|The Theory of Wife Demotion
Before I proceed, many of you are possibly fascinated, curious, or disgusted (most likely) by the title of this post. Rest assured, for those of you who are feeling disgusted, I feel that my moral duty to make this theory known amongst the common public is far too important for me to worry about what people think. Sometimes the truth cannot be sugar-coated and must be relayed as it is. It is my hope that initial disgust will lead to the realization of the beauty and truth of such a theory, as Imam al-Bûsirî writes in the Burda: “The eye that is diseased will reject the ray of sunlight / And the mouth will reject the taste of sweet water due to its sickness.” Besides, if you’re feeling disgusted and want to disagree, you’re probably a female, and who cares what you think anyway… if you want to voice your opinion, raise your hand and wait for a man to acknowledge you before speaking. For too long have you been ignorant of such a theory, and therefore are excused for not realizing the benefit of this theory… from today onwards, you have no excuse for not implementing this theory.
This is not my original theory. I am honored to narrate this on the authority of the one and only Hadhrat Atif Jaleel. I was privileged enough to re-listen to the Theory of Wife Demotion again today as I had lunch with him; truly when I prayed during Jumu`ah to be blessed, little did I know that I would see its rewards immediately. After speaking to the wise Hadhrat, I felt obligated to disseminate this immediately. What follows is the original theory from the Hadhrat himself. I have added commentary and explanation (in italics) wherever I feel is beneficial to the reader.
Thus narrates the wise and eminent man of God, Hadhrat Atif Jaleel:
In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. May salutations and peace be upon our Master the Prophet Muhammad, his Companions, and all those who follow them (our dear brother forgot to include this at the beginning, and therefore I feel compelled to include this for him on his behalf).
In the past, when life expectancy wasn’t as high as it is now, and people only lived until they were 50 or so, it was prudent to get all 4 in at about the same time (referring to marrying 4 wives at about the same time). However, now that people are living longer until about 70 or 80 years, it’s better to space these marriages out (and thus make these marriages more efficient). I find this ijtihâd of Atif Jaleel to be quite exemplary. He has recognized the changing of times and understood there is a need to change our perspectives. Specifically, these marriages should be spaced out about every 10 years (the reason for this shall be seen shortly) so as to ensure the best for all parties involved, but particularly the man.
The first marriage is the most important. It is imperative that the man make sure to find a woman to fulfill the role of first wife who has exceptional qualities (this not only includes beauty as it’s a given she ought to be a supermodel, but one must strive to find an excellent cook, ironer, grocery shopper, maid, and child-rearer. The first wife must also be an excellent conversationalist, possess a great sense of humor, and must be willing to train future wives. All these qualities must be present in the first wife or else the theory will not work. For the other wives, it is not so important for them to have the total package, so to speak, but the first wife must be exceptional in all these areas). So the man marries a woman who is about 20-25 and both of them enjoy the status of being married. During this time, the first wife is obligated to maintain and hone all those qualities she had when she marries the man. This includes: maintaining the house, cooking gourmet meals, not disturbing her husband when he’s watching any sporting event (in fact, she ought to learn the rules of sports and become a fan of whatever team(s) her husband roots for—it’s unacceptable for a woman to root for arch-rivals of her husband’s favorite team(s).), and most importantly, making sure she continues to look the way she appeared at her wedding. In fact, these qualities ought to be perfected and the first wife must prepare to teach future wives. This state of affairs will continue for about 10-15 years, after which the man will then marry his second wife.
At this point, many readers might wonder why one must wait the 10-15 years before marrying the second wife. We must acknowledge that shelf-life of women only lasts about 10 years before their beauty fades. Therefore, out of the man’s mercy and magnanimity, the pressures for the first wife to remain outwardly beautiful are released, and she can focus on her other duties: cooking, cleaning, child-rearing, etc. The second wife will be about 20-25 years of age (the first wife now is 30-35), and her main responsibility is to remain as beautiful as she was the day she married the man. Now, many of you students of the path are perhaps aghast at this, but look how merciful the Hadhrat is, removing a burden from the first wife and allowing her the freedom to further hone and master her skills, particularly in the kitchen. The first wife will now be demoted (but for those who can see with the eye of clarity, you will realize this isn’t a demotion, per se) to look after the kids and such; it is crucial that she become a gourmet chef by this time (she must master the art of making biryani, kefta kabob, fresh rotis, and all other such dishes that her husband enjoys). It is important that the wives learn to get along with one another and not be jealous of each other. This allocation of duties is for their own good, and for the good of the household. For the next 10 years, the first wife will begin to slowly train the second wife in all the domestic branches of knowledge that she has mastered. This is why it’s not so critical for the second wife to already know these matters (she basically has to be extremely beautiful and willing to learn from the first wife). This state of affairs will continue for about 10 years (note that the period has been reduced) after which the man will then marry his third wife.
The third wife must be more beautiful than the second wife. At this point, the first wife is further demoted and takes over the child-rearing/educating, chauffeur, ironing, and other such miscellaneous duties. (Again, those possessing a vision of inner clarity will see this is not a demotion but actually a lessening of her burden). The second wife is relieved of her duties to remain beautiful, and is now demoted to cooking and cleaning duties. Again, those possessing wisdom will see how merciful this is to the first and second wives, removing from them the burden and pressure of remaining beautiful and letting them focus on their truly important tasks of child-rearing and cooking, respectively. The first and second wives must actively train the third wife in their respective duties as well. Again, this state of affairs will further continue for about 5-10 years, after which time the man will finally marry the fourth wife.
The fourth wife must be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, surpassing the second and third wives and second in beauty to the first wife. (This is because her only role in the household from here on out will be to remain beautiful and serve as a trophy wife. There is no excuse for her not to invest in a treadmill and other such necessary equipment—though one ought to hope that the other three wives would already have such equipment—to maintain her beauty). Again, it is imperative that the four wives must not be jealous of each other; instead they must put this aside for the sake of the greater good—which is to serve the husband, of course. The third wife now is demoted to take over the cooking duties (by now, since the man is getting up there in years, it’s vital that she and the other wives even collaborate to prepare world-class meals everyday, since this is perhaps the number one enjoyment the man has to live for at this stage in his life) and the second wife now becomes the primary child-raiser. The younger three wives will also collaborate on miscellaneous duties such as ironing and bringing the husband a sandwich when he’s watching sporting events. As for the first and elder wife, she will be relieved of nearly all duties and “be out to pasture.” Consider again how merciful this philosophy is: the first wife, having faithfully done her tasks for 20-25 years is now relieved of all duties and can enjoy spending time with the grown kids, helping them with their homework, etc. From here on out, there are no more demotions and each wife will continue to carry out her allocated responsibilities.
And our closing request is to praise God, Lord of the Worlds.
Thus is the Theory of Wife Demotion, narrated by the great Hadhrat Atif Jaleel … who incidentally is still looking for his first wife. And thus ends the commentary of Kamran Riaz, who was privileged to hear such a brilliant and magnanimous theory, related the above theory, and added commentary for all students of the path to understand this beautiful theory (and to understand it really is a Theory of Wife Promotion) and apply it in their lives for the greater good of mankind—exactly, MANkind.
Finally, I fully stand by this theory and refuse to recant any of the theory or commentary. However, to be fair, if someone wants to write a refutation, I will objectively assess it and will seriously consider posting it.” (K. Riaz, Sept. 2004).