Pro-Polygamy NGO Sparks Debate in Saudi Arabia

AMMAN, JORDAN - JULY 25: A Groom listens to his veiled bride in a mass wedding July 25, 2003 in Amman, Jordan. One hundred and four brides and grooms made the knot in a mass wedding organized by the Islamic society of (al-Afaf) for philanthropic wedding, celebrating with their families …
Salah Malkawi/Getty

JAFFA, Israel – A new Saudi group calling itself Multiplicity has recently been set up in a bid to soften women’s opposition to polygamy.

The founder, Dr Attalah Alabar, says the group’s mission statement is to “encourage women to accept polygamy, to satisfy their husbands, and drop their opposition to the multiplicity of women.”

He added that men are also among their target audience.

“My motive in setting up the organization was seeing the grief of widows and divorcees who are left without husbands,” he said. “I was a family counselor, and I am aware of the extent of women’s sorrow when they’re left without a husband, that’s why I decided to set up ‘Multiplicity.’ We already have 100 members, eight of them are women.”

He said that the members are university professors, judges, doctors, engineers, university and Sharia students, “and we’re waiting for the government’s approval to start working.”

He said that reactions from the public were overall positive, “except a few negative reactions from married women, but they never felt the bitterness of being left alone without a husband and a life partner.”

Dr Awad Alqarni, an eminent Saudi cleric, said in response to the public debate that ensued, “Whoever has a principled opposition to polygamy defies Sharia law.”

“It is allowed to think it’s not suitable for every man regardless of his means and abilities, but an outright opposition to polygamy is transgression,” he said.

Following the creation of Multiplicity, the hashtag #Multiplicity_charity became the third-most popular in Saudi Arabia.

Most of the detractors were women, but not only.

“Marriage is partnership and responsibility, not just sex and having children, who end up as charity cases,” Hammad Alshamry wrote. “Most husbands go back to their first wives, and the other wives become victims.”

Samar fumed: “Only in a society that treats matrimonial relationships as emotionless and physical can an initiative like #Multiplicity_charity work.”

“It is curious indeed,” wrote one user, “that they are adamant about implementing Sharia law when it comes to this, but in all other fields they behave like Jews.”

“Instead of looking for solutions for poverty, overpopulation, or the cost of living, we set up charities to encourage polygamy,” Rema tweeted. “Our primitiveness is second to none!!!”

“You should have called it ‘the organization for marriage assistance to 50-year-old adolescents’!” Haydi wrote.


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