Polygamy in Islamic Law
Muhammad and Polygamy
Islamic Defense of Muhammad's Marriages
Apologists will attempt to justify his behaviour by claiming he married many of his wives due to them being war widows who were left with nothing and needed to be taken care of. While this may sound plausible, you need only look to actual Islamic sources to discover that this is false.
Many of his wives were not poor war widows. In fact, one of his wives (Muhammad's cousin, Zainab bint Jash) was originally the wife of his step-son Zaid bin Haritha. As was the case with Safiyah bint Huyayy, many of his marriages were clearly based on lust, not compassion. This is nowhere more evident than in his numerous divorces, which numbered six in total. For example; he divorced ‘Amrah bint Yazid on their wedding night, due to her suffering from leprosy. He also divorced a women named Ghaziyyah bint Jabir when he realised that she was 'old'. To make matters worse, he, rather hypocritically, refused to allow Ali bin Abu Talib (the husband of his daughter Fatima) to take even a second wife because "what hurts her, hurts me." He knew that polygamy hurt women, yet through his example he permitted it for billions of other Muslim men.
(For a detailed list of women in Muhammad's life, click here)
Polygamy Permitted in Islam
Regardless of it not being acceptable for the husband of Muhammad's daughter, Islam allows a man to marry up to four wives at any one time:
(For a detailed explanation of what "justice" means in this verse, click here)
Islam also does not require that the man have the permission of his first wife before marrying a second:
FatwaIslam, Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts: Fatawa Islamiyah Darussalam Vol: 5 No. 353
Islamic Defense of Polygamy
Muslims claim that the reason why Allah allowed men to marry four wives is that men are killed in battle, thus resulting in women being in more numbers more than men. They also claim that the practice of polygamy curbs adultery, thus leading to more happier marriages and less divorces. Here are some points that deal with Islam's defense of polygamy.
World Population shows a surplus of men
Here's a breakdown of the world population according to CIA Statistics
- World Population age group 15-64 years: 65.2% (male 2,152,066,888/female 2,100,334,722)
This means there are 51,732,100 extra males in the world at marriageable age. Even the worst war in history did not kill off enough males to make polygamy justified. In WW2, 24 million "military" died, leaving still another 26 million spare men.
- GENERAL POPULATION: women and men casualties: 1,986,370,000 (probably mostly women)
- Military casualties: 24,456,700
Allah creates more males than females
The ratio of births is 105 males to 100 females. So, if Allah intends the polygamous marriages for war, then why is Allah putting so many extra males in the world that even the worst war in history didn't unbalance the other way?
Men are better off married
Using the same Islamic reasoning, it should be that some women marry an extra man. Science has even proven that single men suffer more health and emotional problems than do single women. Men find it hard to live without a woman. (reference coming soon)
Men die younger and leave more females in old age
Men also die younger, and if polygamy was an institution that really did have women's best interests in mind, then when a man with 4 wives dies, he leaves 4 elderly single women. This means now there are even more females than before, i.e. because males have died off; 65 years and over: 7.4% (male 213,160,216/female 270,146,721) but how many men would take on a 70 year old as an extra wife or two?
Male domination is bad all round
The latest UNICEF study titled The State of the World's Children - 2007 is a research study of women's oppression and overall quality of life of the family. It can be seen from this report that Islamic countries are faring the worst.
Polygamy often leads to divorce
Saudi Arabia has the second-highest divorce-rate in the world, and according to Abdullah Al-Fawzan, a professor and sociologist at King Saud University in Riyadh, Polygamy is responsible for up to 55 percent of divorces. He added that the loss of trust, sincerity, compassion and cooperation were also factors in the failure of marriages.
Another Muslim Perpective Scrutinized
Argumentum Ad hominem "tu quoque" logical fallacy
Yes, 12 weeks out of the year is such a looooooong time. Especially when those weeks are spread out over the entire course of a year. How can men handle the wait? Also, it is a known biological fact that women who live together will have synchronous menstrual cycles - meaning that the man will still have that week every month where he can't have sex, because all of his wives will be menstruating.
And that means old men should continue having children although they might die the next day of old age and be unable to support their families any longer?
And for all the woman's hard work and suffering, her husband should be allowed to sleep with other women because he can't handle the post-natal six-week wait.
So, populating the earth with as many children as possible is more important than the happiness of the wife and the health of the marriage.
This statement is illogical and also scientifically inaccurate.
Not anymore thanks to DNA testing! Paternal testing in the United States costs a few hundred dollars. This is also only relevant if you are obsessed with paternity.
In other words, since the Quran commands that women be dependent on men, then men should be allowed to have multiple sex partners because they are obligated to maintain women.
Two paychecks is a disadvantage? Two men to mow the lawn is a disadvantage?
Since adoption is clearly not an option, and a woman's breeding abilities are more important than anything else.
Allah is responsible for the nature of man...and he made men incapable of monogamy? This argument clearly insults men.
Well guess what? A Muslim man does not need the agreement of his first wife to take a second wife.
This statement is so completely illogical and ridiculous that we're simply going to move on to the next one...
They forgot this quote: [Quran 4:129] Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. Allah said that men will not be able to deal equally with multiple wives...but he still didn't ban polygamy.
In other words, if you can't understand it...shut your brain off. This Muslim's argument is more offensive to men than it is to women.
- Polygamy - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Polygamy
- Total Population by Gender and Gender ratio, by Country - UN Statistics Division population 2009 (est.)
- Monogamy Reduces Major Social Problems of Polygamist Cultures - University of British Columbia, ScienceDaily, January 24, 2012
- al-Tabari vol.9 p.126-127
- "....Layla’s people said, "’What a bad thing you have done! You are a self-respecting woman, but the Prophet is a womanizer. Seek an annulment from him.’ She went back to the Prophet and asked him to revoke the marriage and he complied with [her request]...." - al Tabari vol.9 p.139
- Click here for details on Muhammad's divorces
- al-Tabari vol.39 p.188
- Women in Islam, By Anne Sofie Roald - Page 221 [Quoted: Najla Hamadeh, Page 335-6]
- al-Tabari vol.9 p.139
- Sahih Bukhari 7:62:157
- Global Population Statistics - CIA.gov
- WW2 Casualties - Wikipedia.org
- The State of the World's Children - 2007- PDF Report from UNICEF, hosted on BBC.com
- Somayya Jabarti - Alarming Divorce Rate ‘Must Be Addressed Urgently’ - Saudi Affairs,