Sunday, September 28, 2008


Describe this post : 

If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than one husband?

A lot of people, including some Muslims, question the logic of allowing Muslim men to have more than one spouse while denying the same ‘right’ to women.

Let me first state emphatically, that the foundation of an Islamic society is justice and equity. Allah has created men and women as equal, but with different capabilities and different responsibilities.

Men and women are different, physiologically and psychologically. Their roles and responsibilities are different. Men and women are equal in Islam, but not identical.

Surah Nisa’ (means women) Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with whom
Muslim men can not marry.

“And marry not those women whom your fathers married, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! it was ever lewdness and abomination, and an evil way. (22) Forbidden unto you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father's sisters, and your mother's sisters, and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom ye have gone in - but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) - and the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you) that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. (23) And all married women (are forbidden? unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery .And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise. (24)

[Al-Qur’an 4:22 till 4:24]

It is further mentioned in Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verse 24:

Also (prohibited are) women already married

[Al-Qur’an 4:24]

The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is prohibited in Islam:

1. If a man has more than one wife, the parents of the children born of such marriages can easily be identified. The father as well as the mother can easily be identified. In case of a woman marrying more than one husband, only the mother of the children born of such marriages will be identified and not the father. Islam gives tremendous importance to the identification of parents, mother and father. Psychologists tell us that children who do not know their parents, especially their father undergo severe mental trauma and disturbances. Often they have an unhappy childhood. It is for this reason that the children of prostitutes do not have a healthy childhood.
If a child born of such wedlock is admitted in school, and when the mother is asked the name of the father, she would have to give two or more names!

I am aware that recent advances in science have made it possible for both the mother and father to be identified with the help of genetic testing. Thus this point which was applicable for the past may not be applicable for the present.

2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.

3. Biologically, it is easier for a man to perform his duties as a husband despite
having several wives. A woman, in a similar position, having several
husbands, will not find it possible to perform her duties as a wife. A woman
undergoes several psychological and behavioral changes due to different
phases of the menstrual cycle.

4. A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual
partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or
sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her
husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case
in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital

The above reasons are those that one can easily identify. There are probably many more reasons why Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has prohibited polyandry.

P.S.: From "Answers to non-Muslims, Common questions about Islam" Authored by Dr.Zakir Abdul-Karim Naik.

For any further inquiries please leave your comment...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Prophet Muhammad's wives

Describe this post : 
So many -who are not Muslims- are wondering:
Why prophet Muhammad married 9 wives?
Was it lust? was he sex addict?
Is he fulfilling an oppressed desire of women because he married a woman who is 20 years older than him when he was only 25 years old?

I'll try to present the answer within the following lines.

Prophet Muhammad was not the first prophet to have more than one wife:

Prophets who had more than one wife are as mentioned in Bible and Torah:
(I'm not sure of the wives name)

  1. Prophet Abraham: 3 wives (Sarah, Hagar, Caesura).
  2. Prophet Jacob: 4 wives (Lea, Zelda, Rachael, Palma).
  3. Prophet Moses: 4 wives (Safire, Gibshia, bint Kini, bint Hobab).
  4. Prophet David: 9 wives.
  5. Prophet Solomon: 700 wives and 300 slaves.
So multiple wives of prophets was not new or invented by prophet Muhammad…


Clearing a common misunderstanding:

  • Prophet Muhammad PBUH ... was not married to 9 wives at the same time as everyone may think... but he married 9 times, he never had 9 wives at the same time.

  • He never married while his first wife was alive, who died when he was 50 years old, when all lust and desire have faded.
  • Most of the women he married were over 50 years old and sometimes older than him, widows and have children... so, if he is marrying for sex or lust, I believe he would have married younger and virgin women, all he had to do is ask, and all his companions will offer him their daughters, as this is considered an honor for them.

The prophet's wives: A closer look:

He married each of his wives for a reason.
I will try to list most of his wives as follows:

1. Lady Khadeeja:

  • His first wife.
  • was a widow.
  • was 40 and he was 25 when they got married.
  • was 65 and he was 50 when she died.
  • lived together for 25 years.
  • Never married again when she was alive.
  • The year she died called the Sorrow year ... because he loved her so much.

2. Lady Sawda:

  • Was a widow.
  • Was 55 and he was 50 when they got married.
  • She and her late husband ran away from their Folks after they became Muslims … so after her husband died she couldn’t go back to them … and she had no one to support her after him.
  • People used to look down at widow women at these days… so he married her to break the rule.

3. Lady Aaisha:

  • Her age is not known for sure.
  • Her father was his best friend Abu-Bakkr …
  • Loved her the most.
  • Was the only one who was virgin when they got married.
  • Was alive for 48 years after the death of the prophet.
  • Was the main reference for everyone, including her father and the prophet’s companions, in all religion’s matters after the death of the prophet PBUH … 

4. Lady Hafsah:

  • Her father was Omar-bin-AlKahttab … the prophet's best friend after Abu-Bakkr …
  • Was a widow.
  • So he married her because of her father … who gave a lot to Islam .. to honor him.

5. Lady Zienab bint Khouzaymah:

  • Was 60 and he was 55 when they got married.
  • Was a widow… and she used to help the wounded.
  • When her husband died she had no one to help her or support her … so the prophet married her to give her shelter.
  • Died two years after marrying the prophet.

6. Lady Om-Salamh:

  • Was 55 and he was over 50 when they got married.
  • Was a widow with 4 orphans... 2 boys and 2 girls.
  • When the prophet knew about her he sent to her asking her to marry him … she refused and she said “I’m old and I’m a mother of orphans” … so he send to her telling her “I don’t care for your age and your children are mine”… so she accepted and they got married…
  • He loved her children more than their true father.
7. Lady Zienab bint Gahsh:
  • Was the prophet’s cousin … grew up in his house till he married her to Zayd (his manumitted slave).
  • Before adoption was forbidden the prophet adopted one of his slaves whom he freed and called him “Zayd bin(son of) Muhammad” … but when adoption was prevented by verses that was sent to the prophet … people still consider Zayd the son of Muhammad … and the father doesn’t marry a woman who one day was the wife of his son and vice versa …
  • So when Zayd married Zienab … she used to look down to him and tell him rough words because he used to be a slave … and he wanted to divorce her but the prophet asked him not to … but one day she talked very rough to him that he divorced her…
  • So God sent some verses in the Quran telling prophet Muhammad PBUH that he must marry her to make people believe that he is not Zayd’s father
  • The verses are: (33:37)
“And (remember) when you said to him (zayd bin Harithah ; the freed-slave of the Prophet) on whom Allah has bestowed Grace (by guiding him to Islam) and you (O Muhammad too) have done favour (by manumitting him) "Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allah." But you did hide in yourself (i.e. what Allah has already made known to you that He will give her to you in marriage) that which Allah will make manifest, you did fear the people (i.e., Muhammad married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave) whereas Allah had a better right that you should fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them). And Allah's Command must be fulfilled.”
So finally as you could see that the prophet:
  1. Didn't marry for lust: he was over 50 when he married for the second time, what kind of lust that can happen suddenly after 50.
  2. Didn't marry for sex: most of the women he married were over 50 and some of them were even older than he was, and had children.
  3. Never was married to 9 wives at the same time: instead, he was married 9 different times.


Describe this post : 

Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam?

The answer for this question is presented in 8 sections, which are:

  1. Definition of Polygamy.
  2. Qur'an is the only religion that says 'marry only one'.
  3. Qur'an permits limited Polygyny.
  4. Average life span of females is more than of males.
  5. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide.
  6. World female population is more than male population.
  7. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical.
  8. Marring a married man preferable to becoming 'public property'.

1. Definition of 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.

Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than

one wife?

2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says, “marry only one”.

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 as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives.

In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it.

The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

(*Interesting Note:- As per the 1975 census of India Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims. The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims.

According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife.

Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims.

Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed.

It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife.

At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures).

Let us now analyze why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

3. Qur’an permits limited polygyny

As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an:

“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.”

[Al-Qur’an 4:3]

Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper 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.

In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says:

“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women....”

[Al-Qur’an 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.

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

(i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory

(ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged

(iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed

(iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged

(v) ‘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.

4. Average life span of females is more than that of males

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.

5. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide

India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighboring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population.

The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females.

If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

6. World female population is more than male population

In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites.

The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women.

Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males.

Germany has five million more females as compared to males.

Russia has nine million more females than males.

God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

7. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical

Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays).

There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.

Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA.

The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes 'public property'. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first.

Most women would not like to share their husband with other women. But in

Islam when the situation deems it really necessary, Muslim women in due faith could bear a small personal loss to prevent a greater loss of letting other Muslim sisters becoming 'public properties'.

8. Marring a married man preferable to becoming 'public property'

In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life.

The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honorable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life.

Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become 'public property'.

Islam prefers giving women the honorable 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.

P.S.: From "Answers to non-Muslims, Common questions about Islam" Authored by Dr.Zakir Abdul-Karim Naik.

For any further inquiries please leave your comment...