Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sharing, sharing, Muslims do that too!

The polygamy post... you know you were expecting it sooner or later. Tuesday night is "House" night. (House being a particularly unspecial TV show my friends just rave about.) And "House" parties consist of dinner and girly chit-chat, salat, and TV--quite often starting with American Idol (*snicker*.) Unfortunately, Tuesday night is my 5-hour lab shift, 7:30pm to 11:30am. Joy upon joys. So I usually visit for dinner and then leave around 7 to come in to the lab.

It is nice to spend time with Muslim sisters. Primarily it's three women: my roommate, another convert sister, and an American born Egyptian sister. The latter has kids my age, actually, who sometimes are there. Usually her son (who I have worked with a few times at da'wah table) though he doesn't exactly join in, and her eldest daughter who is nearer my age--present less often. So when it's the four of us, conversation tends to cover a few basic topics... one is engaged to be married, so her fiance is a hot topic. Another is... not engaged but "involved sort of" with a man who is not Muslim (yet) but seriously considering converting. And then there's my roommate. So those two men get a lot of talk time, everyone's employment, and things like that.

For whatever reason I try to insert politics and religion into the discussion (is that impolite?) I really enjoy hearing their opinions--not just because I agree with them or like to hear women getting angry, but because they are intelligent and thoughtful women with interesting experiences.

We talk about segregation, and we talk about racism, about faith, about converting, about working as a Muslimah in the south (we all four wear hijab) and we talk about food. The main dish tonight was Byriani... yay. :-D

Tonight one main topic of conversation was jealousy. Two of these sisters (the ones involved with the men) consider themselves to be very jealous--they are also both very strict in their covering by the way. And I did not introduce the topic, but it came up, of polygamy. This is where it gets interesting. One sister was absolutely opposed, said she wouldn't go for it because she was too jealous. Another sister said she had actually proposed the idea to a man ("You give me a house, and a car, and you can come over whenever you want.") The third said she would have been open to the idea with her ex-husband because she knew what a good man he was, and did not fear any injustice on his part, but might not have the same opinion of another man.

So that's key then, isn't it? The way the man treats the women? Oddly enough I came across some videos tonight about wife-beating (of all utterly horrendous topics) and found one man to say that he feels bad about punching his wife in the face, and would opt for another form of discipline in the future--like taking another wife. That is, he would take another wife just to anger the first as a form of revenge... or do I mean discipline? Excuse me while I spit.

Scumbags like that don't have the right to be married, in my opinion. No, they don't even have the right to leave their homes without a leash. But that's not the state of most men I think so I won't give them any more mention in this post inshaAllah.

One of the sisters tonight made the comment that polygamy isn't really all that bad, if you're looking for a few things--if you want to have a career, aren't really interested in having kids (ie leave it to the other wife, but you can always babysit so it's like almost being a mom... co-mommy) or in some other way like to have time that is not spent around the same man all the time, you're free to do that. Or as she said, you can take care of business and then send him home.

Even more shocking was the comment of a non-Muslim woman who said that she thought it was a good idea--as she got older she realized she didn't like spending so much time with her husband anyway! So some women go for it, and some women don't. Likewise, some men go for it and others don't. (That is, they realize how much trouble it can really be--imagine if both wives are mad and they gang up on him...!)

Anyway, just getting a few thoughts cleared out of my head here, it was a pretty funny discussion even though it didn't actually arrive anywhere.

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