SHE CALLED HER, "SELFISH FIRST WIFE" !!!
●How exactly did we expect the first wives, who are also Muslim sisters to live when all we do is to call their pain "unreal" when all we do is to forsake them while the only thing they truly need is understanding, a shoulder to cry on, someone to tell them, "take heart, sorry, after hardship surely comes relief, don’t worry ALLAH will relieve you of this stress and pain."
Aren’t we senior hypocrites if we pretend to care so much about the Muslim Ummah yet we only allow ourselves to see the pain of the single lonely sisters, the poor widows and divorcees but the pain and hardships of the first wives is invalid, according to us, it shouldn’t even exist, in fact the first wives must be mad to experience that.
Imagine a first wife crying extremely profusely to me and asking me to recommend a dua’a that can heal her pain. She said she believes that there is no hardships that ALLAH cannot bring an end to, she laments that she only needs *comfort* and an end to her pain. So I recommend the dua’a of prophet Ayub to her.
So how come the hurt of these women does not count, how come? You throw a Muslimah into an endless bout of hardship because you seek to end the misery of a Muslimah, yet the Muslimah you threw into an endless bout of hardship shouldn’t feel that hardship somehow, abi?
I have seen a woman who sought divorce from her husband after he took a second wife, then she went ahead to be a second wife *immediately.* That looked like madness to me, so I asked why?
She said; Ever since her husband took a second wife her life has lost happiness and the happiness was replaced by extreme and excessive unbearable hurt and pain.
She continued by saying: "Did you know what worsens this? My former husband’s second wife called me a transgressor when she caught me crying and lamenting due to my difficulty in polygyny. All the people I ever know said to me: ‘Your difficulties are signs of weakness in faith, how could you be in pain! It is not permissible to be in pain!’ I wondered what they are all talking about it was only my Mum that said ‘I know this is difficult, May ALLAH grant you ease’ those simple words are a great deal of comfort to me, ALLAH used those words to save me from an impending mental health break down, everyone kept informing me of how selfish I am for not wanting happiness for my sister in Islam.
By ALLAH my pain and hardships in polygyny is nothing compared to the pain and hardships of the cruel words coming out from the mouth of everyone that I seek human comfort from, it was like a knife is been used to stab an open wound, definitely that is more painful than the initial wound.
*No one*, I mean absolutely no one cared for me, they kept on breaking me down more and more with every opportunity they get.
My former husband is the worst human being I ever know, he would call me a disbeliever and a selfish woman while I cry. He would say, I should want for my sister what I want for myself. What confuses me is that I heard that Sheikh Salih Al Fawzaan said in one of his tape that, "the difficulty and hardships of women in polygyny is only natural and it is not a sign of depletion in Imaan"
By ALLAH, I only need comfort from my husband, he describes the pain of my lonely cowife to me and he said I am a devil for feeling pain because he has helped a poor lonely sister. I looked around me and I found out that the only person people cared about is the poor lonely sister. I see my cowife enjoying the bliss of marriage while I am condemned to sadnesss that will probably never end, and I am just 36 years of age. I just wondered, will I remain sad for the remaining of the decades that remains for me in life? I am desperate to feel loved, and be cared for.
One morning I just woke up to find my neighbor whose husband got a second wife complaining about how difficult her life is in polygyny. I tried to convince my husband that my pain is not selfishness and it is valid because I heard my neighbor describing the exact same thing that I have been going through.
Interestingly, my husband said "stupid ungrateful first wives depressing each other, RUBBISH!!!" For a seconds I almost started crying again but all of a sudden I picked myself up and his statement made sense to me, that was when I realized that being a first wife is a curse and I demanded for divorce immediately and I was granted I was so happy when he didn’t even try to revoke the divorce.
I think he was shocked to see that I demanded for divorce and he doesn’t want to bruise his male ego by convincing me to stay. Whatever his reasons were to grant me the divorce with so much ease I don’t even care, all that matters to me is to also be pampered and cared for and that is why I insist that being a second wife is the only reason I will be cared for in this world hence I pursued my dream.
Immediately I got out of the marriage I started stopping by every Masjid and groups of Muslims I could find, I started telling them that I am available to be a second wife. Before I know it, the influx of attention I got made me angry at myself for choosing to be a first wife in the first place. I was so much enjoying myself, with the multiple interest shown in me. I don’t even care about the first wife of the men that are flocking around me. As much as I am concerned I am not the one that cursed them to be a first wife. In fact I made my choice with no rushing at all. And to be honest I don’t care about what anyone have to say because as you can see I am now enjoying my life."
And that was the story of a first wife turned second wife. I however asked her what about the kids? She said "I fought with reckless abandon to gain their custody, and I gained it. I don’t care about anyone anymore, my life as a first wife taught me to *only* care about myself because no one else will care for me"
I asked, how did you manage to see a man to marry you with kids? She replied; "I took them to my Mum, my Mum love my kids and my Mum has been lonely since my Dad’s death, so that arrangement worked out great for everyone"
By ALLAH beneath all those rugged exterior I can sense a bitter woman. A woman that has been transformed from a gentle innocent soul to a difficult human being that only cares for herself even if that means destroying other people’s lives.
She laughed an evil laugh when I asked her, is she not truly selfish now? She said, "you know what? If people call me selfish now, I will gladly answer. It hurts to be accused of selfishness when I am honestly just hurting and I need comfort. It is like accusing a good person of theft, the sorrow from wrong accusations can lead to an early grave. But if you call a thief, a thief, it makes no difference. Call me selfish now and it makes no difference because I am unapologetically selfish now. I only look after my own happiness nowadays."
The last question, I asked is that; "don’t you think that it will be better to divorce and look after your kids, why do you think it is a must to marry again before you will be happy?"
She said "Will my kids kiss and cuddle me?"
So I just kept quiet.
While I do not agree with her belief that being a first wife is a curse and her choice to be selfish, I however understand the depth of her pain.
My point exactly is that there are alot of problems going on in our society today because we choose to insist that a natural difficulty must not exist.
Anyone who has read my article titled "The nature of polygyny" will understand me more. Does the fact ALLAH permits circumcision and child birth makes them less painful? Polygyny is permissible in Islam but it comes with it difficulties.
Women who give birth with no difficulty whatsoever are the exceptions to the norm, not the norm. And as such we should not judge women who experience difficulties in polygyny because there are some women who do not experience any form of hardship in polygyny, these women are the exceptions to the norm but they are not the norm.
We should learn to admit the validity of the pain of the first wives by learning from the story of a sister who narrated that; for first three years in polygyny she was always in and out of the offices of mental health specialist because of the excessive trauma she is going through. She said her husband is her pillar of strength, her supporter, her comforter and her sabaab for complete healing.
She said she admired the commitment of her husband, because while he was trying to ensure that she gets better, he was also giving the second wife her rights.
She has been in polygyny for 11 years, the first three years were very rough but outside that she has been enjoying a blissful marriage after those first three years of hardship, she said she thought she will never get better but she did get better.
I met this woman on a forum, she always advocate for polygyny. I was interested in her and I got to know her story.
Can we also compare her husband with men that call their first wives SHAYTANA because of their natural pain?
As long as we insist that polygyny must not cause hardships for the first wife we will continue to have problems as an Ummah. As much as it is not possible to tell a woman in the labour room not to hurt, it is insanity to ask a first wife not to hurt in polygyny.
Just last week a woman messaged me from The Philippines asking me to suggest the best therapist to visit because she is desperate to get over her difficulty in polygyny. I told her, I am in Nigeria and I know nothing about therapists in the Philippines. That is another example of a first wife who is trying to get over the difficulty that according to some people shouldn’t exist.
Even if it shouldn’t exist it is existing so what can we do to manage it? Being cruel? Definitely not! I think kindness to first wives is also required as much as lonely sisters need it.
Finally, I am not trying to make light of the hardships of lonely sisters. I am only trying to ensure that we do not cause more problems while trying to solve a problem. Polygyny is permitted by ALLAH, as much as it solves major problems in the society it comes with its own hardships.
● In case you have read my article titled "In the depth of heart" and you feel that I am an advocate of second wives, suddenly you read this one too and you are wondering; Is she an advocate of first wives? Know that, Hamidah does not advocate for, nor against polygyny, I am only interested in polygyny as I am interested in agriculture.
May ALLAH grant us understanding.
© HAMIDAH BINT ABBAS
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