The Star on 15 February 2009 featured the writings of Shahanaaz Habib, one of my favourite journalists. She wrote of a recent Musawah which was held last Friday. Musawah, organized by the Sisters In Islam is a global movement that wants to bring reforms to the Islamic family law and practices.
Time and again, I have always seen myself as being a practical Muslim in a lot of ways. I have blogged about this time and again too. Reading from the outcome of the session, it truly articulated the thoughts of many Muslimah out there, oppressed or otherwise.
Resonating from a polygamy discussion I had with a friend not too long ago, Z who is in her early forties, successful, beautiful and single (but not available) has this fear that once she marries her boyfriend, things will change and she cannot bring herself to think that there are 3 more “corums” to be filled if the husband so wishes.
I also wonder why men generally will only take the first portion of a Quran verse that allows the men to take four wives if only he can afford to do justice to all BUT to one woman? They tend to have selective memory that the verse also ended with a warning that if they decided that they cannot do justice, then marry only one.
When I used to live in Kota Kinabalu, I used to receive a few friends who live in Brunei. Brunei, being a Muslim country and one of the richest in this part of the world, would also see a few of its men having more than one wives. Pengiran K has 4 wives who live in four similar big bungalows, each with equally similar number of luxury cars, similar furniture and even similar number of household maids and drivers. The only glaring dissimilarity was the number of children each wife bore for him. Holidays are planned a bit differently where Wife Number 1 will get to go first, followed by Number 2, 3 and lastly 4.
Over coffee one afternoon, I asked Pengiran K how did he managed to be sane and at the same time keeping his household intact with all these four wives? His answer was this: apparently 2 days in a week he would go back to his fifth house sans any of the wives to recuperate and plan for his businesses. He also said that if a man simply cannot do justice even to one wife, dont even think about having to have his balance of corum filled, because it will not work. There are children to be raised, fed, educated. Wives to be satisfied…household to be looked after, etc etc. Things are not exactly cheap, he said.
Hmm…ok, wise words. But, how many man out there who truly understands the reason why the Faith allows this polygamy on the first place?