Under the best of circumstances, most women find polygyny a difficult pill to swallow. When precipitated by infertility or where infertility is the convenient excuse - it can be, at the very least ... Painful. It is imperative, at this point to note that the right to marry up to four women at a time has been conferred on believing men by Allaah, and there is no ambiguity in this matter. And the Companions learnt the verses of polygyny from the Rasul (salallahu alayhi wa sallam), understood them, followed his example and exemplified the practice for us in their own lives.
Not one of them ever raised an objection purely because a man wanted to, or married, more than a wife. Neither did the successors (tabi'een) or their successors, (tabi tabi'een). It is ludicrous to imagine that ALL of them were ignorant of some conditions of these verses, which were then elucidated by some later-day Muslims!
For those who claim polygyny is not permitted, citing the "contradiction" between the verses, viz:
"If you fear that you will not be able to deal justly with more than one wife, then marry only one" (Al-Ahzaab : 50) And "You will never be able to do perfect justice between your wives even if it is your ardent desire." (An-Nisai' [41: 3)
Shaykhh Bin Baaz (RAH) explained thus;
"There is no contradiction between the two verses there is also no abrogation by one the verse of other. The justice that is mentioned in the first verse is justice within one's ability which is related to being fair in division of time and in maintenance. As for being just with respect to love and sexual relations, this is not within one's ability. This is what is being referred to in the verse' . (i.e. An-Nisai'[Q4] :3)
And after this, if your husband, for whatever reasons, decides to take a subsequent wife while you are battling with a seeming inability to have a child, then the next few words are for you;
First, please do not belabor yourself as to WHY he is doing this. By all means, listen to him if he wants to give you his reasons, but do not agonize yourself trying to figure out where you went wrong, what you didn't do right, where exactly your fault was in the whole matter. It is not only a wasteful effort; it is an extremely painful one! Men have married other women from time immemorial even when the present wife is the woman of their dreams, ideal in all ramifications and possessing all they could ever want in a woman. Although it is very bitter for us women to accept, very often incomprehensible, it is just the way men are made. Allaah says:
"Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver, branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land " (Al-Imran :14)
Secondly - and this is very difficult indeed - do not let this shatter your self-esteem to pieces. What defines you, who you are and what you represent is not the number of wives your husband acquires, even if you want to translate this to mean how little he loves you (which really it isn't!). What defines you and what is really important is that you area Muslimah.
You have, or should have, a vibrant relationship with the Lord of the Worlds. And if you had hitherto been lacking in this respect, now is the time to brace yourself. Salaah, Tahajjud, Du'aa', Tilaawah, Dhikr ... all those Ibaadah we talked about, they do work!
Third, try to be as mature about this as possible. And though there is no escaping the sense of loss, the jealousy and numerous other emotions which often accompany polygyny, let's not overdo it. Remember that these ernetions may still be fine as long as we do not act upon them. Here, the other measures we had mentioned will be priceless - patience, perseverance, maintaining a golden silence and subjecting every action and deed to the approval of the Shari'ah.
Fourth, much as it would appear to us as such, especially at first, our husband's subsequent marriage does not mean the end of ours. And we should try not to bury it alive!
Remember that you are married to the man, not his other wife. Yes, we should be nice and courteous towards her if for no other reason than she's your sister Muslimah, and now a member of your family.
But the responsibility of keeping our marriage lies with us individually. Try not to give up those little things your husband loves to do with you or you with him. If anything, seek out other means to enliven your time with your husband dress up (or dress down, if you wish!), cook his favourite dishes, try new exciting things in bed that give you mutual pleasure etc. It really isn't a competition, so don't concern yourself about what is going on in the other's house; the aim is to make your marriage better, not than her's, but for you!
Finally, flee Dear Sister, flee from anybody in guise of friend or foe who advices you to ask your husband for divorce, or make life difficult for him, for taking a subsequent wife. Such people, with their advice bear no good!
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited