Islam allows Muslim men to have four wives but in these tough economic times only a small proportion of male population can afford to have them. Now, there is new hope on the horizon, and again Saudi Arabia emerges in the lead where some men have come up with a predictable yet innovative push that may help more Muslim men to acquire not-just-one-or-two-but-more-and-at-least-up-to-four wives.
A campaign launched on Facebook by a group of Saudi men titled ‘We Want Them Four’ recommends that every Saudi and Arab man who is ‘financially and physically able’ should proceed by taking four wives each to end spinsterhood in the Arab region. The success of the campaign is apparent from the numerous requests registered by its match-making service. Most requests are made by Saudi men who are married and seeking a second or a third wife.
The campaign for ‘We Want Them Four’ has three stated objectives: To reduce the number of unmarried women in Saudi Arabia, to make it affordable for unmarried Saudi/Arab men to get married, and to reduce the amount of dowry. The idea is innovative because without shame, it uses polygamy as the basic promotional concept to launch a new match-making business in a competitive market of arranged Muslim marriages.
If that was not the case, this initiative would have had at least some semblance of having a level-headed appreciation of the status of women in Saudi Arabia, a country that has kept women so far back in society that basic statistics about women’s health and well-being are hard to find. ‘We Want Them Four’ is acting on the assumption that there is a large number of unmarried women in Saudi Arabia but is unable to provide even an approximate number. We can have a wild guess about the status of women in a country where 3,000 child-bride marriages were reported in the past one year.
A note to the uninitiated: To the privileged and justice-meting Muslim men, Islam allows a mini-harem of a maximum of four wives. This means having two three or four wives at-the-same-time and not one-after-the-other. With this divine permit, there comes the famous advisory that asks the devout men to assure ‘equality’ and ‘justice’ between their simultaneous wives.
To bring home the concept of equality and justice upon polygamy-protecting Muslim men and their value systems, i was about to forward this rhetoric on behalf of at least some Muslim women, ‘Viva Fauzia: We Want Them Four Too!’ But its just a bad joke. Returning ignorance with ignorance will only increase it.