Our Muslimah In Focus is a woman who has chosen to walk a path that scares so many Muslimahs with grace. Her willingness to be strong and vulnerable with her story has led her to become a supportive Coach to her sisters who found themselves on this path; either by choice or surprise. It is indeed my pleasure to feature her story.
MLH: Who is Tawakalt Tahir? Tell us her story…
Tawakalt Oyebode – Tahir is a Teacher, Counsellor
MLH: You founded the Smart Loveaholic Counselling Services, a coaching initiative for Muslim women; can you please tell us more about the platform?
Smart Loveaholic Counseling Services is a counselling outfit that offers marriage counselling, transformational coaching and polygyny coaching for Muslim women.
MLH: Polygny is a very sensitive topic in the Ummah, something that most Muslimahs irrespective of their level of faith doesn’t like to hear; what inspired to take up the work of coaching Muslimahs on this topic, can you share the story that led to that decision?
When my marriage was about turning polygynous I experienced first hand the pain and emotions of transiting from monogamy to polygyny, despite having read widely about the topic and ‘preparing ‘ my mind for it.
I realized many Muslim women going through the transition must have been suffering in silence ,so with my background in guidance and counselling I decided to offer counseling services to Muslim women especially on how to survive and thrive in a polygynous marriage. And how they can use polygyny as a tool for spiritual growth and self development. I also created a support group online where the hush hush topic of polygyny is discussed to dispel fears about polygyny for Muslim women in monogamy and to guide women in polygyny on how to live the lifestyle with less stress.
MLH: One of the reasons Muslimahs dislike polygny can be traced to cultural history and influences; how do we as Muslim women separate this in order not to fall into the category of hating that which Allah (S) has permitted?
Over the years, polygyny has been associated with negativity. But the polygyny that Islam endorse is not about all the negativity we are witnessing today. The best of mankind our prophet Muhammad (saw) lived a polygynous marriage with his wives..the best of womenkind. And in his life are beautiful examples that Muslim men and women can emulate from to live a fulfilled life while living polygyny.
It is about all of us…Muslim men and women going back to the basics …the Quran and Sunnah with all sincerity and humility. There is a need to change the narratives of Polygyny by learning, relearning and unlearning some of the things we have been taught about marriage and especially polygyny that has contributed to the negativity. By exploring halal coping strategies, changing our mindset and being more intentional about using our marriage as an act of worship.
MLH: What advice will you give a woman whose husband is about to marry another wife or a woman who is about to become the new wife?
For the first wife I would say pacify your heart, plead with it. Have a positive mindset, shun negativity, focus on the positives because what you focus on multiplies. Surround yourself with positive people, pray for Allah’s guidance for your husband, pray for the incoming wife to be a blessing to your family and not a trial,accept her as your sister in Islam, know that there is a bond that bound you before marriage to one man, and that is Islam, learn emotional intelligence and above all put your complete trust in Allah (S). Do not fight reality….turn your pain into gain.
For the incoming wife I would say know what it means to share husband in Islam, ensure the person you are considering for polygynous marriage is capable of handling polygyny, be sincere, be a home builder and a blessing to the existing family and not a trial.. Be compassionate and show empathy as your sister go through her transition. Be aware of third party influence, purify your intention for entering the marriage. Encourage husband to justice, learn emotional intelligence and put your trust in Allah (S).
It is important for women in Polygyny to know how to navigate the challenges presented by the lifestyle. It is unfortunate that a lot of women have developed depression, some have attempted murder or suicide, some have
I am also working on a self help book on transition from monogamy to polygyny which i hope will be published soon.
MLH: What are the challenges you have experienced so far in your work as a polygny coach?
The major challenge is that the awareness for counselling and coaching is still very low in this part of the world. So a lot of women still suffer in silence instead of seeking help and a lot of them do not want to invest financially in counselling. A lot of men also equate seeking counselling to ‘inviting a
MLH: If a Muslim man is reading this, what advice will you like to give him in case he
I would say, purify your intention a lot of things go wrong because of the distorted intention behind some men’s choice of Polygyny, be sincere with yourself, ensure you are capable of handling polygyny financially, spiritually, psychologically, mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually. Be compassionate and emphatic with your wife during the transition. Be fair and be just, be prayerful.
MLH: Your idea of a strong Muslim woman is…
My idea of a strong muslimah is a confident ,resilient woman who is strongly connected to her Lord and who harness her life to her purpose of creation even through the challenges of life.
Self love is to love ,appreciate, value ,and accept your self… Flaws and all . Putting yourself first so you can grow externally and internally for YOU. Embracing your strength and weaknesses and being ready to own your strength and work on your weakness.Filling your cup first so you can serve others from the overflow.
I try to create ‘ me time’ to reconnect with myself and to strengthen my connection with my Lord. I delegate where necessary , I know I can’t do it all, so I use my support network wisely.
MLH: Your definition of success…
Success is when my challenges are harnessed in a way that it makes me strive more for my purpose of creation.
MLH: A word of advice for Muslim women as regard preparing our minds for polygny even before marriage.
Yes, I feel we should all have a positive mindset about this topic because as Muslim woman polygyny is our reality. Even if we don’t live polygyny ourself it could be a reality for our Sister, Friends, Aunt, Niece, daughter or even our mum.
The permissibility of polygyny in our religion is not going to change and this is a lifestyle Allah has destined for some of us to live, so it is important that this new generation of Muslim strive to change the narratives. To dispel the fears and shed the myth about polygyny, find halal coping strategies and find ways of living this challenging lifestyle positively
Do you know a Muslimah creating positive impact in her community? A woman whose story can inspire others… She doesn’t even need to be on social media. Then send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about her and why we should feature her as our Muslimah In Focus to inspire ourselves.