Coping with Polygamy:
A First Wife’s Jihad
By Umm Janna
(Part 1 of 4 Part Series)
All praise is due to Allah the Most High. May peace and blessings be upon His Prophet, Muhammad.
First, I’d like to make it clear that I am no Islamic scholar. I have been a Muslim for over three decades—and I hope my life experiences in trying to please Allah will be of some benefit to my sisters who read this book, insha’Allah.
The proper word for a marriage where only the man may marry more than one spouse is polygany. I have chosen to use the word that is most commonly understood for this type of marriage—polygamy--to aid in connotation and smoother flow of reading.
To avoid revealing my identity, I will be vague in some forms of information that would otherwise be specific. I’ve been Muslim for over 30 years. I’ve been in polygamy for a majority of those years. My purpose in writing Coping with Polygamy: A First Wife’s Jihad is that I felt it was needed. When my husband took a second wife, words cannot explain the deep hurt, pain, anguish and shame that I felt. Because I felt so ashamed and embarrassed, I was hesitant to discuss with other sisters who were in polygamy the problems I was experiencing. I’m sure there are many other sisters who have found themselves in a situation similar to mine and who feel the same way. So I wrote this book to help sisters who may find themselves struggling in polygamy like me.
I feel it important to say that this book is written from the perspective of a first wife. Many of the experiences that a first wife goes through, the additional wives do also. However, the first wife’s position is very unique in that her initial inception into the polygamous relationship is generally one of extreme difficulty of which she would prefer not to enter into if given a choice, whereas, the additional wife generally is a willing participant in such situations. Also, the first wife generally has nothing to gain from the marriage. She is actually losing her husband in some respects and also loses social status. The second wife on the other hand has something to gain in the relationship. She obtains a new husband and generally a higher status as a result. For the second wife the marriage is usually one of happiness, whereas for the first wife it is a time of possibly one of the biggest hardships of her life.
I hope and pray that Allah Most High accepts this as a sincere effort to please Him by trying to ease the burden of others. I hope that my intentions are sincere and may Allah Most High forgive me for anything that I may have written or said that is unacceptable to Him, for I am truly fallible and only human. I ask the reader to please make du’a that Allah blesses me in this and forgives me my sins. May He forgive you all your sins, as well
In this book you will not find extensive arguments regarding Islamic judgments on polygamy, for I am no Islamic scholar. Nor will you find information on the benefits of polygamy for men who are overly sexually endowed or whose wives are barren or ill. All of that and more can be found in almost any general book on Islam written by Muslims.
What you will find in this book, insha’Allah, is how it feels to be in polygamy as a first wife. You will see how a wife’s life is turned upside down and changed overnight from a life that is familiar, to one that is full of turmoil. You will find, insha’Allah, that polygamy presents an enormous trial for the first wife that is placed in it. You will also find, insha’Allah, that as difficult as polygamy may be, Allah, glory be to Him the Most High, may bless good to come from such a hardship.
(Next week, insha'Allah: The Shock)
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