Thursday, February 11, 2010


Why did you call me a loser? asked a friend almost in disgust as she heard me calling her a loser when she confided in me that her husband has entered into another marriage with a much younger woman. I smiled and held her close, almost like giving her a hug to say , " No, my dear you are not a loser in the normal sense of the word 'loser'". I regretted using the word because it almost drove her into tears.I hugged her close and whispered,"I am sorry and please let me explain." She calmed down and began to smile. She knew that I always described things that happened in our life in ways different from the way some people would.

Actually in a polygamy everyone involved are losers of some sort, be it the first wife, the subsequent wife or wives, the husband, the in-laws and most of all, the children. Of course what one loses and how much one loses depend, among other things, on the social and economic status of the people involved. But today I am writing about this friend of mine from an upper middle class family who is now considered middle age.

"You are a loser only for a while if you can see the reverse side of a polygamy. There are many facets to polygamy but most men only focus on those immediately relevant to their very personal interest and personal requirement. Let us look at the wider spectrum. " I started talking like a trained counselor."You are not a loser but you are not a winner either. You are just you who can turn problems into opportunities and you can live well in harmony with yourself if you could just accept it and move on with life the best way you know how. Polygamy can give you that excruciating pain in your very heart, but let it not destroy the strong and beautiful you.  God does not make this world too small that you cannot find a space within yourself to do something or anything that pleases your heart. Perhaps this is a good time to re-invent yourself through re-engineering your heart and mind. Maybe this is the the time you can pursue the power of  your dreams.  But just make sure all that you do is within the rules and regulations set by the Syariah Laws. Learn about them quickly if you are not familiar with them just yet.  I believe there are plenty to do if you could open the windows of your imagination a little wider and not be conscripted by the old fashioned thinking and traditions."

I paused for a minute and listened to what she had to say. "Hmm mmmm, I never looked at it that way." She said in a tone like she is unsure. " The minute I knew that he remarried, my first thought was that he let me down as a life partner, I felt kind of insulted and I felt like he is not the person I used to know. He became a stranger and I felt like I cannot even touch his hands".

I agree with my friend  to some extent, and may be to a large extent, that the husband is now in many ways a stranger. I tried to empathize and talk in the "we" form.  Yes, we  may not like to live among strangers. But since we are sort of "trapped" in a "not sure" situation we can go on with life  by redefining the meaning of life itself all over again. I repeat,  we can re-invent our life style. The basic meaning will never change because we are guarded by the Islamic rules and traditions. (Please do not grudge this situation  and do not try to find fault with the rules. The Quran is perfect. It is human imperfections that we are dealing with now).

Islam provides freedom within the realm of the basic right of a woman and a wife. A woman is created different but equal in the eyes of Allah. Understand the issues of women in marriage and you can walk tall even if your husband cannot focus on you alone. Maybe one day men will also understand their role as man and as husband and who they should serve. That is whether they should focus on their interest first or the interest of the family as a whole. We shall leave this for another discussion. Man always defend their case because polygamy is allowed in Islam. They choose to play down the fact that our Prophet Muhammad (saw) did not take another wife while with Siti Khadijah , his first wife who was about15 years older than him. Is this a coincidence? Nothing is a coincidence with our prophet and our lesson in "sirrah" should explain this instead of taking it for granted.Let us tell our Ustaz that fact and he may want to look again at the meaning of life with an older woman in Islam as exemplified by the Prophet's wife, Khadijah.

Yes, coming back to you, my friend, and as I said, the frills in life can be varied as you like because you have plenty of time to yourself now.  Do not feel sorry for yourself. Sometimes life can be unpredictable. One day you are okay, the next day you may be told you have cancer and you may live for a few more years. Believe me nobody knows really what the future is like for any of us. Be positive, work hard on something with added value that brings blessings (barakah) from Allah and peace to your mind, and leave the rest to God alMighty, Allah.

If you look carefully at a polygamous marriage, the husband may be the actual loser although he thinks otherwise. Usually he will tell his friends  all the excitement of a polygamy but do not dare to tell about the sobs and tears deep inside his heart. One good friend who has two wives both of whom I knew, told me one day that he felt miserable on  that  particular day when he saw a notice at the front door of his first wife's house that read: 'Be back soon,". He waited until he was tired and bored but no body turned up. He was particularly miserable because he misses her and was missing the old time they shared when they were first married.Little  things suddenly becomes so meaningful to him  because he did not get or could not do together with the second wife and that he longed to get back to the old "pleasures" which he could get no more because the mind set has changed and space and time is no more with him. When one gets older often times one is set in one's old habits that suddenly one finds the old ways seem to be the most relaxing thing to do.

Indiscriminate polygamy destroys ( too strong a word) rather indiscriminate polygamy robs one of the beauty of just being a person or a human and indiscriminate polygamy could numb a relationship which was otherwise simple and in perfect harmony.

Therefore, just as much as you can grow old gracefully, you can also be "a loser" gracefully,  insyaAllah with a newly  found passion and wisdom and much more.Allah knows best and He knows what is best for you. Just be thankful with  all the pleasures Allah has granted and move on with life by His Grace, Love and Affection. And Allah will bless you even more if you sincerely du'a for your husband's well being. Remember,he is still human and he is still the father of your children, and you are still his WIFE,  and he deserves some kind of respect.


noraini said...

Salam dan tahniah sobah. good article, good advice. sebenarnya masalah insan tidak lebih besar darpada Allah yang menciptakan masalah untuk 'menilai siapa yang terbaik amalnya'. Your good friend is lucky to be picked because she must be ready, otherwise Allah tak akan uji seseorang di luar kemampuannya. Yang menghalang kemampuan kita ialah sombong, ego dan tamak 3 sifat mazmummah yang kita kena perangi daripada semua hati manusia yang masih hidup termasuk yang memberi komen ni. WaAllahu'alam

ngasobahseliman said...

Salam and thank you for the observation. We are all vulnerable and we need divine protection. May Allah be kind to us.Amin.

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