Based on the author's request, names and personal details are withheld to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
As I see, polygamous marriages are increasing. It may be something chosen by your sister, your daughter, your widowed/divorced mother even. Think about the following when you decide to go ahead with this marriage.
Polygamy is a permitted marriage in Islam and there is no question about this. If you struggle with this fact, it is a problem with your own faith, not your husband's action.
Do not feel guilty. If you feel guilty you are suggesting that the sunnah is wrong – so be clear that this type of marriage can be and can flourish on condition that the man is fair and honest with both of his wives. (If your husband is badly behaved after the new marriage – that is a problem with him and not this sunnah).
Read the previous parts of Confessions of a Second Wife:
1- Remember that your actions reflect the personification of this sunnah and it is the priority of every Muslim to protect his faith. If you do not work towards making this sunnah succeed, you show that sunnah in a bad light.
2- The husband should declare his marriage without fear to enable each wife to get used to the reality of the situation. Covering up merely prevents the wives from coming to terms with the reality of their new life.
Once the husband is married it is not right to have an ‘adjustment period’ for either wife. As soon as the husband is married, it is the right of his new wife to have her time. If the husband takes these rights away to give previous wives time to adjust – this is not fair (since it is all about a matter of faith). In supporting this “adjustment” idea, husband takes the rights of the other wife and they will both be answerable for this wrong-doing before Allah.
3- The greatest gift one wife can give to the other is not material; rather, it is simply to give her, her rights and live her life as a free woman.
|Do not replace the husband’s responsibility. The marriage was his choice and so it is his job to fulfill his social, financial and practical responsibility - not the job of his new wife to stand in for him.|
4- The husband is a free man; he does not belong to one wife more than the other so the competition for time is pointless. Your husband does not necessarily love you more because he spends more time with you – it may be simply that you are more controlling and he is not strong enough to argue.
5- Remember while you take someone’s right now – can you take the punishment for that husband in the next life? If you are taking time that is not rightfully yours – on the Last day you will have to account for this. So do not think you have succeeded if you do this. If you want more than your right – ask yourself “Is this worth taking the Fire on the Last Day?”
6- Give your sister her time with her husband and try not to call or interrupt their time together but at the same time show some flexibility. If there are little habits that make their relationship special and they are things they have always done/ or are doing if they are newlyweds – don’t cut them off and you will feel by time how blessed your own relationship is.
Onislam.net's Family page team is conducting a point counter-point between Muslim wives to reflect on their personal vision about polygamy. In a previous article we published a thought of an Egyptian wife who refuses the concept of having a second wife:
We want to hear more from our readers. Share your views and contributions by e-mailing the editor.
7- The division of time is related to nights not days. In the day the husband is free to do as he wills in regard to his personal and professional jobs. But this does not mean it is acceptable for him to spend days with a specific wife and not the other simply because he goes there at night.
8- If you feel you are seeing your husband more than ‘expected,’ ask him how much time he is spending with the other wife and ensure he is being just. Love of another person is a test as with anything and when that love exceeds the rights of others – we fail.
9- Your allegiance is to your husband not to each other. You should prioritize your own relationship with your husband. It should not be the case that if one wife is arguing with her husband the other should also argue. Of course if there is a problem that is shared with you then it is important to encourage a return to good relations not to encourage anger and a separation. It is clearly bad to cause separation between husband and wife in any way, shape or form.
10- Respect the other wife as your sister in Islam, as a woman in her own right. Understand that she has as much right to be happy as you do. If your aim is to win your husband's respect, live justice, do not abuse it. As long as Allah is pleased with you, that is all that counts.
11- Agree to maintain some form of practical and personal boundaries. Consider the sunnah as the best example and be aware what you share in discussions and how you live practically. There is no sunnah in sharing the same house/room and this is bound to cause problems. There is no sunnah to discuss your private details with each other either.
12- Do not ask your husband what he does with his other wife and do not ask your sister what she does with her husband. Allow them to keep their marriage private. The faithful, we are told, does not ask “Where did you come from and where are you going.” Focus on your own relationship not on the other wife’s. There is no need to lie to stop hurting the other person's feelings; unnecessary lying only leads to mistrust and a lack of respect. It is simply best to keep silent and remind the wives that the other relationship is not their business.
13- Be flexible about time but not if you feel your right is being taken. It is Ok to take your rights, do not feel guilty. But remember sometimes as human beings, a wife may need her husband to support her if she is having a difficult time. Be generous and Allah will reward you, as will the other wife.
14- Do not replace the husband’s responsibility. The marriage was his choice and so it is his job to fulfill his social, financial and practical responsibility - not the job of the other wife/wives to stand in for him. It is injustice by the husband if he puts the responsibility of one wife on to the other.
15- Encourage your husband to deal fairly with the other wife and she will similarly encourage him to deal fairly with you. If she is unjust to you – do not be unjust to her. Using haram to combat haram simply means you are both in the wrong side.
16 - There is no obligation for you and your husband’s other wife to be best friends but it helps if you can at least meet occasionally since this is also from the sunnah of the Prophet’s wives. This can ease any difficulties each wife may experience as a result of the husband's other relationship.
17- Do not listen to friends who have a problem with your type of marriage. They are simply reflecting their own insecurity. Avoid discussions about the other wife with such people because these discussions can cause problems for your relationship with the other wife and indeed your husband. A good friend will be helpful in keeping your marriage together and not encourage you against the rights of the other woman.
18- Do not allow women to feel sorry for you if your husband re-marries. You are not a victim and it in no way means there was something wrong with the previous wife. This is just an excuse made by women who are unhappy with the fact that their husband has re-married.
19- Always make du`aa' that you have the best of intentions towards each other.
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