Sunday, January 29, 2012

Polygamy in Dhofar

Since polygamy and female genitale mutilation have become trend topics in the blogosphere (Shawawi, OPNO, Susan) these days, here are my two cents on polygamy:

1. Polygamy is still very prevalent here in Dhofar. I know many polygamists. It's not a dying art. I know men who have two, three, even four wives.

2. Most polygamist families I know are unhappy.

3. Many polygamists I know never informed their first wives about their plans to re-marry (some marriage they had, eh?)

4. When a man takes on a second wife here in Dhofar, people in this society somehow have the audacity to accuse the first wife of not being a good wife and not keeping her husband on a leash. (Excuse me?!)

5. I'm not entirely against the practice if there are very strong reasons. As OPNO explained in her blog, it's Islamically acceptable to marry a second woman if she is a Sharia-defined orphan (i.e. a woman with no living male relatives who can support her, and who has no means of supporting herself). I assume it's also Islamically correct to 'inform' the first wife before you marry another. But let's be realistic here: how many men in Oman are marrying for Islamic reasons? I'd say less than 1% of polygamists.

6. I tend to agree that polygamy these days brings nothing but pain and heartache to the families. I know women are the main victims, but let's not forget the chidlren. In many families, children suffer as much as their mothers.

7. I think the Ministry of Religious Affairs + Social Development should cooperate and set clear rules and regulations for polygamy. You shouldn't be able to just walk into a court and marry any woman you like (without her approval or the first wife's approval for the matter). A 70-year-old shouldn't just be able to take on an 18-year-old as a fourth wife without authorities approving the marriage. Yes, I think there should be regulations. Clear regulations. (and yes, there are plenty of old geezers who marry young girls. Families are more than willing to hand their daughters over if the dowry is big ... I can think of one recent marriage between a man in his 70s and a young girl in her twenties.. the dowry was 60,000 OMR) .... see what I mean? It's disgusting and there should be rules.

8. Do you know if the Ministry of Social Development is sharing statistics these days? Divorced women? Handicapped children? Polygamists? Children born out of wedlock? Orphans?


  1. Do you think it is OK for a 70 years old to marry a 20 years old if she is his first wife? Do you think the government should regulate who we can get married to?

  2. With such a HUGE age gap, I think yes.

  3. Totally agree with this, there should be some regulations in place. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry should take a second, third of fourth wife for that matter.

  4. هذا الموضوع وموضوع ختان البنات وغيره من المواضيع التي تجد تعاطف من المتحدثين بغير العربية لا يمكن أن تحل بالكتابة عنها باللغة الانجليزية فقط لذلك أتمنى منك أنت وميمي وسوسن الشحري وشواوي وكل البلوجرز أن تكتبوا عن هذه المشاكل بالعربية لكي تصل إلى أصحاب المشكلة ومسببيها وليس إلى المتعاطفين فقط.

  5. Hi Nadia, Yes You are right. Check this news.
    It IS required to save the poor firsts. Greed is the mother of all sins.

  6. ... Can't people just help the "Sharia-Defined Orphan" instead of marrying such a woman. It kind of seems like a trade. "If you want to keep yourself from starving to death, then you'll have to get married". To my "western" ears this sounds like prostitution... sorry

  7. Hi Nadia, Second marriage should not be done, as the first wife should be happy first, r u dont like her activities r divorced, as per islamic if a man have good wealth and strenghth,(STRENGTH = to tackle some obstacle, fatals, love, living, education for children, hospitality, bringing up the children in good manner, and other responsilibities)to have two to three wives. But nowdays STRENGTH have different meaning, still people consider women as a fertile land, & this will stop when men give respect to women about their feelings.

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  9. Men will justify anything as long it benefits them and polygamy is just one more thing on a long list. I am a 38 year old widow who has found a wonderful man who wants to marry me and take care of my 2 kids but he is a foreigner and now I have to get the approval of half the male population in order to be "allowed" to marry him and he has to prove that he can support me financially. I don't need a man to support me as I have been doing that since I was 22 and bring up my children single handedly but you can bet that if a girl marries a loser omani guy, he won't have to show that he can support her right? Why not put control on polygamy as well and get the other wife or wives to sign their approvals? Let's be very realistic that this constant control over women serves only the men and is not as they say, for the sake of women's welfare!

  10. I agree with fatma men will always have justification for what they do, if your respectable women then it must be your not young enough or beaeutiful or does not give him attention or blah blah blah, there will always be a reason and the women will always be at fault and therefore has to be patient and understanding of the man's needs!! Most of the time women needs are not a priority especially sexual ones the funny thing is that sexual needs of women are suddenly remembered whenever the men want to engage in polygamy now they have to step in and solve the situation at hand and be depicted as the heros! When will women have a voice between the iron fist of men?? Probably never