Dealing with Polygamous Families and Changing the Rules
What’s next? This chapter discusses the need for change, to correct the existing problems. The Arab Spring of 2011 served as notice that there was discontent amongst the people of the Middle East. There have been many upheavals in the Arab countries. The entire region is now tasked with assessing, for example, how religion and other social ideals are to be embodied in people’s lives. Many revolutions have been spurred by poverty and inequalities that have persisted in the region; conditions which we have shown are exacerbated by polygamous marriages.
To counter polygamy requires longitudinal planning—a continuing commitment rather than a simple fix. While attempting to assist polygamous families here and now in culturally sensitive ways, we can also engage with the many institutions that influence the high-context person. A multilevel approach recognizes the individual within his or her social environment: the relationship within families and communities, the political, economic, educational, and social environment, and the ideologies that have influenced them.
The challenge of gender perceptions must be met in addition to a strong need for economic and educational support.
In short, these challenges, even when they argue against polygamy, are neither anti-Muslim nor anti-religion. Rather, they push for the decoupling of religious principles and traditional patriarchy and attempt to find allowances for equality and justice in universally acceptable terms. No one should be compelled to accept inferior forms of equality or status under the guise of religious principles, but should, instead, expect support from the community and government to which they contribute.
KeywordsSaudi Arabia Middle East Arab Society Patriarchal Family Religious Principle
- Abudabbeh, N. (2005). Arab families. In M. McGoldrick, J. Giordano, & M. Garcia-Preto (Eds.), Ethnicity and family therapy (pp. 423–436). New York: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
- Al-Krenawi, A. (2012). Tomorrow’s players: The Israeli Palestinian Case. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers.Google Scholar
- Al-Krenawi, A., & Graham, J. (1999). Gender and biomedical/traditional mental health utilization among the Bedouin-Arabs of the Negev. Cultural Medial Psychiatry, 23(2), 56–64.Google Scholar
- Alsanea, R. (2007). Girls of Riyadh. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
- Cook, S. A. (2012). Morsi’s mistake: The error behind the uproar in Egypt. Foreign Affairs. Google Scholar
- Darwish, N. (2003, January 29). Impossible family dynamics of Islam. Retrieved from http://www.frontpagemag.com
- Elsaidi, M. H. (2011). Human rights and Islamic law: A legal analysis challenging the husband’s authority to punish “rebellious” wives. Muslim Journal of Human Rights, 7(2), Article 4.Google Scholar
- Goldschmidt, A., & Davidson, L. (2006). A concise history of the Middle East (8th ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Human Rights Watch. (2004). Divorced from Justice: Women’s unequal access to divorce in Egypt. Human Rights Watch, 16(8E), 1–68.Google Scholar
- Khalaili, R., & Litwin, H. (2011). Modernisation and filial piety among traditional family care-givers: A study of Arab-Israelis in cultural transition. Ageing & Society, 32(5), 1–21.Google Scholar
- Khasawneh, O. M., Hijazi, A. H., & Salman, N. H. (2011a). Polygamy and its impact on the upbringing of children: A Jordanian perspective. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 42(4), 563–577.Google Scholar
- Khasawneh, O. M., Hijazi, A. H., & Salman, N. H. (2011b). Polygamy and its impact on the upbringing of children: A Jordanian perspective. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 42(4), 463–xvi.Google Scholar
- Lapidot-Firilla, A., & Eldad, R. (2005). Forbidden yet practiced: Polygamy and the cyclical making of Israeli policy. Jerusalem: Center for Strategic and Policy Studies.Google Scholar
- Mahmood, S. (2005). The politics of piety: The Islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Rabia, R. A. (2011). Redefining polygamy among the Palestinian Bedouins in Israel: Colonialism, patriarchy, and resistance. American Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, 19(2), 459–493.Google Scholar
- Sabry, T. (2010). Cultural encounters in the Arab world: On media, the modern and the everyday. London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.Google Scholar
- Sheppard, L. D. (2012). The impact of polygamy on women’s mental health: A systematic review. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 1–16Google Scholar
- The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. (2007). The status & progress of women in the Middle East & North Africa. The World Bank.Google Scholar
- Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury), R. (2008, February 7). Islam in English Law: Civil and Religious Law in England. Lambeth Palace, London.Google Scholar