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.
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:
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
According to Somayya Jabarti of Arab News, Saudi Arabia has the second-highest divorce-rate in the world. Abdullah Al-Fawzan, a professor and sociologist at King Saud University in Riyadh, states that 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. The Maldives, an Islamic country with a 100% Muslim population, also has the highest divorce rate in the world, with 10.97 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants per year.
- 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
- 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’ - Arab News, October 24, 2003
- The Maldives is the only country after Saudi Arabia that claims to have a 100 percent Muslim population. As per its constitution, only a Muslim can be a citizen of the country. Propagating any faith other than Islam, importing/publicly carrying literature that contradicts Islam or translation into the Dhivehi language of such books and writings, displaying in public any symbols or slogans belonging to any religion other than Islam, or creating interest in such articles are all against the law and are punishable with imprisonment, fines or banishment.
- Highest divorce rate - Guinness World Records, accessed January 5, 2013