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~Safia~
05-26-2008, 09:20 PM
Keep in mind that it's a Muslim sister reporting. So read this over, and share your thoughts. Is this an issue in our community? It also brings up an interesting question... are men entering polygamous marriages for legitimate reasons (ie. to help out a widow or divorcee and her children), or simply because they can?GTA's secret world of polygamy

As Toronto mother describes her ordeal, imam admits he has `blessed' over 30 unions

May 24, 2008 04:30 AM

Noor Javed
Staff Reporter

There were no pleasantries, there was no small talk. Safa Rigby had expected to hear her husband's voice when the phone rang one morning. Instead, the caller didn't even bother to say hello.

"You think you know your husband. You don't know him at all," said the man, a friend of her husband's. "His car is parked outside my house right now. He is with my ex-wife. They just got married last week," the man said.

It took a minute for the news to sink in. Then she called her husband of 14 years, demanding to know if what she had just been told was true – that while she spent a year in Egypt raising their four children in a more Islamic environment, he had used it as an opportunity to marry not just one, but two other women in Toronto.

"Yes, I'm married," he said, quashing all her dreams of their future together.

He told her he was married in a small ceremony 20 days earlier, officiated by *******, a well-known Toronto imam, at his Scarborough mosque.

"I cried for six days straight. Lost my appetite, ignored the kids, even had to start taking antidepressants," said Rigby, 35. "What I couldn't understand was how such a thing could happen in Toronto, my hometown, where polygamy is supposed to be illegal."

It was easy. He simply found an imam willing to break a Canadian law, in exchange for upholding an Islamic one.

"Polygamy is happening in Toronto; it's not common, but it's happening," said the imam at *********.

"This is in our religion and nobody can force us to do anything against our religion," he said. "If the laws of the country conflict with Islamic law, if one goes against the other, then I am going to follow Islamic law, simple as that."

Those who condone the practice rarely let their views be known, and those who practise it themselves tend to do so in secret, making it difficult to record how many such marriages have taken place in the GTA. Equally hard to determine is how many polygamous families have immigrated to the country, despite a 2005 report commissioned by the federal Status of Women that tried to find out the extent of polygamy and its implications.

But conducting such unions in clear violation of Canadian law is wrong, according to Syed Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, who speaks frequently on polygamy issues.

"Muslims should not enter into polygamy while they are living in Canada, because the local Canadian law prevails. It overrules the Islamic law if there is a conflict between the two," he said.

Under the Criminal Code, polygamy was deemed a crime in 1892. Those who enter into reside in, or officiate a polygamous union can be charged with a criminal offence and face up to five years in prison.

But the last time polygamy was prosecuted in Canada was more than 60 years ago. Fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful, in southeastern British Columbia, have managed to get away with openly practising polygamy, believed to be an integral and necessary part of their faith, since the 1940s with little legal recourse.

A raid six weeks ago on a Texas polygamist compound, in which 440 children were seized by child-protection officials, also drew attention to the practice of polygamy and a sect's religious beliefs. An appeals court, however, ruled this week that the children, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, be released.

Islamic laws on polygamy, while based on religious texts, differ from the Mormon example. While the Qur'an permits polygamy, it is not a requirement of the faith – and for those who wish to practise, there are strict conditions: "If you deem it best for the orphans, you may marry their mothers – you may marry two, three, or four. If you fear lest you become unfair, then you shall be content with only one, or with what you already have."

"The purpose of polygamy was to protect women," said Shahina Siddiqui, a social worker with the Islamic Social Services Association, who has worked on a number of polygamy cases. "The way it is being done here, it is not just. Second and third wives have no social support, no legal protection, no recourse if things go wrong; that in itself negates the entire premise of the Islamic law. It can't do what it was meant to do." Polygamy can work, Siddiqui stresses, if the society is set up for it, if it's open to it, and if adults consent to it.

Provincial laws do provide some protection for women in polygamous marriages. According to the Ontario Family Act, women who came to Canada with valid polygamous marriage documents can claim spousal support and welfare benefits. While the law has yet to be challenged, it is believed that those married here could also likely do the same on the basis of being vulnerable persons.

"It was about women and their needs back then, but what it is today is about a man wanting to have more women," said Rigby, who recently moved back to Canada with her children, and has just started the process of separating from her husband, a businessman. "This is their `halal' form of having an affair."

Rigby said her husband told her his reasoning for marrying the second wife was to "help" her out of a difficult financial situation. Other polygamists cite marrying divorced women as a means to provide them support or be able to have children if their wives are unable to conceive. In some cases, a wife who is ill will herself begin the process of looking for a spouse for her husband, said the imaam.

"I don't encourage people to do it, unless they have reason for it. Life ends up being very complicated. You have to jump from one house to another all the time," he said.

That's why **** advises men to keep the second marriage a secret as long as they can, even from the first wife. There have been instances where he has gone with the men to their homes to share the news with the first wives, in an attempt to help lessen the blow.

**** had advised Rigby's husband to stay quiet. When Rigby emailed ****, soon after discovering he had conducted the marriage, he offered little support.

"You have to stand beside him in these difficult times. You should stop causing problems to him. You will not get anything by divorce except destroying your life," she said he told her.

At that moment Rigby realized how lonely her path would be.

Since the marriages are shrouded in secrecy, women are embarrassed to speak about their situations, have few supports in place, and are often forced to deal with it alone.

"You are ashamed. You feel like you are the reason behind it. I stopped socializing, interacting. I became withdrawn. People's first impression is that if a man marries again, it's because of the failings of the first wife," Rigby said. "I spent a year trying to fix the problem, which I didn't even create."

It took Rigby almost two years to leave the marriage, as she struggled to figure out how she would manage as a single mother, now with five children, ages 1 to 14.

While Rigby eventually left, many women feel they don't have the strength to do the same. A 28-year-old Mississauga mother of two said she decided to stay in her marriage, more for her kids than for herself, even after she discovered her husband had married another woman.

During the year he had two wives, he would alternate nights between the two. "It was a horrible thought. To think of your husband with another woman," she said. But she stayed on, hopeful that he would eventually leave his new wife. "I lost trust. I lost all respect. At that point I didn't love him. I knew he was with her. He was sleeping with her. He was doing everything with her," said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. Eventually, he left his second wife.

While the Muslim factor may be a minor one in the larger debate around polygamy, which for years has focused on Bountiful, B.C., there is consensus on both sides that the practice will soon be forced to face a constitutional challenge.

Muslims have thought that if such a challenge on the basis of religion is launched, they would also benefit. But Nik Bala, a family law professor at Queen's University, believes the case for Muslims is much weaker than that of the Mormons.

"In Bountiful, the argument of freedom of religion applies, since polygamy is a requirement necessary to get to heaven. Islam permits polygamy, but doesn't require it to be a practising Muslim," said Bala. "The freedom of religion argument doesn't hold up as strongly."

But on both sides of the debate, the protection of women and children is considered paramount.

In Rigby's eyes, whether polygamy is illegal or legal is irrelevant. "If it is happening and it is here, then there should be some kind of support system set up to protect us," she said, suggesting marriage workshops or support groups for women.

For now, Rigby is writing a blog on her two years in a polygamous marriage. "No one wants to talk about it, but at a certain point, we're going to have to start having that conversation."

Amatullah
05-26-2008, 09:31 PM
wow, subhanAllah. I think personally the sisters shouldn't say things like this:

"It was about women and their needs back then, but what it is today is about a man wanting to have more women," said Rigby, who recently moved back to Canada with her children, and has just started the process of separating from her husband, a businessman. "This is their `halal' form of having an affair."

I completely disagree with that statement...yes it's definitely true that some men abuse the right, but we have to remember that this is a hukm that Allah azza wa jal Himself made lawful out of His Ultimate Wisdom and I cannot say that I understand how it feels to be a co-wife, but I feel statements such as those above are taking it a bit too far. SubhanAllah, it must be so hard for her and other sisters though.

As for your question, are men entering polygamous marriages for legitimate reasons (ie. to help out a widow or divorcee and her children), or simply because they can? I don't think that's really for us to decide, each family has its own problems and case that would need to be looked at separately...The article is making her ex husband look like the bad guy, but we really don't know what was going on in their marriage. He was away from his wife for a long period of time, and in that sense, I don't think it's wrong to have another wife--he searched for halal means. I think it would be a huge generalization to chose either of the two options above.

As a social work student though, I agree with having the support groups and counseling for brothers and sisters in a polygamous marriage. And I don't remember what shaykh Yaser said in Love Notes about marrying another wife in the West where it is illegal, Allahu alam.

Jazaki Allahu khayran for posting. Looking forward to reading other's ideas.

Sally Mahmoud
05-26-2008, 09:37 PM
I think a brother needing a 2nd wife...just because it's in his nature, and is allowed is a valid reason.. more so than marrying a divorcee or to help take care of children b/c there are ways of supporting women in need besides just marrying the woman yourself!

I believe that Allah in his infinite mercy made men who are polygamous by nature, and allowed them to marry up to 4. I would imagine they exist in the community.. Allah also made men who are monogamous...and for them one woman is all they ever need to build a life with... So polygamous men are the ones that have affairs in western culture, and are the ones that may resort to multiple marriages under a muslim context...

I was actually thinking about starting a thread asking sisters if they would consider entering polygamous marraiges and why! (kinda like the divorcee thread).. would be interesting to see..

Sally Mahmoud
05-26-2008, 10:04 PM
LOL safa!! I see what you're saying.. that's why i'm hesitant...yet curious... i think that as a muslim woman, i think i know the reasons why men choose to marry more than once... but i don't know why a woman would want to be part of a ploygamous situation?

Sally Mahmoud
05-26-2008, 10:23 PM
Hehehehe, Your a funny one Sally.

As they say curiosity killed the cat ;) so lets keep from that..... j/k

I guess there are a few reasons women would want to be part of a polyg marriage. Some of the ones that I personally know: she has no other choice (ie: situation, financially, kids), she is older in age, and she knows he will leaving the first :( so agrees to stay in a 'secret' marriage.


:D (i hope you're studies are going well!)

I won't start that thread.. i don't think it would be that beneficial.. but i agree with you.. although i'm afraid to generalize.. it seems that most reasons would be ones of desperation..

Islam is a Blessing
05-27-2008, 03:16 AM
SubhanAllah I am so saddened after reading this article. I don't see any benefit in a man not informing his first wife of his intent to marry another. Shrouding something in secrecy and doing things behind someone's back tends to give the impression that what one is doing is wrong or somehow immoral. But polygamy is something that is permissible in Islam so what is the harm in letting the wife know? The pros definitely outweigh the cons in this situation because there is close to no way that one can keep a marriage a secret forever. If one truly cares for his wife, why not spare his wife the shock of finding out from neighbors, friends, or other family members?I know of a family that this has happened to in which the news reached the wife from someone else and it has torn them apart. When you see all the pain secrecy causes it is so not worth it. So personally, I think the imam gave terrible advice! Perhaps the only way for sisters to protect themselves from this is to put a clause in the marriage contract that you must be informed beforehand if he is to do something like that.

Imtiaz
05-27-2008, 09:16 AM
When reading this article, the writer expressed views on law, that I really at this point have no stance on at this time... however...

I was just thinking about the recent legalized same sex marriages and unions throughout US and Canada (which is spreading at a rate of some infectious diseases by the way) ... and Polygyny is abhorant...

just a thought when i read that.... good posts!

KeepCool
05-27-2008, 09:58 AM
Perhaps the only way for sisters to protect themselves from this is to put a clause in the marriage contract that you must be informed beforehand if he is to do something like that.
Even this doesn't protect a sister from polygamy.

If she puts such a clause into her contract, it only means that she has legal right to divorce her husband if he wishes to remarry. It does not mean that the husband is forbidden to remarry.

Dawud Israel
05-27-2008, 03:19 PM
Don't humans make mistakes?
At the end of the day it's funny because people forget that we are all human.

Stories condemning are flawed because they presuppose that normal marriage are ALWAYS successful. Even among Muslims this is never the case--there is conflict and struggle with ALL things and Allah SWT tests us in all forms.

If a normal marriage can have flaws what makes people think they have discovered something when they see polygamy go wrong??

zuhair.shaath
05-27-2008, 04:47 PM
Even this doesn't protect a sister from polygamy.

If she puts such a clause into her contract, it only means that she has legal right to divorce her husband if he wishes to remarry. It does not mean that the husband is forbidden to remarry.We learned in Code of Scholars with Shaikh Muhammad Alshareef that even if she doesn't put the clause in her contract, she still has the option of divorce if he marries a second wife.

With regards to the article though, I'm going to refrain from saying the Br/Imam should have done this or that simply because we don't know their side of the story. Sure it seems like the decision was completely wrong on a forum, but what do we know of their personal life? At the same time Allah (swt) is the Most Just, and if the brother/sister/imam did abuse their right then Allah (swt) will hold everyone accountable for their actions.

Rabiah - la Voyageure ©
05-28-2008, 05:35 PM
Although, I didn't like the direct comments made to one particular person or to one perticular case... but the following was still something to reflect on... and relative to the topic being discussed:
(you'll notice the conclusion missing... it's because I decided not to post it)


When One Woman isn’t the “One”



Sheharyar Shaikh



Muslim or not, the family institution in our society is in peril. Yet the pathetically ignorant, self-styled “Martin Luthers” of Islam find no other preoccupation worthier than to use fringe issues to take stabs on Islam at a time when attacks come from all sides – and for what? A paltry 2-minute-publicity?



The latest example is that of a hijab-clad Muslimah, Noor Javed, who felt it a duty to write a scathing article on polygamy practiced in the GTA in a recent Toronto Star article entitled: “GTA’s Secret World of Polygamy”.



Javed’s article, spun around a single case, starts off with the story of a Safa Rigby who discovers that her husband had taken two other women as wives during her 1-year stay in Egypt. Angry and upset, Safa felt she needed to opt out of marriage. And she does. No one says that Safa had no right to be upset, most women would be, but what bothered me was that Noor Javed used this one particular case to indict something she knows fully well to be permitted in Islam. Moreover, Javed repeatedly and erroneously cites the “illegality” of an Islamic polygamy in Canada in her article. Perhaps she forgets that a second additional marriage that is undeclared and unregistered with the city does not bear any legal recognition. Hence, it can not be “illegal” as no enforced law is broken. It would be similar to a person having one legal wife and 10 girlfriends on the side with whom his relationship can not be called illegal. One wonders whether Noor Javed would write a similar article in condemnation of adultery, which victimizes Muslim families on a much grander scale and which thrives as an acceptable institution in society.



Polygamy (or more correctly polygyny), although discouraged (Surah an-Nisa: 4), is clearly permitted in the Quran. We neither apologize to anyone about it nor do we feel ashamed about what we believe to be a right given by the Almighty. So here is an advice: If you are a Muslim man or a woman who finds the Islamic allowance of polygyny irreconcilably abhorrent, then we advise you to choose a life-path other than Islam that is more acceptable to you. But if you remain in Islam, then integrity demands that you accept and submit that unruly nafs (self) to what you dislike as being revealed from your Creator. The Quran reminds the believers:



O You who believe! Enter Islam fully and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; he is to you an open enemy (al-Baqarah: 208)



But even if you were to leave Islam for another religion, the polygyny-issue would not leave you. Founders and holy figures of major religions apparently had no qualms with it. The Jewish Old Testament mentions 40 Biblical figures that were polygynous, including Abraham, Moses, Jacob and Solomon. The Tibetan Buddhism readily allows for taking on a consort under the Consort Practice. The Hindu Vedas specifically proscribe laws that regulate polygyny. Ram and Krishna were both polygynous; the latter having 16,108 wives. The great St. Augustine struggled with its permissibility whereas the Protestant reformer Martin Luther once wrote in a letter that he could not forbid polygyny “for it did not contradict Scripture”. The Ethnographic Atlas Codebook notes that out of 1231 societies around the world a mere 186 are monogamous.

Noor Javed’s second Star article “I do, I do, I do. The Last Taboo” seemed to suggest albeit in an amateurish way that even if polygyny was practiced in the past, it should certainly be banned in today’s day and age.



I can cite numerous reasons for why the practice of polygyny makes sense in a present day society. A nearly twice as high male birth mortality rate as compared to the female birth mortality rate naturally leaves more women in society than men. All Western societies comprise of female populations that outnumber the male – sometimes in millions. Polygyny as a way of life makes sense for some, if not for all, of those single women. Beyond the higher birth mortality rate, we must also take into account the unavailability of existing men in society for potential marriage; men fight and die in wars, automobile accidents and by natural illnesses, risk long-term imprisonment, or prefer a homosexual lifestyle – all in far greater numbers than do women! On top, marriageable age for a woman as defined by society is considerably less than that of a man. The point: a society based on strict monogamy is impractical. Thus, the allowance of polygyny makes good sense in today’s day and age. Yet the single most powerful reason for me to accept its allowance is simply because the Book that I hold to be from God allows it. And so should you, if you are indeed Muslim.



And remember that allowance for polygyny is just that: an allowance. Marmaduke Pickthall (a British revert to Islam) once said: "In Christianity, celibacy is the ideal and monogamy is a concession to human needs. In Islam, monogamy is the ideal and polygamy is a concession to human needs." The permission of polygyny certainly does not require every Muslim to go out looking for another spouse. We know that only a tiny minority of Muslim men opt to take another wife. Perhaps it is so because in a society in which adultery thrives as the norm, it is far more tempting for a dodgy man to have multiple affairs outside marriage without having to pay any spousal support. In order words, reap all the benefits of marriage without having to shoulder any of its financial obligations as proscribed by Islam.




Sheharyar Shaikh is the President of North American Muslim Foundation. He is specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and modernity

~Safia~
05-28-2008, 10:46 PM
JazakAllah khair for the informative article, but I do feel that the writer was unfair in his judgment and criticism of Noor Javed. I think I've read just about every article she's written for the Toronto Star since she began working there, and many of her feature pieces shed light on issues in the Muslim community that most journalists won't care to report about, including the article on poverty I posted a while back.

To call her a "Martin Luther" is an extremely serious allegation, regardless of whether you agree with the article's perspective on the issue. She's never once questioned or criticized Islam in her writings, and I see this polygamy article more as her attempt to expose a problem and create a community dialogue. She's questioning how polygamy is practiced among Muslims in Canada and the circumstances under which it exists, not the concept of polygamy in Islam.

sadiav
05-29-2008, 08:36 AM
That's why Hindy advises men to keep the second marriage a secret as long as they can, even from the first wife.

No disrespect to the Imam, but I totally disagree here. Most women would be very upset to know their husband wants a second wife --and they would probably be even MORE upset to know that he went behind their back and married one without even bothering to inform her!!!!

If you are "man enough" to take a second wife then please at least be man enough to tell your first wife about this huge decision you are making. I simply cannot imagine a husband who loves, respects and honours his wife who would not even tell her something like this. How is she supposed to trust him after something like that?

And how does he account for his absenses? All the time he is spending with his new wife? And where half his money is going? Is this not deception

It made me sad to read that line. I wish when men would come to the Imam he would tell them to inform their wives first before they go and do something like this to her

Just my opinion
And Allah SWT knows best!

Hala
05-29-2008, 09:41 AM
No disrespect to the Imam, but I totally disagree here. Most women would be very upset to know their husband wants a second wife --and they would probably be even MORE upset to know that he went behind their back and married one without even bothering to inform her!!!!

If you are "man enough" to take a second wife then please at least be man enough to tell your first wife about this huge decision you are making. I simply cannot imagine a husband who loves, respects and honours his wife who would not even tell her something like this. How is she supposed to trust him after something like that?

And how does he account for his absenses? All the time he is spending with his new wife? And where half his money is going? Is this not deception

It made me sad to read that line. I wish when men would come to the Imam he would tell them to inform their wives first before they go and do something like this to her

Just my opinion
And Allah SWT knows best!

Mashaa Allah, Sadia, you said exactly what I was thinking!

I knew of a distant relative who married a 2nd wife without informing his 1st- and to top it off, she was 8 months pregnant when he did it! SubhanAllah! Through months of scolding from relatives, he ended up divorcing the 2nd wife. And to think if he had waited say, 6 months and talked to his wife about his decision to marry, he might've been a happier camper. Wallahu a'lam.

Mubarak
05-29-2008, 11:17 AM
...If you are "man enough" to take a second wife then please at least be man enough to tell your first wife...I totally agree. Be a man. On the real, its probably easy to find another woman for an already husband to marry but the hard part comes when the husband has to sit his first wife down (and I said, SIT his first wife down cause O'my brothers, don’t EVER break the news of a second wife to her while she is standing cause she might just...) and telling her about the newest member of the family.

I think most women wouldn’t take the news of another woman joining the family with an open heart but on the other hand, its not really fair of me to generalize so I take back my statement. In addition, just an advice or two for my sisters; if your husband is thinking about getting a second wife then there is a 97.648% chance he probably dropped or continues to drop evidence of such thoughts and ambitions along the way. Pick up on those signs. Don’t be naive and think, "he'll NEVER do that to me" cause maybe one day, you might find yourself sitting at the kitchen table while your husband looks you straight in the eyes and says, "baby, I need to talk to you about something". Rather be proactive and continue to NAG (ok, maybe not nag...but be smooth) in asking him about his views towards the subject. Maybe in the beginning of the marriage he wasn’t too fond of the idea of taking two wives but somewhere along the way, he opened up to the idea. Its your responsibilities in some ways to make him realize, "hey homeboy, you cant even handle ME, how then can you even think about signing a free agent to join our team?" (note to the wise; use sport terminology to get his attention cause sometimes being a man, we'll hear your words, but they wont properly register)

Tariq Lateef
05-29-2008, 01:02 PM
From our Fiqh of Love notes:

Heres a advice: "Show him what he'd be missing if he did take another wife."

zuhair.shaath
05-29-2008, 01:16 PM
SubhanAllah, I don't think we should bash the shaikh and the brother. The reality of the situation is that we don't know their side of the story and immediatly jump to conclusions. Do they not deserve benefit of the doubt? Or does that not apply to them?

Tariq Lateef
05-29-2008, 01:45 PM
SubhanAllah, I don't think we should bash the shaikh and the brother. The reality of the situation is that we don't know their side of the story and immediatly jump to conclusions. Do they not deserve benefit of the doubt? Or does that not apply to them?Yes! Your so right akhi! ....I never thought of it like that! Such a genious :D JazakAllahuKhairan, but I think there are too many brothers who abuse it, but like You said, I'll give them benefit of the doubt.

Sally Mahmoud
05-29-2008, 08:13 PM
Maybe in the beginning of the marriage he wasn’t too fond of the idea of taking two wives but somewhere along the way, he opened up to the idea. Its your responsibilities in some ways to make him realize, "hey homeboy, you cant even handle ME, how then can you even think about signing a free agent to join our team?" (note to the wise; use sport terminology to get his attention cause sometimes being a man, we'll hear your words, but they wont properly register)

Gosh, this must be the funniest post i've ever read on the forums! (esp coming from an insider's perspective (assuming your a bro)..

Do you think the bolded is true? i really think it's more of an intrinsic thing... it's either your thing or it's not.. like the earlier poster's quote said.. monogamy is meant to be the rule, and polygamy the exception.. just for those who find that lifestyle necessary/suitable for them.

Tariq Lateef
05-29-2008, 08:42 PM
Gosh, this must be the funniest post i've ever read on the forums! (esp coming from an insider's perspective (assuming your a bro)..

Do you think the bolded is true? i really think it's more of an intrinsic thing... it's either your thing or it's not.. like the earlier poster's quote said.. monogamy is meant to be the rule, and polygamy the exception.. just for those who find that lifestyle necessary/suitable for them.Even monogomy is only a Sunnah.

~Safia~
05-29-2008, 11:58 PM
SubhanAllah, I don't think we should bash the shaikh and the brother. The reality of the situation is that we don't know their side of the story and immediatly jump to conclusions. Do they not deserve benefit of the doubt? Or does that not apply to them?What else is there to know? The shaykh was interviewed for the article and he's shared his thoughts, we know that the husband's reasoning for marrying another woman was to "help" her out of her financial situation. We also know that this woman is the ex-wife of the husband's friend, who was the one to call Safa Rigby and tell her about her husband's marriage. Any conclusions made by anyone who has read the article was clearly a reasoned and informed one, since all the information is there.

Mubarak
05-30-2008, 01:52 AM
... it's either your thing or it's not...Its true. I agree with you but its just that sometimes, a person may not even realize an important aspect of their character or a certain inclination towards a certain issue until the moment presents itself. I had a friend and he would sometimes say, "marriage? Bro, I dont even know myself! How can you expect me to redirect my energy to get to know someone else?" or in other words, he needed time to get to know himself. Sometimes the process of getting to know your own soul may continue years into your marriage life, hence why the brother who is married may at some point down the road realize, "you know, I think I can handle taking a second wife". Although his need to marry a second woman properly wasnt anything new, rather or perhaps he just discovered that need for a second wife really late. And Allah knows best.

zuhair.shaath
05-30-2008, 01:52 AM
What else is there to know? I think it's pretty possible the Shaikh/brother may have had personal information they didn't want disclosed? Just because they gave an "interview" doesn't mean they disclosed all the information attributed to the case. However, if all the information was disclosed then I can see why some people may be a little dissapointed at the way the situation was handled, but then again they know their situation much better than we do so I don't think judging them is something we should do. Allah knows best, and may Allah (swt) forgive the brothers and sisters of their shortcomings, and may He guide them to His straight path. Ameen.

sadiav
05-30-2008, 05:05 AM
Just to clarify I wasnt intending to "bash" the Imam or anyone else, or show any disrespect to anyone or judge anyone's situation. I was merely commenting on the trend of marrying a second wife without informing the first, which does occur in our communities. I apologize if anyone was offended by my words, but I still very strongly disagree with a man marrying a second wife without informing his first

bintOmar
05-30-2008, 08:07 AM
What else is there to know? The shaykh was interviewed for the article and he's shared his thoughts, we know that the husband's reasoning for marrying another woman was to "help" her out of her financial situation. We also know that this woman is the ex-wife of the husband's friend, who was the one to call Safa Rigby and tell her about her husband's marriage. Any conclusions made by anyone who has read the article was clearly a reasoned and informed one, since all the information is there.We only know what was presented in this report. Journalists generally pick and choose the statements of interviewees which best suit their take on a story. It's one thing to take up a position regarding polygyny and quite another to pass judgement on these particular events based on this one account alone. Just think: could one possibly hope to write a fair or comprehensive paper while relying on one resource alone? While it would be absurd to deny there is some truth to this story (i.e. husband remarrying, wife subsequently divorced), it is equally absurd to assume this biased (notice the emphasis placed on Rigby's stance) and sensationalist account contains the entire, unadulterated truth (or at least sufficient information upon which to arrive at a reasonable conclusion). Let's reserve our "judgement" (if I can call it that) unless and until all parties involved are able or willing to articulate their views in full.

Is the underlying issue really polygamy or is it lack of communication or confidence between spouses? In which case one would have to divine it's causes and its cures/preventions or let the matter alone entirely.

Generous_1
05-30-2008, 08:10 AM
GTA's secret world of polygamy? Noor Javed was probably aiming for a sensational story in light of what happened at the States. Seriously, of all the things she could talk about, why this? why now? I for one would like to see Toronto Star reporters write something positive about the Muslim community for once.

~Safia~
05-30-2008, 02:17 PM
GTA's secret world of polygamy? Noor Javed was probably aiming for a sensational story in light of what happened at the States. Seriously, of all the things she could talk about, why this? why now? I for one would like to see Toronto Star reporters write something positive about the Muslim community for once.They do, regularly. Especially Noor Javed's work.

Rabiah - la Voyageure ©
05-30-2008, 02:39 PM
Just to clarify I wasnt intending to "bash" the Imam or anyone else, or show any disrespect to anyone or judge anyone's situation. I was merely commenting on the trend of marrying a second wife without informing the first, which does occur in our communities. I apologize if anyone was offended by my words, but I still very strongly disagree with a man marrying a second wife without informing his firstI agree. Although in Islam, 'approval' of the first wife is not needed to get a co-wife, but it is from good manners and kind treatment towards wife to approach this issue with some sensitivity, especially when he knows she won't take it well.

And while we are on a topic of treating the wife/wives well, there's a hadith most of us forget about:
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever has two wives and inclines more towards one of them than the other, will come on the Day of Resurrection with half of his body leaning.” (narrated by al-Nisaa’i, ‘Ushrat al-Nisaa’, 3881; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i, no. 3682).

It's really at the end of the day, the man's call. Monogamy is by default. But if someone has the stamina to get married more than once, has a justified reason to marry more than once, treat them both with justice, and keep a balance between both - then ... good for him. In that case, may Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala bless both (or all) of his marriages.

But if he is aware of the fact, that he would not be granting the rights of even one of his wives... then it's really upto him to decide in what position he wants to come walking to Allaah subhanahu wa ta'ala on the Day of Judgment.

~Safia~
06-02-2008, 02:12 PM
Another angle of the story, published this Sunday.'Polygamy is a crime, non?'

Fouad Boutaya found out the law isn't quite as clear-cut as he thought when his wife married his friend and police said they could do nothing
Jun 01, 2008 04:30 AM

UNDER THE LAW

Here's what the Criminal Code says about polygamy:

(1) Everyone who:

(a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
(i) any form of polygamy, or
(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or

(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Noor Javed
Staff Reporter

There was little Fouad Boutaya could do to console his broken heart when his wife eloped with his best friend – a man still legally married to another woman.

But he thought in Canada, where polygamy is illegal, he would be able to find support and solace in the legal system.

Instead, months after he complained to police, contacted local government officials, and found documents proving that an illegal marriage had taken place, he was told simply there was nothing any official could do since the marriage had never been legally registered.

The story of the polygamous marriage was told in the Star a week ago from the perspective of Safa Rigby, the mother of five still legally married to Hossny Ismail when he married Boutaya's wife. It was Boutaya who phoned Rigby in Egypt to break the news of what her husband had done.

"Polygamy is a crime here, non?" said Boutaya, 44, who switched from French to English throughout the conversation.

"They keep saying it's not a problem. But while they say that, there are more children in a broken family – without a father, without a mother," said Boutaya, who moved from Morocco to Hamilton with his wife, 36, and two children in 2003.

The laws that criminalize polygamy date back more than 100 years in Canada, but in modern times, no one has faced prosecution for the practice. According to the Criminal Code, those who enter into a polygamous marriage, polygamous conjugal union, or officiate at a polygamous union can be charged with a criminal offence and face up to five years in prison. Even if the marriage is not registered, it is still considered a crime according to the law.

"There is a legal loophole and we need to close it," said Andrea Horwath, New Democrat MPP for Hamilton East, who has been trying to get the government to address the polygamy issue for years. Although the law clearly stipulates that polygamy is illegal, without registered marriage licences and documents proving that a marriage took place, the government is unable to take any serious action against the officiant or the polygamist. Religious marriage documents – without the backing of an actual marriage certificate issued by the province – hold little weight in the eyes of the law. Government and Consumer Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin used the same argument last week at Queen's Park when urged by opposition MPPs to investigate religious clergy misusing their licence.

"Marriage is a contract. A contract requires a licence, and once a marriage occurs, it has to be registered. There are no multiple marriages being registered in the province of Ontario," he told the Legislature.

Turning a blind eye to polygamy is not new. For the past 60 years, fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful in southeastern British Columbia have openly practised polygamy as an integral and necessary part of their faith, with little legal recourse.

When Boutaya read Rigby's story in the Star a week ago, he realized he was reading the story of his own life. Ismail hadn't sought a widow, a divorcee, or a woman in need of financial or emotional support when he married Boutaya's wife –conditions that would justify polygamous unions under Islam. Instead, he married a woman who wasn't even legally divorced yet. Just a month earlier, Boutaya and his wife had filed for separation in family court.

"This is not Islamic. Nothing about this marriage was Islamic," said Boutaya, who now has sole custody of his two children. "They used Islam to hide their affair."

While Islam sanctions polygamy, it imparts specific conditions and rules under which polygamy can and should be practised. The Qur'an itself states the difficulty of choosing such a lifestyle: "You have it not in your power to do justice between the wives, even though you may wish it."

Boutaya said he is shocked a religious man like *****, the imam at ****** in Scarborough, would support such a marriage.

"What he has done has destroyed two families," said Boutaya. "Why does he still have the licence to marry people?"

Officials with the registrar general's office investigated **** last year, when Boutaya brought this case to their attention, but were unable to prove the allegations.

"The minister, once hearing this, did order a review of the situation," said Greg Dennis, a ministry spokesperson. "We looked at records, we talked to people involved and we made our conclusions from there. We found and heard nothing to indicate that there had been any polygamous marriages performed."

The religious document is not enough, Dennis said. "A religious ceremony is not law."

More than two years after his wife left him, Boutaya remembers every detail of the moment of revelation he has relived in his mind many times since. The former civil servant came home early from a job-hunting trip to Ottawa to surprise his wife and two children, picking up a cake on his way. When he arrived, he found Ismail sitting at the dinner table, eating comfortably, as if he was in his own home.

"I asked him, `What are you doing here, my friend? You should not be here alone with my wife when I am not here,'" said Boutaya.

"What's the problem?" Boutaya said Ismail replied. "She is my wife."

In shock, Boutaya stormed out with his two children – a daughter, 7, and son, 11 – and drove to the local police station in Hamilton.

"It was my first reaction. I just needed someone to listen to me and protect me," said Boutaya. Instead, he was told that he didn't have much of a case.

So Boutaya sought proof. He spent the next month talking to imams while taking care of his children and trying to adjust to life at the Good Shepherd Centre, a local shelter, where they lived for four months. His wife continued to live in their home.

"It's been so hard for my kids. They were in shock for weeks afterwards," said Boutaya, who now lives in subsidized housing.

For years, officials have said part of the difficulty in prosecuting polygamy has been that it is a victimless crime. But the story of Boutaya and Rigby, and the seven children caught in between, suggests there can be a great deal of emotional harm.

"For the women and men, it is devastating and life changing," said MPP Horwath, who says she has spoken to a number of women and men affected by polygamy. Horwath says she has been urging the government to liaise with the Muslim community, and to put legislation in place that protects the rights of all people.

Boutaya insists on speaking out publicly about what he says is the abuse of polygamy, even though he has had little support from within the Muslim community and his own situation is irretrievable. He's now in the middle of getting a divorce.

"If I can't save my family," he said. "Maybe I can save the situation of someone in the future."

zuhair.shaath
06-02-2008, 02:25 PM
Did I read that right? His wife married a second husband...?

ibnabeeomar
06-02-2008, 03:45 PM
so how did the divorce process work for this situation?

~Safia~
06-03-2008, 09:09 PM
Did I read that right? His wife married a second husband...?Yes, but I'm assuming it's because they were legally separated and the divorce wasn't finalized under Canadian law.

... and why were all the articles censored? It's from the Toronto Star, it's public information.

ibnabeeomar
06-04-2008, 12:56 AM
response posted at [link removed]

The Toronto Star has had a flurry of articles recently which have caught the attention of many Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Before continuing, the articles are as follows:

GTA’s (Greater Toronto Area) Secret World of Polygamy
I do, I do, I do. The Last Taboo
Questions Surround Disputed Polygamy Law
Polygamy is a crime, non?
I must admit, it took me some time to fully digest these articles, and their possible ramifications. The articles are apparently written by a Muslim sisters and are quite troublesome to me, but not necessarily for the reasons you may think.

In the Secret World of Polygamy article, the author recounts the story of a Muslim woman with 4 children who suddenly found out that her husband had taken on a second wife while she was in Egypt. The article is quite critical of one particular Imam who performs the nikkah for some polygynous marriages, and tries very hard to insinuate that these marriages are against the law, despite quotes from authorities indicating otherwise since they are not officially filed in court.

In the last article linked to above, it tells the story of a man who came home to find his wife with another man, and told that they had been married. He took his kids and went straight to the cops.

The environment that we live in is one that is marred by misrepresentation of Muslims, especially in national media. While many hope that we will have more Muslims involved in fields such as journalism to help combat this, it does not help when Muslims write about Muslim issues that can be construed to contributing to the problem instead of the solution.

I also feel, to some degree, that the articles are irresponsible journalism in some regards.

Taking the Secret World of Polygamy article for example, it is almost sensationalist in the way that one story is somehow used to define the norm. Usually there is an attempt to reach out to the ‘other side’ and at least get some form of a statement responding directly to the assertions made. In this article though, I do not see this step being taken. Moreover, it seems that the Muslim example is being singled out, even though the article mentions the Mormons in Canada who actually uphold polygamy as a tenet of faith and actually admits,


While the Muslim factor may be a minor one in the larger debate around polygamy, which for years has focused on Bountiful, B.C., there is consensus on both sides that the practice will soon be forced to face a constitutional challenge.



If this is the case, then why is the Muslim issue focused on exclusively? Where are the interviews with those in polygamous marriages from other faiths? Also, where are the articles showing the other side of polygamy where it is actually successful for some families? I was absolutely shocked to see this article in NPR showing just that, and ironically it was written by a non-Muslim.


The main issue I have with this article though, is that it is airing dirty laundry in the wrong place. The Ummah of Muslims is a family, and we do have our issues. A major newspaper like the Toronto Star though, is not the place to air them. While I agree - in general - that the author raised some important issues that need to be discussed, I disagree with the forum and manner in which they were raised.

Such a discussion needs to happen amongst the Muslim community and within the Muslim community. In fact, we have had our fair share of discussions on polygamy even here on MuslimMatters. There is a difference though, in raising this issue in a media where the majority of the audience is Muslim as opposed to a place where the majority is not. They are definitely serious issues, but what is the point in broadcasting this out to a mass audience that already has a million misconceptions about us to begin with?! Especially in a case like this where the article is fairly unobjective, and borderline sensationalist. In this type of media, there needs to be a focus more on the positive side of things - and don’t tell me thats unrealistic, the NPR can do it, so what about our own Muslim writers? With everything we are facing as a community, I do not understand how anyone can possibly think that this is the best issue to raise in that platform.

The last article linked to above in which the wife actually took on a second husband is really the one that made me feel objectivity in these articles was lacking. In this situation, the same Imam criticized before, had performed this marriage. I simply cannot believe that the Imam would just suddenly perform such a marriage without first verifying if the woman was divorced or not in the first place. There is no information given at all from the other side. It is one of those things that is too strange to believe on face. The bigger problem though, is that in something like the Toronto Star, the general audience will not clue in on that, they will simply see extremism abound and oppressing people all around.

The fact that the man’s first reaction when seeing another man in his house with his wife eating his food was to grab his kids and go to the cops sounds fishy to me. I think any normal person in that situation would definitely have gone to the cops… in the back of a squad car. The fact that this was his reaction seems to indicate that it was not a complete shock, but that in fact something had at least been brewing up to this point. However, none of this is presented in the article, and that is why I feel it is a misrepresentation and sensationalist.

Allah knows best what the intention or purpose is behind these articles. Since there have been a number of them recently, I hope that there are some more coming which might insha’Allah start to show the other side.

brother_bruce
06-04-2008, 07:20 AM
Boutaya said he is shocked a religious man like *****, the imam at ****** in Scarborough, would support such a marriage.

"What he has done has destroyed two families," said Boutaya. "Why does he still have the licence to marry people?" By the by, I think this pretty much proves that Imam Aly Hindy was himself not told the full story before he married the two people off. Its clear that the couple involved chose to mislead him. Allah knows best how many other times this occured among those other 30 'secret' marriages.

Does anyone honestly think he would marry a married woman off to someone else?

What else is there to know? The fact that the man’s first reaction when seeing another man in his house with his wife eating his food was to grab his kids and go to the cops sounds fishy to me. I think any normal person in that situation would definitely have gone to the cops… in the back of a squad car. The fact that this was his reaction seems to indicate that it was not a complete shock, but that in fact something had at least been brewing up to this point. However, none of this is presented in the article, and that is why I feel it is a misrepresentation and sensationalist.
InshaAllah let this be a lesson to everyone to reserve their judgments and give Imams the benefit of the doubt in the future. The complete loser is the one who gets turned back at the Bridge of Qantarah...

After the first article was released, an activist brother I know mentioned that he wouldnt be so much in favor of the whole 'we need more Muslim reporters' line.

Despite myself, I'm beginning to agree.

~Safia~
06-04-2008, 10:45 AM
InshaAllah let this be a lesson to everyone to reserve their judgments and give Imams the benefit of the doubt in the future. The complete loser is the one who gets turned back at the Bridge of Qantarah...

After the first article was released, an activist brother I know mentioned that he wouldnt be so much in favor of the whole 'we need more Muslim reporters' line.

Despite myself, I'm beginning to agree.
Was that directed at me? I only brought up that we've gotten a variety of perspectives in the articles regardless of the particlar slant the journalist has taken, and at this point is seems as though we have a clearer picture of the situations than the people who may have been involved, as you mentioned. It's only natural that a person comes to some sort of conclusion or judgment after reading the articles, otherwise there wouldn't be the discussion there is in this thread. You need to come to some sort of conclusion to be able to form an opinion on the matter.

I've been following all the letters to the editor in response to the articles, and they've been overwhelmingly negative, but there was an interesting one I came across this morning:
Jun 04, 2008 04:30 AM


Re: So many lives destroyed

Letter, June 3

Vic Hotte says polygamy "has lots of victims," citing two instances in which people did not want their spouse to enter into a polygamous relationship and learned about the relationship after the fact.

This does not strike me as significantly different from what occurs in many marriages. Often, married people discover that their spouse has engaged in extramarital affairs and they suffer the emotional consequences. Yet this is not a crime.

Emotional victimization does not constitute criminal behaviour. If we legislated against it, Canada would become undemocratic.

Michelle Ciurria, Toronto

~Safia~
06-04-2008, 10:49 AM
Haroon Siddiqui's column in the Toronto Star, from May 27th:



Polygamy is against the law, period
May 27, 2008 04:30 AM
Haroon Siddiqui

Those practising polygamy in Canada are breaking the law. So is the Muslim cleric who told Star reporter Noor Javed that he has officiated or "blessed" more than 30 polygamous unions.

Aly Hindy, the controversial imam of Salahuddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, rationalized it saying that Islam allows four wives:

"This is in our religion and nobody can force us to do anything against our religion. If the laws of the country conflict with Islamic law, then I am going to follow Islamic law, simple as that."

It is simple but not the way he frames it.

No one is above the law, period.

This, happily, is also the majority Islamic view.

Muslims are obliged to obey the law of the land where they live. This has been the opinion of most scholars through 1,400 years of Islamic history. It is anchored in the sharia's emphasis on al-maslaha, the common good, and also the societal need to maintain the rule of law.

Scholars are divided only on whether Muslims must obey the law even if it violates Islamic precepts. Here the argument turns on whether Muslims are free to practise the basics of their faith (declaration of faith in Allah, five daily prayers, charity, fasting in the month of Ramadan and the hajj).

Canadian Muslims enjoy such freedom, more so than in some Muslim nations.

Polygamy is not one of the five essentials of Islam. Therefore, anyone wanting more than one wife is free to leave for another jurisdiction – or risk facing prosecution.

Canadian legal opinion is divided over whether the polygamy section of the Criminal Code can withstand a Charter challenge pitted against the right to freedom of religion.

The debate has been over the polygamist splinter sect of Mormons known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Bountiful, B.C. The calls for prosecution will only increase now that sect leader Warren S. Jeffs has been convicted in the U.S. and American prosecutors are moving against the sect.

There is an element of hypocrisy around the topic.

Even as we become voracious consumers of sexually explicit TV and movies and media, as well as the soap operas surrounding the infidelities and mistresses of the rich and the famous (the late François Mitterrand, Mel Lastman, etc.), we remain queasy about polygamy.

Within Islam, too, there's debate over theology and the plight of multiple wives and children.

While neither the Old nor the New Testament abolished polygamy, the Qur'an regularized the practice in AD 625 after a war in which 10 per cent of 1,000 Muslim warriors were killed, leaving widows and orphans.

Urging the faithful to be fair to them, the Qur'an says,

Give to the orphans their property ... And if you fear that you cannot act equitably toward orphans, then marry such women ... two or three or four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then marry only one (4:2-3).

But in the same chapter, believers are told, You have it not in your power to do justice between the wives, even though you may wish it (4.129).

So, men may marry more than once if they can treat the wives equally, which they cannot.

Therefore, monogamy is the norm. An overwhelming majority of Muslims have only one wife.

Some Muslim states, or states with large Muslim minorities, have banned polygamy altogether, as has Tunisia, or banned it for civil servants, as has India.

Public opinion is also turning against the practice.

In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, filmmaker Nia Dinata's movie, Love for Share, about her pain when her father semi-abandoned her mom for a younger woman, proved popular. Another sign of the public mood came last year when a popular TV imam took a second wife and saw his ratings and businesses plummet.

brother_bruce
06-04-2008, 12:45 PM
It's only natural that a person comes to some sort of conclusion or judgment after reading the articles, otherwise there wouldn't be the discussion there is in this thread. You need to come to some sort of conclusion to be able to form an opinion on the matter.
On the matter, perhaps.
On the persons involved, no.

Its where the 70 excuses come in. :)

btw, it wasnt just directed at you but is a reminder to all of us.

bint afzal
06-05-2008, 01:09 PM
Muslims are obliged to obey the law of the land where they live. This has been the opinion of most scholars through 1,400 years of Islamic history. It is anchored in the sharia's emphasis on al-maslaha, the common good, and also the societal need to maintain the rule of law. ofcourse there are men who marry another than one wife and get away with it in the U.S. and more over following the law of the land has its importance. it reminds me how people try to do things to get things in a cheap price, which goes against the justful ways we should behave in. subhna'Allah, they end up supressing themselves. i could imagine the accountability they have for it yet maybe they had their good niyah to it, so much can we question when the whole world does when it happens.

In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, filmmaker Nia Dinata's movie, Love for Share, about her pain when her father semi-abandoned her mom for a younger woman, proved popular. Another sign of the public mood came last year when a popular TV imam took a second wife and saw his ratings and businesses plummet.that must be a painful movie to watch. makes me feel bad that its from our own muslim nations. :( and i find that what the TV imam did to be funny. b/c for a marriage to work it has to have some sustanence with the practice of deen and the love for it for the sake of Allah and what others do in deen (more so for the future spouse) and it should be appreciated. and yet even we do distracted like the TV imam did (well i guess it could be a good thing, in moderation that he's a tv imam, i mean tv is not all that bad. some imams appear in salah in makkah and madinah. ) we also forget that peole can change for the better. sometimes wives whose husbands marry again, their marriage doesn't seem be like a marriage any more in a social sense. so we have to forgive b/c that can effect the hope, fear and love for Allah and we dwell in the problems too much when the mercy of Allah is right at our door step.

hassanm
06-05-2008, 06:18 PM
ofcourse there are men who marry another than one wife and get away with it in the U.S. and more over following the law of the land has its importance. it reminds me how people try to do things to get things in a cheap price, which goes against the justful ways we should behave in. subhna'Allah, they end up supressing themselves. i could imagine the accountability they have for it yet maybe they had their good niyah to it, so much can we question when the whole world does when it happens.

Its not illegal in US, I am not sure about Canada.

~Safia~
06-05-2008, 10:52 PM
Its not illegal in US, I am not sure about Canada.It's illegal, just rarely prosecuted.

hassanm
06-06-2008, 02:10 PM
It's illegal, just rarely prosecuted.

Why can not they prosecute? There is no law prohibiting a private contract.

~Safia~
06-06-2008, 02:52 PM
Why can not they prosecute? There is no law prohibiting a private contract.They don't prosecute because the issue is with legal marriages, not religious ones. Take the fundamentalist Mormon group in the news for example, on paper it will have one woman's name as the legal wife, but in their religion a man may be married to several. You can't prosecute someone for a church marriage that the state doesn't recognize, it would be like prosecuting someone for having a mistress.

It was mentioned in one of the articles that this is the same reason Muslims in Canada cannot be prosecuted for polygamy as long as the marriage is a 'spiritual' one valid in Islam, not the government. Generally polygamists get prosecuted for other reasons though, like tax fraud, child abuse, failure to pay child support, etc. They only truly intervene when a child is being exploited.

brother_bruce
06-08-2008, 12:23 PM
They also dont prosecute because in doing so, they would need to solidify the definition of what a marriage is and isnt. Coming up with a formal definition will probably alienate a few other groups in society, such as same-sex marriages and stuff. Rather than opening up the can of worms, prosecutors may want to turn a blind eye.

brother_bruce
06-12-2008, 07:33 AM
Imam Aly Hindy responds -

Recently the Toronto Star ran a soap opera story regarding polygamy (GTA's secret world of polygamy) where they displayed a complete lack of journalistic principles and standards. For example:

1. At no time did they even attempt to contact Mr. Ismail (the ex-husband of Safaa Rigby), and have refused to return his phone-calls to The Star complaining about their mis-characterization and lies regarding him.

2. In the follow-up article (Polygamy is a Crime, non?), they ran another soap opera tale regarding Mr. Boutaya coming home to find Mr. Ismail at his home and married to his wife. Had the Toronto Star performed the simple journalistic duty of fact-checking, they would have easily found that there were three restraining orders on Mr. Boutaya and that he was unable to even approach his ex-wife.

3. When Imam Aly Hindy responded to the misquotes in The Star's original article with an Op-Ed piece, The Toronto Star refused to print it. It's public editor said "We cannot run it because it contradicts what we previously published" and it's editorial page editor said "we've run a lot on the topic and are not in the market for more".

It is clear that the Toronto Star has an agenda to caricature the Muslim community and Imam Aly Hindy as backwards, as anti-women and even anarchist and wish to disregard any proof to the contrary. They have no problem running the multiple Op-Ed's of Tarek Fatah, Alia Hogben, Farzana Hassan - but when someone with at least a semblance of representation in our community wants to clear up lies about our community such as equating us with the alleged child-abusers of Texas and B.C - they outright reject.

Below is Imam Aly Hindy's Op-Ed:

Conflict of Perspectives
In the past few weeks, there has been a whirlwind in the media regarding the issue of polygamy in the Muslim community. I would like to set the record straight on this matter.

Firstly allow me to state that I, along with my community, believe in adhering to the rule of law of this great country. I say this to negate a quotation of mine that was misconstrued; my statement that religious laws trump Canadian law. I made this statement in response to a hypothetical question asking, what I would do had I been drafted to fight in Afghanistan.

Part of what makes me proud to be a Canadian citizen – one who spent the majority of his life protecting Canadian nuclear facilities – is that I can never be forced to do something which contradicts my religious beliefs or conscience, such as fight in Afghanistan. If in any case the law attempts to compel me against my beliefs, then I have the freedom to invoke the Charter which will trump any law of that nature.

Second, with regards to the act of polygamy, let us be clear; the majority of "polygamous" circumstances are transitional in nature. I put "polygamy" in quotation because those who enter into "polygamous" circumstances divorce one – or both – of their spouses within months of the "marriage".

The only reason these people enter into the situation to begin with is because of the lengthy process it takes to attain a divorce. Therefore, instead of entering into an adulterous affair – which most people in that situation opt to do – those individuals consider it more God-fearing to enter into a non-legal "spiritual union" with an additional partner.

How such a non-legal "spiritual union" differs at all from an adulterous affair, I do not know. An individual, who was the first wife in one of these situations, articulated it as a "halal (Islamically permissible) affair". I see it no other way.
I wonder if those who are clamoring for law enforcement's involvement on the issue would also consent for a legal sanction against adultery. Do we really want the police and government to enter into our bedrooms? Or are we simply outraged at something which is strange and different to our society and to our 100 year old laws which were borne out of a Judeo-Christian tradition and history? A tradition and history which an ever increasing minority of this country – Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists – has little connection with?

The only reason which prompted me to speak about the issue of polygamy to begin with is because, while it is a rare occurrence in our community, it does happen.

This is not an issue of whether Canadian law or religious law is better or stronger. My office at the Mosque often overflows with women who have, by Canadian law, attained a divorce, full custody of the children, and half of the assets of their marriage. However because they have yet to attain a religious divorce, they still consider themselves married. Here is a situation where our Canadian law has been fully exercised, but because the religious law has not been exercised those women are unable to move on with their lives and remarry because they still consider themselves married.

As a side note, often the husbands of such women refuse to partake in the religious divorce proceedings out of sheer spite. In those cases I have to process a religious divorce in absentia of the husband – which has caused me to face multiple death threats from those husbands. That is an odd risk to take for the sake of women's rights from someone who painted in the media and by politicians as an abuser of women rights.

Even if we would attempt to enforce the law on polygamy, it would only drive the practice further underground and afar from the spotlight. The reality is that there are sometimes victims of this practice – sometimes it is the first wife, sometimes the second woman. There are no institutions or legal avenues for them to find any type of solace or support. There needs to be, in my opinion, a revision of the law – one that reflects the practices of such people in order to ensure the protection of rights of all the parties involved.

On a final note, some people who caught only the gist of the story, caught the words "Aly Hindy" and "polygamy" and wrongly assumed the story was about myself entering into a polygamous marriage. And so I would like to clarify and tell my wife of 33 years – my one and only wife – that I love her and that in my eyes she is better than an infinite amount of wives.

Imam Aly Hindy,
Salaheddin Islamic Centre

Shama
06-12-2008, 01:57 PM
JazakAllah khair for the clarification - its is not always possible for people who become target of irresponsible journalism to be able to pass on their clarification so I am glad you could post it here -

Generous_1
06-15-2008, 12:05 AM
Jazak Allah Khair for posting that clarification Brother Bruce.

~Oum AbdurRahman~
06-15-2008, 07:32 AM
As-salaamoualaikoum,

I have seen both sides. I have seen how polygany can either bless or destroy. The blessed marriages that I personally know, are not living in this country. And their wives, are students of knowledge, as are their husbands.

Since I have been in Jordan, I have seen the other side as to how polygany destroys entire families. I have witnessed how some people attempting to pursue a second marriage has actually caused mental/behavioral problems in children, I have seen how the ignorant carrying out an open relationship with a non mahram calling it "halal". I am witnessing how these acts are breaking up the society. How? Because commonly, polygany is abused by:
1. A man or (men)who in the first place do not understand Islam, and Allah's rights on them.

2. a category of men, who tend to abuse the idea completely, going beyond the limits by constantly talking on the phone in unlawful ways, and seeing the non mahram girl and meeting with her in attempted secrecy, even before any contract of any type has been made. These men think that as long as both families know about his intentions, then it is okay to take his obssession on trips to distant cities in the very privacy of his own car.

3.There is a specific situation happening right at this moment, where a wife has to suffer when she knows her corrupt husband is talking with this "mistress" in the middle of the night on his cell, finds SMS messages with all their prohibited conversations, illegal, adultrous words that no wife in her right mind, would allow, leaving divorce as the automatic direct exit. Kids are stuck in the middle, all of them traumatized by this man's insane evil acts.
This wife has lost 30% of her body weight and her health is frail, and her children are on the verge of commiting murder. When will the people of knowledge truely understand how much we need help in these parts of the world????

4. Where I live, most men cannot afford more then one wife, especially if he has children who are studying in a University. So the men do not completely understand the implications and repercussions of what polygany entails, shaytaan takes over their minds, and they blindly follow their lusts. The two parties involved get death threats from other members of the tribe, sometimes, people even are shot and killed, either the adulter or the adultress dies, and this is the face bitter reality. Now do you shyookh understand why I say, the Middle East is desperate for Da'wah and huge Da'wah projects like AlMaghrib and Texas Da'wah Confrence. Please do not ignore the other parts of the world, where the a lot of muslims do not themselves know what Islam really is, nor do they understand what it's true culture is.

5. These incidences are many, and go on in silence, all due to extreme ignorance. You are living in a world of true blessing when you live in a culture, that understands what is halal and what is haraam. Eshkur Allah, that you all have shyookh and imams that can actually stand up against those ignorant in the Muslim communities. In some places and countries, things are not always solved so easily, unless it involves an all out gun fight.

6.I have heard of a few good men, (These are shyookh that are amongst us and may Allah bless them) that are honestly sincere to Allah, and masha'allah, they are men of tawaheed, and they fear injustice, on the Day of Judgement, Allah yirhamu Sheikh Bin 'Uthaimeen, Ameen.

SafaRigby
07-30-2008, 09:41 AM
Well, I've finally joined these forums to have a chance to have my own say. I found the last 6 pages particularily interesting.

I just want to state that I'm not against properly practiced polygyny. What I am against is the fact that some of our women are forced into it...oppressed by it....and kept secret. Women in Islam are supposed to be protected. The abuse of this practice is hurting us. And not only that, some men are going against the laws of their country, acting like Polygamy is up there on the scales equal to prayer.

We need to re define the limits of our religion, and the practice it accordingly.

Not just the men, but everyone. Sometimes I just find it so very difficult to breathe, so consumed am I by the pain of other women like me.

Living alone in a foreign country, 5 children, a husband who owes me 9 mos of time.......what was I, but a single woman? Truly Islam didn't mean that when polygyny was allowed........

~Safia~
07-31-2008, 01:18 AM
Well, I've finally joined these forums to have a chance to have my own say. I found the last 6 pages particularily interesting.

I just want to state that I'm not against properly practiced polygyny. What I am against is the fact that some of our women are forced into it...oppressed by it....and kept secret. Women in Islam are supposed to be protected. The abuse of this practice is hurting us. And not only that, some men are going against the laws of their country, acting like Polygamy is up there on the scales equal to prayer.

We need to re define the limits of our religion, and the practice it accordingly.

Not just the men, but everyone. Sometimes I just find it so very difficult to breathe, so consumed am I by the pain of other women like me.

Living alone in a foreign country, 5 children, a husband who owes me 9 mos of time.......what was I, but a single woman? Truly Islam didn't mean that when polygyny was allowed........

Assalamu alaikum Sr. Safa

JazakAllah khair for clarifying your position for us, many seemed understand the quotes in the article to mean that you took issue with polygamy itself. I'm sorry for what you've had to go through.

As much as I agree with you in that no woman deserves to be treated that way by her spouse, the articles seemed to have portrayed this issue as a legal one, when that's not the case. From what I understand, it's not illegal to have multiple "wives" when only one wife that legal status under Canadian law, regardless of whether or not she is a wife according to an Islamic contract. So while the Toronto Star managed to shed some light on a very real problem in the Muslim community as well as capturing the feelings of those involved, I do think that the issue being framed as a legal issue is inaccurate and dishonest.

To the average reader, how is it any different than the many women who have been hurt by an unfaithful husband or partner? Legally speaking, the two situations are one in the same. Which makes me question why there is so much publicity and public outrage when it comes to the Muslim community.

hebhooba
08-06-2008, 11:30 PM
I just want to state that I'm not against properly practiced polygyny. What I am against is the fact that some of our women are forced into it...oppressed by it....and kept secret. Women in Islam are supposed to be protected. The abuse of this practice is hurting us. And not only that, some men are going against the laws of their country, acting like Polygamy is up there on the scales equal to prayer.

We need to re define the limits of our religion, and the practice it accordingly.

Not just the men, but everyone. Sometimes I just find it so very difficult to breathe, so consumed am I by the pain of other women like me.

Living alone in a foreign country, 5 children, a husband who owes me 9 mos of time.......what was I, but a single woman? Truly Islam didn't mean that when polygyny was allowed........

I completely agree. If you're going to live in a foreign land (especially having migrated from a Muslim one), you should be prepared to abide by their laws, assuming they don't force you to committ haraam. And being that, taking another wive is not waajib upon you, nor will you receive punishment from abstaining from it--you are then bound by the laws of the land you reside in.

And I read in one of the earlier posts, that men are not obligated to seek his wifes permission, to take on a second wife. But that doesn't mean it's okay that you lie to your wife. Don't you think there is something wrong if a man is so secretive that he would not even confront his wife about taking on another spouse? Is he ashamed, embarassed, shy? He should be more so in front of Allaah, and definitely be MAN enough to step up and face the consequences.

SubhanAllaah, we should not forget that the du'aa of an oppressed person is not rejected. And is not the woman who is being lied to, or finds out she has been lied to--not considered oppressed?

And I'm sorry, but considering the society we are living in today, there is very limited reasoning to take on a second spouse. For "financial reasoning?" If that was truly the case, there are plenty of single brothers that he could have introduced his second or third wife to, that would have done just fine as a 'financial assistant.'

The reason why this issue is so scrutinized (with Islam & the media) is because:

A.) non Muslims who committ adultery, unfortunately have no moral compass. And 3uthoobillaah, this is something that is expected from them

B.) When it comes to Islam (in this case), Muslims are using the Deen as an excuse for their polygamous marriages. And when these polygamous marriages go wrong (not because Islam is wrong, but because the way the polygamous marriage was approached, was wrong), outsiders automatically believe that the error is found in the religion of al Islam. Which gives them more of an excuse to scrutinize the religion. They don't care that the way it was gone about was wrong, nor do they care about the people who committed this wrong---they care that they found a 'flaw' in Islam, and they will milk it for everything its worth.

AkheeAB
08-08-2008, 11:53 AM
Islam came to serve and increase people’s best interests, and to reduce harmful things and render them ineffective. There is no doubt that polygamy, when practised properly in accordance with Islam, achieves many things that are in people’s best interests (such as maintaining the chastity of the man who is not satisfied with one wife, taking care of and maintaining the chastity of the woman who has no husband, increasing the offspring of the Muslims, solving the problem of widows and spinsters, and of the reduced numbers of men after times of war, and so on). As regards the bad things that happen in cases of polygamy, either they are very small when compared to its benefits, or they stem from bad application of this practice. Allah taabrak wa taala knows best

Um Tammer
08-21-2008, 09:16 AM
A second wife and family is a huge responsibility. The newness of the second wife will eventually wear off, then what. The first wife has everything the second wife has. Also, it must be really challenging for the children.
I have seen it work before but the families really worked as a team..even the children.

AkheeAB
08-21-2008, 12:22 PM
"We do not know how some of those to whom Allaah has granted authority over the Muslims dare to oppose Allaah and His religion. They are not content only to forego ruling in accordance with that which Allaah has revealed, but they also oppose sharee’ah, go against its rulings and mock it. An example of that is their putting restrictions on that which is halaal and banning it, and spreading haraam and approving of it. If one commits sin and that is limited to himself, the matter is not as serious as one who propagates sin by force of law, so that the one who does it is rewarded and the one who does not do it is punished. We ask Allaah to set the affairs of the Muslims straight, both rulers and subjects. If they were to think for a few moments of how their destiny is a narrow grave in which they will not have their servants, followers, ministers, wealth, crowns, food and drink with them, they would understand this matter and realize that it is serious and there is no room for joking. If they were to think of the meeting with their Lord, they would re-examine the path they have chosen to follow. If Allaah saw anything good in them He would have guided them. "

shekh muhammmad saleh al munajjid

AkheeAB
08-21-2008, 12:24 PM
Marrying more than one wife is a matter which is recommended, subject to certain conditions: that the man be financially and physically able for it, and that he be able to treat his wives justly.

Plural marriage brings a lot of benefits, including protecting the chastity of the women whom he marries, bringing people closer together, and producing a lot of children. This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) referred to when he said: “Marry the one who is loving and fertile”. And it serves a lot of other purposes. But for a man to marry more than one wife by way of boasting and taking that as a challenge to prove himself, this is a form of extravagance and extravagance is forbidden. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not al-musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)”[al-An’aam 6:141]