Interesting article. I, like I’m sure many Muslim women, have mixed feelings on the topic. But this is a present day perspective that I hadn’t really thought of before. I honestly felt like polygamy had little or no place in present day society. But, emotions aside, in a community where options may be limited with regard to eligible African-American Muslim men due to issues like incarceration, or HIV, this really is a way to create and preserve the family unit, which is vital in urban settings (as well as other settings) where male role models can potentially be few, and father figures not always readily available. The added bonus is have a man be financially and socially responsible (and present) for his children in a system that would not necessarily hold them accountable (except perhaps financially if he is forced to pay child support).
I’m not necessarily pro-polygamy (for all the emotional reasons that I don’t have to explain to most women out there)…but in a society where divorce is on the rise, single parent households are more common, and mistresses (where a man can have multiple…and not be responsible for any of them) is a reality…it may have some social function and benefit in specific situations. There are women who would not mind this situation (and as hard as it is for me to understand – there are some who prefer it), and by legalizing it, you would protect those women by giving them the social and financial benefits of a legal marriage – inheritance, insurance, child support, etc. And you’d have the eye of law watching over to help minimize abuses and make sure those rights were followed through.