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Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.

Muslim Polygamy ?

Polygamy has been rarely practiced historically and cross-culturally among Muslims.
Bridewealth is presented as a dower by the groom to the bride, as required in Islam, although the bride’s father sometimes takes part of the dower and holds it, theoretically, in “trust” for his daughter. Polygynous marriages exist but constitute a minority of cases. Divorce is not uncommon and is almost always initiated by the husband. Generally, adult men are always married; some adult women, especially divorcees and widowers, remain unmarried.
Author: Cole, Donald P.
Title: Culture summary: Libyan Bedouin
Publisher: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1999:p8

Author: Yalman, Nur
Title: Under the bo tree: studies in caste, kinship, and marriage in the interior of Ceylon
Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. ; Los Angeles, Calif. ; London, England: University of California Press ; University of California Press, Ltd., 1971. xiii, 405 p.: ill., maps
Document Number: 4
Document ID: ax04-004
Page: 297
The nonexistence of polygyny in a group of people professing Islam should also be noted. In all discussions of this subject I was told that this was never a custom among the Muslims: it would be allowed by religion, but it was not done. Indeed, the villagers tended to think of it as rather immoral, and unacceptable. The real reasons are, however, fairly evident: the son-in-law falls under definite obligations toward his father-in-law by the very fact of his marriage and his acceptance of dowry. It would be quite impossible for him to be a dowried son-in-law in two different households, with obligations toward two different fathers-in-law: so there were no cases of polygynous unions among the Muslims, nor did I hear of any in past times.
Title: The domestication of desire: women, wealth, and modernity in Java
What seemed really intolerable to some of the women I knew …
…tion. “It’s not recommended by Islam,” she explained, “but it’s accepted. Islam recognizes that men have stron…
What seemed really intolerable to some of the women I knew was not their husbands’ unfaithfulness in itself, which they appeared resigned to, but rather, as Geertz also discovered, the draining of family resources to support their extramarital affairs. Women are often presumed to put the needs of the family above all else. The personal affront of their husbands’ Page: 152 sexual infidelity is considered a relatively minor offense compared to the perceived threat to the security of the household, and especially to their children’s interests. A man’s “playing around” is marginally acceptable, provided that he does not squander the family’s money in the process. However, most of the women I knew found the idea of polygyny utterly repugnant, even though the practice is not uncommon in Solo, since it means that both the co-wife (or wives) and any children that she might produce are in competition with the first wife and her children for the husband’s property.14 14. Rarely did I hear any Solonese women defending the practice of polygamy. One woman who did was a young, devoted Muslim who had been much influenced by the Islamic reformist movement. In her opinion, polygamy was a somewhat unfortunate but necessary institution. “It’s not recommended by Islam,” she explained, “but it’s accepted. Islam recognizes that men have strong desires (nafsu ), so one wife might not be enough to satisfy them. If they weren’t permitted more than one wife, they might run to prostitutes. So they’re allowed up to four wives. But each wife must be treated fairly.”
Author: Bertocci, Peter J. Skoggard, Ian 1953-
Title: Culture summary: Bengali
Publisher: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2002 Page 7
Similarly polygyny, rare and strongly discouraged among Bengali Hindus, is of course permitted to Bengali Muslims, although its actual rate of occurrence is not high. Divorce among high caste Hindus is strongly discouraged and, at least until recently, has always brought great stigma. Islam discourages but nonetheless permits divorce, and thus its rate among Bengali Muslims is much higher than among Bengali Hindus. Finally, among high-caste Hindus, widow remarriage, despite a century of legislation outlawing the ancient custom of proscribing it, is still greatly frowned upon. Islam places no barrier on remarriage for either sex after spousal death or divorce, although the incidence of remarriage of elderly Muslim widows is not high.
Author: Lutfiyya, Abdulla M.
Title: Baytīin a Jordanian village: a study of social institutions and social change in a folk community
Publisher: The Hague: Mouton, 1966.
page 161
Although Islam, the established religion of the community under study, allows a man to marry as many as four wives at a time,38 38 This is the generally accepted interpretation in the eyes of most Muslims. Modern doctors of Islam, however, such as the famed reformer Mu□ammad □Abdu (ca. 1849–1905) preach monogamy. The Qur’ān, IV: 3 reads: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly [with them], then only one, or [a captive] that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice.” In another place, the Qur’ān, IV: 129, declares: “Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire.” Thus, in spite of tradition, it seems obvious that Islam teaches monogamy rather then polygyny. only a very few practice plurality in marriage. Polygyny is the exception, not the rule, in the village.39
Talhami, Ghada Hashem Skoggard, Ian, 1953- Beierle, John
Title: Culture summary: Palestinians
Publisher: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2005
Palestinians are, generally speaking, monogamous, although polygyny is sanctioned by Islam.
Author: Zanca, Russell
Title: Culture summary: Uzbeks Page 8
As Muslims, Uzbeks see marriage as a central and necessary part in the life of an indivdual. Polygyny was allowed under Islamic sharia but later banned by Soviet power. Since independence (1991) there has been a slow return to unofficial polygyny, but polygynous unions are rare as is true through the Muslim world.
Berbers of Morocco
Hart, David M. Page 61
Title: An Ethnographic survey of the Riffian tribe of Aith Wuryaghil:
Published in: Tamuda — Vol. 2, no. 1
Publisher: Tetuan: High Comission of Spain in Morocco, Delegation of Education and Culture, 1954. 51-86 p.
Polygyny in Aith Wuryāghil appears to been more often a result of the function of the levirate than a matter of personal choice, for most Wuryāghlīs are monogamous through economic necessity; (7)
kinship system and economic concerns
but the Islamic laws regarding a husband’s obligation is an internal factors that work against the prevalence of polygamy
Matory, James Lorand 1994
Title: Sex and the empire that is no more: gender and the politics of metaphor in Oyo Yoruba religion
Page 111
the Okedijis report that among residents of central Ibadan Muslims are much more prone than the members of other religions to divorce, owing to the frequency among them of polygynous marriage, with its implications of male financial neglect and co-wife friction, and domination by the mother-in-law in Muslim households (Lloyd 1968:78; Okediji and Okediji 1966:160).
Ahmed, Akbar S. Titus, Paul Beierle, John
Title: Culture summary: Pashtun
Publisher: New Haven, Conn.:HRAF, 2002 Page 5
Although polygamy with up to four wives is permitted under Muslim law, monogamy is prevalent. Marriages are overwhelmingly endogamous within the clan and to a large degree within the subsection. Parallel-cousin marriage with father’s brother’s daughter is preferred among some tribes.


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This entry was posted on September 15, 2011 by in 【Anti-Orientalism 】, 【Performing Gender Logs】, 【Voices of Muslims】 and tagged .
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