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Ibrahima Sene, a successful businessman, is pictured with his lawfully-wedded first wife Mame Seye, left, second wife Khady, center, and third wife Aida, right, at his house in Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 26, 2004. Defying expectations that Western influences and urbanization would gradually do away with plural marriages, polygamy is going strong amongst Muslims in parts of black West Africa. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Polygamous Problems

By Fateemah Abubakar

Let’s take a ride down memory lane. To the times when our parents and their parents coexisted peacefully and happily, having more than one woman as a wife. Man, our grandparents were legends! How they managed to keep what presently seems like “an angry hurricane” cool is still a mystery to me. Oh well, this brings me to the “no go area” for many, and the beast of today, POLYGAMY!!!

Caught you lady! Felt your heart skip beats….

Let me borrow the words from the lips of every honest woman alive and speak. NO WOMAN ALIVE WANTS A RIVAL TO HER BACK. No, let me say it another way, BABU MACE MAI SON KISHIYA, DUK DUNIYA! The mere mention of it instigates panic, babu ko dadin ji, and men who ‘joke’ about it do so at their own peril. This apparent ‘hatred’ for a mate, kishiya, or co-wife exhibited by women around the world has not hindered men in their thousands to keep the candle of the act burning.

It is no longer a strictly Islamic thing. Men from different religions, and tribes take multiple wives these days for so many reasons. The only one that I’ve come to terms with, and has brought peace to my heart, is the acceptance that a man, as human, is an insatiable creature.

Some men insist “they never fancied having more than a wife”, well, here you are, with more than one for reasons best known to you. There’s an adage in Hausa language that I love ; “in bera nada sata, daddawa ma nada wari”. Which basically means that blaming both sides equally would be the fair thing to do if things go south. Or in polished turanci “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. Really, I believe it in my heart of hearts that some men never fancied polygamy, they were simply bulldozed in its way by circumstances.

So many reasons can walk a man into the arms of another woman (count yourself lucky in auro miki ita akayi, not one of those kishiyoyin kan layi, harder to deal with).

Wata matar kazantar tsiya ce da ita. She simply can’t keep herself clean, talk more of her house or children. Her husband feels ashamed of bringing friends home because of the uncertainty of what mess the house will be in at arrival. Others in this class are terrible cooks, others don’t know the first thing about courtesy. Yes! Courtesy. A simple ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ goes a long way in fostering a healthy relationship. Wata kuma girman kai, Hausawa suka ce rawanin tsiya. She can’t bring herself to apologize to her man. Too many to enumerate maybe, but each one is a home breaker on its own.

After failed admonishments, he decides to marry and you’re left with a broken heart. Lamenting to everyone who cares to listen how he’d forgotten how much you both toiled together. Kishi kumallon mata ne. Halitta ce da Allah ya mana. It’s painful, ko yaya abin yake. But I’m sorry to say that sometimes we bring it upon ourselves. Sai bayan auren in tana all the things you don’t do, you’ll become an expert in knowing wacce tayi wa mijin ki asiri.

Other women, bayin Allah, they almost lick their husbands feet tsabar biyayya. They’re spotlessly clean, good cooks, courteous, intelligent, humble, yes, even drop-dead-gorgeous! But shi nan, Malam Tanko bai ga wacce zai wulakanta ba sai ita. Now, while polygamy is an important part of Islam, so also is respect, monogamy and equity.

This is where a lot of men get it all wrong. All wrong. The need to marry another woman doesn’t and shouldn’t render the wife at home useless. Some men go as far as chasing their wives out, and justify the dreadful acts with all sorts of silly excuses.

It is solely your responsibility as a man to ensure that you maintain a stable home when you decide to remarry. That you as a man need to be understanding, totally of a woman’s feeling regarding polygamy, (we’ll never ever love it) and that if you aren’t ready to deal with that, and take responsibility for ensuring that your wives and children live peacefully, then you have no place remarrying. Kai Malam, tunanin ma ka daina yinta kawai.

Some women don’t outrightly go bananas because za’a maka musu kishiya. Other women burn, cut, tear things apart. (I’ve always wondered how that pacifies anyone kuwa). Some women are willing to compromise, and reach some sorts of agreements. Personally, I’d be one mighty liar if I said I’m okay with having a kishiya, despite growing up in an exceptionally peaceful polygamous home. I’d hurt and let him know without a facade of being strong, but never in a way to stop him. (I always stand my ground that it’s better they marry them ooo, Allah dai ya kiyaye), however,  if you must remarry, be sure you’re financially buoyant, enough to let her have her own house, her space and life. Kazantar da ban gani ba ai tsafta ce. This is me. Another woman doesn’t mind living in close quaters with her mate, giving reasons like ‘ko me za’a yi a yi shi kan ido na’, zaki gamu da ciwon zuciya kuwa. Shey you remember that ‘namiji kanin aljani ne?’

Wani ma sai ya jajibo aure zaki gane magulmaci ne. Some men just turn to professional hypocrites. And that is when you know, from day one, about all your flaws and how “yake zaman hakuri da ke”.

Having said all of these, POLYGAMY isn’t the beast here, POLYGAMY isn’t the problem. Our attitude towards it is. Impatience is. Impatience from Malam Tanko, and men alike, who often tend to put their desires before that of their families. Men who don’t think ahead of what their eyes meet (literally). Impatience from Hajiya Uwargida, from all the wives alike who allow their hurt to fester, long enough and hard enough, to destroy a happy home. (An san da ciwo, but ai Hausawa sunce mai hakuri shi kan dafa dutse ko? Ya kuma sha romon ta!)

This is a plea Malam Tanko, and to all men, in zaku karo aure, don’t be blinded by “love”. Look around you and weigh the implications of your actions. Prolong your thoughts, make them long-term. Don’t be pushed by the things that your carelessness as a man has caused you. Instead of remarrying to punish the wife you have, channel the energy into bettering your home, that way, if amarya comes, she finds a leveled ground.

A hearty plea to you too, Uwargidan Malam Tanko. That he has decided to marry another wife or wives doesn’t mean that your happiness has ended. Your happiness isn’t tied to his being monogamous. Instead of nursing hate and makirci in your heart for amarya, you too can channel the energy into learning new tricks and dishes to make him go crazy.

Polygamy doesn’t have to hurt anyone,neither does it have to be “a struggle” to stay sane, safe and sound….


But again, what do I know?

Just a bloody unmarried writer! 😂😂



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