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Posts Tagged ‘polygamy’

The Qur’an states that a man can marry up to four wives. There are many restrictions and conditions for polygamy in Islam. However, here I will talk about polygamy that has been taken out of its religious context into –my favorite of all – the cultural context. Yes, there is a difference.

Polygamy in Oman is, well, acceptable by most men and rejected by most women. You might find the practice common to some families and rejected by others. Personally, I would love it if it were illegal. But –and that’s a big but – you cannot ask to change God’s laws. So, how do we women manage to work around that? Well, women really don’t, or better.. they can’t other than ask for divorce. So, let me tell you what happens in this culture.

Many men, here, believe that it is their religious right to marry more than one despite their wives feelings. What some do –many of them- is marry a second wife in secret. The whole thing goes on for months or even years. Some men dare to take money from their first wives to pay the expenses to marry the second one. Build a new house under their names, dowry, wedding expenses.. etc. Once the scandal is out, then the woman either tries to divorce the husband or lives with him for her kids’ sake.

Why do men marry more than one? Well… because they want to. Some of the excuses that you might hear is… “There are too many unmarried women in the country and we just want to do a good deed”, or “I felt sorry for the girl, she was unmarried”, or “just because –the only honest one”. So, how do first wives feel…. Hurt, stabbed in the back, regret, and all other emotions that go in your head once you find out that someone cheated on you!

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Polygamy in Oman

Today, I want to talk about the polygamy issue in Oman. I was reading the other day about how some guy wanted to marry a second wife over his first, and how she wanted divorce. The “poor” guy was in a dilemma. He loves his first wife and she is great to him and to their children, but he wants a second wife to complete his religious obligationto rescue unmarried women from their despair!

There are a couple of reasons why a man marries a second wife in Oman:
1- His wife does not take good care of him.
2- His wife does not bare children.
3- His wife does not like to have intercourse as often.
4- His wife is so great to him, and he wants more love.
5- And, just because he feels like it… etc.

I call polygamy in Oman an issue because when the husband marries a second wife regardless of his wife’s feelings or her opinion on it, it becomes an issue and sometimes destroys lives. Men think of it as their right in Islam and no one can tell them they cannot have more than one wife. They view women as being overly sensitive on this issue and that they are influenced by the west to object… “Oh my God, women of the past were angels, they didn’t complain!!”

The reality is: Yes, Islam did allow men to have up to 4 wives. But, that was in a different era. We do not live in a war zone right now and we don’t have women living with orphans that need a male support. (the definition of an orphan in Islam, is a child without a father)

A reality check: the population in Oman has about approx. 340 thousand more males than females. So, saying that they are rescuing Omani women from living and dying alone is in fact… just an excuse!
If a woman agrees and welcomes a second wife into her life, then that is her business. However, in our generation, having a second wife is more problematic and destroys a family. I cannot judge the people of the past. That was their norm. Women obeyed and adapted. Today, it is different. Plus, if men really wanted to follow Islam, they should marry older women “in their 40’s and not 20’s” with orphan children..! But their selfish being interpret religion for their own pleasure!

Can women divorce their husbands in this case? The law in Oman states that a woman can ask for divorce if her marriage causes her harm and distress. So, yes, she can. Some might argue that she cannot because they don notunderstand that the situation does in fact causes “distress” and “affects” a woman’s well being.

However, the Real Problemis for those who marry a secondwife in secret.. In many cases, these men use their “1st wife’s” salary to build a second home or rent an apartment and sometimes to support the “2nd wife”. The law in Oman SHOULD make it mandatory that a man acquires his first wife’s signatureto marry a second one. At least, in that case, a woman is aware of the situation and can ask for divorce..etc.

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