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How Polygyny Taught Me to Coexist

Papatia Feauxzar shares her experience of growing up in a multi-faith family.

“Perhaps Allah will put, between you and those to whom you have been enemies among them, affection. And Allah is competent, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” Qur’an 60:7




Can we all coexist? Well, in my family’s experience with mixed religions, we sure do. My late father, may Allah (SWT) grant him jannah al firdaws, was a university teacher and a Muslim scholar. He married three women; one of which was a non-Muslim whom he later divorced for non-religious matters. And all her children became non-Muslims after his death. My father foresaw their conversion to Christianity and he said that as long as they believed in God after his death, he was okay.





As you can see, my father was very tolerant. He was also respectful and gave the benefit of the doubt to anybody. As a matter of fact, he had heard rumors that his first wife sneakily went to church even though she had converted to Islam sometime during their marriage. My father didn’t believe it even if he had his suspicions. He told the gossipers that until she told him or he caught her, he wouldn’t say or do anything. See, my father could have responded to fitna-seekers with something like, ”I’ll not tolerate a kafir woman in my house!” and such but he kept his cool and went on with his deen.





And when Ben, the last child from my father’s first marriage, heard that my mother – the second wife – was pregnant with me, he couldn’t wait to get a little sister. My strong connection with Ben had started while I was still in the womb.





So, I’m the cutoff line. Before me, they are all Christian. From me to all the children after me, it’s a branch of the Muslim ummah. We just respect each other’s religious choices and pray for each other. We have such a good spirit about having different religions because in Surah 60 verse 8, Allah (SWT) says:

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”





Here we see that Allah (SWT) allows believers of different religions to be friends as long as they’re just and fair. In addition, why would our beloved Prophet (SAW) send his ummah to another country ruled by a just Christian ruler? Because we can coexist!





My brother Ben and I are still very close. We call each other often and we chat when we can. We have a connection that no one in the family has. We love each other deeply even though we are from different religions, and we know our boundaries. We coexist and make it work even though some distant family members are not on board.





If La Convivencia (The Coexistence in Spain) happened centuries ago where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived in harmony despite some sources that state otherwise, it’s very possible to coexist. We have to want it. We have to be willing to put our differences aside and not try to shove our beliefs down other people’s throat. In my family, we don’t preach to each other.




As former Muslims, my older siblings know the third Islamic pillar of faith is the belief in all the books of Allah (SWT) which are:

  • The Suhuf: the Sacred Scripture which was revealed to Prophet Abraham (RA)
  • The Torah: the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet Moses (RA)
  • The Zaboor (Psalms): the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet David (RA)
  • The Injeel (Gospel): the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet Jesus (RA)
  • The Noble Qur’an: One must believe that the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah (SWT) which Angel Gabriel brought to Muhammad (SAW) and that it is the last of the Divine Books which abrogated all previous Books.

From – (http://www.thekeytoislam.com/en/what-are-the-pillars-of-faith.aspxhttp://ummuabdulazeez.com/islam-101/the-6-pillars-of-faith/)




Just by looking at the reverence in Islam of other faiths, we should know that we are supposed to coexist with respect. Now, if someone believes in something other than those faiths cited above, we should just act fair toward them. We don’t judge them and we don’t pester them with our beliefs. No one likes to be hammered with preaching. It actually turns people away.




In Surah 60 verse 1, Allah (SWT) says:

“O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection while they have disbelieved in what came to you of the truth, having driven out the Prophet and yourselves [only] because you believe in Allah, your Lord. If you have come out for jihad in My cause and seeking means to My approval, [take them not as friends]. You confide to them affection, but I am most knowing of what you have concealed and what you have declared. And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.”





These verses above tell us that if we know that someone of a different belief than us has declared themselves an enemy to us, we must stay clear of that person. But only then, under those circumstances. So otherwise, what do we do? Coexist!




Finally, only Allah (SWT) is and will be the Judge of our actions in this worldly life because in Surah 45 verse 17, He says:

“And We gave them clear proofs of the matter [of religion]. And they did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. Indeed, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ.”





Being in good terms with people of different beliefs is a favor of our Rabb. Which of His favors are we going to continue to deny, ummah? Above all, in order to coexist, tolerance and respect have to be taught at home— the first school. And we can all cohabit peacefully if we have this foundation.





Papatia Feauxzar is a published author living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She is addicted to love, romance, life, laughs, and always having a good halal time, her goal is to serve Allah first and foremost. Above all, she is annoyingly always in a good mood ;). Visit her at papatia.wordpress.com





Polygyny Part 1: Sisterly Love