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Ramadan 2008 (The Blessed Month)


What is 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; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited.

Polygyny in Islam and other Religions?

The 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 other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many times as he wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Why does Islam allow limited Polygyny?

“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.” (Soorah Nisa4:3)

Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no limit for polygyny and many men had lots of wives, some even had hundreds. Islam put a limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them otherwise only one. Notice from the above verse fairness is a condition to be met before marrying more than one woman.

In the same chapter Allah (S.W.T) says “Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women....” (Surah Nisa 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 have more than one wife.

The Facts

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 paediatric 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. The problem is further compounded because not every man and woman is heterosexual, the rapid increase of homosexuality in the world means even fewer chances for a woman to find a husband.

Un-Islamic Relationships

These simple facts show women out number men. Even if every male on earth married one woman, there still would be millions of females without husbands. What will happen to them?

Suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women. The only two options remaining for her would be that she either marries a man who already has a wife or resorts to unlawful relationships (such as boyfriend/ girlfriend relationship, mistresses, prostitution etc) in order to fulfil her sexual desires.

There is no other option. All those who are modest will go for the first option. Most women would not like to share their husband with other women. But in Islam if the situation becomes necessary, Muslim women due to faith would bear a small personal loss to prevent a greater loss of becoming a sinner and having a bad name in society.