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In the Name of God بسم الله

Multiple Wives in the US

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Salaam, so  this may seem like another permissibly of polygamy thread , but I can tell you isn't. Rather, I thought I would ask a different question, how prevalent or common are polygamous marriages in US Muslim communities today and how are they actually done in  said communities? Especially since Reynolds v. US (1878)  outlawed it, based on the principle that "The court considered that if polygamy was allowed, someone might eventually argue that human sacrifice was a necessary part of their religion, and "to permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself." furthermore  "the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions.", although the United States cannot make laws against religious beliefs or laws in favor of certain religious, the law can  and will laws against practices if they are counter productive to society and indefensible in light of the First Amendment. (Freedom of speech)   Hence the Supreme Court said the following:

Quote

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment protects the right to hold any religious belief, but not the right to engage in any religious activity whatsoever

I've always wondered about this and now even  more so after reading about Reynolds v.  US.  How common is polygamy?

Edited by Gaius I. Caesar
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That would be an interesting thing to do some research on. I know several people in polygamous marriages but I have no idea if it's more or less common in other communities. Or if polygamous marriages are usually open knowledge or rather secret amongst community members. It's illegal to have multiple civil marriages simultaneously but it's still pretty easy to have an Islamic marriage not registered by the state. So I don't think there is a factor of hiding and living in fear because of polygamy in the US. Just like the government doesn't care and is not looking into who is in adulterous relationships, I don't think they really care about prosecuting religious polygamous marriages. 

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It is exists but is very rare in the US. The main reason is economic. Although most people make money and have a job(at least with the current economic situation), the cost of living is very high and getting higher year by year. Let's take housing for example. The median home price in the US is $260,000 and the average income is approx $40,000 per year. While this seems somewhat reasonable, when you start adding up all the other costs for taxes, insurance, food, clothing, utilities, fuel, education, etc, etc. it quickly becomes apparent that even maintaining one household is difficult, much less two or more. 

The other issue is that most jobs that have high incomes (enough to maintain multiple households) involve either doing haram as part of the job or haram money or riba(which is haram money). So almost always,(there are exceptions of course), a man who is in a financial position to support multiple wives and multiple families is not interested in doing it. If he wants to be with multiple women, he's definitely not going to marry them. The other, haram, ways to do this are alot easier, in the short term, and someone who will marry and commit to multiple women in a religious marriage and support them and be faithful to them would have to be someone who has strong Iman and Taqwa and also is wealthy. Unfortunately to see both qualities in a single man is extremely rare. So although there are many brothers and sisters who could benefit from this type or relationship, my theory is the actual number of these multiple marriages is very low in the US. 

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7 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

 

Some thoughts:

-a man doesn't have to buy a home for each wife, he could be renting. 

-many wives bring in additional income nowaday which offsets the husband's responsibility 

-a man does not have to necessarily have strong iman and taqwa + wealth. Some men just want multiple wives and if there is a will there is a way. 

-again, maybe it happens but it's just not openly announced in the community. The wife could live in a different city or state. 

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2 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

-a man doesn't have to buy a home for each wife, he could be renting. 

- Provided he owns the properties (e.g. mobile park) and the rent goes to him, so he can support and sustain more than one household.  Even then it might not be enough because of the taxes, mortgages, basic needs.

2 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

-many wives bring in additional income nowaday which offsets the husband's responsibility 

- Yes but after you do the math, it's a considerable strain on one man, even if the wives work unless a.) The husband and wives have high paying salaries of 50,000 and  up or b.) The husband is sustaining this through haram means, like Abu Hadi mentioned.

2 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

-a man does not have to necessarily have strong iman and taqwa + wealth. Some men just want multiple wives and if there is a will there is a way. 

Yep, if there's a will, there is a way. Might not be halal though^

2 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

-again, maybe it happens but it's just not openly announced in the community. The wife could live in a different city or state. 

-I could understand a different city but a different state would be a can of worms.  Not all states have Islamic financing for buying or renting houses  

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3 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

Some thoughts:

-a man doesn't have to buy a home for each wife, he could be renting. 

-many wives bring in additional income nowaday which offsets the husband's responsibility 

-a man does not have to necessarily have strong iman and taqwa + wealth. Some men just want multiple wives and if there is a will there is a way. 

-again, maybe it happens but it's just not openly announced in the community. The wife could live in a different city or state. 

1. True, but multiple rents will cost as much as or more than multiple owned properties. Regardless, he has to provide each wife with her own secure and stable home.

2. They could if they want to, but the man is obligated to provide for all wives and all children. He shouldn't assume his wives will all be more generous than he is - he should be prepared to support his family like a man.

3. True. As long as everything is honest, open, and halal, I wish this brave family many blessings. 

4. Possibly. Sounds dishonest that way though. 

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@Gaius I. Caesar @notme 

I agree with you that it would be difficult on a Muslim man, but my point was more that polygamy might not be as rare as you think because people will/can find a way to do what they want even if they cut some corners. So yes it would be very rare if all of those criteria were strictly met--but a man can still enter a polygamous marriage even if he is not meeting the ideal criteria. It would still be a recognized marriage  and it would still count statistically. If that makes sense. 

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Question is why do you want 4 wives in the first place?

Who said I wanted four wives? This thread is asking about how commonplace is polygamy in American Muslim communities, that's all. Thinking about researching this,  @ireallywannaknow,  good idea.

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I have only ever met one woman who was a second wife, but I don't know that many people. Also, it's probably not something women mention to casual acquaintances, since it's illegal and there's a social stigma in many communities. 

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6 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

Some thoughts:

-a man doesn't have to buy a home for each wife, he could be renting. 

-many wives bring in additional income nowaday which offsets the husband's responsibility 

-a man does not have to necessarily have strong iman and taqwa + wealth. Some men just want multiple wives and if there is a will there is a way. 

-again, maybe it happens but it's just not openly announced in the community. The wife could live in a different city or state. 

Rent is sometimes more than a mortgage payment, sometimes the same for a comparable house or apartment. The rate is set by factors like size of house and neighborhood and geographic location. These rates don't change very much. They are set by the prevailing market price. No landlord will charge less than the prevailing market price because their goal is to make money. 

It is true that wives bring in additional income, but the problem is that, Islamically, a man cannot rely on the wife's income to pay the basic expenses (food, clothing, utilities, etc). He is the one who required to pay these, and if his wife wants to help him in this, she can, but he is not allowed to require her to do this, if it is a permanent marriage, zawaj tul nikah. If the man is in a situation where he cannot pay the basic expenses for his wives if they choose to stop working, this is not a good situation to be in, Islamically, and I don't know a man myself who would voluntarily put himself in that situation. Also, if they are married there is a high likelihood that she will get pregnant, then she will have to stop working for at least a few years to take care of the child / children. 

The lifestyle that most people live in the US is not at all conducive to a multiple family situation. 

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@Abu Hadi  point was that although it's not practical here, that fact may or may not have an impact on the op's question which was how common is it.... Not how practical is it. 

From my vantage point, A LOT of Muslims I know have been in polygamous marriages. Most didn't work out and was usually not done in the most fair or ideal way. But that doesn't make it any less of a fact that there is polygamy in America amongst Muslims. But I know that the people I know are kind of part of a niche and it doesn't represent most Muslims in the US. So I can only speak for what I know personally but I am also curious to know how much it might happen in a larger context like the op asked. Just because it's hard to do correctly according to sharia, doesn't mean people won't do it anyway. 

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1 minute ago, ireallywannaknow said:

@Abu Hadi  point was that although it's not practical here, that fact may or may not have an impact on the op's question which was how common is it.... Not how practical is it. 

From my vantage point, A LOT of Muslims I know have been in polygamous marriages. Most didn't work out and was usually not done in the most fair or ideal way. But that doesn't make it any less of a fact that there is polygamy in America amongst Muslims. But I know that the people I know are kind of part of a niche and it doesn't represent most Muslims in the US. So I can only speak for what I know personally but I am also curious to know how much it might happen in a larger context like the op asked. Just because it's hard to do correctly according to sharia, doesn't mean people won't do it anyway. 

Youre right, my answer was a little off topic. At the same time, the exact info the OP is looking for, I don't know if it exists. Most people who are in this type of relationships are not going to 'advertise it' for obvious reasons. 

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1 minute ago, Abu Hadi said:

Youre right, my answer was a little off topic. At the same time, the exact info the OP is looking for, I don't know if it exists. Most people who are in this type of relationships are not going to 'advertise it' for obvious reasons. 

Is there a way that I could interview people  or research this, despite the fact that most won't openly talk about this?

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59 minutes ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Is there a way that I could interview people  or research this, despite the fact that most won't openly talk about this?

I'm happy to talk about it, But I've never been a victim of secondary relationship..SO can only give you ideas that i Own + my till date day-to-day life scenes....

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3 hours ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Is there a way that I could interview people  or research this, despite the fact that most won't openly talk about this?

l know there are studies on this pertaining to the USA. Some starters:

https://contemporaryfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Coontz2006_Polygamy-fact-sheet.pdf 

Affecting Children:  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13229400.2015.1086405 

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That is really interesting that there are more mental health problems in children and adolescents from polygamist relationships than monogamist relationships. I wonder how much is related to other outside influences? Also, how much of it is from the polygamist marriage? ^

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I think this figure is based on studies done on Mormon communities, who are the main ones in the US who practice polygamy. 

The psychological problems are based on the fact that these polygamous mormon communities are isolated in rural areas because the mainstream Mormon Church outlawed polygamy in 1890. 

 

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6 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

I think this figure is based on studies done on Mormon communities, who are the main ones in the US who practice polygamy. 

The psychological problems are based on the fact that these polygamous mormon communities are isolated in rural areas because the mainstream Mormon Church outlawed polygamy in 1890. 

 

 

12 hours ago, hasanhh said:

I was talking about this link, not the one about the Mormons^

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I have known of many muslim men who have 2-4 wives. Most of them were actually Salafis, back when I used to be a Salafi. And most of the time, all of the wives are on welfare. Or he pressures two of them to live in the same appartment together, sometimes with kids too. 

I have rarely known of any man thats financially supported all wives and children. 

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26 minutes ago, MuslimahAK said:

I have rarely known of any man thats financially supported all wives and children. 

Salam ,they always act on distorted understanding of verses Quran at first they must able to equally support their wives & children but but they just act to half of text not full text.

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5 minutes ago, MuslimahAK said:

Is it legal? Probably not. But a lot guys say they don't have a job but need a wife because its their "right". 

That's totally backwards. Marriage is not a right, it's a responsibility. It's definitely not halal for a Muslim man to refuse to provide for his wife or wives and make them rely on government handouts. I don't know why any woman would consent to marry such an irresponsible man. Any man who would do this is not following Islam and any woman who agrees to it is ignorant. 

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Someone earlier in the thread mentioned how polygamy is illegal in most western countries (if not all) anyway. If it's illegal aren't muslims supposed to abide by the law of the land? Are polygamous marriages in Islam valid if they go against the law of the country they're living in?

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8 minutes ago, Amira00 said:

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned how polygamy is illegal in most western countries (if not all) anyway. If it's illegal aren't muslims supposed to abide by the law of the land? Are polygamous marriages in Islam valid if they go against the law of the country they're living in?

I am wondering the same thing.

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18 hours ago, Amira00 said:

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned how polygamy is illegal in most western countries (if not all) anyway. If it's illegal aren't muslims supposed to abide by the law of the land? Are polygamous marriages in Islam valid if they go against the law of the country they're living in?

It's a grey area. Do we follow the letter or the spirit of the law? Multiple legal marriages are illegal. Islam does not require registration of the marriage with the state. Most states do not have laws prohibiting multiple sexual partners or fathering children with multiple women or financially supporting multiple unrelated adults. A few states do have laws like that, but they aren't enforced. 

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18 hours ago, Amira00 said:

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned how polygamy is illegal in most western countries (if not all) anyway. If it's illegal aren't muslims supposed to abide by the law of the land? Are polygamous marriages in Islam valid if they go against the law of the country they're living in?

 

18 hours ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

I am wondering the same thing.

Only when the law of land doesn't go against the law of islam. 

Let's say a western country bans congregational prayers in mosques. Are muslims living there supposed to stop doing it? Yes, they might not be able to do it openly in the mosques anymore but nothing stops them from gathering in one of the homes and offering Jamaat namaz there, whenever the conditions permit and without making it public knowledge.

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35 minutes ago, starlight said:

Only when the law of land doesn't go against the law of islam

But polygamy is almost never wajib. Obviously if the law requires disobeying Islam, we can't follow it, but where the law doesn't require violation of Islam, it should be obeyed. 

We pay interest on mortgages and student loans "with intention of not paying interest, even knowing that we will have to." I don't think Muslims in "the West" have the moral high ground to violate marriage laws for something Islam permits but neither requires nor even encourages. 

I think my argument about following the letter of the law by not registering marriages is a more valid justification for polygamy in countries where it is prohibited than the argument of moral high ground. 

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I will not disparage anyone in a polygamous marriage, regardless of location or local laws, so long as everything is aboveboard and all are treated with justice.

I just think before we claim moral high ground to exempt ourselves from the law regarding something permitted, we need to not rationalize our acceptance of local custom to justify doing something which is clearly forbidden (like taking out loans with interest). 

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Is it true that the husband of a polygomous marriage would have to provide individual housing for each wife? 

If that is the case, then yes, the husband would probably have to be part of some Haram occupation, if not living off of welfare or in a ghetto. Unless they are doctors or something high paying.

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3 hours ago, iCambrian said:

Unless they are doctors or something high paying.

Hi ,if a man want to marry more than one wife he must provide well situation similar & equal to each for all  his wives but if he is poor he just allows taking one wife .

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