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Could you tell me anything on how Muslim women in polygynous marriages feel about this type of system? Is this system inherently oppressive, or is it a Western stereotype? Are feminists in the Muslim world focusing on polygyny as a target for reform?
About polygamy, it is something that
is permissible in Islam. That does not mean that you have to go out and do
it etc, and in fact there is a very small percentage of Muslims that
actually have polygamous marriages. In Arabia before Islam, the
society of Arabia treated women as slaves, inhuman property and they
literally had dozens of wives and did whatever they wanted with them.
When the Quran started being revealed and true Islam started being
practiced, Islam limited polygamy to 4 wives at the most, and put special
conditions on these, like treating them fairly, not forcing anyone into it
So, in essence, women who today become involved in polygamous marriages
are doing it out of their free will. I've actually heard some say that
it's better for them, like a writer who says she can share responsibility
with her co wife etc..
Muslim women are not trying to "reform" this out of their religion,
because we feel it was made permissible by God for a reason. Perhaps a day
will come where it will be needed like a long term war or not enough men
etc. and then women can choose to go into it.
I personally dont think I could be in a polygamous marriage and thats my
personal right or choice, but I still believe it should be permissible to
anyone who wants to do it.
Of course, I know that this right given by God is abused by many and the
conditions and limits upon it aren't being followed. These are not from
Islam and is unislamic. If the system is oppresive then they are not
practicing the rules and regulations of how this pratice is allowed in