Azad Chaiwala recently made headlines after appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to promote polygyny. The 33-year-old British entrepreneur runs a website – Secondwife.com – for Muslim men seeking second wives. Speaking to 5Pillars journalist Nafees Mahmud, Chaiwala says he wants to end the taboo surrounding polygyny, but can he be taken seriously?
Nafees Mahmud: Why do you think polygyny is beneficial for men?
Azad Chaiwala: Temptation has grown, fitnah is beyond control and good men are falling left, right and centre and it is hurting their deen. This is a halal way of conducting your affairs and what would otherwise be a desire disobeying Allah, it is now obeying Him. Now instead of earning bad deeds you are earning good deeds.
NM: How does it benefit women, in your opinion?
AC: Allah created men as providers and there are many women who are not being taken care of. This is a means for women to be cared for whilst also having a lot of time for themselves. Their responsibilities are halved and they can become part of a more complete family.
NM: If you are committed to promoting polygyny why not set up a campaign group to legalise it rather than a business making money out of it?
AC: I am passionate about removing the taboo of polygyny. I don’t care what the law says. When people become more accepting of polygynous marriages then the law will catch up. It’s really not that different to how just recently the UK law recognised gay marriages, yet people have accepted the homosexual lifestyle in the UK for decades now.
I also cannot push for any law change without great awareness. And these websites create that. Though, regardless of whether or not I campaign to change polygamy laws, the websites still need to be self-sufficient so they can continue to bring people together who seek polygyny. Some people think I have built these websites and am raking it in, yet I was very successful in business over ten years ago. I could retire now if I wanted and it is this prior success which has actually allowed me to pursue my passion of promoting polygyny. Secondwife.com is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
NM: Can you substantiate your belief from Islamic evidence (Quran, hadith etc) that a man can be born ” polygynous”, as you have claimed?
AC: I believe women are the nurturers and men are the providers on a very basic level. Men, I think, are naturally polygamists living in a now monogamous society thanks to political correctness and equal rights. Men and women are different, though it doesn’t mean we aren’t equally important; it just means we have different needs and roles.
NM: You said on Good Morning Britain you “came out” at the age of 12 as being “polygamous”. What do you mean by that?
AC: At the age of 12 I openly said to my family and friends that one day I will have multiple wives. I was honest about my nature and that is before I even knew what monogamy and polygamy meant.
NM: Do you feel there is a level of hypocrisy from liberals who accept and celebrate that homosexuality is genetic, infidelity is the norm, but polygamy is frowned upon?
AC: Absolutely. As I said previously, I believe men are naturally born polygamists. Of 1,231 cultures in the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, 84% are classified as polygynous (a form of polygamy), 15% as monogamous, and not even 1% polyandrous (where a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time). And this makes sense.
Polygyny is much more common than polyandry because evolutionarily the benefits of polygyny for men are much higher than the benefits of polyandry for women. This is how Allah created us and in every religious book there is allowance for it. It is only now for some reason people have turned their backs on it.
How can it be that homosexuality, which is a small percent in any population, can be accepted, but polygamy isn’t, given the above statistics? And how hypocritical is it that someone can say women are liberated but cannot choose to be second wives? These people are hypocrites and they don’t even see it. No one is forced, and everyone in a polygamous marriage is a consenting adult.
What’s really the problem here?
NM: What do you think it will take for polygamy to be legalised in the UK?
AC: Similar to my answer above. I don’t really care. The law is always 50 years behind society and it is business people, forward thinkers, go-getters, communities, and people that really make a difference in the world. At the moment polygamy is a hot topic because it is the last remaining taboo in our society. Once everyone is aware of it and becomes accepting of the fact that people choose it then the law will eventually change to be in line with popular opinion. The real fight to get the law changed isn’t to campaign at government level; it is to campaign directly to the people.
NM: What are the reasons, according to your market research, that men and women are looking for polygamous marriages? I imagine the reasons are different for both genders.
AC: It is exactly because of the benefits outlaid in response to your first question.
NM: Are you prepared for a huge liberal feminist backlash against your site and beliefs?
AC: I am the biggest feminist you will meet. Women today are used and abused and traded like commodities. Women even have this notion now that they are liberated when they strip down and run nude across a beach! Yes, us men really hate that, don’t we? This is truly backwards. I believe women are the most precious of us all and deserve to be cherished. Having two wives isn’t some sexual fantasy, it is a good, honest, decent man being honest about his true nature, loving, caring and respecting each woman individually. A woman should value herself and save herself for a man she knows will make a life-long commitment to her… and what a role model to other women she will be.
NM: Have you taken the advice of any Islamic scholars prior to setting up this site and advocating what could become a serious fitnah (tribulation) for many people?
AC: Yes we have but I won’t name who and I won’t get into this. I sought much guidance and I am very confident with the approval I have received.
NM: Don’t you think some people will write you off as an attention-seeking eccentric – a sort of real life Sacha Baron Cohen character, especially with those different coloured glasses you wear?
AC: Quite possibly but that’s okay. I have wanted to create Secondwife.com for over ten years now and only recently I have been brave enough to come forward. Yes my personality is a bit eccentric but so what? I am making enough noise and hopefully this will encourage others to come forward, and it is already happening. Islamic scholars around the world are coming forward saying they too want second wives.
Keysar Trad at Zetland Mosque who is the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils is the latest to put his name to it. Maybe one day I will be remembered as one of the founding fathers of polygyny; maybe I will be lost to history. Who knows and who cares. I just want the hypocrisy to end and people to start being honest about their polygamist nature.