OKOK...fair [bowing to public pressure]..."No woman wants to share"

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Mar 16, 2005
Polygamy can't work as even a rich man's time is limited: The Muslim experience

Letter from Haslinda Shamsudin
TODAY Newspaper, 05 Setp 2005

I really hope Ms Jasmine Soh Hui Tsan wasn't serious, when she wrote in her letter published on Sept 3-4, "if I marry and such laws (of polygamy) are in place, I wouldn't mind a polygamous arrangement".

If she is indeed serious about embracing polygamy for herself, then she is obviously not aware of the heartache a wife has to go through in having to share her husband with another women, albeit legally.

Polygamy is practised in Islam and is legal in Singapore under the Muslim Syariah law. Muslim men are allowed to have up to four wives, if they are able to provide for them physically and emotionally, and treat them all fairly and equally.

Despite this, for various reasons, no Muslim woman — and I am speaking from experience — would ever want to find themselves in a polygamous arrangement.

When a Muslim man takes another wife, the elder wife is ostracised and viewed by society as being inadequate, full of shortcomings, and unable to meet the needs of her husband.

Women in such a polygamous arrangement have to endure much shame and embarrassment. Very often, they stop socialising to avoid having to answer endless questions about their marriage from friends and relatives.

It is not fair that they have to suffer this just because their husband uses his religious entitlement and exercises his legal rights.

The writer mentioned that "polygamy should be permitted on the condition that the male shows proof of minimum fixed income or wealth sufficient to support extra family members". This economic basis for polygamous marriage is shortsighted.

Marriage involves more than ensuring that the physical/material needs of all parties — wife, husband and children — are met.

There are more important issues that need to be considered, such as the emotional needs of the wives and the physical/emotional support for the children.

Gone are the days when a wealthy man could afford — or would prefer —- to house his wives and children under one roof in huge mansions. Consequently, gone too, are the days when the wives and children from the different marriages would have daily access to their husband/father as and when they like.

Today, men in polygamous arrangement set up separate homes for their respective families, dividing their time and attention between the different homes.

Such an arrangement — the division of the man's time between the different homes/families — very often leaves vacant emotional spaces for the wives and children. When a wife most needs her husband to meet her emotional and physical needs, he might be in the arms of the other wife. When the children need their father, he might be spending time with his other family/children, in his other home.

The main reason for the rise in our divorce rate is lack of communication. If, in a monogamous marriage, couples find it difficult to communicate more, spend more time together, or provide each other with emotional support, it would be an especially uphill task to achieve the same in a polygamous marriage.

The wealth and success of a man is therefore no guarantee that a polygamous marriage will work, and should therefore not be used as a basis to permit polygamy in Singapore.


Senior Member
Mar 2, 2004
lulu island
Zplus said:
Well, you need to be a Wei Xiao Bao (Duke of Mount Deer?) to handle > 4.

OR a Chor Lao Heong....
:bsmilie: that's pretty hard to handle, imo.

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