Many a married man gets the urge to take a second wife some time after being married for the first time. Now this seems like a reasonable thing to do if you’re Muslim, or if you’re part of a culture which allows you to partake in this potentially fun endeavor. Otherwise, you’re out of luck, my friend.
Anyway, I’m not here to preach, or to please my wife (which is kind of a spoiler alert right there). In here are just my views on this subject, which is understandably touchy if you happen to be of the female kind.
First, a little about me, so that you know where I’m coming from. I am a married Muslim man, with one loving wife (which is more than I can handle, LOL. Let alone 2 or 4 for that matter.). I have 4 wonderful children, who are 24, 22, 17 and 16. Boy, girl, girl, boy. Just the configuration we had always wanted, They’ve all been good to me so far, Alhamdulillah.
I have Muslim friends who have up to 3 wives. Some of them are happy. (‘Them’ here means husbands AND wives.) But an overwhelming proportion of these polygamous unions are not. Not happy. Taking a second wife, sometimes result in the divorce of the first wife. And sometimes it results in the divorce of the second wife. And I know of at least one case where the second marriage resulted in the dissolution of BOTH marriages.
Now don’t get me started on taking a 3rd or 4th woman. And lest we forget, how do you (that’s you, Mr Man) properly manage the children, assuming this polygamy thing works for you? It’s even worse if it doesn’t.
The Muslim ruling on taking multiple wives is quite clear. Put simply, if you can be fair and just to all of your wives, go ahead marry more than one. But if you have doubts about your ability to be fair, then stick to one wife. That’s the essence of An-Nisa 4:3 below.
“And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.” [Quran An-Nisa 4:3]
But, now here’s a big BUT. A disclaimer, if you will. In the same surah 4:129, the Quran says that chances are you will NOT be able to be fair to all your wives. (Then the ayat goes on to say that you should not leave any wife ‘in suspense’, but that’s a different discussion which I’m not dealing with here.)
“Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” [Quran An-Nisa 4:129]
Now let’s go through the 2 ayats above one more time. The message is yes, you can marry more than one, sir. But only IF you’re sure that you can be equitable to all your wives. And then the second ayat says that, you know what, even if you really wish to be fair and equal to your women, in all likelihood, you will fail!
Is the message from the Book of Allah clear? It’s crystal. And this has played-out in the many instances that you and I know of in the polygamous marriages that have failed. (Harian Metro has lots of these stories, if you like that sort of thing :-))
There’s also the financial angle to think about. Even before you talk about being equitable, are you earning enough to now divide your income by 2? And what about, ahem, physical capability?
And how are you going to update your relationship status in Facebook? There’s no space for second wife you know.
If I’m reading this correctly, it boils down to this – The Quran says if you take more than 1 wife, chances are you and your wives and your children will be unhappy. The decision is yours, my friend. Assalamualaikum.