• Dr. Daa’iyah Muhammad Farooq

Polygamy Discouraged Without Abolishment 4:3


If you are afraid and anticipate an inconvenience or discomfort that may cause you to not act justly towards those women who have lost their fathers and have not reached maturity, that is under your control, because you do not offer them their dowry, then marry what seems agreeable and a proper fitting for you of the women: two, or three, or four. But if you dread and expect unpleasantry that will cause you to not be just amongst them then be satisfied with one, or what is nearer to you from the one under your guardianship. That is, be satisfied with that which has been made lawful for you of the wives or female orphans that your right hand possesses. One is more appropriate for you in the avoidance of omitting justice by taking out an increase causing oppression and destruction on the women.

The external disparities that exist in today’s society create situations that disrupt family life and leave an abundance of women and children unprotected with limited natural needs and susceptible to suffering morally, economically and socially.

Polygamy, the marital relationship with more than one wife, is a provision that seeks to remedy the social and economic protection for female orphans and unmarried women with children as the most effective preservation of morality and chastity. Prior to the injunction of restrictions placed on polygamy, during the time of Prophet Muhammad, men married as many women as they wanted and then subjected them to injustice and oppression.

Restricted polygamy checked unrestricted polygamy when Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was guided by G-d to reduce the number of wives a man could have to a maximum of four with strict conditions. To just say that you can have more than one wife and not teach the people what those strict conditions are is wrong. The main thing for us to realize is that no man can take on a second wife without the permission of the first wife, and he can't take a third without the permission of the first and the second. The responsibility of the male to provide financially and possess the capacity to treat them equitably are very significant criteria in minimizing unnecessary hardships and inclining towards righteousness among them.

Permission to have more than one wife is an exception and not a rule or an obligation on the men. Considerable restrictions and tough conditions of equality on the male were intended to make taking more than one wife almost impossible and to discourage the practice of polygamy without the abolition of it. In revealed scripture, we are told that it is not within your power to maintain perfect balance between wives, even though you are so eager”.

The protection of the rights of women and orphans in today’s society must be revisited and addressed within the legal realm to eliminate situations in which women and children suffer economically and socially from the negative effects of divorce, abandonment and or unprecedented situations. These legal obligations placed on the family structure and interventions from legal institutions should reduce the abundance of unmarried women and female orphans from subjecting themselves to immoral acts and from the pressure of succumbing to the oppression and destruction that can be experienced in an unbalanced polygamous relationship.

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