Wisdom of Polygyny
Fatwa No: 86893

  • Fatwa Date:19-2-2004 - Thul-Hijjah 28, 1424
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Question

If a woman's husband marries again, she will spend nights alone; in fact if he marries 3 more times then she spends most of her life alone, while he gives his time to other women. His needs are satisfied every night, but the woman has no husband at home to satisfy her needs. Where is the justice in this and how can a woman tolerate such a thing. Do we have the right to say no to polygamy when it could drive us to sin, as our needs as women are not satisfied in such marriages?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Allah The Exalted, - The All-Knowing and The All-Wise - decreed polygyny for clear wisdoms and social interests. It is really crystal clear for those who were rightly-guided by Allah. Most non-Muslims agree to those wisdoms or at least some of them. Among these reasons is that the number of women is greater than that of men. If a man marries only one woman, a great many women be deprived of living a conjugal life and begetting children. Their sexual desire also would not be satisfied as Allah intended. So the spouseless women might resort to what Allah has prohibited and fall prey to criminals and sink into vice.

Another reason is that the man might not fulfill his sexual desire with one wife due to a great number of days in which the woman is in a state of menses, or discharge after childbirth or illness.

In addition if is important to increase the number of believers on earth and grant them inheritance of power and vicegerency on earth.

On the other hand, Allah The All-Knowing, The All-Aware, allowed polygyny under certain regulations and conditions to guarantee that the wisdom behind it and its benefits be realized.

He Says: {…but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (slaves) that your right hands possess….}[4:3]. This verse expresses clearly Allah's purpose concerning polygyny. Marrying more than one - two, three or four - is subject to equity in man's dealing with his wives as to expenditure, accommodation, food, clothing and kind treatment. If a man feels that he will fail to observe such equity, then he is not allowed to practise this choice. His love for one wife should not make him neglect or wrong the other. The last two words in the afore mentioned verse 'only one' mean that you are enjoined by Allah to marry only one wife if you fear perpetrating inequity against another wife or wives. When Allah has decreed polygyny, it is not fitting for the questioner to object to or deny this matter even though she cannot discern the magnificent wisdom and great benefits of it. But how she denies that while its advantages are clear to every person. Whatever misconceptions she had about polygyny should be cleared up by the fact that it's Allah who decreed it. And He Knows best what He has created. He Knows best the needs of both men and women and the benefits and wisdom behind polygyny. It is sufficient for a Muslim to surrender to and accept what Allah has allowed for them. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {"But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad s.a.w.) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission."}[4:65]. He also Says {Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves), All-Aware (of everything)}[67:14].

It is also said that a husband is allowed to meet privately with his wives everyday and look after their affairs and fulfill their needs. It is a Prophetic tradition. Ayisha (Radiya Allahu Anha) said: "The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) used to visit all his wives everyday, coming nearer each one and touching them without having sex with them- until he reached the one who had her turn that night and passed the night with her." [Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawood]

So, how could you say that the wife lives most of the time alone. As for sexual desire, it will be satisfied during her turn because man's sexual desire is stronger than that of a woman, so he is allowed to marry up to four women but a woman must have only one husband at a time.

Allah knows best.

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