Sunday, May 22, 2011

Polygyny: Would I ?

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

Over the years, polygyny has played a role in my life in many ways. When I was a single Muslimah, I had several proposals for polygyny and have witnessed polygyny attempts... and failures. One might think that with my attitude towards it, I might have been a willing candidate for polygyny.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I always looked at it with the questions:

What is the benefit for him?
What is the benefit for me?
What is the benefit for his family?
What are the losses for him?
What are the losses for me?
What are the losses for his family?
Does his wife want it? Does she accept and agree to it?
How does he plan to practice it?
Can he afford it?
Do we have similar goals?
Is he forward thinking regarding safeguarding our future and our goals collectively as a family?
Does he have genuine reasons for wanting to marry me?
What is his religious understanding and practice?

Believe me, there are plenty of other questions I could ask but I never even got past the first six or seven. Usually, I didn't even get past the first two! Needless to say, I didn't accept those polygynous proposals. In fact, in each case the first thing I asked the brother was, "What about your wife?" I will not be the one to hurt his wife, take time and resources away from his children, and ruin the simplicity of being one happy family unit. I'm not the party crasher. I'm not the one to squeeze a sixth person in a five-passenger car and cause discomfort for everyone on the journey.

I'm sure this sounds funny when I am in polygyny and have welcomed, or at worst case, accepted it into my life as a blessing and a test from Allah. However, there is a big difference between being a first wife where polygyny is imposed on you, and to be unmarried and make a conscious decision to enter into polygyny. The former entails having Allah send life changes and tests to you and facing them. The latter entails looking at  a prospective situation, its pros and cons, and choosing it.

So,  I wondered to myself, under what circumstances would I enter into polygyny? Before everything else, I would need to be in a situation where I needed to married...and where polygyny could work well or better than monogamy. Perhaps if I were widowed, needing support and stability for my children or to keep us in a certain place (like here in Madinah) it would become an option. Obviously there would need to be a great benefit to our Islam, with sound understanding and in depth knowledge. At my stage of life and deen, the only way to respect and obey a man is for him to have serious focus, obedience to, and worship of Allah.

So, if all this is in place, what's left? His wife. She must know me, understand me, love me, and actually want me in her life and family. She must be so satisfied with me that she would trust me to raise her children if something should happen to her. How's that for a tall order, LOL?

Now before anyone jumps up and argues, I know that the existing wife doesn't have to agree to polygyny. I know that she doesn't have to like me or be friends. I know that she doesn't even have to get to know me. This isn't about any Islamic requirements; this is about me and my heart and what I can live with. I cannot live with the guilt and fitna of marrying someone at the expense of others. I don't want to be another woman's heart wrenching test or unpleasant, lifetime burden. That makes for a wounded family. I will not expose my children to that and I will not accept that distraction from my deen and worship bi ithn Illah, taala.

I know what the implications of polygyny are. Basically, the first wife has to include and be affected for the rest of her life, by another woman who she never chose to share with, or even be friends with in many cases. The existence of that person in her family means that nothing is the same. Her marriage and marital intimacy is altered forever. There is no freedom to go on vacations without paying the price of time and money for someone else. Everything is on a schedule, restricted by time division and having to always be considerate of someone else. Everything is more complicated, more tiring, and sadly, less pleasant. It is a enormous and painful test for most women.

Marriage is supposed to be forever and it is meant to be one big family, on the same page, striving for the same goals, functioning in their respective roles, happy together and loving each other... for the sake of Allah. Sound too good, too ideal? Well, it isn't really; it will always have it's tests and trials. However, I've seen too much and been through too much to willingly settle for anything less that that.

May Allah bless us all abundantly, shower His soothing mercy on us, and make our good intentions a reality - ameen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don't Climb Every Mountain

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

Ever feel like you had loads of big ambitions and don't know where to start? How about when you try to take on so many different things that you are overwhelmed by them all? Of course, there are always people who take on many things and believe they can do them all, and more. This all is relative to a person's ability and, more importantly, Allah's Will. However, what I have learned over the years is that people who try to climb every mountain, or a whole load of very big mountains, end up leaving a trail of broken promises and unfinished plans behind them. There is perfect truth in the sayings, "Something's got to give," and "Everything has a price." In the life of a believer, it must never cost them their deen.

I have made a point to be real with the people around me, my children, and myself. For example, if my children ask me to do a certain activity or make something, I think about the value or benefit it will have. I consider if it will please Allah, if it will draw us closer to Him, enhance our understanding, or improve our practice of Islam. Is it an attraction to, or a detraction from, Allah? If it is a healthy, beneficial activity, I will tell them what the chances are of us doing it and what variables (particular circumstances) need to be in place for it to happen. Sometimes is is as simple as them finishing their school work in good time, sometimes is is dependent on me finishing something or us completing chores. Sometimes it will require us to wait until we've gotten the things we need to do it. Sometimes it is something that simply doesn't draw us closer to Allah or benefit us enough to be worth it and then I say no, citing my reasons.

With friends, I may say it depends on my resources or my ability. Basically, I tell others that I will do what they want IF it isn't a distraction from Allah, IF Allah wills it, and IF I have what is needed for it. In all cases,  in the matter of a few seconds I assess the value of the task and it's price in my life and then make a decision.

When it comes to bigger things, I consider that if I died today, would I have been focusing on the right things? At least, now, I can say that I am actively focusing on the betterment of my deen, mashaa'Allah. My school is for my deen, not any other purpose, mashaa'Allah. My methods of child-raising are for Allah's pleasure in us all, inshaa'Allah. My care of my family and lifestyle are structured to adhere to Islam as well as possible, bi ithn Illah. Even my future plans are all to increase my emaan, tawakkal, and taqwa and that of my children, inshaa'Allah. I'm not doing wonderfully, but al hamdul'Illah, I can live with it and it is a seed to grow from, bi ithn Illah.

When I went to college a few years ago, it was to learn about education and how to raise and teach my children well, inshaa'Allah. However, when it came to me transferring to university to complete my teaching degree, I stopped. Not because it was too hard, but because it wasn't focusing on the right things. It wasn't for the improvement of my deen and it wouldn't help me fulfill my duties to Allah and my family. It would have been an obstacle - a mountain I was not willing to climb.

When you are considering your life, your goals, your future plans think about the various mountains around you. Then assess which mountains you should climb.

- If it takes you away from your primary purpose of living to worship Allah, say goodbye.

- If it distracts you from what's important in the Eyes of Allah and His Messenger (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam), say goodbye.

- If it keeps you so busy, you cannot find dedicated time every day to learn and grow in Islam and understand and memorize Quran, say goodbye.

- If it fills your mind or life with fitna, say goodbye.

- It it is for worldly gain, at the expense of fulfilling your obligations to your family and the Ummah, say goodbye.

We take on things that complicate our lives and distract us from our purpose in this life: worship of Allah.


Don't climb every mountain; look at the mountains whose peaks get you closest to Allah and set your sights on those. All the other mountains will become, just as we are told in the Qur'an, like fluffy wool, unable to raise you to any beautiful heights.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hold on to Your Hijab...

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

Ever get the timing all wrong and express your feelings, only to receive a really negative reception? How about when it seems to get worse and worse, whether you stay quiet or try to speak?

Basically, shaytaan has set up a big fairground, with his army of shayaateen running the rides, between you and that person. Be it your husband, friend, relative, or employer, nothing can get through to them without going through the fairground of fitna and that rotten devil's interference.

These are times when, although you desperately want to communicate and try to garner understanding and positivity, you will not succeed. These are times when you have to hold on to your hijab (or perhaps kufi, LOL) and bide your time. Believe me, I'm writing this because I need to take my own advice, LOL.

You may write down your feelings, get into details about your perspective, and even try to make an objective list of pros and cons... or 70 excuses. However, instead of handing them over or pressing send on the e-mail, pray 2 rakat and sit down with that list and pour it out to The Therapist. Take it to Allah. Just doing that will ease your heart and mind. It also puts the whole situation over to the Only One Who has any control over it and any power to change it for the good.

Allah will not change your situation if you think you can handle it yourself...and wouldn't that be idiotic thinking anyway?

 Allah says: “Call upon Me. I will answer you.” [Sûrah Ghâfir: 60] 

So, call upon Him and let Him resolve the situation in the most perfect way; in a way you would never be able to in your lifetime. Don't delay in turning to Him, so He doesn't delay in answering...and remember, holding on to your hijab drives shaytaan crazy. Allah is with the patient...and shaytaan has to run.  By the time you've handed it over to Allah and exercised patience, shaytaan will have been forced to pack up and take his fairground somewhere else.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eternal Beauty

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

Beauty is such an interesting thing: the outer beauty and the inner beauty. Even the nicest looking person doesn't look lovely if they don't love Allah and have a clean heart. Clean hearts and pure intentions shine from faces like a beautiful illumination. The smiles of those with inner beauty are irresistible to all like souls, they emanate and meet with gleaming smiles. While our outer beauty lies with what Allah has decreed for us, our inner beauty makes us more beloved to people than the most beautiful exterior. The clean heart loves the clean heart...and that's what the believers see in each other.

If you wish to be eternally beautiful, rectify your heart. This is a short but excellent e-book on this matter:  How to Rectify your Heart by Shk. Abdul Islaam Saalih bin Taaha Abdul Waahid.

So many of you I have never met, never seen...but our hearts speak to each other and our smiles reach each other all over the world.  May our hearts be a source of light on Yawm Al Qiyama - ameen.