Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deserving of more time?

Salaam to all of you out there....

Today I will pose an interesting question that has now come up in my interesting polygyny triangle I call life..  LOOOL

If a man remarries a young woman who has never been married (virgin) do you believe that entitles her to the following "special treatments"?

1)  Higher mahr than one that has been previously married (not a virgin)
2)  More time spent with the husband because she is new to marriage in general
3)  Aside from the 7 days spent with the new bride, any time after will need to be made up, right?

These are some issues I am facing now.  Please help with your advice....

Jazakallahu Khairn!!


  1. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

    1. Mahr - yes, it is quite possible that the mahr will be higher for a virgin. It all depends on the person, her level, family expectations, cultural or societal standards for mahr, etc. There is more value in a virgin. That said, we western women are famous for being inexpensive brides. All I asked for was a pair of earrings. I'm sure that my co-wife, even though she was not a virgin and so basically in the same boat as me when I married, has had a much bigger mahr...and much more money spent on her home. That comes from the societal expectations here.

    Everyone has their own rizq (sustenance) and it is written by Allah. I don't bother about how much more she got, or anything else like that. It isn't any violation of my rights and he still has to support me in the same way. Once all that money is dished out for the initial life, then it's a fair playing field and he must be equal between you.
    2. No, there is nothing entitling her to more time with the husband just because she is new. I am talking about nights here. The days are his anyway, so if he chooses to spend a bit more time with her during the day to help develop the relationship and help her settle into the situation, that is up to him. As he is working, I cannot see this happening much anyway!
    3. Yes. Her right is for 7 nights. After that, it is EQUAL time division, a night for a night. If he wants to change the set-up, he must ask the wife's permission first...and your rights are your rights - for time, shelter, food, clothing, and equal excess money. If he gives her $100 to buy herself something, he must also give you $100 to buy yourself something.

    Hope that helps... wa iyaaki.

  2. Thanks Mai.... I just have a hard time with thinking they are "valued more" it seems like a HUGE SLAP in the face. Like I am not and was not worth it. I dont believe putting more of a "value" on this person or that person.

    Thats my 2 cents on that issue. In the end, the man has to do what is fair. If he feels that one deserves $1 and the next $100, then I belive he will have to answer for his actions. I find this wrong on soooo many levels. Culture is culture and I know it wont change. Still it makes my blood boil! :)

  3. is there a reason hes choosing a virgin? I ask because, it may be more difficult for a virgin, someone whose never been married to enter into a polygmous marriage. In our prophets time (pbuh) I believe all his wives got the same amount. I dont recall ever reading that ayisha got more money because she was a virgin. These days women ask for too much and make it very difficult for men to get married. There should be no special treatment (e.g more days, more dowery etc).Instead on his days with her he should be patient with her and know that since she has never been married before this is all new to her and he shouldnt rush into anything. It will take her time to learn how to be a wife, something that comes with time and experience.

  4. Yes, I totally understand what you are saying. I don't necessarily like it, but I have, over the years, had several conversations about what a prospective wife is bringing to the table. It isn't just being a virgin, because she could be walking around in a mini-skirt, never saying a prayer and still be a virgin. Also, there is a difference between a real virgin and just a technical one...who did everything BUT the act.

    I think that the "value" of a woman lies in her level of religion - both knowledge and practice, her heart, her character, intelligence, and life practices...which all boils down to her RELIGION! Then, of course, her beauty, wealth, status, etc. It really is just like the hadith.

    Disproportionate mahrs are a fitnah. It is difficult, because these issues can make everything start with a bad feeling. In my situation, the marriage has used all the money that was supposed to be saved for buying land this year...maybe even more. No question, it was a bit hard to swallow, but Allah is the Just, the Fair, the Balancer. Trust in Him, and don't dwell on this, inshaa'Allah.

    We must always remember that the mahr for the wives of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, were also different amounts, as were the walimas. Some were extremely simple, others more plentiful. We have never been given an indication that these things had to be equal.

    May Allah set your heart and mind at ease on this matter - ameen

  5. 1) Higher mahr than one that has been previously married (not a virgin)

    I'm sorry, but there is no such thing as a an equal mahr, if that is what we women would want ideally. Why? Because the woman sets the mahr, not the other way around. She is free to set her own amount regardless of what you recieved. It is not that she is worth more (though some cultures emphasise the worth of a virgin more, it is not an Islamic conjunction). In Islam, it is simply her due and she can ask for as little or as much as she wants. It all boils down to whether the man is willing to pay the price.

    2) More time spent with the husband because she is new to marriage in general

    It's my understanding that a man must be equal in his division of time, regardless of whether he is newly married or not. If he's spending extra hours at another wife's house, how is he being equal? If the first wife is compassionate and forgoes her time, mashaAllah. But there is nothing in Islam that says she is entitled to more time just because they are newly wed. Would that not detract from the purpose of the first seven nights together? And would that not set bad feelings between husband and first wife, who will be enduring their own transition into polygny.

    It is a division of TIME, not division of NIGHTS. If a man were to spend all day with his first over his second, but alternated nights, would that not be inequality?

    Bottom line, there's no basis in Islam for it. Such an idea detracts from the charitable actions of the first wives who sacrifice their rights fi sabilliallah.

    3) Aside from the 7 days spent with the new bride, any time after will need to be made up, right?

    Anything over seven days needs to be consulted and OKed by you first. That's your time, you might not want that precedent to be put forward where they can pick and choose when to extend days (and as such, you would not want to do the same :P)

    "If a man marries a virgin then he stays with the virgin wife for seven days and then divides his time equally after that. And, if he marries a woman who was previously married, not a virgin, he should stay with her for three days then divide his time equally." (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

    Abu Bakr ibn al-Harith reported that on the following morning after the Prophet (SAW) married Umm Salamah (RA), he said to her,

    "Do not feel that you are unimportant among your people, for if you wish, I will spend seven days (with you) and spend seven with the rest of my wives or if you wish, I will spend three days with you and divide the time equally after that." She replied, "Make it three." (Sahih Muslim)

  6. Wonderful advice ladies! Thank you! I really like the point that it is the ladies that set the mahr and its up to the men if they wish to pay for it or not. I guess, for some reason, I never looked at it like that....

    As for the reason he is choosing a virgin, she actually chose him... He wasnt seeking a wife at the time and actually had intended to stop after a situation turned awful....Then "poof" this came into his life.....

  7. Mai

    I must ask. Was that money you had saved for land your husbands or a joint savings? (I know, I'm prying. I understand if you choose not to answer.)

    Because... really... if it was joint, I'll start losing a lot of respect for your husband. I do enjoy his blog, but there are some things that men should draw a line and not be willing to do...

    If it were his own, fair enough.

  8. Salams sweety, All i can say is that mahr is not measured by virginity or a woman's past. A woman has the right to ask for whatever mahr she wants, regardless of her virginity. What if shes a virgin but not a righteous or pious woman? Does she deserve more? What if the woman whos not a virgin but is kind and righteous, should she be given less? But generally speaking women who have never been married before usually ask for a higher mahr.

    I'm not 100% certain about how time is divided in polygany but I am pretty sure that he has to organise his time fairly even if she is a newly-wed.

  9. Odd Muslimah. No problems at all, it is his money, his saving. My money is not attached to his, and since coming here and him being in a good, stable job, he is the complete supporter, mashaa'Allah.

  10. let me just add that the reason why these women have more money spent on their homes and mahr is simply because Arab women are spoilt princesses LOL. I am one so I know, I don't expect a house full or crystal ornaments and marble dining table, but I don't want the man thinking he doesn't have to lift a finger to get married. Marriage is a commitment if a brother doesn't want to pay, then why does he want to get married in the first place.

    I Think western women are kind and also abit unaware of how the "mahr system" goes, its like a mind game really. The more the woman requests the more the man thinks shes "hard to get" and sometimes the man will sell everything just to pay her mahr. I wouldn't worry about it, its money. Paper that you can exchange for goods.. on the contrary, Some noble arabic women ask for a Qur'an as their mahr Mash'AlLAH!!

  11. Interesting point Sarah. As far as the more a woman requests the man will think she is hard to get. I dissagree with that. As for my husband, he thinks it is a turn off and runs the other way. His thought being this, if they are asking him for this now one can only imagine what will come in the future. I know of men that have sold everything and taken out loans just to pay a mahr in a culture that finds value in material things. These men are stuck paying off huge debts for what? So she can have her Gold and think herslef of Value? Meanwhile, she sits there with her "bounty" and what ever money she earns, while he works his behind off to pay off her mahr. I just wonder how can one have a happy marriage with this hanging over their life like a lead balloon? And these women wonder why their husbands distance themselves from their new brides. How can one feel love with someone that just sucked them dry? Then I hear the argument that "If he cant afford it, he shouldnt get married!" Ok, so marriage is only reserved for the rich? What about the men that can afford it but choose to spend the money on things that count such as setting up the house and preparing for a family? What happened to following the sunnah of our Prophet(pbuh) who taught us love and compassion to our fellow Muslims? I am sorry to go on and on, but since living here in the Middle East I have seen a lot. This "mahr" system is crap! There are a lot of young women that are not married because they "value" themselves too much. Yes, as a Westerner I am aware of the Mahr situation. I just believe that it is out of control and beyond reasonable. I value myself as much as the next woman, if not more. I just think that demanding Gold, money, huge wedding and a 30 day honeymoon is beyond the scope of Islam and is one reason so many men marry Western women. Thats my two shakes on the topic...LOOOL I would rather have love and respect for my "goods" than paper money. I think I will gain a lot of respect from my husband knowing that he didnt buy my goods... :)

    Not atacking you Sarah...This is just a real thorn in my side discussing Mahr. Irritates me to no end...can you tell?? lol

  12. oh noooo i think you completely misunderstood me. I meant that they (the women) think they are "hard to get" when they make the mahr harder to pay. i dont think the man thinks shes hard to get, he probably just wants to get married and knows that all mahrs are going to be high so he just gives up and settles. Arranged marriages are usually like that sis, because they have no feelings for each other so they agree on the mahr and she has no shyness requesting a high mahr.

    and funny you mention that young women not being married, because this apparently has caused a problem since all the men were marrying converts and western women instead. its all part of God's plan anyway!! Allahu Alim! its an arabic custom that needs to be changed but omg Arabs are so stubborn if you tell an arab father what his daughters mahr will be he will go on and on forever. theres superficiality in all parts of the world unfortunatley but sis, I just might mention that its not like that in other middle-eastern countries. Its much more linient in poorer countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine etc because the living standard is poorer than the Gulf/Khaleej.

    It is what it is. God knows best. it shouldn't be taken to heart though. We can just try our best to be humble infront of Allah.

  13. Thanks for clearing that up Sarah...Shukran!! :) As for a lot of the women remaining un married, we will agree to disagree on that. As I am the only one Western wife I know in my husbands circle of friends. All have married Arab girls, and most of them are in debt up to their eyeballs. I completely agree with you on where you live that determines the Mahr. I was going to mention that and forgot to. Yes, I know people that live out of the GCC and their Mahr's are nothing like this here. It's all culture and it's very sad.

  14. oh and I wanted to tell you another thing but i forgot. Everyone says that the men opt for western women due to the high mahrs. But I disagree.. i belive that men find western-converts ideal for marriage because they fit their standard of beauty (fair skin, blue eyes) and also who doesn't love converts. When you hear their stories about coming to islam you can't help but want to make them a part of your family. I always see it like that, anyway. It shouldnt bother anyone anyway since were all sisters and no-one is going to take something in this world that isn't written for him right?

  15. I'm late on this but, she doesn't deserve extra time after they wed.(only the 7 days) Then after that its fair game. Its already gonna be a hard adjustment for you, they both should understand that. Why should you have to compromise and sacrifice more so they can build their relationship? Bump that.. That is what the 7 days are for is to bond.

  16. Assalamu Aleykum,

    I'm commenting late as well.I don't have much knowledge, but I don't think she deserves any extra time after the 7 days.He must be fair in time division.

    I'm really interested in reading more about you and the way you're coping with a polyginous marriage, I'll myself have to "bare" polyginy in a few years, as my future hubby is already engaged with some other sister.

    Lot of love and duas.

  17. Just a quick comment: A huge part of the reason many Arab women ask for a large mahr is that the divorce laws are soooooo very unfavorable to women in the Arab states, that women have to think of their security in the case of divorce. So, while it may seem disagreeable to someone who grew up in the US, where child support, division of assets, and spousal support are somewhat fairly administered, the reality for Arab women is much different. We have next to no means of getting child support, spousal support is all but unheard of, and we almost always get shafted in the division of property. So,as you can see, larger mahr is not necessarily born of greed, but of a sense of self preservation. So rather than feeling smug and superior about taking little tiny mahr, I wish American women would try to understand OUR reasons for asking for large mahr, instead of taking men's side and blaming women.

  18. @amatullah76....Our Prophet (PBUH), who always shows us the safest and the most reasonable way, said “The best marriage is the easiest one” in this respect and advised that everybody should spend as much as he can afford in marriage. I dont see that men falling into years of debt as something he can afford nor does it fall into the category of being kind to your fellow Muslim. You think that an easy marriage is one that makes the man go into debt? Hmmm.. Because I agree with the way of our Prophet that makes me smug and superior? I believe that you can request a decent mahr and still stay within the realm of common decency. Have I ever mentioned how much I took for a mahr?? I don't remember ever speaking of it but maybe you assumed that I said I took "little tiny mahr". I wont speak of my mahr, but I can assure you, I was taken care of without causing my husband to fall in to debt! It's not just American women who feel this way, I am sure.

    As for you speaking of womens rights in the Arab world, yes, I do agree with you on certain points. I just dont think people should go into a marriage with the outlook of divorce. I think a woman needs to be able to take care of herself, not putting all her dependence on a man. Thank God I have a good work ethic and have since the age of 15. I am happy to say that I know how to take care of myself and have no doubt that I can survive in the unfortunate case of divorce. I think maybe instead of all the focus on having and justifying women taking huge mahr's to take care of them if the marriage fails, maybe we should teach them how to survive on their own. How to make it in the world without a man.

  19. @Amatullah

    This is not an attack, but forgive me if it comes across harshly.

    If you can find anywhere in Quran or Hadith to show me instruction to women to ask for a mahr that will cover her and her children's support in the event of a divorce, I'll give credence to what you have said. Our examples for mahr have all been within the man's capacity, from what he has of excess to give, to pay without going into debt. The reasoning you present for asking for such high mahr shows a lack of tawakkal. If a person is obedient to Allah, then He will never leave them without sustenance and security. However, bankrupting a man for years to come in order to line your bank account in case of a rainy day, may cause him to resent you. It certainly doesn't show any kind of compassion, love, or caring for him. I took a small mahr, not because I have little value, my own money, or because I can work to support myself if something goes wrong. I took it because the mahr is meant to be a gift, something from the husband as a gift for the marriage. I asked for something I'd like. As for thinking about what I'd do if things go wrong, I went into the marriage trusting in Allah, because no amount of money can safeguard my marriage or my future - only Him.

    I must also mention that I am a Western woman and if I was ever to divorce, I would not resort to demanding child support or personal support from my husband through that unIslamic court system. It's laid out for us in the Quran and the Sunnah - they are our laws and guidelines. If a man doesn't honor those guidelines, then Allah will not leave the helpless and oppressed. Please don't give me examples of people who were left in hardship after a failed marriage either. There is not a single good thing that we get that isn't a blessing and a gift from Allah, but surely every bad thing that befalls us is from our own selves. Lack of tawakkal can bring a whole lot of bad.

  20. Thank you Mai.... Your wise comments are always appreciated. :)

  21. Salaam Mai and Daisy.
    Daisy: you mention you think women should be able to take care of themselves. Ideally, yes. But the reality is in many Arab states, and many poorer communities, there are few opportunities for women to work or be educated, so even those who truly need to work are left unemployed or underemployed. Not to mention that unemployment is rampant in many places, and employers often favor men over women in hiring. So it's not always a matter of women simply being too lazy to work, or being ashamed to work. Rather, it's a structural problem wherein women are prevented from working. This may be a matter of perspective, because it is my impression that most American/British converts have lived only in the Gulf, where unemployment is less visible and money more plentiful than in the other Arab states, so perhaps you've not seen what life is like elsewhere.
    Mai: You mention my answer indicates lack of tawakul. But my perception is that your comment shows an astonishing lack of rahma for your sisters who have been left in bad situations.And like lack of tawakul, lack of rahma leads to a whole lot of bad. I'm certain you know what happens to the one who fails to show mercy in this life. You tell me not to mention stories of women who've been shafted by their husbands. Why? Looks like a way to avoid a hard conversation; one in which you may have to question why it is you tend to be so indulgent of men's failings, but harsh when it comes to women's actions. Your version of tawakul is perilously close to fatalism. Following your take -little-and-don't-worry-about-protecting-yourself logic, should people not bother to save, start businesses, to educate their children, then? Are we not to make provisions for our future? This seems to me a serious misunderstanding. Allah has not commanded that we sit on our humps, waiting for manna to drop from the sky and there is no sin in preparing for contingencies or securing one's future. That would be nonsensical and our Creator does not insult the intelligence He gave us by telling us to behave like farm animals who cannot plan ahead.
    Second, you mentioned you would not demand spousal or child support from an unIslamic court system. You may be unaware, but most Arab states have Islamic family courts as well as civil courts. The Islamic family court is meant to enforce the terms of contracts, manage child custody, etc. So, I'm not certain which unIslamic courts you're talking about. As far as not demanding child support-where in our religion is it written that men no longer have to support their children in the event of divorce? It's not, so I'm not sure why you seem to think it's OK for men to stop supporting their children.

  22. Part two:
    Finally, the big mahr you all seem to be discussing isn't generally a big lump sum of cash laid out at the beginning. (This may happen among wealthy people, but for working class and middle class people, the issue is not a big mahr right up front, rather, deferred mahr is the issue. You may also be talking about big expensive weddings, which are indeed a problem, but a separate conversation, so I hope you're not conflating the two.) Rather, there is a sum at the beginning (or a gift like a car, or jewelry), and a deferred sum, in the event of divorce. The deferred sum is what men often balk at and what shows their bad intentions. If they have no intention of divorcing easily, then why worry about the deferred payment? Also, many women want to put in their contracts that they will get their share of the equity in which they invest during the marriage (e.g., money they put into buying a house, work at a co-owned business) because what usually happens is that the woman invests, with her money and labor, and when her husband divorces, he keeps the home and business and she gets no compensation. So where is the wrong in such a contract? Even the strictest scholars (some of whom are quite harsh toward women) have ruled there is no sin in a woman asking for reasonable compensation in the event of divorce, or for protecting her investment of time and money. You may say that these things show lack of tawakul, but I say the man who signs a proper contract in which his wife's interests are protected reveals his good intentions, shows his faith in his Creator (because he doesn’t expect that he will ever have to pay a sum, or divide the property), and begins his married life having shown kindness and rahma by making his wife feel secure. The man who would refuse to sign such a contract, however, shows his lack of tawakul by revealing that he has already in mind that he will probably divorce his wife and that he is too greedy to give her her rights.
    Apologies for the lengthy response, but I hope you will have a better understanding of our perspective and perhaps stop attributing evil motivations to your sisters (saying we're greedy or spoiled) when you can't really know the situation because you've not lived it. I do hope you might begin to question whether you've placed men on too high a pedestal. There’s a lot of woman-bashing and man-excusing going on here. We should give all Muslims many excuses, but it seems that in this world, only men are getting the excuses, whilst a lot of time is spent in shaming and blaming women.

  23. @amatullah76.. thanks for your comments but I have to say that we will agree to disagree. I still find it greedy and desperate for a woman to demand a huge sum of money for a mahr. Nothing you will say will change my mind on that. To me, and a lot of others, it seems that the women are trying to "sell themselves" .... for an over inflated price at that! I will always go with the sunnah in this regards that simple is better. You show me an example in the Quran or teachings of Islam that a bride should get $10,000.00 in Gold, $15,000.00 wedding and then a $20,000.00 mahr of cash! There is no example because it goes against the teachings of our religion.
    I do agree with you that husbands need to step up and take care of the wives and children. There is nothing wrong with putting that into the contract, I did. So, if that falls under the category of a deferred mahr, than that I could understand. Enough money to to feed a small country for a year????/.......ahhhh no, that I do not agree with.
    I call it as I see it....Greedy is as greedy does. There is no basis to requesting this. As for me putting men on a, that I do not. Men have faults just as women do. I was with my previous husband for 17 years, I know men have faults. I am not naive to the world around me. I have been there and done that.

  24. This has been very interesting. I really feel frustrated for amatullah because I understand exactly what she means but by the response can tell that you don't Daisy. A very obvious proof is that she said not to confuse why she was talking about with big weddings and upfront mahrs and again Daisy that's what you talk about in your answer to her.
    As someone coming in from outside the situation, I can tell you that yes, some women demand way too much up front and it's just not right to ask the man you want to marry to be in debt for jewelry and money that you feel you're worth. And I don't think amaullah adressed this abuse. At the same time, why are these men saying yes? Pride? Really not good!!

    It really seems like you guys were talking about different things and not realizing it! Because I can only hope that no woman is against a fellow sister protecting herself in the case of divorce! Not trying to get rich from a divorce but simply making sure she is ok and her kids too if such a thing were to happen. There is no bad intention in protecting ourselves from being divorced by our husband. He'd have to make the decision himself anyway so how does that make a woma seem like she's not invested in her marriage?

    Anyway... It has been interesting for me to read this... As someone who didn't know about mahrs when she got married and found out she got the equivalent of 20$! But didn't know what it was when I said ok.

  25. @ Candice. Thanks for commenting on my blog, but like I said to amatullah, we will agree to disagree. I am all for a woman getting what is rightly hers in a divorce. If she wants to stipulate that she is taken care of in the event of a divorce via her contract, than she has every right to do that. I am against requesting an absurd amount of money for the "just in case" scenario.

    I will tend to disagree with anything that our dear friend amatullah speaks of since she has proven in the past that she has cruel intentions behind her comments. Someone that says I have a "fake husband" and I am selfish to want children because my husband is married to a second wife is someone that I tend to not listen to anymore. Besides the fact that she called me smug and my life is disgusting and and a few other choice words, I am still civil to her and thats about it. If you wish to feel frustrated for her, that is your call but I do not.

    Thanks again for your comment and come back again !! :)


Life is too short to be hateful. Just because you disagree with something, doesn't make it wrong. I welcome your comments but please refrain from being hateful. :)