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POLYGYNY IS NOT JUST ABOUT SEX



©Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

In a proposed book, while discussing sexual capacity as a condition for polygyny, I mentioned that it is wrong to think all men go into polygyny because of sex. Although sexual capacity is a fundamental requirement in a marriage, especially polygyny, there are men who marry more than one wife and their priority is not sex. They have some reasons that can even be more pressing to them than beauty or sex, such as maintenance, empathy, knowledge etc. These were some of the reasons that influenced the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم's marriage with some of his wives. Sex was not the Prophet's priority in his practice of polygyny as some enemies of Islām try to paint it. If his primary interest was sex or other worldly things, he would have preferred marrying more virgins than widows and divorcees. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم led by example by giving succour to women who had lost hope of ever getting someone to take care of them and children after the death of their husbands.

The Prophet  صلى الله عليه وسلم married Khadijah رضي الله عنها when she was older than him and he didn't marry any other wife till she died. The only wife he married as a virgin was Ā'ishah رضي الله عنها. Even in the case of Ā'ishah رضي الله عنها, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had to wait for good 3 years before consummating the marriage. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is free from the lies of the Kuffār and orientalists. (See Dr. Nāsir bin 'Aqeel at-Tareefī,  Ta'ddud uz Zawjāt wa 'Ahimmatahu lil Mujtama'il Muslim, Majallat ul Buhūthil Islāmiyyah Vol. 25, page 194-196)

Therefore, women upon whom another wife is married should not feel inferior, needless or less attractive to their husbands just because they married another wife. If all first or preceding wives understand this, if their husband wants to marry another wife, they will not say "what does he want again?", because adding another wife is not just about sex. The newly married wives too should not also think they are being married because of some qualties they possess that a husband's first or preceding wife doesn't possess. A man's reasons for marrying another wife is not limited to sex or physical attraction, I repeat. It might not even be part of his considerations at all.

It is not also right to think women who remarry even after giving birth to all their children, do so merely because of sex. You will hear some people saying "what does she want again". It is wrong to assume she is remarrying solely because of sex. Marriage itself has a lot more to do in our lives beyond just sex. Although one of the reasons marriage is important for widows and divorcees is when they are still sexually active and attractive, many of them get married for the purpose of companionship, guardance etc. Some remarry for economic reasons. 

A woman is entitled to remarry if she desires it. A woman's son can be her guardian, but his level of control over her is limited. If a woman has too much freedom based on her single status, she can misbehave regardless of her age. A woman's son can advise her not to visit jalabi Alfas, she might not count it to be anything. She can even scream at him and he will keep quiet. But if she is married and the husband instructs her not to visit jalabi Alfas, she is likely to obey if she is God-fearing. Then, a woman needs a man she can freely relate her feelings to without falling into fitnah. This is why the institution of polygyny is solution to many of of social problems if practised appropriately.

No matter how close a man and woman are, they may not be able to share some thoughts and affection with each other if they are not legally married. In fact, the sharī'ah doesn't permit too much closeness or familiarity between a man and a woman that are not married. When a man and a woman are attracted to each other, the best thing is for them to get married. The main interest in such marriage may not necessarily be sex, it could be companionship. Some women are married to men they don't get to see often. They relate mostly online and they are comfortable with each other because sex is not their priority.

In his work, Fiqh ul Wādheeh, Kitāb us Zawāj, Sheikh Muhammad Bakr Isma'eel said although it is makrūh (distasteful) for man who lacks sexual capacity to marry a woman, if the woman says she doesn't need sex from him or that sex is not paramount to her, the marriage is valid. As important as sex is in a marriage, a woman can waive her right relating to sex and intimacy if she feel she doesn't want it anymore and his husband accepts it. A woman can marry a man for reasons other than sex. (See Fiqh ul Wādheeh minal Kitāb was Sunnah 'alā madhāibil Arba'ah, Vol 2, page 7.)

The case of our mother, Saudah bint Zam'ah bin Qays al-Qurashiyyah رضي الله عنها is a good example. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم married her after the death of her husband known as As-Sakrān bin 'Amr bin Abdis-Shams. She was married after the death of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid رضي الله عنها in Makkah shortly before Hijrah. She waived her intimacy right  with the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in favour of our mother, Ā'ishah Bint Abu Bakr رضي الله عنها. (See Dr. Nāsir bin 'Aqeel at-Tareefī,  Ta'ddud uz Zawjāt wa 'Ahimmatahu lil Mujtama'il Muslim, Majallat ul Buhūthil Islāmiyyah Vol. 25, page 196-197)

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