Why is Polygamy allowed in Islam?
Posted by: "Mohammad Usman" email@example.com usmankkkk
Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:41 pm
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Dr. Zakir Naik
http://www.islamawa reness.net/ Polygamy/ why.html
* Only QURAN Says to 'Marry Only One': "Qur'an is the only
religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase
'marry only one'. There is no other religion or religious book that
instructs men to have only one wife."
* POLYGAMY Practice More Among Hindus than Muslims: The report of
the 'Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam', published in 1975
mentions [Page Nos 66-67] that the percentage of polygamous marriages
between the year 1951-1961 was; 5.06 among the Hindus while only 4.31%
among the Muslims.
Why is a man allowed to marry more than one wife in Islam? Or why is
polygamy allowed in Islam?
1. Definition of Polygamy: Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby
one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One
is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is
polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited
polygyny is permitted and polyandry is completely prohibited. Now coming
to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one
2. Qur'an is the only religious scripture in the world that says 'marry
only one': Qur'an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth,
that contains the phrase 'marry only one'. There is no other religious
book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the religious
scriptures like the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta or the
Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to
these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later,
that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of
wives to one.
Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had
multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one
permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no
restriction on the number of wives. It was only a couple of centuries
ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.
Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had
2 wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny
continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah. (960 A.D to 1030 A.D) issued
an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim
countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, when an Act of
the chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one
3. Hindus are more polygamous than Muslims: The report of the 'Committee
of The Status of Woman in Islam', published in 1975 mentions on page
numbers 66,67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the
year 1951 -1961 was 5.06 among the Hindus and only 4.31 among the
According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than
one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in
one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as
compared to the Muslim. One can imagine what would have been the
percentage of polygamous marriages among the Hindus if the Indian
government had made it legal for them. Earlier, there was no restriction
even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was
only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became
illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the
Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and
not the Hindu scriptures. Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to
have more than one wife.
4. Qur'an permits limited polygyny: As mentioned earlier, Qur'an is the
only religious book on the face of the earth that says 'marry only one'.
The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the
Glorious Qur'an: 'Marry woman of your choice in twos' threes' or fours'
but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly, (with them),
then only one' [Al-Qur'an 4:3]
Before the Qur'an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny
and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper
limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or
four women, only on the condition that he deals with them justly. In the
same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: 'It is very difficult to be
just and fair between women'. [Al-Qur'an (4:129)]
Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under
the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to marry more
than one wife.
Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do's and Dont's.
(i) 'Farz' i.e compulsory
(ii) 'Mustahab' i.e recommended or encouraged
(iii) 'Mubah' i.e permissible
(iv) 'Makruh' i.e 'not recommended' or discouraged
(v) 'Haram' i.e prohibited or forbidden
Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It
cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a
better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.
5. Average life span of females is more than that of males: By nature
males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. During
paediatric age however, in childhood itself a female child has more
immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and
diseases better than the male child. For this reason, there are more
deaths among males as compared to the females during paediatric age.
During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men
die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of
females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more
widows in the world than widowers.
neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the
male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide
aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as
females. If this evil practice is stopped, then
females as compared to males.
7. World female population is more than male population: In the USA,
women outnumber men by 7.8 million.
females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population
more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not
wish to marry women.
compared to males.
how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared
8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not
practical: Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still
be more than thirty million more females in
get husbands (considering that
There would be more than four million females in
not be able to find a husband.
Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in
a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no
other option. I have posed this question to hundreds of non-Muslims and
all opted for the first. However a few smart people before accepting,
said they would prefer their sisters to remain virgins. Biologically, it
is not possible for an average man or a woman to remain celibate
throughout life. It may be possible in exceptional cases of one in ten
thousand. In the vast majority, the person either gets married or
performs illicit sex or indulges in other sexual perversions. Sex
hormones are released in the adult body every day. That is the reason
why Islam has prohibited monasticism.
In Western society it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or
multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a
disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept
a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable,
dignified position in society and lead a protected life.
Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to
marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving
women the honourable position by permitting the first option and
disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has
permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of
Why is Polygamy allowed in Islam
Dr. Zakir Naik
http://www.ilovezak irnaik.com/ misconceptions/ a02.htm
<http://www.islamawa reness.net/ Polygamy/ why.html>
If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam
prohibit a woman from having more than one husband?
A lot of people, including some Muslims, question the logic of allowing
Muslim men to have more than one spouse while denying the same 'right'
Let me first state emphatically, that the foundation of an Islamic
society is justice and equity. Allah has created men and women as equal,
but with different capabilities and different responsibilities. Men and
women are different, physiologically and psychologically. Their roles
and responsibilities are different. Men and women are equal in Islam,
but not identical.
Surah Nisa' Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with who
you can not marry and it is further mentions in Surah Nisa' Chapter 4
verse 24 "Also (prohibited are) women already married"
The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is prohibited
1. If a man has more than one wife, the parents of the children born of
such marriages can easily be identified. The father as well as the
mother can easily be identified. In case of a woman marrying more than
one husband, only the mother of the children born of such marriages will
be identified and not the father. Islam gives tremendous importance to
the identification of both parents, mother and father. Psychologists
tell us that children who do not know their parents, especially their
father undergo severe mental trauma and disturbances. Often they have an
unhappy childhood. It is for this reason that the children of
prostitutes do not have a healthy childhood. If a child born of such
wedlock is admitted in school, and when the mother is asked the name of
the father, she would have to give two or more names! I am aware that
recent advances in science have made it possible for both the mother and
father to be identified with the help of genetic testing. Thus this
point which was applicable for the past may not be applicable for the
2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.
3. Biologically, it is easier for a man to perform his duties as a
husband despite having several wives. A woman, in a similar position,
having several husbands, will not find it possible to perform her duties
as a wife. A woman undergoes several psychological and behavioral
changes due to different phases of the menstrual cycle.
4. A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual
partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or
sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her
husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the
case in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having
The above reasons are those that one can easily identify. There are
probably many more reasons why Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has
With Kind Regards
The sayings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad <http://muhammad. net/>
(peace be upon him) 'Acquiring (religious) knowledge in company for an
hour in the night is better than spending the whole night in prayer.'
< Al-Tirmidhi; Narrated: Abdullah ibn Abbas (r) >
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