was looking forward to having a great relationship with a co-wife, but this isn't the one. I had a strong feeling beforehand that she wasn't going to be good fit (for me), but I tried to give it every benefit of the doubt.

    Of course, as with any casual acquaintance, I can be polite and friendly. We have no bad history or problems between us, mashaa'Allah. However, I don't expect or want to be close with her or have my children go to her home. I am tired just thinking about having to do the family outings together again.

    Subhaan Allah, for all my acceptance, enthusiasm, and welcoming of polygyny, I now find myself feeling very disappointed that the person who will affect the rest of our lives, and who we have to sacrifice time, attention, money, and opportunities for travel and fun, is not someone I would choose as a companion, or even an acquaintance.

    Believe me, some of my silence recently is due to this feeling, because if I don't have something positive to say, then I'm not saying anything. Al hamdul'Illah that I have a happy marriage, because if I had problems, then this would be the straw to break the camel's back.

    Of course, there is always an up side...and this one is that I really feel that Allah loves me a WHOLE LOT, because when I take His tests happily and easily, He sends me bigger ones. It's all good :-D

    1. MashaAllah I want to hug you and take some of that good vib ;)
      Love you for the sake of Allah

  14. Please check your e-mail today. Inshallah.

  15. Allah ta'ala doesn't ask anyone to be a martyr,that's why polygamy isn't fard.
    I feel very sad when I see what the selfishness of some men causes.
    A high libido has other ways to be dealt with.

    I'm very happy in my marriage and in love, we have dedicated our union to serving Allah.Both of us love the time shared together in this very hectic life so we would never want to bring in another woman.It's been 9 years now and my husband states that any reasons he would have to do so would not be worth the pain he would cause us in the long run.

    So there's good men still caring enough to respect their wife wishes.
    Polygamy doesn't make anyone closer to Allah ta'ala,unless you really married to help someone not your nafs, even there, charity could be the answer.


  16. As salaamu alaykum Hafsah.

    You are very blessed in your marriage, Mashaa'Allah! Obviously polygyny is not your test in this life, as it is mine and some others. I'm sure you have your own tests to contend with though.

    It has been around 9 years for us too, and we are very happy, mashaa'Allah. My husband loves me and we have a wonderful marriage, but he isn't satisfied with just me. That's the reality. Does he pay a price for his choice of polygyny? Yes, and it is very high at times. We, too, pay a price, but we are hardly martyrs.

    My husband has more reasons than a high libido, and although he doesn't want to hurt me, polygyny is something Allah has willed for him/us. In fact, if I consider his success in marrying for physical gratification, I would say it has backfired on him every time.

    I didn't make a mistake marrying him. I never asked him not to marry again. Honestly, I wouldn't ask Allah to relieve me of this test, because He might give me a much harder one like cancer or something happening to one of my children. I'll take this test and say al hamdul'Illah, because it will be a learning experience for us and, as with every other experience, it is meant to turn us to Allah for guidance.

    May Allah always bless you in your beautiful marriage and may you and your husband be in Jennah al Firdaus - ameen!

  17. MashaAllah sister Mai, I find your comments as beneficial as your actual posts - barakAllahu feek! Your patience is beautiful mashaAllah :) Eventhough I've never met you I love you for the sake of Allah! May He shower you and your family with his blessings. Ameen!


  18. Does your husband come from a family history of long-term monogamy? I.e. are his parents (still) married, or were they married until being widowed?

  19. As salaamu alaykum Selma,

    Barak Allahu feeki, my dear sister! May Allah bless you with even more than you have wished for me - Ameen, thumma Ameen!

  20. @Anonymous,
    My husband is a revert to Islam of 20 years, so all his married family members were/are monogamous. However, he never knew his father and his mother married during his childhood, so he had a step-father. In general, a small minority of his family (mother, aunts, etc. stayed married in a long term marriage until death.

  21. As Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

    I could barely read the post or comments through the tears. I am struggling with this right now as you already know. As much as I feel this is a calamity and fork in the road for my marriage after reading your post I can't help but feel that I am being petty. My husband thinks I hate him. I don't hate him I hate the feelings that I have. There is a thin line between happy and bitter and I am teetering on that line. Pls make Duaa for me.

  22. I totally see your point of view sister, its quite interesting :)

  23. I can't say that I'm surprised. It seems your chances for a long-term monogamous marriage were very slim anyway - (statistically)very common scenario for African Americans (absent fathers, low incidence of long-term monogamy). Good luck to the women marrying these brothers.

  24. @Anonymous

    Yes, that is a common scenario. Being British and not used to such familial trends, or the whole African American dynamic, I hadn't considered those aspects as indicators. I wonder if my husband and those other brothers with similar histories would agree that these are major factors in their marriage and relationship tendencies?

    Obviously not everyone is going to fit that profile, but I imagine there are plenty that do, wa Allahu aalim.

  25. surely you mean "seek refuge FROM shaytaan"

  26. @Anonymous...most surely I do! Thanks...I'm under a lot of pressure these days and my typos are absolutely atrocious.

  27. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh my dear sister Halal Wife.

    Seek refuge with Allah from shaytaan all the time!

    It is very difficult to stay on the side of happy when things don't start off well. It is also one of the hardest things to live through, because there will always be that struggle to repel the negative realities of it all.

    You've got my dua'. May Allah give you ease of heart and mind and guide you to His Pleasure - ameen.

    Much love and BIG HUGS.

  28. Assalamu Aleykum dear sister,

    I'm terribly late on this post, iw as away from the bloggin world all this time.
    MashALLAH I really loved this post!I have to admit that I'm afraid of my feelings and reactions about DH having intimate relations with his other wife when he get married.Please make duas for me to accept it smoothly InshALLAH.

  29. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Um Zakarya.

    I keep on hoping that it will never happen, especially as neither party is happy about the arrangement. However, if it really is your future test, then may Allah make all this easy and smooth for you - ameen! Barak Allahu feeki.

  30. JazakALLAH Khair dear sister.I also pray for it not to happen, but we plan and ALLAH SWT plans, we'll see InshALLAH!

  31. Salam sister, I read this post and wanted to cry at what an unselfish and loving woman you are. Your husband is very lucky to have you :)

  32. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Bonnie.


    Subhaan Allah, I don't feel very unselfish and loving sometimes. There are days when I just want to walk away from all the disruption of my life and my family. I don't know if my husband is lucky to have me; perhaps I'm just another test for him.

    However, I am very lucky to have you, and sincere, struggling sisters like you, in my life. It is an honor to know you, and I pray we will grow in Islam,and closer to Allah, together - ameen! :D

  33. Salaamualayki mai,
    very intresting post Maa'shaa'Allah how would you deal with it if you was left your husband doesnt want to have relations with you that things were fine before polgny but afterwards it seems like he dont want you and makes excuses like hes tired,sick etc.really think its ayn or magic Allah knows best.please make dua for me inshallah.or that your husband doesnt spend anytime with you or want to.i feel heartbroken as ive accepted polgny and this is how im, tretaed ;(

  34. Wa alayki salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh ukhti.

    My dua' are with you. Even though I know that your tests and hardships are from Allah, to improve you and teach you, it is still hard to see you suffering hurt and heartbreak.

    The key in every situation boils down to pouring it out to the only One Who can help you - Allah. He has power over everything, and so if you want something you have to ask.

    Such behavior indicates that there is a problem, which goes deeper than simply being in polygyny. It is true that the newness of another wife will take his attention and it is to be expected to a certain extent. However, it doesn't make sense that a man will go off his wife just like that if everything was fine before, wa Allahu aalam.

    Although I can suggest you try to talk to your husband, or do some detective work, to go back over things and see what the root of the problem is in your relationship, really I have found that prayer and patience resolve things in the best way possible. It may be difficult at times to simply carry on and hold your tongue, but it has paid off for me numerous times and Allah truly is with the patient.

    Sadly, it is possible that the ayn in involved, especially as jealousy and hasad run high in such situations. Read your protective ayaat,suwar, and dua's morning and night. Do ruqya for yourself, just in case. There is nothing but benefit in all these things,so you cannot lose.

    My beloved sister, I pray that Allah soothes your heart, rectifies your situation, and increases you in all good through these struggles. I love you for the sake of Allah and will keep you in my dua's, inshaa'Allah.

  35. I have been reading all the comments. I am in a polygyny marriage. And I have never thought of the these things in my mind what or how with his other wife. I think because he made me feel really comfortable and welcome in his life...or Allah closed my mind on these things..Allahu alem. I found it very fine to be in a marriage like keeps me save and my husband is a business man who is traveling a lot so for him to have a company on his trips is good for his zina. His other wife has kids, married with him for more than 22 years, I married to him 3 years and I know from the beginning he wants a number 3 too. I dont have any problems with that because the change for me to have children are small and he want more kids... so I when the time is there I hope to find one for him.... I would like to make him more happy than he already is.... Like any other marriage it goes with ups and downs and I have to remind him of our rights. But it is for all us a learning proces and with the help of Allah insja'allah we will make it till the time has come to leave Dunya and we hope to be all together in the Hereafter that is our goal...insja'allah... I love to read this kind of things because it is such a taboo... even in the Ummah....thanks for sharing your Blog...As'salaamo alaykom wa rahmatollahi wa barakatoho...

  36. As salaam aleikum dear sister, I stumbled across your site today and truly it has been a blessing, and a balm for my heart. Alhamdullilah. May Allah reward you with the highest rank in Jannah. Ameen. My husband and I have a very good marriage mashAllah, and we love each other very much. Out of the blue, 3 weeks ago, his parents asked him to marry his 20 year old cousin as a second wife. He wasn't looking for another wife and I was not in any way prepared - subhanAllah, and he agreed because he wants to please his parents, help a sister who may otherwise struggle to get married and strengthen family ties. It has been such a trial and I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and have felt devastated and so incredibly hurt and insecure. The thought of my husband being physically and emotionally intimate with another woman is gut wrenching. I can only pray, if this goes ahead, that Allah eases my heart and grants me strength and sabr, and may He guide me to all that is good for me and my religion and separate me for anything that is harmful for me and my religion, and give me the dignity to deal with this trial as I should (I have had many totally un-Islamic emotional meltdowns, so have not done too well on that front so far, but I am trying). Reading your blog has really helped me - even just knowing that there are other women out there who understand how hard it can be, and encourage each other to goodness, and patience and focussing on the most important thing, pleasing Allah and striving to attain Jannah and, the one really incredible thing that has come of this is that it has brought me closer to Allah - such trials and heartache bring us to our knees, head in sujood, crying and desperate, calling out and pleading to the only One who can help us. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayho rajioon. Much love to you sister and Ramadan Mubarak. If you have any words of comfort or wisdom, I would truly welcome them. xxx