Islamic Polygyny – A Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a world famous, or infamous, psychology study, meant to research into how people react in a game of dominance/submission.

Ordinary, sane and well educated middle class young men volunteered and were selected for the experiment. Nine were to be prisoners, nine were guards. The guards were instructed to try and rob the prisoners of their individuality and to break them into submission using special clothing and mental force. The Experiment has been analyzed in oh so many ways, but what is obvious is that the prisoners submitted to abuse and their personalities changed into passive submission with bouts of angst and rebellion. The guards quickly grew more and more aggressive in their treatment of the “prisoners”, and they soon started to behave like their superiors, their torturers.

Islam, and islamic polygyny in particular, is simply the Stanford Prison Experiment turned into religion. One group of people are told that they are the guards, with a degree over the other group, and the other group are told that they are the wards of the Guards, that they must obey every order and that they have no right over their own bodies but must have sex whenever so ordered, and become pregnant whenever so ordered et.c. The guards are told that they are allowed to starve and beat the wards if they are disobedient. The guards and prisoners are also told that the prisoners must wear clothes that hide their “shame” (awrah) from the world, and take their identity away.  In islamic polygyny, the Guards are told they can marry plural women without telling their other “wives” or asking their permission, and they are told that they can discard these women when they want, simply by uttering a couple of words. The Prisoners are told that they must submit and obey, and they can not leave if they aren’t set free by their Guards or by the Prison Council.

So – islam and islamic polygyny is nothing but a huge Stanford Prison Experiment. (SPE).

I read a blogpost the other day, where a muslim woman asked why so many men abuse polygyny. The answer is simple – these men are humans. And the SPE shows clearly exactly why muslim men abuse polygyny – because they can. Muslim men abuse women in polygyny for exactly the same reasons nazis abused jews. Muslim polygyny, the SPE, and the Holocaust are all based on the same principle – a person who believes he is above another person, the guard, the power – will abuse it. The SPE Prison Guards enjoyed being better, being above, being in power and they used it. This is exactly what muslim men are doing in polygyny. The muslim polygynists are simply nazis, or SPE Prison Guards.

Do you really think that you can tell a man “You are the head of your wife. She must obey your every order. You have a right to chastise her if she disobeys you. You have a right to strike her. She must have sex with you whenever you command. You have a right to take other women without asking her or telling her. You have a right to keep her locked up in your home. You have a right to demand she never shows her face to anybody but you. If she disobeys you, she will go to hell for it” – without seriously corrupting this man????

Islam, polygyny, SPE – why on earth do muslim women wonder about why muslim men abuse polygyny??! The answer is obvious.

27 thoughts on “Islamic Polygyny – A Stanford Prison Experiment

  1. Sister

    I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at this. Are parents evil because they have power over children? No, because they want what is best for children. Are husbands evil because they have power over the wives? No, because they love and want what’s best for the wives and the family. I also know that power corrupts but that is when money or such is involved. The power of love is gentle and beneficial. A man would not want to ruin his own family by being a tyrant! And why would wives stay with such a man? Are you saying women are stupid?

  2. //I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at this.//

    Well, I feel the same way when I see husband-wife relationship compared to that of a parent-child one.

    I sometimes feel with the level of brainwashing done through religions like Islam, men are simply more confused and lost on what the meaning of love is. They understand it partly, and mess up on the other parts.

  3. “Are you saying women are stupid?”

    No, just brainwashed by society, its alleged “values” and traditions including religion. Brainwashed to believe that everything is in order when men exercise power over them – everything has to be in order, because otherwise they’d do something against it, right? But there again – how, if men are their guardians, first their fathers, then their husbands, and when they disobey they face adverse consequences? A circular thought to say: It is just to give men power – men exercise power – therefore everything has to be just, otherwise things would not be as they are.

  4. Fiona, I believe you are exactly right with your power and corruption theory. If we just look at your first husband – he seemed like a non-totalitarian, egalitarian family man for much of his life. Then put him together with a traditionally obedient young wife, who knows she must submit. The way you described how he treated her in a completely different way than he treated you goes to show: To give an ordinary man power over another human being, especially a creature rather fragile by social status and age, he’ll turn into a power-abusing monster, forbidding her to go see doctors or leave the house even when she wishes to. It must have been a power rush to him, who had had a strong, socially probably superior wife for all of his life. You see that the very same man with someone he cannot exercise the same power over is a compliant, respectable husband. Your relationship and your husband’s relationship to his former second wife are actually quite terrifying social experiments as well. And I think it trully shows how everyone can be a monster – provided they have certain needs to control and submit others – if they are given the opportunity.

  5. Saade,
    “A man would not want to ruin his own family by being a tyrant!”
    Saade, you really need to open your eyes, and look at the lives of people who have less than you.

    ” And why would wives stay with such a man?”
    See above.

  6. Fiona, great post! I am sure people looking up polygamy will come across your blog posts. Hopefully some young men/women who have questions about these practices will have this more logical explanation available to them.

  7. Saade, I grew up in a male dominated society where women mainly stayed at home. I understand your point of view that why men might put restrictions on their female family members for their protection. Women stayed home so they dont know how to be outside or deal with the big bad world so they need guardians. Now if we dont treat our kids differently and equally prepare both girls and boys how to be a responsible adult and comsuct themselves when they are outside on their own then we wont have this problem. Men will get used to seeing women in public places and just presence of lot of women in public space makes big difference. Then any woman outside will not be looked at like she is a loose woman and easy target for molestation or rape. You see how men keep women at home to do all thankless jobs. We need women doctors so that no woman suffers just because a female doc isnt available and her husband wouldnt let her see male doc or she herself is raised to be too shy to share her probl with male doctor or let him treat her. We need women in offices so that our daughters feel comfortable working at that office. We need women everywhere not just at home so that our daughters see they can do so much for the society and community an have their own identity and dont ever feel helpless and dependent on someone who might abuse them. Dont you as a woman want women to have freedom and independence to be able to protect themselves and depend on men for protection some of who often misuse their power and abuse women.

  8. i meant NOT depend on men for protection. Ofcourse all family members should protect and help each other in whatever way they can. Its better for all to be prepared than just half the members if an emergency or unfortunate situation happens.

  9. Great comment Laila regarding male dominated societies. I fully agree, coming from a sub-continental country myself with strong cultural mindset. I am currently living alone in Malaysia for my higher studies, and I am sincerely thankful that Malaysia happens to be a progressive Muslim country, where there are women everywhere, and they do such a good job in the workplace, that in a lot of the workplaces like banks, etc, there are more women than men. So it is not so much of a big deal to see all types of women, liberal, conservative, moderate, etc, to be out and freely moving in the streets.

    Recently there have been problems in Malaysia though, where they have been introducing some ridiculous Shariah laws. Yikes, I hope this doesn’t continue too much. Otherwise this beautiful peaceful country would break out in riots, which has already been happening unfortunately, recently.

  10. I went to 411 website again and read this post from Mari2 on this thread
    I am clueless why these women do it to themselves. She is paying most of the bills in US for his Pakistani husband and funding his family expenses in Pakistan including gold purchases for sister in laws engagement! She herself doesn’t have a credit card! The man has a credit card which he LETS her use in case of emergency and she has to pay the money back!! She is complaining how the man has $3000 in bank account and she has less than 100! I am sure he has saved much more out of all he has taken from her in the name of family expenses in Pakistan (i am sure he is buying investment properties or creating other sources of income that this woman doesn’t know of at all). The man is milking her as long as he can and will not be affected much if they separate. This lady lives with her husband and his mother in a rented home with $1900 rent/month and she alone pays 1300. How f’d up you have to be to agree to this arrangement AND let this scumbag have a second marriage with young girl in Pakistan (who was kept in dark about his marriage with this US woman) AND also let the man have affairs with other random women! I don’t blame this man for taking advantage of her. Its not this man but her own stupidity thats making her suffer. She is justifying all this as tests given to her by Allah! I think Islam made a perfect recipe to make women dumb and subservient to men all the while thinking that they are doing something good and blame themselves for any pain they feel because of their sorry situation!

  11. Do people not know how grotesque it sounds when they compare women with children?

    Unlike children, adult women are perfectly capable of thinking, analysing, assessing, and so forth Saade. They do not need to be “parented” by their husbands. They need to be loved, respected and treated as equal by their husbands.

  12. lifeisgood, you are right this is crazy but even considering that example of kids was given to raise this question-If power corrupts then does it mean parents having power over kids will make them abusers? Even for that purpose its is a wrong example to use counter Fiona’s point. It in fact proves her point. There are well known scientific and social reasons why parents care for their children’s safety despite that there are cases where some parents abuse their power over children.
    Parents do not have complete authority over children (in democratic countries). There are some basic laws that limit parents authority and can take it away if abuse happens. These laws are helpful in a persons lifetime and much more effective than “don’t do injustice otherwise you will appear paralyzed before God or other similar bullshit. Every citizen has responsibility to report any child abuse they become aware of or even suspect its happening. At many places especially workplaces it is a criminal violation if someone fails to report a child abuse. The very existence of these laws proves that yes parents or other adults who have authority over kids have a potential to abuse that authority that is why law doesn’t give them complete authority. In islamic countries where laws are different parents can sell their children in the name of marriage. Imagine a parent willingly marrying off their girl child to an older man knowing very well that the child will be raped by the man. Yes, this is what complete authority over even children does to people.

  13. Laila, a lot of what you say is definitely true. And I agree that grown women – or other submitted adults in a society – should not be likened to children. Of course children need guidance much more than adults need it. But just to add – parents’ power over children also has many scarring and crippling effects. I am no child psychologist, but I remember so many instances at age 3, 4 years old where adults violated my individuality, and underestimated what I did or didn’t understand by far. My parents often say I was special because I have an eidetic memory, and was “diagnosed” highly gifted in school. I think they are wrong, it was not because of that that I was a little person already when they treated me as someone deficient. All children are.

    I am not what I would call a children’s person – yet they seem to love me, and everyone is surprised by it (because I am not the warmest person). I am convinced it is because I treat them like little human beings, and do not underestimate them.

    Just as a sidenote, while children definitely need socialization to be part of this society, parents ought to be so much more cautious than most are in how they perform this socialization. So many parents cripple children’s personality, and leave lifelong scars, even without exercising violence. Our personality and individuality is so fragile.

  14. Dead right laila & co,

    That example you gave is a shocker. If I’m ever in a crap relationship and for whatever reason too scared too leave, I won’t feel bad about it, I’ll just tell myself it’s a test 🙂

    It makes me wonder how many women, who have been emotionally abused in the past end up as reverts married to polygamous men? Seriously, I think there’s got to be a correlation.

  15. Hey guys, Mari2’s asswipe of a “husband” is bailing!!!! She finally let it rip and gave him hell, and he wants to leave her.
    Naturally, Robin is walking a fine line between saying their separation is a good thing (with the caveat that they may well reconcile), and chastising Mari2 for “acting like a typical first wife”, in that Mari2 is done taking this man’s shit. She’s also trotting out excuses for Mr. Mari2’s inexcusable behavior, but that’s to be expected.
    I fully expect a bit of a dust-up between Robin and Mari2 and it wouldn’t be the first time.

  16. That was astounding unchained! Once again, I’m floored. Does she defend these awful men because would be to do otherwise would mean accepting men that choose polygamy are inherently inferior?

  17. Unchained, LIG, I saw that and i think the conversation would have taken a different turn much earlier if Gail wasn’t there with her straight forward advice on the situation. Mari2 actually went crazy on him and threw his things on him and told them to leave. He then told her he is leaving and can’t live with her anymore because his mother has told him to leave because of Mari2’s misbehavior! unless she asks for forgiveness from his mom! She didnt and he is still there lol I am glad she called his bluff. But i wouldn’t keep any hopes from Mari2 or any of these women on that blog to stand up for themselves and really take a decision All these women come to the blog one day saying they are done with this including Laila, Gail and many others but they never really do anything. Ana does her best to convince them to stay and compromise in the name of Allahs will and such. Even if anyone leaves their polygamous marriage they probably will not stay on that blog much longer. Ana will find a reason to block them or ignore/criticize them enough so they don’t say much anyways.

  18. Well, I’m not 100% sure, but I assume one reason she does this is so she can deny seeing her own husband reflected in the husbands of these unhappy women.

  19. Laila, that’s true. I hadn’t even noticed they weren’t around. I’ve got used to it being the Robyn/Gail show and the occasional random who hangs around for about a week. Maybe they are realising there’s more to life than the torment of polygamy. I hope for them they are, especially Ina who was innocent in it all.

    Maybe people are sick of her feeding off their misery, being lectured by her when she tells them nothing about her daily life in polygamy. I think John banned her from discussing their polygamy when he let her re-open the blog.

    Unchained, I think you are right about the reflected image. How can she criticise someone else’s husband’s poor behaviour when she accepts the same from her own? Self-preservation is a powerful thing.

  20. There are a few longtime posters who’ve been MIA. I really have wondered what happened with Ina, as her situation mirrored my own so much.

  21. My guess is that she feels better knowing that many others are in Muslim polygyny lifestyle. Whenever any woman wants to leave she sees it as a loss and maybe it puts her own decision to stay in question.

  22. Laila, you were spot on with this comment

    “But i wouldn’t keep any hopes from Mari2 or any of these women on that blog to stand up for themselves and really take a decision”

    She’s done a u-turn already! It’s all the mother’s fault. Useless husband is innocent in it all, even though he’s clearly happy to put his family above her every time!

  23. Oh unchained…..I wasn’t going to go there….but well I did.

    That powerpoint……sorry “video”….is more unusual than the first. Is she slurring her words like someone that is a little bit tipsy? Or is it just she’s reading off a script? It has a strange vibe.

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