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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Polygamy has been quite a boring topic for me actually (you can check how many posts I have written for this topic in this blog of mine). But still this time, I will write something about it again. If I don’t come up with a new ‘finding’ in this article, I do apologize. :)

What inspired me to write this article is the hot debate in one mailing list I join about this topic. JIL (Jaringan Islam Liberal or Liberal Islam Network) is one big Islam organization in Indonesia with very progressive policies and support pluralism and gender equality highly. (Check its site at Therefore when it was found out that one member of the mailing list was a polygamist, some feminist members were upset with this. They opined that JIL was not consistent to fight the gender inequality because letting a polygamist join the mailing list. They believed that having more than one wife is a violent act toward women and children and JIL is therefore absolutely against it.

To defend his polygamous ‘attitude’, the ‘culprit’ (LOL) gave excuse that the verses in Alquran are indeed multi-interpretable. There is no absolute truth of one interpretation, including in polygamy (mostly polyginy). He was supported by some other members saying, “Why should we bother with this case if the women themselves do not mind being the second, the third, or the nth wife.” As one organization that supports pluralism highly, JIL is not supposed to be ‘narrow-minded’ by believing in only one interpretation of Surah Annisa 3 (and some other verses related to it): the practice of polygamy is HARAM.

The ‘opposing’ side responded that human beings were created with brain so that they will use it to THINK. When many facts show that polygamy indeed engenders more problems and violence to women and children rather than positive sides (such as giving aids to the second wife, either in financially, or sociologically, etc) brainy human beings are supposed to take a wise interpretation: polygamy must be condemned and crushed from the world (the latter perhaps is very impossible to happen though).

One thing (quite) hurtful to some people is that in the past, the ‘culprit’ showed his contempt of the practice of polygamy, especially when one polygamist in Indonesia (quite popular public figure) proposed an idea to have POLYGAMY AWARD to encourage men to have more than one wife. He condemned this shameful award because having more than one wife was not an ideal thing, and award was something mostly related to the best thing. And in fact, eventually, he himself also married another woman while his first wife was still healthy, alive. FYI, referring to the Compilation of Islamic Law in Indonesia, a man can marry another woman under the following condition:

  1. The wife cannot get pregnant to give the husband children
  2. The wife is invalid so that she cannot serve the husband in bed
  3. The wife is incapable of doing household chores, especially to serve the husband

My blog visitors can find out my view on polygamy by reading all posts of mine on this topic in this blog. As an additional point, I agree with one member saying that some ‘high profile’ of Indonesian public figures who are polygamists have got social punishment. Instead of making polygamous act accepted more worldwide (especially in Indonesia) by encouraging other men to follow their steps (such as PW who launched a tabloid named POLYGAMY a year ago, and in his chain restaurant he also provided one drink in the menu named POLYGAMY juice), their businesses even underwent loses. To me, it shows that although Indonesian (conventional Muslim) people get difficulty to separate religion from their daily routines, and they easily get ‘blurred’ in viewing things when ulemas influence national issues—such as easily condemning Al-Qiyadah as deviant religious sect, in term of polygamy, there are still many Indonesian people who are against it. My last year worry—that the giving of POLYGAMY AWARD and the launching of POLYGAMY tabloid would fool around Indonesian conventional Muslim people easily—did not come true. At least, until today.

PT56 13.05 191107
the picture was taken from this link.


Anonymous said...

Polygamy is not the problem.

The lack of women's rights and the oppression of women is the problem. If women were truly independent and had the freedom to choose who they marry they would have the right to divorce and to say no to taking on another wife.


Edip said...

Dear Komentar:
Please check our recently published book, Quran: a Reformist Translation, which is non-sexist and non-sectarian work.

You may get the free PDF version of the book from:

Or you may purchase it from:

Edip Yuksel

Anonymous said...

Is Rockerfellar a Feminist, Sexist or evil, I can't make my mind up.

rukki said...

i am in pologamy and iam also muslim. i have found that my marriage has plenty of benifits and even though its not for everyone, i still obtain my rights of a woman and a human being. but i am one of the fortuate ones...theres lts of cass where women are oppressed in such situations. but with all praises to god my husband follows islam the right way so i get to reep the benifits of pologamy.
im from a uk born background and its totally unheard of within my english non muslim family. however i believe it is the womans choice whether she wants to go through such a test. but with the right husband and the right intentions pologamy can be a positive and fufilling oppurtunity..when you scrape ones thoughts out of th ewestern, non muslim thought process

A Feminist Blog said...

Rukki, good for you. Well, as long as to be the nth wife is your own choice, and it does not hurt other people's feelings (let's say the other wives of the husband), just go ahead, although of course I will not understand that. :)

Anonymous said...

I just read your polygamy blog and think you might get a different view if you read The blogger there makes a very strong arugement that polygamy is pro-woman. I think you shouldcheck it out.

A Feminist Blog said...

I somewhat agree with the comment given by the first anonymous above. If only women understand their rights--without interference of patriarchal religious teachings, and they are also independent to make choices in their lives, they will know what to do in their lives--whether to get involved in polygamous marriages, to get benefit for themselves, as long as not hurting other people's feelings, such as other wives and the children from other wives; or to choose to be single and enjoy their lives.