Friday, October 30, 2009

Part 1 and Polygamy

In this weeks reading we begin reading the book Leo Arficanus by Amin Malalouf. He opens the book up by discussing the problems and struggles between Christian society and the Muslim societ. The part of the book, Grenada, is where most of this is done. Grenada was under the main control of the christians and most people of this time were discriminated against for their personal beliefs in regards to religion. A scene he set up in the book is where he is talking to someone who speaks of paying ransoms for the Muslim slaves in the area. The person also tells of how they are chained every night like animals, make shoes and are slaves held captive by their owners. He is there to help pay their debt and free them. Another main subject of the first part of the book is polygamy. Women of that time actually liked being in a multiple partner marriage. some described it as being easier to deal with life when there are more people to deal with the problems and that men should deal with everything in the house and not have to go outside the home, cause if they do then they will find other happiness.
I found it interesting that women of this time liked the idea of a polygamous relationship. Although it is looked down upon on today in a way that it is viewed as disgusting it was actually a smart, efficient way to live. This is my opinion. I do agree that it is out of the question in today's society but it did make sense to me of why they felt a polygamous relationship may be beneficial to everyone involved. My question is: What do you think the turning point of polygamy was that made people view it as something negative?


  1. Polygamy may be "beneficial" in a practical sense. Yes, there are more women to cook and clean and pop out kids, but that doesn't account for the psychological negatives. Just examine the relationship between Salma and Warda, the two women are pitted against each other in a deranged competition to bear a son. Today's western society considers polygamy unacceptable because of the way women are treated in polygamous relationships. Maybe you've heard of some of the horrors of the fundamentalist mormons, of young girls being forced to marry men twice their age, and bear as many children as possible. Yet in other cultures, polygamy is still acceptable. Polygamy is typically accepted because of religion. In Christianity and Judaism polygamy is considered unacceptable, yet in Islam it is approved of, and even encouraged. The attitude towards polygamy varies by culture, but to generalize that it is beneficial to everyone involved may be a bit of an overstatement.

  2. First off excluding western societies polygamy is prefectly acceptable and sometimes even lawful in other countries. For example, in countries like Saudi Arabia polygamy is a normal practice and the women are not necessarily treated poorly. This summer when I was traveling through the middle east I met men and women in Saudi Arabia who were extremely happy with their polygamous relationships. This is simply a cultural difference between some foreign societies and the west. Additionally, the divorce rate in America is over 50% of the population. Therefore how can we condemn lawful and successful polygamous marriages? Although I do not suppport polygamy, not all traditions of polygamy are like the mormon examples in America. Also, I would like to add that the origins of polygamy in Islam were for the purposes of protecting abandoned women and children. For instance, if a husband with a wife and children died in battle a friend or relative would marry his wife in order to be able to support the women and children. Therefore the idea of polygamy is much better applied in older Islamic systems.