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Polygyny: Are Men With Multiple Wives Benefitting Women or Exploiting Women?

  • Broadcast in Women
Host Naimah Latif

Host Naimah Latif


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What is the real purpose of marriage? As the world continues to watch in horror, members of the terrorist group Boko Haram who kidnapped 234 Nigerian girls from their school April 14, have release yet another video bragging that they have converted all the girls to Islam. The video shows hijab clad girls reciting verses from the Holy Quran, appearing to be calm and unhurt. The name Boko Haram means "Western Education is Sinful" and leaders of the group have declared that the girls had no business being in school, they should be married instead. Does Islam teach subjugation of women to men? If not, do Muslim men believe it does? What is the concept of marriage in Islam? If Muslim wives are to be kept uneducated and subservient, what is the purpose of multiple wives in Islam? One reason why women in the West are apprehensive about the spread of Islam and the idea of Polygyny is the images of women being forced to quit school, cover up, recite prayers, and remain inside the house against their will. The idea of granting a man with this concept of marriage the right to have and oppress multiple wives is frightening to women. Are men with multiple wives benefitting women? Or are the women being exploited in the name of religion? Can polygyny ever result in fair and equal treatment of women or is it a repressive concept that should be banned forever? If polygyny is beneficial to women, how should men be trained and prepared to handle the responsibility of providing equal financial assistance, equal emotional support and equal companionship for several wives?