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Polygyny: A Cultural Comparison - Essay Example

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Certainly the license to marry more than one wife has been grossly abused by some Muslims who did not appreciate it as a conditional permission. Even with that abuse its occurrence is no more than three per cent (3%) and with the increasing education of women and reformed understanding of the real Islam, polygyny is on the decline. (p. 19)
The social structure of the Palestinian society is determined by the family with the Hamula (a "clan" of extended families related through a common ancestor and carrying the same family name), forming the largest unit. Traditionally, family clans had common land and mutual responsibilities who resolved their own conflicts. The second unit is the extended family comprising three generations in one household and usually consisting of the male family head, his wife, their unmarried children, and their married sons with their own families. They often build a social and economic community, occupying one dwelling. The third and smallest unit, the nuclear family, a two-generation household consisting of the married couple and their children, was traditionally less significant but, if the financial situation allows it, is increasingly common today. (Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, 2001.)
As discussed by Granqvist, the situation ...
, the nuclear family, a two-generation household consisting of the married couple and their children, was traditionally less significant but, if the financial situation allows it, is increasingly common today. (Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, 2001.)
As discussed by Granqvist, the situation in Palestine is mainly a culturally filial one. The husband is allowed by law and religion to take on a second wife, with the condition that he can adequately provide the time, support and attention for the second wife and the first wife and the family. However, there can be a myriad of situations or reasons that would induce the Palestinian male in the practice of polygyny thus:
Perhaps through a cousin marriage he has a wife much older than he himself is, or his parents chose in his youth a bride for him and now that he is older and has the means for a second marriage or a daughter to exchange, he chooses a new wife according to his own taste. So for example did Ali who exchanged his daughter for a second wife--young, beautiful and clever. Or a man has tired of his wife and desires a change. To have several wives is further a sign of power and wealth. A man is proud to show that he has the means. A "secondary" motive may also be vanity and the flattery of neighbours and villagers and persons who may have some advantage from it, as was clearly seen in Saleem's case. Or perhaps the man does not get on with his wife and the lack of harmony urges him to try to get a more charming or a more industrious wife. But it can also be directly regarded as a punishment for the first wife, if her husband thinks she has not behaved well. (Granqvist p.209)
As observed from the quotation above, a Palestinian male may take on a second wife for a number of ...Show more


By simple definition, polygyny is described as the most common form of polygamy, wherein a male simultaneously has more than one female sexual partner. This definition is seen opposed to polyandry, wherein a female has more than one male sexual partner. Historically it has been practiced in a number of cultures and societies, most commonly in Africa and the Middle East…
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Polygyny: A Cultural Comparison essay example
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