The Muslim Handmaid’s Tale

Salaam

When I was nine years old, my mother gave me an abaya and a niqab and said they were my token of honor. She said every honorable woman wears them, to let the world know she is protected by Allah. I wore them with pride.

My brothers went to school. My parents kept my sister and me at home, using the permission to home school that many muslims use in my state. My parents told me it was a privilege to be able to stay home and learn only what’s important, my sister and I were hidden pearls, too valuable to be allowed to go to school. I thought it was wonderful to be so precious.

When my brothers came home from school, my sister and I always had to prepare food for them, serve at table, and afterwards we did the dishes and the laundry and brought our brothers tea and cookies. I asked my mother, since my sister and I were more precious than our brothers, how come we had to wait on them and not the other way around. My mother told me that it was another kind of precious. My sister and I were precious as gems for our future husbands and mothers of our future children and being obedient and modest was our value, while our brothers were precious because they were men, leaders and our protectors. My mother told me never to want anything other than what a woman should want, to be pleasing to my husband anda modest and good mother.

When I was 16, my father and mother told me I was to be married. I should be proud because my husband was a scholar, a respected man in the community. He gave me a heavy gold necklace. I felt proud. And I hoped that this would mean new experiences, a new world opening to me. We were married. The women celebrated up stairs, the men downstairs. In the evening, I was taken to my husband’s house. We spent two hours praying. Then, without speaking a word to me, he made me his wife.

My husband is a very religious man. We have no radio, no TV. I’m not allowed to listen to music. We only have religious books, and my husband keeps them in his den, and sometimes gives one to me and tells me what to read. I’m not allowed to leave the house without him or my mother in law. We have talked about it many times, I even asked my father to talk to my husband about letting me go for a short walk on my own, or maybe to the shops. But my husband says no, and my father says I should be grateful really since my husband is so eager to protect me. I had a son a year ago and my life is better now since I have a purpose and something to do with my time.

Half a year ago, my husband told me he was going to marry another wife. It shattered me. I do love my husband, and he and my son is all I’ve got. And since I only see my parents a couple of times a year, and my mother in law once a week when we go shopping, my husband is my only connection with the world. I begged him to allow me to go to the masjid alone, told him the Prophet allowed it, but he answered it is only allowed when the world is completely safe and it is not. So I cant go. So every other week I sit in our apartment alone with my son. I can see the neighbors through the window but I can’t talk to them. I have nobody to talk to, days go by without my using my voice. I don’t want to call my parents or my sister, I’d break down and cry and I don’t want that. I wait until they call, and then I just tell them everything is fine.

My husband only sleeps with me those nights when he believes I could become pregnant. The rest of the time, he tells me he is fasting and can’t be intimate. I guess he gets what he wants from the other wife.

So here I am, a prisoner in my own home, in the middle of America. I live in a country that is free, but my religion has made me a prisoner. A couple of nights ago my sister called me. She is married too, and her life is very similar to mine although her husband is only talking about polygamy, he hasn’t actually taken another wife yet. My sister had seen this series on TV, called a Handmaid’s Tale. She said it was about christianity, but she said she felt it was about us. It was a story about how women were taught they had to obey their male owners and dress in modest clothes like nuns and perform ceremonies to have children with men who had wives and concubines. Women weren’t allowed to go outside without being watched, and they weren’t allowed to read. And it was all made to seem like they were respected and protected.

This is us. We are the muslim handmaids.

My sister said the handmaid in the story had said that “They shouldn’t have made us wear a uniform if they hadn’t wanted us to form an army”.

I put on my abaya and my niqab and wait for my mother in law to come and fetch me to go grocery shopping. My husband won’t be home to use me for another three days, he is making babies with another woman in the name of our religion.

“They shouldn’t have made us wear a uniform if they hadn’t wanted us to form an army”.

 

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.

Polygamy, and the Nature of Man and Woman: Part 2

Taliban_beating_woman_in_public_RAWAOne of the most frequent lies from muslim polygamy apologists is that polygyny is natural based on the differences between the sexes. The topic has been discussed on this blog several times, proving the absurd falsehood of this argument.

A muslim scholar wrote:

Lastly, there is the component of rebellion. It is human nature on part of man that he simply cannot tolerate someone else having conjugal relationships with his wife. In the case of polygyny, the jealousy of a woman is curbed by the leadership of her husband. In polyandry however, both men are on equal footing. As has been noted above, besides gender any other impartial variable available is absent which gives rise to a vacuum ready to be filled with adversity. When women fight, they pull each other’s hair. When men fight, they go to war.

A woman can not tolerate someone else having conjugal relationships with her husband either. It is inherently evil to us, disgusting and nauseating. Women “tolerate” it on the same basis people tolerate being beaten, raped, enslaved. Women tolerate it to survive. Women tolerate it in order to keep from going insane. Women tolerate it out of fear. Women tolerate it to be allowed paradise after death since they are doomed by polygyny to live in hell here on earth.

If a man is chained to a wall, physically or psychologically, he “tolerates” somebody making love to his wife too, even while he is obliged to watch.

That’s the basic truth.

“The jealousy of a woman is curbed by the leadership of her husband”. How, may I ask? How did the mere presence of my husband’s leadership curb my jealousy? Did you, dear scholar, ask any women about this? Any single woman? Because this is such major BS I can’t believe you managed to get it out of your head and down on paper. It isn’t “the leadership of her husband” that makes a woman try to survive polygyny. Nor is it her love for her husband. Do you want to know what it is?

“When women fight, they pull each other’s hair. When men fight, they go to war.”. This is actually an argument in favour of polyandry and against polygyny. Yes, men go to war. Men kill each other. Men beat and kill women. So, any loving and wise god would make MEN submit to polyandry and sharing and working on their lower instincts, since they are obviously the ones who need it!

The falsehoods, misogyny, heresy and sanctimoniousness of muslim scholars never ceases to amaze me.

But even more, it amazes me that women buy into this nauseous toxic goo.

Polygamy, and the Nature of Man and Woman

If I were to order anybody to do sudjud to another I would order husbands to prostrate before their wife, because of her immense rights over them.

If I were to order anybody to do sudjud to another I would order husbands to prostrate before their wife, because of her immense rights over them.

Over and over again, we hear from muslims that the fact that there are different rights and responsibilities for men and women in islam is based on the differences between the sexes. I won’t even go into the warped logics behind such a statement, but I would like to touch upon the idiocy of some of the arguments that come to light.

I will use this post from a mufti as an example:

 

The religion of Islām is a practical religion that also considers nature in directing laws and obligations. Polyandry is impractical for a woman and will place unbearable burden upon her. Thus, the prohibition of polyandry for a woman is based on care and compassion for her.

How will a woman fulfill the marital demands of more than one man, his intimacy needs, his temperament, and various other challenges? When a woman with one husband experiences so many challenges, imagine the burden with more than one husband.

What will a woman in such a relationship do when she is pregnant with one man’s child? How will the child’s lineage stay secure? Consider the emotions, jealousy, etc. she will have to undergo from the other husbands.

It is clear from the above that Allah Ta’ālā’s ruling of prohibiting females to have more than one husband reflects the hikmat and wisdom of Allah and His compassion for women.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

AbdulMannan Nizami

Student Darul Iftaa
Chicago, IL, USA

The religion of Islām is a practical religion that also considers nature in directing laws and obligations. Polyandry is impractical for a woman and will place unbearable burden upon her. Thus, the prohibition of polyandry for a woman is based on care and compassion for her.

If it were a woman’s nature to obey her husband, give up on half her inheritance, live polygyny, give up work, hide her face etc. she would do so without any rule forcing her! It is only when something is unnatural that we need a law and force to make it happen.

And in what way is polyandry impractical? As a matter of fact, it is highly practical! A woman gets the incomes of two males to support her children, it could solve the issue of over-population, the children of the family get two males to look up to and be protected by, and the woman gets to enjoy variety and the pleasure of two or more husbands.

How will a woman fulfill the marital demands of more than one man, his intimacy needs, his temperament, and various other challenges? When a woman with one husband experiences so many challenges, imagine the burden with more than one husband.

First of all, a woman is able to have sex as many times as she likes in a day. The same is not true for a man. So women are biologically much better suited to please several partners than men are. Men are simply inept and bound to fall short when it comes to polygamy and sex. Or how could a man fulfill the marital demands of two, or four, women who all need sex on the same day?? Nope. Men are incapable of this. Women are made for it. And this temperament issue – aren’t you contradicting your own creed? I thought this whole gender-discrimination thing was built on the claim that women are temperamental, men are rational? So of course, it is much easier for a temperamental and emotional woman to keep two or more rational and reasonable men happy, than for a rational man to keep two or more emotional and temperamental women happy! Anybody can understand that, you silly sod. As for challenges, muslims tend to defend their misogyny stating that the gender preference is because of the many challenges and the responsibility that men have to face. Now, you suddenly claim that it’s women who face challenges. So, what way do you want to go?? And as I just said, the challenges are evidently much greater for polygamous men than for polygamous women.

What will a woman in such a relationship do when she is pregnant with one man’s child? How will the child’s lineage stay secure? Consider the emotions, jealousy, etc. she will have to undergo from the other husbands.

Actually, it was perfect. I had two men supporting our family while I was pregnant. Two men who could support each other through my pregnancy. Two men who could help each other. One man who could take care of the house and keep working while the other staid at home with me once my baby was born. So – what’s the problem as you see it?? The lineage is no problem, easy peasy. DNA. The test takes 2 minutes. (One of my husbands can’t father a child any more, so for us it didn’t even take 2 minutes to work out). Any child could teach you how to take the test. Problem solved!

As for emotions and jealousy – again…YOU are the people claiming that women are emotional, men are rational. If that were true, of course men wouldn’t be jealous and emotional about sharing their wife. As it is, you guys are full of BS, and men are just as emotional. But the thing is, women are much better at empathy. We can handle emotional spouses much better than men can. So again, women are much better suited at being polygamous than men are!

It is clear from the above that Allah Ta’ālā’s ruling of prohibiting females to have more than one husband reflects the hikmat and wisdom of Allah and His compassion for women.

No. It is clear from the above that the ruling that says females should not be allowed to be polygamous is misogynistic bullshit. And if you read the quran, you’ll find that Allah actually allows polyandry. Only misogynist men have interpreted the sura their way and contradicted Allah. And come up with crap like the BS above to excuse this crime against humanity.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Well, better than muslim scholars anyway.

AbdulMannan Nizami

Student Darul Iftaa
Chicago, IL, USA

You do know that polygyny is illegal in the US, bro?

The Prophet Muhammad was 90% Single

wives7A muslim man described himself as “75% single”. This of course is an arrogant joke, based on the fact that a muslim man might claim that he as a right to marry four wives, so if he is only married to one wife he is 75% single.

Is it funny?

When the prophet Muhammad was married to Khadija RA – do you think he would have said he was 90% single (or there abouts, since the prophet was married to a whole bunch of women)? Do you think he would have appreciated being described as 90% single when he was in a monogamous marriage? Do you think he would have considered it respectful and considerate towards his wife Khadija?

How can a muslim man who claims to be religious joke in a way that disrespects Khadija RA, Muhammad and islamic marriage?

The only answer I can come up with is: Because he doesn’t bother about islam, the prophet or the mother of the believers. Nor obviously about respecting and caring for his wife. He only cares about his “godgiven” right as a male to hoard and hurt women.

Polygamy – Advice Needed Q&A

TritvamI wanted to ask some advice, as an outsider of all things polygamy.
I know someone in a polyandry relationship, with my housemate. It’s all very confusing and long but I’ll try to break it down and explain what I see (do make yourself a cup of tea before you settle down, it could be a long one).

Myself and my boyfriend (we are completely monogamous) have recently moved in with a friend, who we shall refer to as J.
J is in an open relationship with his friend, L.
L is the girlfriend to another man, P. P is aware of the sharing of his girlfriend but doesn’t like to talk about it, which I would have personally taken as an early sign of uncomfort at the situation, however L is P’s first love (he was 23 when he lost his virginity to her, ’nuff said), and L seems to be very dominating in situations. She likes to talk for everybody, talk over everybody, and literally says because she has autism she can read peoples emotions better than they can themselves, a comment that I found very distasteful and just seemed to be a blow your own trumpet kind of comment. So I think P will never say how he truly feels about the situation, probably because L has convinced him that he feels ok about it, and she’s convinced he’s ok with it because she happily put words in his mouth that suited her, all the while P has to stick it up and shut up. He obviously doesn’t want to lose her and I feel she uses this to her advantage as she knows she can get away with a polyandry relationship when it hurts her partner, but I feel like she hasn’t thought about just how much this could be damaging to him, I feel she’s only selfishly looking out for her own needs. Your blog has definitely made me understand polygamy more, even that there are some benefits to it I suppose, but I feel L is doing it to satisfy her emotional neediness and sexual greediness more than anything else, with a total disregard to anyone else. L is around J’s every other day, and literally gives him no space when she’s not, he’ll be on the phone to her for absolutely hours as soon as he gets in from work, even on his break at work he’ll spend the duration of it on the phone to her. When she can’t get through to him she messages me, the bloody housemate, to go and wake him up because she cant get through to him and he has a doctors appt, etc! The neediness is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and yet she speaks with such confidence driven know-it-all-ism about things she knows nothing about its enough to want to smack your head against the wall (she confidently stated the other day that it was impossible for baked beans to go off, I mean really?!) I suppose it all boils down to insecurity within herself.
L maintains that J and P are the best of friends, but after living here for 6 months, although they get on very well (forced acceptance in my eyes, again, like it or lump it) the visits used to be all of them together, now it is very much P just coming over to pick up L after a few days away.
J recently struck up a relationship with a girl from work, M. He didn’t tell her about L, not at first, he got intimate with M for a few weeks and then decided to tell her. Now, normally from any outside situation looking in anyone would blame J for stringing M along without telling her straight away, but I actually feel like he didn’t do this maliciously, he’s young and confused, and what male can’t resist 2 women falling at his feet? That sounds really messed up, but if you knew J personally, you’d realise he’s just caught up in it all, he’s emotionally invested himself in 2 people because 2 people like him, without thinking of the bigger picture, I really don’t think he realises how much hurt there is to be had in a relationship like this.
As the love triangle (or square as there are so many now?) continues M and L spent time with J around the house together, and underlying problems became apparent. L feels jealous when J is cuddling up to M, and vice versa, this annoys me in itself as surely L must have a tiny bit of understanding as to how P feels about sharing her. They all agreed to come over to J’s to talk through the problems (L and P live with L’s parents, so they had to do it over ours which meant myself and my boyfriend were banished from downstairs for the night while they talked over their self made emotional black holes), which didn’t actually happen by the way, they all chickened out of talking about how they all really feel and just swept in under the rug so it can continue (imo) and ordered pizza instead. Didn’t bother telling us so we stayed in our room all night.
Last week P proposed to L, they are fiancees, and a little part of me cant help but think he’s done this out of defense, “don’t forget she’s mine” kind of thing, and maybe he feels like it’ll stop when they’re married. I wish I could talk to him about it, but we’ve only had small talk acquaintance style, and if he doesn’t like talking about it to the people who are involved he certainly won’t speak to a stranger.
A part of me wants to send him a coarse horrid message to snap him out of being submissive to such emotional drainage, “Doesn’t it bother you that your wife is fucking another man?!!”, but alas I won’t. That is definitely not my place, no matter how much I can’t understand it. I just don’t get how people cause such underlying pain (looking into partners eyes during lovemaking and imagining them being intimate with someone else) for the sake of a ‘more interesting life’. It just seems so wrong to cause burdens on emotions like that. I can see the appeal, one of my earliest fantasies was to be in a wonderfully sexual polygamous relationship with two men before I even knew what the term for it was. However, emotionally analysing it it’s just messed up.
I see L and M in competition with each other but passively which is very strange to observe, I think I’d rather have 2 people just fight it out in front of me, L is constantly cleaning the house, and will actively point out everything she’s done to J for approval, almost like a “look how better I am than M”.
I suppose I’m also a little angry at J for continuing it, as much as I can see the appeal of two women at once, L is going to get married so there is no real progression there for a meaningful relationship, and M’s a really lovely girl that shouldn’t have been dragged through this mess. Still blaming L for this though, she is definitely the dominant one in every aspect and knows what she is doing. I see J losing his patience with all sides, although I have little sympathy.

Thoughts please?
Also, thank you Fiona, this blog is amazing, I read through nearly every article. And please excuse me for saying so, but reading through your own posts just made me realise how emotionally submissive to this you were, like you had to cope, deal and accept it as being normal when there’s so much pain and awkwardness there really. But that is only my opinion, and has probably been jaded by the situation I am watching on a daily basis, I would never have found your blog if not for it so I suppose it has brought one good thing. I wish I could make L read all the posts on here!
You’re a wonder woman Fiona, even to the people who don’t understand 🙂

The Wives in Polygyny

They content themselves with his kindness, as they cannot obtain his love. Not being allowed to be happy, they try to be calm&because their hearts may not feel, therefore they freeze their hearts, and not being permitted to be women, they try to convince themselves that it is God’s will for them to be slaves. (1857, former Mormon elder John Hyde)

Threerings

My Husband has Married in Secret! Q&A

400px-Young_Saudi_Arabian_woman_in_AbhaSalaams Sisters,

I am an American revert, I live in Saudi with my husband. We got married 8 years ago, it took quite some time and effort I can tell you to get our marriage approved! The Kingdom really is a stickler for rules, in every way. We met while my husband was working in the US and I fell madly in love with him, took the Shahada and accepted that we’d one day move to Saudi for good. My husband is a devoted husband and father and a good Muslim in every way. I have trusted him with my life. And not just as a saying but for real, since for a woman to move to Saudi is to put her life in the hands of her husband.

It took some getting used to, I can tell you. I still prefer just to stay in my house since the culture here is stifling. I have a few friends who are also American reverts married to Saudis, but that’s about it. I’m not at ease here, not even with my husband’s family who expect me to wear a niqab even at their house because of my husband’s brothers.

Maybe this isolation is the reason why everybody else knew my husband had married a second wife before I did. He still travels a lot because of his work, and when he finally told me he had a second wife, he had already been married to her for almost six months.

So for six months I’ve been sharing my husband with another woman, without knowing it. The reason he told me is she’s trying to become pregnant so she wants him to start spending half the time (nights) with her so that can happen asap. Obviously she had agreed to give up her time for a while, until he told me about her and now she has put a stop to that. So suddenly my life is a turmoil, a tornado of pain, tears and fear.

I found this blog, and just love it. The way you stick up for women! Right now I’m in so much pain I don’t know how to get through the day, and the nights are even worse. And he just expects me to come to terms with it. He says he’s sorry, and he says he loves me and doesn’t want me to hurt. And I keep saying: Then how could you do this to me? Why did you do this to us? But he doesn’t have any answers.

He says he will not divorce me, and he will not allow me to leave the Kingdom. And he won’t get a chauffeur for me so I’m basically a prisoner here, in this country in my home in my marriage.

And right now, my husband is off trying to make another woman pregnant.

Please, sisters. Help me. Give me some strength, or at least some company.

How do I survive this?

Polygamy Prison

S%C3%A9pulcre_Arc-en-Barrois_111008_12Hello

I am sorry if I tell a long story but I think I must explain some to make my point. I am English but of Pakistani descent. I got married to my cousin when I was only 18, it was a marriage my parents decided but it was not forced I was really happy to marry somebody I knew and felt safe with and I was happy to have a family within my own. We had a good marriage I thought and two children and we moved to another city but my husband still allowed me to work and visit my family and I was happy in all. But then my husband started to act different. He came late from work and sometimes called and had strange reasons for staying away and he also was distant and moody. I thought maybe it was trouble at work and that he had to work harder and so tried to be supportive and not ask and nag. But then one day he told me he had married another woman. At first he did not want to tell me much he just said he did not want to answer any questions but bit by bit I understood that he had always married me most for family even though he was happy with me but he had wanted more to fall in love and he had done so with this other woman. I can’t tell you how this felt to me. Maybe we had not been falling in love but I had felt love was in our marriage and he said yes but not the love he wanted. We tried so many times to understand each other but he was guilty and angry and I was angry and so sad and we just never made an end of it and I just came more and more to hate him and he stayed more and more with the other wife and I was happy for him to stay away. But he would not divorce me he said he would never shame our family so and would not divorce me. He would also not give me Khul. I read here and many places that people say women can get khul but khul is only possible if the husband says yes. My husband would not accept mahr back and khul. So I applied for faskh. That is divorce against my husband’s will. I went to the Muslim Arbitration Council. It was three years ago. I am still not divorced. I have been to five mediations and my husband refutes valid ground for faskh and I have been given different tasks of making my husband happy with me to make our marriage work, to pray certain special duaas, to meet with counsellors and so on. I have been told I am not allowed to leave my husband’s house until faskh has been granted. I have been twice in talks about khul but my husband refuses. Now I am still married to him and the council has aksed me to enter more proof of physical abuse, of not being maintained or of my husband having deserted me or being unable in intimacy. Otherwise I can not get faskh. So I am still here in this prison marriage with my polygamy husband who is saying this is a lesson to me that polygamy is allowed and I have nothing. I would ask this blog to caution all women that they must make sure in written in nikah contract that they are allowed talaq if the husband is polygamus and also that the wife has a right to have delegated talaq.

In the UK it doesn’t matter that women can divorce, because they will not get an Islamic divorce. Please help me get this told. Please. Thanks.

A Helping Hand

gg4603327My cousins and I have decided to offer some of the cottages on my grandparents’ estate as housing for refugees. The estate now belongs to my cousins, but they wanted us all to agree on this. And we do. They are now in contact with the government.

With the situation being what it is, there is no alternative but to offer a helping hand to those in need. I can’t even imagine the desperation that makes people put the lives of their children in the hands of villains with rafts heading out to the Mediterranean Sea. We must do what we can to offer these people a chance to build a new life, and make sure nobody has to die on the way here. Every dead child is a stab at the heart of mankind.

I have also made a large contribution to Doctors without borders. In the refugee camps in e.g. Lebanon, they are calling out for medicines, let’s at least try to keep people from dying because there is no penicillin! 😦

This is a perfect time to prove what democracy really stands for.

I read New Zeeland are now preparing to receive refugees, but they will not allow anybody in who is either in any way connected to IS or a polygamist. Obviously they consider these two equally bad…

What say you?