Answers to common questions about Islam.

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 etc. 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 Islam.

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