Given the nature of our service, some Muslims find it to be an opportunity to show their rudeness and disrespect. We were blessed with a chance to promote our service at a festival recently. We hung our banner and sat at our booth. Like we’ve done in previous events, we asked people walking by “Do you know someone looking to get married?” History has taught us that you have a one-out-of-ten chance of getting the classic reply “Do you do a second wife?”. This comment is usually associated with a smirk, a snicker, or an outright laugh. After doing so many festivals you might think we’ve built a tolerance for these remarks. Not exactly. When you’ve put your heart and soul in this work like we have you can’t get used to it.
A husband along with his wife and children walked by. We asked, “Do you know someone looking to get married?”. He replied, “Do you help with a second wife?”. I wasn’t about to let this one go.
So I said: “Is your first wife not enough?”
I vaguely recall his response as: “No”. Then I directed my statement to the wife and said: “I think you need a better husband”.
Clearly, this was enough for the guy to walk back to the booth. The next ten minutes involved a hurling of comments that included: “You’re a liberal!”. “You’re against the Sunnah!”. “You’ve been brainwashed!”. “You’ve adopted a feminist Western mentality. I can see it in your eyes”.
I told him that the Quran refers to marriage as a strong covenant and that it’s an earnest contract. It clearly wasn’t enough to stop this khateeb from reminding me of how uninformed I am about the religion. Then he ended his khutbah with: “Shut your mouth”.
So I asked him: “Did you sincerely ask me about a second wife, or were you making a joke?” He ignored the question and kept hurling his comments. I asked him the same question again. He finally answered: “I was making a joke”.
Yet, that still didn’t make him stop his barrage of insults. I told him: “Brother you’re insulting your wife, making a mockery of the Deen, and humiliating yourself in front of your children”.
Throughout all of this his wife tried stopping him, but all her attempts went unanswered. We tried to tell him “Your wife is talking to you. Listen to her”, but he completely ignored her comments and her altogether.
The incident ended with security getting involved, his wife pushing the stroller out of despair, and the gentlemen threatening to assault me. We found out later that his wife cried outside for an hour and refused to go home.
Now, I undoubtedly stepped out of line. But do I regret it? Absolutely not. Would I do it again? Probably yes.
It’s interesting to point out the double standard here. When I made a comment about his wife not being enough, there was no reaction. Yet, when I commented about his worthiness as a husband, it hit a nerve.
People love to quote the Quran and Sunnah when it’s convenient for them. Just remember the Sunnah encompasses a lot more than marrying more than one wife. That includes showing respect to your wife, especially in public. And if you’re going to quote the Sunnah, do so with sincerity and humility and not mockingly.