Tuesday, 6 July 2010

a letter from the "other woman" to the first wife

Now for all those curious about second wives, always feeling bad for the first, know that sometimes the second wife isn't an evil seducer LOL. Sometimes she is a sweetheart hating herself for being "the other woman". Sometimes the man in the arranged marriage knew her before he knew he was supposed to marry the first. Or maybe she fell in love by accident, him too, he saw her at a work event perhaps, and just admired everything good about her and realized she had no husband to protect and take care of her. As a Western woman, this is totally foreign to me, realize. In my country, men get thrown in jail for having more than one wife. You Omani guys are going, Poor fellows, I know. Yet I am totally okay with being the first wife and then accepting another, or being a second wife myself. I know what I would do in both situations. I have conditions though, and many of them.

The Qu'ran of my religion has some main rules concerning multiple wives. The second wife: must be some reason for her being thrown into the mix. 1 being health (the first wife may not be healthy or able to have children ect and cannot fulfill her basic wifely roles, same for men, a woman can divorce her husband for this reason but Muslim men are encouraged not do so for a woman in order to take care of her). 2 being the second wife is a widow, an orphan (no Muslim father), or a divorcee. 3 If you are the Prophet Mohamed you may also marry to secure the peace of your nation. Yeah, Kings, you are not, so even YOU cannot break these simple rules. She is some young hot young spry thing? Generally in these cases no, but with more young converts like popping up around the globe, unable to convert their families, maybe she'll still be young and decent looking. 4. the first wife might just want her husband to get another wife because she is having trouble fulfilling her wifely roles and needs some detressor alone time. This happens.

These are really THE ONLY reasons a man can take another wife, up to four [I'll correct the post if I can think of something else I forgot]. There is, though, a condition on top of that. That he be fair to all women. And this isn't just financially. It is emotionally too.

And how in the hell can a man be FAIR to his first wife if marries another woman secretly behind her back, or does against her wishes knowing the stress of this will hurt her emotionally beyond what she was before he brought the idea up in the first place!!!!!!!!!!

So I know, alot of Omani women blame the man, but regardless of what a Saint or a creep he is, he is just a man. He honestly has little say in whether a marriage comes to be or not, realistically. So I don't. I blame the other woman. Pure and simple. OPNO (one) having been the other woman at one point, and (one), the first wife, here is our general consensus:

No MUSLIM WOMAN SHOULD AGREE TO MARRY A MAN BEHIND THE FIRST WIFE'S BACK OR WITHOUT HER BLESSING. IF YOU MARRY IN SECRET YOU (or even without being assured you are not taking an emotional need from the 1st woman in your man's life) ARE AT FAULT FOR NOT TREAATING THE FIRST WIFE WITH FAIRNESS. Allah will not honor your marriage for this.

So please ya'll before you hate on the other woman, know that sometimes she writes (or braver, faces with spoken word) the first wife with the following "letter from the 'other woman' to the first wife":

Dearest [name of first wife], sister, friend:

You are the first person I think of, before what I might want, before I think anything of a marriage. I will do nothing if you do not want me to. You have my word, and my promise. You are my sister in Islam and that comes before anything else. You must come first. You are first, and if you want to be only, I will not hurt you. I respect you as a woman, a wife, and a mother. I would want the same from any other woman if I was like you are, and stood in your position.

Please read this, I beg you! Please try and know me before you judge who and what I am. Please accept my apology that I cannot write in Arabic. You have more knowledge than I, as you know both my language and your own. [Rambles off what she knows and likes about first wife] and I think I would like you very much. Even if you do not want me to marry your husband (I will never do so against your will, such a thing is shameful in my culture and contrary to the teachings of Islam I embraced when I became a Muslim), please at least know me and like me as a friend.

First you must know, I love you before I love any man, as my sister in Islam. Even though we have never met you have been my sister in Islam before your husband ever saw me. This means I love you, and care for your health and your feelings, before EVER I can care for any man who might want to be my husband. So that means your word is final. Your decision on the matter decides what your husband and I will do. I will take no actions against you, not ever. I will not marry [name of 1st wife's husband] without you hugging me and welcoming me into your life as well. You are my sister before [name of first wife's husband] ever wanted to marry me.

I ask that before you make the decision of no, since I do have respect for you, that you give me the same respect, and honor one request (one thing I am asking for):

I want you to know me before you decide no. If you decide no way, not ever, lol, still after knowing me, that is okay, we can part as sisters in the religion.

You have the right to refuse but I think you might like me. Right now you probably can’t stand me and please forgive me I mean to cause you no stress.

This is what I can tell you about me. [Talks about self]... I love children, and will always make sure (that is, if you let me be a part of your family) that you and your husband have lots of time together without having to worry about the kids so you could have a second honeymoon every week. I will never take any of the money that your husband has spent on you and your children as I can make my own money well and can keep my own home (though I'd rather live in the same home as you so neither of us ould ever be alone without a Maharam and it is most fair). But if you were okay with it, you would decide everything.

Oh [name of 1st wife], I don’t want you to hate me! I want to laugh with you, share things with you. [Lists what she wants relationship with first wife to be like.] I promise if you let me into your life, I would respect you, and be the best friend you always wanted, who wouldn’t leave you alone when you needed anything.

For me, the idea of being a wife of a group of wives is not a hard thing to picture, but then, I am not romantic.“And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [the] women such as are lawful to you - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one ...”-the Quran. My original idea for my maher was going to be that my future husband be willing to marry a widowed, orphaned or divorced friend of mine if I ever asked him to, but with your husband already being married to you and having children, and well, I would not be a first wife, I would be second, this would be a stupid maher to ask for. But even though I am from a country that would throw a man and his wives in jail if they dared marry, I was always thinking to be a second wife or a wife of many, not one alone. I don’t know why, even when I was not a Muslim. It is easy for me, but maybe not for you.

I know the Prophet Mohamed SAW did it, so I love the idea of doing is as he did, all the wives sharing things together, work, children, teaching, and helping in the community. So it is easy for me, but I think it is easier to be a second wife than it is a first, because of how society views women from non-Islamic cultural standpoints.

So I would always admire you if you were strong and brave enough and loving enough to say, “hey poor [describes her own state] girl,” come be my sister-wife! But I will still love and care about you even if you aren’t because it takes a pretty strong woman to do that, Allah SWT made us women pretty delicate, and gave us our own special needs. Maybe you are a Romantic. I'd understand.

Whatever you decide, I respect, and admire you for a lot of things already. Please consider meeting with me, lunch or a visit in my home or out for coffee, whatever you like. I will respect whatever you decide, but I’d like if you knew me first before you said no. So I would not feel then that you hated me or disliked me, only that you loved/needed your husband very much.

Your peace of mind and happiness is in my duas and is tied to my own. Why Allah did such a thing, I do not know, but in the very least, I guess Allah wanted us to make duas for eachother’s happiness and security.

Take care my sister, Allah protect you, and please think on what I have asked and know I care a lot about you, more than I do for myself.

If you would like to ask me any questions or tell me of any of your wants and needs or feelings, please write me.

Yours in Islam and in friendship and maybe more (up to you)

-[woman's own name]

So, moral of the story is, don't judge what you don't know. AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaand, like me (informed party that I am to the whole business of Islam and the first wife and the other woman ect) only hate on those 'other women' too selfish to honor the rights of the first wife in Islam. Or the man who purposefully keeps a non-muslim woman ignorant of the first wife's rights in her marriage.

Yeahhhh, I know PhantomX, I promised no more marriage-related posts till the expiration of my poll, but I thought this topic was relevent to alot of Omani (and expat-scratch that, Muslim in general) women, and alot of expats misunderstandings about multiple wives in Islamic marriages (which isn't quite so common in my group of Omani friends, only 1 out of all my friends has a father with more than 1 wife but their family is quite happy alhamdulilah and his mother taught me alot about what it means to be in such a situation). K, enough love crap for now, especially from an unmarried girl like me thus far happy with single life.

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