Take the 2-minute tour ×
Islam Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Muslims, experts in Islam, and those interested in learning more about Islam. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a problem with men marrying more than one wife.

I know this is written in the Holy QURAN, but it clearly states you should be able to love them equally which is definitely not possible.

The women of course do not like that, because naturally no woman would like to share a man, and sometimes,

I feel Islam doesn't consider how women feel. I am a Muslim and an open minded person and like to make meaning of things. I get really confused.

share|improve this question
3  
+1 good question. Can you please include the text of the ayah where it says he must love them equally? I believe it says he must treat them equally. Even the Prophet (saws) loved `Aisha (ra) more. –  Ansari Jul 18 '12 at 16:54
    
Related ayah: quran.com/4/3 –  yasar11732 Jul 18 '12 at 18:04
    
it usually depend on human psychology. Men are more polygamous that women. Science has proved that. This is an interesting topic (i think which is covered before on this site). I will try to answer it. –  Ashu Jul 18 '12 at 18:34
    
possible duplicate of islam.stackexchange.com/questions/76/… –  Ashu Jul 18 '12 at 18:36
    
When you're saying Islam doesn't consider how woman feel, you're really saying Allah doesn't consider. Could that be true? Islam is nothing but orders of Allah right? Allah knows us better than we know ourselves. –  Hasan Khan Jul 19 '12 at 14:39
show 2 more comments

6 Answers

I seem to have a problem with men marrying more than 1 wife.

Quran is only the religious book on the face of the earth that says Marry only one as mention in chapter 4:3

but it also mention in same chapter that Marry women of your choice two, three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not able to deal justly with them, then marry only one(4:3)

At another place it also mention that you are never able to fair and judge as between women (4:129)

Conclusion@

Therefore polygamy is not a rule but an exception, many peoples are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife.

Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:

  • ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory

  • ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged

  • ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed

  • ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged

  • ‘Haraam’ 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.

because naturally no woman would like to share a man, and sometimes.

By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio.

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, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females.

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.

World female population is more than male population I don't want to list down county wise, but its true.

Thus, considering above points normally women have two option 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 women.

I feel Islam doesn't consider how women feel.

And again in the Qur'an:

"O mankind! Verily we have created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other." (49:13)

share|improve this answer
    
Good explanations, very detailed! +1. –  Youssef G. Aug 23 '12 at 1:10
add comment

Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi, address this issue in his book "180 Questions Enquiries About Islam Volume One: The Practical Laws", Question 23.

Question 23. What is meant by ‘justice’ as mentioned in the conditions (to be considered) with respect to polygamy?

According to him,

Without any doubt, justice, with respect to affections and sentiments of the heart, is something that is beyond the control of man.

and that

.. What is obligatory upon a man is to maintain justice amongst the spouses with respect to issues that are practical and external in dimension.

and that

the condition for polygamy is the justice which is associated with acts and deeds.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Of course you can treat them equally. The great Prophet(pbuh) ensured he took it in terms to visit his wives rooms, spending a fair amount of time with each of them - unless of course honey was on offer ;)

treating them equally does not necessarily mean making love with them all the same number of times each, giving them the same amount of affection or even loving each of them the same - it means that you show respect to each of your wives for the duty she performs for you, regardless of whether her role is keeping the house, making babies or raising your children.

share|improve this answer
    
Any comment on honey thing? –  rowman Nov 28 '12 at 21:09
add comment

when he clearly cannot treat them equally

how you can ensure this? Quran says prophet is a good role model for you. if it was impossible Quran not said prophet is your model.

You might also want to see Woman and her Rights, chapter 11 Polygamy, which discusses this in depth.

share|improve this answer
2  
Plagiarism is not tolerated on this site (see here). If you quote text from another source, you must format it so it's clearly and unambiguously quoted text (i.e., use blockquote formatting) and not your own words. –  goldPseudo Jul 18 '12 at 20:59
2  
@goldPseudo I've further edited that; formatting something as a quote does not stop it being a copyright issue. –  Marc Gravell Jul 19 '12 at 7:07
    
Surat An-Nisā' ayah 129 states that one will never be able to be equal between wives. –  yasar11732 Aug 22 '12 at 17:38
add comment

If there's no reason to do it, then don't do it.

Islam allows everything unless it is forbidden. This includes polygamy. If there is a reason to do so, maybe for political reasons or to help the wives financially, then it is allowed.

But by default, it is discouraged to marry more than one.

And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. (Quran, an-Nisa' 4:3)

share|improve this answer
add comment

First let me refer you to this answer.

Next let me add some other points from Ahadeeth that you can find in [*] (I have added my points within the translations in a [ ]):

محمد بن يعقوب: عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن نوح بن شعيب، و محمد بن الحسن، قال: سأل ابن أبي العوجاء هشام بن الحكم، فقال: أليس الله حكيما؟ قال: بلى، هو أحكم الحاكمين. قال: فأخبرني عن قوله عز و جل: فَانْكِحُوا ما طابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّساءِ مَثْنى وَ ثُلاثَ وَ رُباعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَواحِدَةً أليس هذا فرض؟ قال: بلى. قال: فأخبرني عن قوله عز و جل: وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّساءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ «1» أي حكيم يتكلم بهذا؟ فلم يكن عنده جواب، فرحل إلى المدينة، إلى أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام)، فقال: «يا هشام في غير وقت حج و لا عمرة؟» قال: نعم جعلت فداك، لأمر أهمني، إن ابن أبي العوجاء سألني عن مسألة لم يكن عندي فيها شيء قال: «و ما هي»؟ قال: فأخبره بالقصة. فقال له أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): «أما قوله عز و جل: فَانْكِحُوا ما طابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّساءِ مَثْنى وَ ثُلاثَ وَ رُباعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَواحِدَةً يعني في النفقة، و أما قوله: وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّساءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوها كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ «2» يعني في المودة». قال: فلما قدم عليه هشام بهذا الجواب و أخبره، قال: و الله، ما هذا من عندك.

It is quoted from Hishaam ibn Al-Hakam that ibn abel-Evajaa' asked him: Isn't Allah wise? He answered yes he the wisest of all kings.

Then asked again: so inform me of His saying: "... Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one ...", isn't it obligation? He answered yes.

Then he asked again: so inform me of His saying: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether ...", does a Wise speaks like this? Hishaam has no answer for this question.

He thus went to Medina to the door of Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- and asked him for answer, Imam answered: His saying --so great that He is-- that "... Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one ..." is about the expense issue [again look at this answer for further explanation] and His saying --so great that He is-- "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air)." is about the love issue.

Then Hishaam went back to the questioner and answered him accordingly and he said in return: By Allah this answer is not yours.

و عنه، قال: حدثنا محمد بن الحسن (رحمه الله)، قال: حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الصفار، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن علي بن الحكم، عن محمد بن الفضيل، عن سعد الجلاب، عن أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام)، قال: «إن الله عز و جل لم يجعل الغيرة للنساء، إنما تغار المنكرات منهن، فأما المؤمنات فلا، إنما جعل الله عز و جل الغيرة للرجال، لأنه قد أحل الله عز و جل له أربعا و ما ملكت يمينه، و لم يجعل للمرأة إلا زوجها وحده، فإن بغت معه غيره كانت زانية».

From Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- it is quoted that he said Allah --so great and powerful that He is-- has not given Qeyrat (mettle or zealotry?) to the women, they have jealous instead which is evil, but this is not the same for believer men, Allah has given them Qeyrat, since Allah has allowed for him four free woman and (a captive) that his right hands possess, and has not permitted for women but only a single husband and if she passes this limit this would be adultery. [looking at this Hadeeth in a reverse engineering fashion one can say men have mettle and woman have jealous, so if the women hate to share their loves with other women that's a bad spiritual characteristic and should try to remedy it; the reasons why this is so might be many but one may take into account the very fact that the sexual desire in men is far stronger than that in healthy women, and this is a must since this desire is a very strong reason which satisfies a man with all the outdoor labors to have family and produce off-spring, and having off-spring is perhaps one ultimate goal for that although this would also help the wives and husband to improve toward Allah and this is an even more important goal for men having stronger desires, women should naturally have desire to please their husband and need not more than it]

العياشي: عن يونس بن عبد الرحمن، عمن أخبره، عن أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام)، قال: «في كل شيء إسراف إلا في النساء، قال الله: فَانْكِحُوا ما طابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّساءِ مَثْنى وَ ثُلاثَ وَ رُباعَ، و قال: و أحل الله ما ملكت أيمانكم».

From Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- is quoted that: "in everything is a limit beyond which it would be extravagance but in marriage with women. Allah has stated that: Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four and has stated that: or (a captive) that your right hands possess.

[*] البرهان فی تفسیر القرآن، جلد ۲، صفحات: ۱۸و۱۹


EDIT. Also note that a wife usually is almost completely dedicated to her husband until a child is born who will attracts much of her mother's time to himself/herself and the wife would be naturally less dedicated to her husband. The wife may need her husband less strongly (although not economically) especially if she has a good number of children to care about but the husbands usually still need and like their wife to care about them as before, this unbalance can be overcome when a man marries more that one woman, such that he still has a good share of caring of each of his wives and of course he is ordered to care his wives in return such that he must not leave any of them altogether alone as she was hanging in the air:

... فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ ...

... But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air) ... [4:129]

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by Community Jan 3 at 1:32

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.