Fate has a cynical manner of throwing dilemmas at our paths in life; the constant decisions to do and not to do, to accept or to reject, to agree or disagree... for a Muslim, it seems to be a daily meal being faced continuously with a dilemma in taking decisions between our unbridled emotions and the dictates of Islam. Indeed, our every action every day puts to test our testimony and declaration of faith.
If anyone had said to me prior to this moment that I'd ever consider being a second wife in a polygamous home, I probably would have cursed them to hell and back. Please don't get me wrong; I mean I grew up accustomed to the joys of a monogamous home, believing on some unconscious or subconscious level that married men were “off-limits”. I mean, there were no laid down tenets or statutory laws governing this decision, but on some subliminal scale, it felt like a taboo to entertain such thoughts even in passing. Indeed, whenever my sisters, friends and I discussed marital concerns like all healthy females who have come of connubial ages do, never have we ever mentioned married men as prospects for a spouse, it just wasn't in our books. And if we did hear about any newlywed polygamist, we were sure that the lady must be under some fanciful kind of spell, or that she were utterly desperate for the man's wealth or perhaps, downright insane altogether. So I hope you'd sympathize with my reasoning to curse anyone who would have wished such proscription on me. You see, I've got good looks, I'm educated, got a great job with comfortable income. I have a checklist for the perfect man but waiting to find him has been a long time coming and being a lady, well, time hasn't really been favourable to me. So I hope can now appreciate how meticulously difficult it is for me to consider accepting a married man's proposal.
Actually, the 'perfect man' had asked me to marry him and here I am entertaining cold feet and praying so hard against it like my world was coming to an end. I have never heard any good stories about a polygamous home and let's not even begin to think what my family and friends would say… and then there's the continuous dilemma of having to accept some part of the deen and reject some other portion (because they don't seat well with my biased emotions?). Sometimes, I think that this is fate's way of mockery for my ego. Please don't get me wrong; I don't hate polygamy, I don't love it either, I just dread it. The beauty of any struggle is in the perseverance of the individual to succeed in spite of known and unforeseen obstacles. Thus, if after considering all the aspects of these verses and pondering over possible complications, one still decides to forge ahead into the den of polygamy for Allah's sake, then fear is only a natural reaction. The Holy Qur’an repeats in its different chapters and verses “fear Allah...” This is because there is sensitivity in the heart mixed with the reasoning of the brain that brings about the emotion of fear. However, this fear should not be dreaded but be embraced as it symbolizes true faith. It is the true faith that gives fear to every party involved when considering polygamy; the fear of financial provision and satiation, the fear of fairness and equality, and the fear of justice and truth. Polygamy did not begin with Islam, it originated long in time and was embraced without laws, rules or restrictions, Allah changed that with Islam, bringing the limit to four. If the Muslim men have refused to recognize errs in embarking on this sensitive journey of polygamy, if they have denied guidance from the Qur’an and Sunnah concerning polygamy and have abused the privilege to the permission of polygamy, it is not the law that is to be faulted but the men. And then the men would say, it is the fault of their wives, who'll in turn blame the sisters, who will then blame the men and so the carousel of faults goes on...
Notwithstanding, it is our intentions that gives credence to our actions as the Prophet (SAW) mentioned: “actions are judged according to intentions”. It is not specified in the Qur’an neither in the Sunnah, the intentions that must precede the indulgence of polygamy. However, if the financial means to cater for a large family is available, the conditions and avenues have been correctly introduced, and the intentions to indulge in polygamy battles a fearful state of the heart's sensitivity and thoughtful reasoning, then the success of the institution is guaranteed only by Allah (SWT). Even after reminding myself of all this, it doesn't take away the fact that I still feel endangered about marrying a man, whose wife and family consider me a flirt, cheat, rival, impostor, bewitcher and all kinds of fanciful names as their imaginations would permit. My family and friends on the other hand, think I have been bewitched, deceived, duped, fooled, tricked and above all that I've probably lost my mind altogether. Perhaps, I have because as I sit here praying feverishly to Allah for strength, for guidance, the man in question calls, sounding all so happy and relaxed (as one without a care in the world) and I wonder if this affair could get any more unfair.