THE FEARS WITHIN BY AZIZAH

It\'s not easy being green or so it says in the kiddies ‘Sesame Street series and this couldn\'t have been better expressed because irrespective of the fierce storms, the cold and harsh winds, the blistering heat of sunshine or the crudest weather that whips at the grasses and trees, they still have to retain their green color; the color of life, the color of fertility… the color that leaves hope for a fruitful tomorrow. So I find in relation to my life; it is not easy being a Muslim. Please don\'t get me wrong; I mean I love being a Muslim. Basically, it\'s the only ray of hope that keeps me struggling through each day for the promise of al-Jannah. You see, I strive in every humanly possible manner to uphold my deen; I make no claims to be a saint. I love to perform my obligatory prayers at their specific times, I fast voluntarily and involuntarily, I enjoy reciting my Qur’an daily, I indulge in late night prayers when the world is asleep, I am obedient to my parents and kind to my neighbours, I adhere to the Qur’an with my heart and emulate the Sunnah with my actions, I prepare my husband\'s meals, do his laundry, clean up our home and tend to our kids, I smile to neighbours and strangers, I simply make a hobby being the ‘perfect wife%25E2??... I try daily, over and over again to earn Allah’s (SWT) pleasure. So I hope you\'d be able to appreciate how painstakingly difficult it is for me to shy away from one act that Allah has granted His permissions, one deed listed in the Holy Qur’an….one more way to earn Allah’s (SWT) pleasure. It shames me to even think it, let alone admit that I am \'polygamy-phobic\'. Please don’t get me wrong; I don\'t hate polygamy, I can\'t even hate it, I just dread it. But then again, I guess my fears are not far-fetched. Polygamy or is it polygyny has had more than its fair share of attention in the list of permissible acts that Allah has granted man. It has been debated between husbands and wives and it has been discussed in various perspectives between Islamic scholars, the Muslim women have fretted over it and a few Muslim Men have abused its privilege; the fears and joys of polygamy, its indulgences and rejection have been simply overrated. For some, it\'s the cravings of power over women, for some, the yearning to slake their lustful desires, while for others yet, it\'s just the pull of pressure from their polygamous brothers. For as long a time as I can remember, the brothers were always quick to quote Qur’an 4:3 in ultimate defense of their indulgences in the possession of multiple wives. Little did I realize then that in fact only a part of this verse was constantly being repeated, the part of course that suited the brothers well and the tragedy of it was I actually did believe them in my full ignorance. Anyway, my ignorance was not to last forever as I was forced to put a hold on the panic that had risen within me since my husband had subtly informed me of his intentions to provide me with a mate; as in a companion, or friend or perhaps a sister. Whom am I kidding; a rival is what she\'d be, not a sister but a disaster! And the funny thing is, I was stunned speechless when he\'d asked me; leaving me with the weight of guilt to accept or reject. I mean I had been the closest to an earthly perfect wife, what more did he want or yet what had I done to deserve a ‘mate’? I would have preferred if he brought her home and rudely throws it in my face that she was my new ‘mate’, I would then be opportuned to be martyred in my matrimonial home, but no, instead he had camouflaged the hard way into a deceptively nice question and had left me with the dilemma of guilt - to accept in a quiet desperation for peace or reject in a forceful acknowledgment of justice. Now lets get the picture straight; the entire verse of Qur’an 4:3 states thus: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them),then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice”. Imagine such a sentence combining a warning, permission, suggestion, threat, prediction and judgment all in one. Like this alone is not enough to instill fear in anyone, Qur’an 4:129 further dictates: ?%9CYe are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practice self-restraint, God is Oft-forgiving, most Merciful.” Coined so beautifully is an ultimate judgment, understanding, plea, suggestion, advice and a reminder all in one. Why then will anyone want to break out a single aspect to indulge in when the chain of events contain more… ? Amazingly, the Muslim brothers always come up with some magnanimous ideas of reasoning that men have greater sexual needs than women; that men are innately polygamous in their genetic composition; that there are more women than men in the world; that they marry more than a wife to save women from infamy…and a long list of others, which have been debated and analyzed by modernists and champions of women’s rights. It is true that considering a portion of Qur’an 4:3, polygamy is permissible and thus there might be potential for something good. But lets also bring to mind that every dog has teeth and permission to use them, with a potential to bite you. Besides, why would anyone want to bring upon himself trials and temptations when there are more than enough trials waiting to be overcome daily... . The basic truth we may try to deny is with the decision of brothers to indulge in polygamy; they almost always breed more harm than good. This is because the right to indulge in polygamy has been abused, the timing for discussing polygamy among couples has been miscalculated, the avenues for introducing polygamy in homes has been jeopardized and the intention with which polygamy has been embraced in many homes has been sinful; lacking the financial capability to cater for one family, they create two, three or four; lacking the emotional stability to manage one woman, they embrace two,%20three or four;%20and lacking the wisdom and understanding to cope with one wife, they invite two, three or four. Eventually, they subject their wives to tests of patience, competition and the greatest test of envy. They subject their kids to the tests of insufficient attention, domestic squabbles and the greatest test of love. Finally, they subject themselves to the tests of patience, understanding, love and the greatest test of justice. With so many tests for all involved, the result for the future is surely bleak. Yet our Muslim men feel so courageous to forge ahead, they simply think selfishly about their contentment alone in the matter just as it%20was in the ignorant days of old when men carelessly amassed women as possessions without value, without respect. It was just as much that even in passive permission, Allah (SWT) restricted the maximum limit to four. Polygamy did not begin with Islam, it originated long in time and was embraced without laws, rules or restrictions, Allah changed that with Islam, leaving the rule flexible enough to fit time. If the Muslim men have abused the privilege of that permission, it is not the law that is to be faulted but the men. Even as I think about all this, my head aches badly and I feel a fierce and ugly migraine emerging. I know that my great grandfather and%20grandfather married many wives, but my father married only my mum and now my husband from whom I expected a similar treatment of monogamy, flings the medieval embrace of polygamy at me. As I get up at night to pray, I feel the tears pooling in my eyes, reminding me that I might cry again and then I pray fervently to Allah to give me the strength that will enable me bear this ordeal. With the tears now streaming freely down my face, I turn towards my husband sleeping in bed with so much comfort and peace and I wonder if this affair could get anymore unfair… . Azizah

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