Any Islamic country forbids polygamy

Polygamy in Islam"Marry what you think is good about women, two, three or four"

"A world collapses for 26-year-old Malika from Morocco after she learned that her husband married two other women in her home country."

From a newspaper note somewhere in Germany.

"Malika, born in Germany, married her Moroccan husband out of love seven years ago. Now she has found out that her beloved husband has married two more women in Morocco in recent years without her knowledge. Before the young wife Malika den was able to cope with the big shock at all, she now had to find out that her husband wanted to bring the two women to Germany too. "

A newspaper note.

Polygamy in Germany

Although polygamy is not legally permitted in Germany, marriages concluded abroad must also be recognized by the German authorities in Germany according to the law of the home country. So Malika would have to come to terms with two other women at her husband's side or file for divorce in the future.

Polygamy can also be practiced in Germany, because men can, although legally forbidden, go to any mosque that tolerates and perhaps even encourages this practice of polygamy, in order to be married in an Islamic manner. But although the first wives must at least agree to polygamy, there are certainly imams who perform this wedding ceremony even without this consent. Since the marriages concluded in the mosques are not registered, it is not possible to give precise figures on how widespread polygamy is in Germany.

Polygamy in the Orient - the harem

The so-called polygamy in the Islamic Orient has stimulated the fantasies of people in the West for centuries. In the past, travel reports from this strange world were particularly popular - as in an issue of the magazine "Gartenlaube" from 1867:

"Six four-in-hand cars drive past, accompanied on both sides by armed eunuchs. Inside the car you can see female figures clad in white robes interwoven with gold, with glittering diamonds on their fingers. We have the women from the Halim harem Pasha sees. "

In the western world, the harem in particular is synonymous with the polygamy of Muslims. The founder of Saudi Arabia, Abad al Aziz ibn Saud, who died in 1953, is said to have had around 3,000 women in his harem. 81 children of 17 wives were officially recognized.

"The humble harem of a Bey follows slower pace on Abyssinian donkeys with high saddles and hung with colorful carpets. Most often one encounters such women's procession on foot. In front of them the fat, dignified eunuch with a long cane moves gravely around To keep the curious away from both sides. In a respectable sense of propriety, the Orientals avoid looking at passing, even if deeply veiled women anyway. "

Commuting between two apartments - a polygamous family in everyday life

But the harem was never the usual habitat of the average Muslim family, but a privilege that only powerful and wealthy people claimed for themselves. The everyday life of a polygamous family was and is often completely different. The Syrian scholar Lamya Kaddor is very familiar with the subject of polygamy:

"Even if this is just alien to me personally, I also know it from my own family. For example, my grandfather had two wives and there was actually a reason. The first wife couldn't give him more children than four. That was but not enough for him, then he took a second wife, with whom he then had eleven children. "

Lamya Kaddor has two grandmothers and even uncles who are younger than her. To this day, many of the family members have their problems with the consequences of this plural marriage, which also affected the next generation.

"I know that the next generation, in other words my parents' generation, that none of them entered into polygamy. That means that it is tending to decrease because modernity has simply found its place in this society."

Gonca Mucuk is a successful business woman of Turkish origin who grew up in Germany and is a single mother of two sons. She also remembers such a specific case of polygamy from her environment.

"We had a family with us on the street who lived according to the principle. At the end of the street was the first wife, the second wife lived with them for a long time and at some point they took their own apartment on the same street. The man is then quasi shuttled back and forth between the apartments. "

Men could decide the life and death of their wives

According to the rules of the Koran, a man cannot have more than four wives at the same time.

"So marry two, three or four of women who seem good to you, if you are afraid of not being righteous, marry only one."

The strict principle of equal treatment applies to a plural marriage. Those who cannot meet this condition should only have one wife. Lamya Kaddor:

"Before the advent of Islam, men still had more than four women at the same time. So that was not particularly sensational from the perspective of the time. It was more sensational that the number was fixed at 'four'."

The Islamic scholar also recalls that the position of women in society was still very unprotected. Men could decide the life and death of their wives. There were also inhuman traditions that were only abolished by the Prophet.

"The Koran tells of a sura further back in the Koran that one should stop burying newborn girls alive. So there was this practice, which was also very misogynistic."

Polygamy as social security

If you look at the basic situation of Arab women 1400 years ago, you can see social progress in the Koran's rules on polygamy.

"So maybe there were times when polygamy was 'useful' - sounds strange now - when polygamy made sense for the circumstances at the time. Maybe social security."

We know, for example, that it was customary through an additional marriage to take in the widowed sister-in-law and her children. Or when the loss of men after a war was so great that numerous young women would not have had a chance of marriage without plural marriage. After all, a woman was only guaranteed by marriage. Polygamy must therefore be understood in terms of the historical situation at the time. The Islamic scholar Lamya Kaddor:

"But that does not mean that it has to make sense forever. Islam is not a religious, theological or ethical concept that can be lived timelessly and without context, but of course always has to be embedded in the respective time in order to be meaningful and To find pragmatic solutions. It is not enough to copy one to one. Personally, it is always about looking at what the Koranic spirit is, the divine spirit. What is revealed in it and then transferring it to the present day. Because the first impulse was to strengthen women's rights and to emancipate women, then that has to be taken further today. "

The Islamic scholar points out that the Koran was written over a period of more than 20 years. The rules and recommendations are therefore to be understood in the context of a historical development process that must be observed if one wants to understand the Koran correctly.

Muhammad's first and second marriages

But a large number of Muslims have difficulties with this historical point of view. With regard to plural marriage, many male Muslims therefore prefer to refer to the biography of Muhammad, who after all had not just four, but a total of nine wives. In this context, however, the Turkish historian of Islam Resit Haylamaz recalls that this was an exceptional situation:

"The Koran clearly states that the Prophet's polygamy was a special authority that was only valid for him. The religious message was supposed to be spread more quickly through several marriages. Mohammed wanted through the marriages and the related status of kinship also enmities and rivalries the various tribes and family clans. In addition, the marriages gave him the opportunity to replace firmly anchored habits of the Arabs with Islamic patterns of action in several family associations at the same time. "

Mohammed was initially married to the 15-year-old businesswoman Khadidja for 25 years. Only with her did he have children. After Khadidja's death, he remarries:

"Mohammed is proposed to marry a relative of his late wife so that she can be a good stepmother to his daughters. This woman's name is Sevde, she is a widow and has five children from her first marriage."

Muhammad's polygamous phase

Four years after his second marriage, i.e. at the age of 54, the polygamous phase in Muhammad's life begins. He now also marries Aisha, the daughter of his friend Abu Bakr. She is the only wife of Mohammed who is younger than him and was only married to him. All the other wives he now marries are either widowed or divorced. Aisha has a special position in Islamic society.

"Mohammed attached great importance to her education. He let her share in his knowledge. No one else was as well informed about the Prophet as she was. Most of the hadiths, i.e. the traditional, authentic sayings of Mohammed, go back to them. They is something like the Islamic hard drive, so to speak. Even the four caliphs go to it and get advice from her. "

The marriage with Aisha makes it particularly clear that, contrary to all Arab traditions, Mohammed was quite ready to grant a woman a leading religious and political role in society.

But most of his marriages clearly focus on spreading his message. From the marriage to his wife Cüveriye, for example, it is known that her entire tribe converted to Islam after marrying Mohammed.

But the prophet also had a Jewish wife.

"Safiyya is the daughter of a leading Jew in Medina. She was in close contact with her Jewish relatives even after the wedding. For Mohammed she was an important mediator between Muslims and Jews."

Social matters are more important than sex

In view of the marriages of Muhammad and their function in connection with his religious message, the Islam historian Resit Haylamaz considers it completely unjustified for Muslims today to refer to Muhammad in order to take more than four wives. In addition, Mohammed's example shows that one should not overemphasize sexuality when it comes to the question of polygamy. Lamya Kaddor:

"I simply believe that sexual matters weren't so much in the foreground in a polygamy. So of course there were sexual acts, we can assume that, but nevertheless I believe that security and help for women are more likely to be in the foreground stood as actually the sexual togetherness. "

But how widespread is polygamy in Islam today? Lamya Kaddor ventures a rough estimate.

"I think it was very widespread 200 years ago. In the Ottoman Empire in particular, it was definitely widespread there. But it tends to decrease within Islamic society."

"My man is my man"

And how do Muslim women who live in Germany see it today? The Turkish-born Gonca Mucuk has a clear opinion on this.

"For me it was never an issue, because it is absolutely out of the question for me. I like to share, but not my husband. My husband is my husband. Full stop Right for everyone '. "

Jana Turek from Wuppertal is not a Muslim, but lives in a steady relationship with a Muslim. For both of them, polygamy has no place in their lives.

"I am very happy with my partner. When we met, I found out in our conversations that he has the same ideas about loyalty and is also monogamous as me. Sometimes you make jokes, of course, then they say: 'Yes, I can have three more women 'and then I go over and say' Yes, well, then I'll find another man '. "

Sirin Saoif has Lebanese roots. She too has clear ideas about the marriage that she would like to enter into at some point. Polygamy? No chance!

"I would never talk about this topic with my future husband even before marriage, because for me it goes without saying that a marriage must exist between a man and a woman. Myself and many women are not ready to share their husbands with other women . "

Sirin knows that polygamy is still very common in certain Islamic countries.

"Unfortunately, this right is abused in countries like Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States. There it is a kind of luxury. The higher your financial status, the more women you have to show that you can afford women."

Gonca Mucuk also does not accept the argument that polygamy can be a necessary social protection for women in Germany or other European countries.

"As a woman, if I get divorced here or lose my husband, there is still the welfare state that pays for me financially. In deep Anatolia there is at best the family. There is a construct like polygamy in theirs Context maybe also sense. I believe that for us this is an absolutely obsolete, outdated, outdated concept. For me, polygamy is nothing more than permitted fraud. "

Mut'a marriage - a halal form of prostitution

In the meantime, a completely new form of polygamy is on the advance in some Islamic countries. In a certain way it is a halal form of prostitution, i.e. it is religiously permitted. It is the so-called Mut'a marriage.

This tradition originally comes from Iran and Shiite Islam. Men have an additional marriage with another woman for a specified period of time, for example in another city, to which he may visit more often on business trips. In return, the temporary wife receives a previously agreed amount of money. This temporary marriage is entered into before an imam who is specially appointed for this type of marriage.

The man then sets up an apartment for the wife on a temporary basis, in which he can visit her regularly during a business trip and have sex with her, which is even religiously approved. Islam scholar Lamya Kaddor said:

"This form of marriage has become very popular in Arab countries. Also more and more in the Sunni-influenced area. To a large extent, to legalize prostitution. On the other hand, there is the idea of ​​not having to commit forever, especially in these societies. "

Already in the Koran there is a clear tendency towards monogamy

In all discussions about permissible polygamy among Muslims, many scholars in Islam today agree that a clear tendency towards monogamy is already laid down in the Koran. It is clear that in a plural marriage, all women must be treated equally in every respect. In addition, the same sura in the Koran is clearly emphasized:

"And you cannot exercise justice between women, however much you may wish."

Clearly, a high hurdle is being set up for plural marriage, which is also intended to warn against self-deception. Lamya Kaddor:

"The Koran speaks more of the fact that plural marriage is not necessarily recommended for everyone. That it is possible, but that the recommendation tends towards monogamy."

Even if polygamy is still widespread today in parts of the Islamic world, especially in Africa, plural marriage is no longer an issue for most Muslims living in Europe. In a modern welfare state, all the social aspects of care that were originally associated with polygamy have become superfluous.