muslim women seeking
Haag is a contributer at Big
Think where she writes the "Marriage 3.0"
Marriage Events is an initiative in the UK to “tackle
the problems in searching for a spouse in an Islamic framework.”
They hold mixers and other matchmaking events, sometimes targeted
to specific slices of the Islamic community (widowers, Pakistanis,
or age-targeted events). At these events, they always have a
“Muslim scholar on hand to answer marriage related questions.”
events charge what the promoters see as a modest fee, to cover
the cost of a three-course buffet. “Bearing in mind the
average Muslim wedding cost,” the site advises, they consider
it a “great value.” Participants at the events are
allowed to bring a “mahram/chaperone” along -- sort
of the equivalent of a wing man. They usually sit in the back.
An FAQ section at the Muslim Marriage Events site anticipates
a humorous query: “Will there be segregation?” “No,”
they answer firmly. “The aim of the event is to meet a
prospective marriage partner, and the only way to achieve this
is by face-to-face meetings.”
the organizer of these Muslim Marriage Events is getting interesting
requests -- from successful, career-oriented Muslim women in
the UK, who would like to become second wives to already-married
this on a BBC World Service radio story last week, which caught
my ear, but their site is disorganized and I can’t find
the link to it anywhere.
Raja, who organizes Muslim marriage events, says that in the
past six months he’s had hundreds of calls from career
women wanting to be second wives. He commented that the demand
for these relationships is initiated and led by the women, not
marriages are allowed under Sharia law, and in these cases,
as the BBC story noted, for as much as we perceive polygamy
as about the ‘control’ of women (presumably more
so than monogamous marriages, according to the romantic ideal?)
and non-monogamy a tomcatting dream of the rogue husband, it’s
women who are seeking what the story called a “part-time
share” in a husband.
are a few reasons for this perhaps counterintuitive, non-monogamous
initiative and tolerance. The UK is facing something of a “Muslim
Spinster Crisis,” as it’s been called. Women in
their 30s and 40s face a dearth of willing, available, suitable
candidates for marriage. Women far outnumber men at some matchmaking
career women who approach Muslim Marriage Events with requests
to become second wives want the intimacy, warmth and sexual
fulfillment of marriage, this story explained, but they don’t
need financial support from their husbands, nor do they need
a husband to give them a social status or standing. And they
have enough going on in their lives, presumably, that they don’t
feel as if they must lay exclusive claim to the husband. So,
they don’t mind sharing.
enjoyed listening to the guest, because he exuded a very light,
open-minded attitude about non-monogamy, and, frankly, in a
place where I guess I was surprised to hear it. Who are we to
say that monogamy is the only thing that works, he laughed.
I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist. He was unconcerned
with jealousy and all the other familiar objections to the idea.
He noted that some of the women seeking mates would like to
reconnect with their femininity and have a nurturing sexual
and personal relationship, to complement their successes in
in another article that according to the Koran, if a man can't
treat his wives fairly, justly and equally then he can only
marry one. Also, comments Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, "the moment
it becomes secretive, or you start treating one less well than
the other," then you've violated the Koran's standards.
Multiple marriages aren't valid if done "purely . . . for
have expected to hear, first, that Islamic women were initiating
requests for non-monogamous, multiple marriage, or that a statement
on the plausibility of and tolerance for non-monogamy would
come from a matchmaking service that has Islamic scholars in
residence at its events.
are more possible and complex, on the ground level than in our
imaginations or our firm beliefs about marriage.