A commenter on my last discussion of polygyny, used the term ‘trifling’ when describing some of the characteristics and behavior patterns of some people in regards to the big P. I admit, that I am one of those sisters, who try to see the positive in P. However, there are so many negative examples out there, it gets harder by the day to be optimistic. I mean, we have our ideal and then there is our reality. Unfortunately, our reality bites…big time.

It no longer even surprises me, when I hear of trifling brothers. What I do find disturbing and very sad are some of the desperate fatawa searches, I read about from the women who are married to these men. It’s sad, because it is obvious that they are trying to pull out all the stops to prevent a man, who obviously doesn’t care one bit about his current family, from doing what she already knows in her heart – he will do anyway – no matter what she or anybody else has to say.  Even sadder, is that you almost know that the woman will have to put up with it, because if she is already married to someone like this then that in itself was out of desperation.

I love fatawa and strongly believe that people should consult with the people of knowledge. I also, believe that not all things are best answered by scholars and that sometimes people just need a little heart to heart. Someone to hear them out and someone who can help them to see what is good for them. A general fatwa, saying something is halal or haram, may in fact answer your question but it does not address your situation or the underlying reason you asked such a question in the first place.

I will mention a few questions, that I have come across over the years. Believe it or not, these are not one time only questions; you may find this question asked several times by different people:

1. Is it permissible for an incarcerated man to marry another woman, if he is not supporting his first wife/family?

I will not attempt to give a fatwa. I will say that if your husband is in jail and not supporting you, then his reason for wanting another wife could be:

a. He is a victim of the ‘Toss Salad Man’ or is the ‘Toss Salad Man’ and is trying his level best to hide it, thus the need to overcompensate.

or

b. He is just a typical jailbird, who gets lonely and wants to get as many visits and letters as possible. With no regard to your feelings or anybody else. Not to mention, once your phone gets disconnected from accepting all of his collect calls, he will need somebody else to accept his calls. Also, he must ensure that he has a place to crash when/if he gets out and there is no guarantee you’ll be around.

My question is: Is the other woman a Muslim? Why in the world would a Muslim woman intentionally afflict herself with something like this. Even more so, why would a non-Muslim woman agree to marry a married man?

2. Is it permissible for a Muslim man to take an extra wife, who has an STD, if neither him nor his current wife have a STD?

With all do respect to sisters with STD’s, this question is sad on so many levels. One a sister with an STD needs a man too, but can’t she find her own? And if she can’t, can she just sacrifice for the common good? Why risk spreading your STD to another person. As for the husband, who even considers this and he already has a wife….WHY? Is it really worth it? For the current wife, who needs to ask this question…will the answer really settle the matter for you? If it is permissible, does that mean you are willing to stay in the marriage and risk infection? Would you even have respect for either your husband or the new wife for selfishly putting you at risk?

As I’ve said before, this is no disrespect to sisters with STD’s. As a matter of fact, they deserve big time props for their honesty. However, I think to consider a married man is a bit selfish. You can let a single brother know of your condition and whatever he decides is between the two of you, but if he already has a wife, it’s just not fair.

3. There is a brother with AIDS in our community who is marrying and divorcing several ties and infecting his wives. He has recently left our community and is looking for wives in other communities. Is it permissible to expose him or is this backbiting?

YES, I have seen this question asked several times and even more surprising were the responses. Many people responded with; knowing of many other cases or having friends in similar situations. I still can’t believe that it has become so common.

Then there are the normal questions the women have regarding their husbands masturbating, being addicted to porn, and having kafir girlfriends. They usually all want to know if these are signs of men who need to take other wives.

The all time number one question is:

Is it permissible for my husband to take another wife if he does not have a job? He plans on moving her into our home. We have a one bedroom apartment. The bedroom will be his and we will alternate days (and change the sheets) of sharing his bed. When it is not our days we will sleep with the children (I have two from another relationship, 2 with him, and the new wife has 3 from 3 different fathers) in the living room on the floor. This is only temporary, because both the new wife and myself are eligible for section 8 but we are not sure how long it will be.

No, I did not exaggerate this question at all!!! Okay, so I combined a few separate situations and rolled them into one, but I am about sure that I have at least seen something like this actually written.

Fortunately, I don’t know anybody in these situations, but have read about them on the internet. I do have a friend in a heartbreaking situation now, and may Alla reward her with good – she is not complaning at all. She has been married for 20 years. Her husband has fertitlity problems. She suffers from depression and desires children but never even considered a divource. Her husband has recently remarrired someone 20 years her junior and stated his reasons as, “wanting to have children”. When I asked her how could he have children with her if the problem was him, she told me that it was all up to Allah. I agreed with her and left it at that. She is such a good woman and even moved out of the master bedroom and into a smaller bedroom to give the new bride the best rom in the house. Masha’Allah.

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