My Take on SubmissionPosted: September 7, 2007
And I don’t mean my proposal drafts.
I’m talking about my take on submission as a Muslim woman towards her husband and towards her responsibility as a wife. I don’t usually natter about these conventional stuffs (at least not in here, anyway) but I’ve been suggested by a kind reader for my views on what it takes to submit themselves to men. OK, so that may sound kinda gross when you read it the first time around but it’s actually to submit ourselves to our lawfully wedded husbands. Not in a substandard manner. She (I think the reader is a ‘she’) just finds it refreshing that I’m all out for submission, unlike the usual feminist who goes all out against it. It’s a nice feeling really, not everyday somebody asks my opinion on this sorta thing.. and while I’m eager to share my opinions, being the research student that I am, allow me to lay several disclaimers first lest I piss anyone off ey..
First and foremost, these are my personal views. Anybody’s free to deviate and it doesn’t make me (or those who deviate from me) any better than anyone else. Secondly, I am not an expert or a superbly pious Muslim, so don’t expect me to support anything with an Ayat, Hadis or a dalil (those will only make people scavenge for loopholes or so-called reasons for their ignorance and denials anyway). But I’m not irreverent either (at least I try not to be). I’m just an ordinary person wanting to make the best out of her life with some balance of good and perhaps, some fun once in a while. Another thing, I’m not an expert in love/marriage. Nope. Even to this day I consider myself lucky and am still praying that my lucky stars won’t run out. So here goes..
1. Submission in Polygamy
Good grief. Why the heck am I starting with such a distasteful subject? I guess because this is the second thing that comes to mind (the first is ‘attire’ but since everyone but a cow has harped on that subject, I’ll reserve it for last). In our beloved religion, polygamy is allowed. Now why would Allah SWT pose this rule on us women? Doesn’t He know that we’re jealous beings? Doesn’t He know that it would tear our hearts out to share love, let alone the bed with someone else? Thing is, He does. He is our Creator, after all. Like every other thing in Islam, there is always, always a reason, a good one I might add, behind all of His rulings.
“What good thing could possibly come out of sharing your husband?!” is probably what an irate woman would ask. Truth be told, I used to be one of those women. In fact, I’m still one.. It’s just that I’ve come to terms with my role as a Muslim that it doesn’t bother me that much anymore. Of course, no woman in her right mind would allow her husband to take on another wife but as I said earler, there must be a reason why Allah gave this order. Let’s go back to the actual reasons why polygamy is permitted in the first place. From what I can recall out of the back of my rusty mind, I think these are among the reasons when polygamy is OK:
(a) to save a husbandless woman who’s with or without kids, may she be a widow or old and unmarried, (b) when the man has extremely high sex drive that may harm (memberi kesan buruk, in Malay, to) his wife, (c) if the wife is barren ..Do inform me if there’s more, I honestly can’t remember!
Look at (a). Would a man marry a widow with small kids to boot? Would he marry the lady if she’s old or unattractive? Exactly. No one would want to if they’re thinking like you and me. Because we’re not that pious. This comes to show that any man who is willing to marry these women must truly be a noble soul. One of a kind. Someone who’s not in it for looks or young flesh. Or wealth, even. See the word ‘save’ there? These women are victims. They may not be pleasant to look at. They may not have jobs or have any means of feeding their kids. If they were rich, hello.. They can afford to make themselves look attractive. They can fend for themselves. No need to act all damsels in distress, waiting to be saved. As for unmarried women (I hate the tag spinster), well, not all of them are desperate to get married anyway. Some are happy being alone with their careers. So in this case, polygamy still wouldn’t happen.
What I’m trying to say is, not all men are capable of committing a polygamy and it is not that easy to happen anyway. He has to be really devout, sincere and has the right ‘niat’ of saving these women. Not just to get another sleeping partner. So guys, unless your ‘intended’ is in one of these categories of women, you can forget about ever wanting to marry a second, third or fourth. Be happy with just one, as that may be the best for you.
How about (b)? Yeah, blame it on men for not being able to keep their pants up (or something else down). Can’t they limit themselves to just one? But emotions aside, let’s accept one fact. Men and women are different, especially when it comes to sexual libido. According to some evolutionary scientists, men are “hard-wired” to spread their seed. Men everywhere – whether single or married – want more sex than women do. I can’t vouch for this ‘cos there are women out there with amazing sex drives as well. Good for them. And while I’d like to think that mine’s not too bad either (don’t smirk), I’m in no way as soaring as a guy. After four decades (or more) of devoted lovemaking, things will die off a bit. Women are subject to menopause, which is a major cause of lower libidos. But that’s no excuse. As wives, that’s one of the reasons we’re for (*Feminists may hate this. To them it’s a sign of weakness having to be objectified. Y’know what? That’s all in the head. You only feel objectified if you let it. There’s nothing more dignified than a woman who loves and wants to please her husband).
Thankfully there are many possible ‘treatments’ in the market now that we can resort to (lubricants, hormone creams etc). But it takes great sacrifices from our part to make it work. We’re the ones who have to apply those things, inject them, insert ’em.. You name it. So not all women are up for it. If they are, then things wouldn’t be that bad. But if the women refuse to do something about it OR even after doing something, it ain’t that effective and the men are still majorly erectile, do women need to suffer? Sex is about pleasure, after all, not stress. Quite honestly, at that age of 60+ I hope to enjoy a calm, happy life with no stress from not being able to ‘perform’. So if I’m happy with my pension, happy with my grandkids around me and happy to be able to spend time at home performing ibadah (kubur dah panggil tu pun), then, and I’m not saying that I’ll be happy with it (so hubby, don’t get any ideas), but go lah seek it elsewhere in a halal way. Sure I’ll be sad and may cry once in while, especially he’s not around leaving me all alone, but God is great.. If a guy truly loves you more than what you could offer physically, I’ll bet he’ll remain faithful to you till your dying days. Not just when you’re sexually able. Betul hubby? Tak? OK, tido luar. Hehe.. Kidding.
(c) is a sensitive issue. Before resorting to polygamy, a couple has to be sure of many things. Is it really the wife who’s barren? Ntah2 the husband. Can it be cured? Is there any other alternative to get pregnant? They need to check and confirm. No point in marrying another if the guy’s the one with a problem. But most of the time, men wouldn’t want to know, would they? Such a smash to their egos if they know it’s them who are unable to spring an offspring. So in these cases, it truly is an endearing one. The wives must be extremely patient for any verbal abuse from the husbands, not to mention relatives yang sibuk2 tu.. Or neighbours. If they’re lucky, their husbands are understanding and wouldn’t mind trying again and again.. Or go for adoption. It only becomes sad when the man insists that it’s the woman’s fault without confirming it is her fault and straightaway wants to marry another. In these cases, these men are not worthy. Not worthy of being married to in the first place and certainly not worthy as a human being.
But say it is the woman who is barren, with all certainty. Again, this would depend on many things. How understanding is she as a person? How loving is her husband? How in love are they with each other? In any case, polygamy will only occur if he loves the idea of having children with his wife rather than love his wife. Sure, children are important, but you’re not incomplete without them. As I said, there is always adoption. But if a guy insists he only wants a kid from his own lineage, biar je lah. Again, as I said, he’s not worthy.. Might as well demand for more pocket money and treat yourself to a great spa getaway or something. Let’s see if he’s any happier with his new wife and kids. You think having kids will solve the problem? Kids give you more headaches got lah. Besides, God is Great. If a man treats you horribly when you truly are innocent, one day, he’ll be treated much worse by the Almighty. And we have soo many cerekarama and real life stories to support that.
In all of these cases, truth is, polygamy is NOT for every man. With the exception of ‘the pious’, ‘the extreme erectile’ and ‘the one with the barren wife’, most men fall in the rest of the other category i.e. the majority. And even among these three types of men, can they be absolutely fair? Can anyone, for that matter, be absolutley fair? Fairness here is so underrated. You’d think just being fair in giving money is it? No way. The husband of multiple wives has to fair in all aspects -ability to protect, ability to provide good education to the wives and kids, in providing them the basics in religion, in giving attention, in love.. I believe the last one is the hardest to do, ‘cos in all our might, we are still human. A man may favour one wife over another even a teeny bit. When that happens, the case for polygamy becomes null and void. Be married to just one should be the ruling for you. Otherwise, you’d shoulder more sins than you could ever make up for in this lifetime.
So, does this mean that I support polygamy? At the risk of giving my hubby a reason to ‘celebrate’ around our silver anniversary (yes, he reads this blog), I guess I kinda have to.. See, you can’t be submissive partially and you can’t go against His rules. As a woman, of course I’m not happy with this ‘possibility’.. But I have faith. I have faith that if I perform my duties the best I could, if I become the obedient wife as a wife should be, if I treat him with respect and honour him as a husband should be honoured, insya-Allah something that makes me miserable will not happen to me. Allah knows best. If I can’t handle it well, unlike those who are truly Solehah and bertaqwa, then God willing, it won’t happen to me.
Gee, this is a pretty long entry. I’m surprised if you reach this far.. Think I’ll stop here and continue some other time.