Letter: Dying while Polygamous

My father introduced my mother to polygyny the way so many men do, by having her find out from another relative that dad had married again, a woman 15 years younger than my mother. I was ten years old when mum found out. That morning, before she found out, was the last time ever I saw my mum happy. The last time ever I saw her laugh.

She did what so many women do, she wept and raged. She wailed in the night when she thought we were asleep. My father just kept repeating that it was his right, that she had to come to terms with it, that she would destroy their marriage and family if she didn’t accept it. My mum tried to find help from the Quran, from the Masjid, from scholars. They all told her that my father had been wrong the times he had lied about his doings, but that he had been right in taking another wife, in doing it without informing her.

My mother chose the path of doing nothing. Just allowing her heart to go cold and her life to turn into a void, a nothingness. She stopped hugging us, stopped allowing anybody near her, stopped talking about anything but chores at hand. She just gave up on life.

Two years ago, my father was diagnozed with cancer. He had surgery, but the cancer had spread. Now, he’s receiving palliative care. He’s bedridden, and uses diapers. He’s in constant pain, and gets his nourishment through a tube. They say he may have another six months to live..

We all live in Norway. Dad doesn’t have to stay in a hospital, because he can get all the care he needs at home. It’s his urgent wish to die at home. Problem is, where is that? My siblings and I don’t know what to do now. We keep arguing about taking sides, about how to help. My dad has asked us to plead with mum. I won’t do it. I could write pages about the pain he’s caused us, about all the times he’s forced his “rights” on us. And about how much I still love him.

My mother says this is the punishment dad gets for polygyny. She has had people over from the masjid telling dad that he is not allowed to stop giving each wife her time unless the wives agree. And they don’t. Mother says she will never give up her nights, and she says he must go to his other wife during her nights because the other wife is obligated to care for him. The scholars agree. So my father has to be taken by ambulance from one wife to another. The doctors say this might kill him, and it is causing him excruciating pain. The health care system also refuses to pay for the constant transports so it’s very expensive. They have all tried to talk to mum, tried to make her show some mercy. They keep telling her that having a right doesn’t mean that claiming that right is the right thing to do. We should be merciful. Mum just keeps saying that this is exactly what Allah swt wants to prove, and that is why he is giving this punishment to my father.


So here we are, in a merciless dance around love and hate, rights and mercy. And I am completely lost.

17 thoughts on “Letter: Dying while Polygamous

  1. I am so sorry for your pain but I completely understand your mum’s point. So many men try to force their will on their families and go about things the wrong way. I am a 2nd wife and my husband is very good at making sure we are all in the loop and on the same page. I wouldn’t be involved otherwise. I will pray for peace for your family but especially for you mum.

  2. As a physician I never like to say that the patient deserves to be troubled or caused pain. However, I can understand the pain and agony that the wife dealt with. I think this is the logical ending to someone who had caused his wife pain and may have left both of them when they needed him by using the excuse of right and duty. Just because you got cancer you don’t get excused from karma.

  3. I’m so sorry that you have to bear witness to such dysfunction, pain and sadness. But, your dad made his bed. And now he has to lie in it. He didn’t give your mother an opportunity to voice an opinion before marrying someone else. She’s had to deal with the pain of a decision that she didn’t even have a say in. I can’t imagine why she’d have any desire to make things easier for him now just because he’s ill. He chose this life.

  4. Well, you know what they say. Karma’s a mean bitch. You reap what you sow, what goes around comes around and all that. I don’t feel too sorry for this guy.
    For the writer, I hope you’re able to detach from the drama and not make it yours. I know your mum’s involved, but still. Be there for her but don’t let yourself get sucked into their drama. It’s not yours, nor should it be.

    Having said that……FIONA!!!! Girl, I’ve missed you so much!!! Where’ve you been??? Please don’t leave us again!!!! (((((HUGS)))))

  5. So glad you are back. Hope you and your family are well. May peace be with you father and his wives.

  6. Charlotte,
    If only u could know how much sufferings to wives & kids WOMEN LIKE YOU cause. U will be very surprised on Judgement day.

  7. Oh what a poetic justice! I agree with Unchained though..hope solace finds your mother and you..

    Hi Fiona…long time no see…hope things are well with you!!

  8. “They have all tried to talk to mum, tried to make her show some mercy. They keep telling her that having a right doesn’t mean that claiming that right is the right thing to do.”

    I feel bad that the writer is going through this, but I wonder where these people that are telling her mum this nonsense, were hiding when her dad was forcing polygamy on her mum. Isn’t polygamy also one of the things that “having a right doesn’t mean that claiming that right is the right thing to do”? Which one of those people came to her mother’s defense by asking her father to show her mother mercy when the father was forcing polygamy on her?

    Anyway, I’m so glad you’re back, Fiona!! I’m fairly new to your blog, but it’s been almost a year since your last post and I was scared that this blog might be gone for good. I’ve been reading all your posts since the beginning and I’m currently reading through the August 2014 posts. You are such a strong role model for young women and even though I don’t personally know you, I admire you greatly.

    Seriously, thank you for your blog! I’m from a muslim family and I’m getting close to a marriageable age and I had no idea that some men spring up polygamy after they’ve been married to their wives for x number of years. I’m definitely going to insist on a no-polygamy contract when I’m ready to get married, just as my older sister did, or at least make sure my future husband understands that if he ever starts talking polygamy then I’m out, or I’ll find myself a 2nd husband too ;). Had no idea that polyandry dating websites existed. Very enlightening. I’ve even recommended this blog to some of my friends as well. No muslim woman that I know is going to be played for a fool by some selfish, inconsiderate man. How any man can claim to love his wife while inflicting on her the worst pain in the world, frankly is beyond me.

    Again, thank you. I hope you and your family are doing well!

  9. Fiona, I’ve been wondering how you are. If you feel like telling us, we are here.

    Unchained, I miss your humor, and Mariam, I’ve been wondering how your studies are, and, sorry for the crassness, but wondering if your skin is feeling better.

  10. I had been wondering about Fiona as well. Got a big surprise when I randomly came to this blog and found a new post 🙂


    Thanks for asking about me. I am now in a phase where I am thinking about my future and career path. I am considering doing Masters abroad so I can relocate to a Western country, so I am preparing for that now. Currently I am keeping Canada as my first option. If that doesn’t work, I will continue working.

    Regarding my health, I still have the fibromyalgia type of disease, which is what has been causing me physical pain, weakness and fatigue. A few months back I found a free online video on EFT Tapping, which I was skeptic about at first, but after trying for a month as told, a lot of my symptoms reduced! Even my eczema has cleared up to a large extent. Both my fibromyalgia and eczema are linked to weak immune system problem. Here is the video:

    I would suggest that video for anyone suffering from physical pain or the symptoms I mentioned above, and see if it helps you.

  11. I’ve missed you all, too. Feels like a family reunion up in here ❤
    Fiona, please keep writing!!!

  12. Ladies….hello. Just popped in on the off chance Fiona was back and here you all are. I’m almost of two minds, do I want to go back to thinking of situations like the post above that fills me with despair for humanity. But burying one’s head never helped anyone.

    Hope you’re all well. Great to see you back.

    As for me, life is really good these days ☺

  13. Hi, Im new to site. I was online looking for articles on polygamy. My SAUDI husband married about 6 years ago but I’ve only known about it for 3. He actually brought her into our home and said his friend was traveling so their maid needed a place to stay. She was practically fluttering through our home. So happy! Thinking to myself? What’s she high on? He had mentioned that he wanted to have a 2nd because I wasnt able to have anymore children. He just wanted to feel young again as he is nearly 60 now. SubhanAllah. He was married to this poor woman from Ethiopia. Atleast she is living a better life. I’m not the one with the problem. She has since miscarried. And my husband was told he’s the problem. He never got permission from the Saudi government. As Saudis are only entitled to marry only one foriegner. So she lives on the roof of the building locked. If she was to be found out, it is illegal as their marriage was never approved by the Saudi government. It has been difficult living in same building. After the first couple of years we barely talked. In the last six months we’ve become closer. My husband is obese. His food addiction has caused many fights about food. I asked her about her meals and they were so basic. So why is he complaing about 4 course meals? Anyways she complained about me. My husband was furious with me. Omg. So I defended myself by revealing details from her about their marriage. To say the least Im her number 1 enemy now. And my husband remains with her.

  14. I am so glad this blog is back…however, it seems most don’t know it yet! Please Fiona I have been so worried about Sakine and what happened. It has been a long, long cliff hanger. If anyone has contact info for her, I would love to know how everything is going.

  15. Oh my god can I swear and say f*** Yes!!! You get what you deserve b***!
    Implement your right on me and now you want mercy, you showed no mercy to me when I begged you not to take a second wife. Ahhh the sweetness of reap what you sow in this dunya is wonderful!!

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