Polygyny – The Misunderstood Blessing

Salam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuhu. Asyhadu anla ilaaha Illallah, wa asyhadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah. Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem.

I have been working on this blog post for days now. So many questions about polygyny from non-muslim to me on my blog, I didn’t post mostly, you will not believe the words they are using. For non-muslims, they will ask how could muslims still think it is not an oppression. For muslimas, they will say they agree but only such and such conditions are fulfilled (the point is, they agree as long as it doesn’t happen to them). I came to know that collecting insights from woman is only making my writing process becomes more difficult. Well, some are very useful, some are only make me sigh. 😀 I still feel that this is not fair if this topic is written by me, a single woman. The married women will say, “You just don’t understand what it feels!”. No, I don’t understand how it feels (yet), but the questions are asked at me, so I will answer the best way possible, biiznillahi taala.

Sisters, where do the permission of polygyny comes from? Everybody knows that it comes from the Qur’an. Qur’an, as we come to know from many sources is the only holy book that allows ‘limited polygyny’. 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.

“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 hadscores 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 another verse,

“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women….” [Surah Nisa : 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 actions:
• Fard, compulsory or obligatory
• Mustahab, recommended or encouraged
• Mubah, permissible or allowed
• Makruh, not recommended or discouraged
• Haraam, 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. But, as we all must be honest to ourselves, it is allowed for men to marry up to 4 wives. You can’t say it’s the other way around.

An ironic picture I found in google. Seriously, these women… *sigh*

Many women posted in my inbox on how she will allow her husband to marry more. Some of the reasons I will mention here.
• The next wives must be very ugly, spesifically she said : old, fat, black. Astaghfirullah, seriously, if you are fat and black you must not near this kind of woman because she thinks you’re very ugly and she will look down upon you. SubhanAllah.
• The man can marry with his wives permission. Seriously, where does she get the source? There is no such thing mentioned in Qur’an and Sunnah about this. Alhamdulillah, men can discuss with his recent wife about how they both will deal with the condition after polygyny, etc, but permission? Astaghfirullah, this woman is making new issues (bid’ah)
• The next wives must be rich. Alhamdulillah, men are allowed to marry women for their money, but to say that this is a must?
• The recent wife MUST be sick, or not able to have children, etc. This is pretty reasonable, but still I haven’t found anything to support this on Qur’an and Hadith.

This is the words of Allah we are talking about. The Wise, The Loving, The Just, free from all errors and mistakes. Even the genious of all mankind doesn’t know everything. How can we possibly have bad thoughts over Allah’s subhana wa taala Wisdom? Do we actually wanna do that? Making logic against Allah’s subhana wa taala Wisdom, do we actually wanna do that? This is Allah we are talking about. Allah azza wa jalla. There is nothing worth keeping if He asks for it, there is nothing more logical than His Wisdom.

And it is not ever for a faithful man or a faithful woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided an affair that there is any choice for them in their affair, and who disobeys Allah and His Messenger, so he is indeed wandering far astray. [Al Ahzab : 36]

Maybe for non-muslims(or even muslim) woman, they will look for ways to make polygyny looks acceptable. But seriously, if you want some sweet sugarcoated entertaining from my explanation, just go buy a donut and read this post all over again. Because I am going to say it the way it is, polygyny is allowed. For those of you who decides to live in polygynious marriage, go make the best of it. My cousin, she said, “Polygyny is like one of the easiest ways for women to get into el janna, it’s like, we don’t need to do anything!!” Subhanallah..

Not everyone will be happy for my answer to JCK, but hay, another question we need to answer ourselves. What do we live for? Do we wanna live for marriage? Or for Allah subhana wa taala? And seriously, do you really think Allah subhana wa taala would allow polygyny if it brings harm to women? You think Allah Azza wa Jalla who loves us more than our parents will do us harm? Think about it.

Happiness is a choice.
Nobody can guarantee that you will only be happy in monogamous marriage. Allah subhana wa taala says it is allowed to for men to marry more than one woman. Some will, some won’t, so what?
Allah’s subhana wa taala Wisdom is to be practised, not to be questioned. Wallahu alam bi shawab.

Looking forward for your response. 😀
  1. #1 by Amal on April 20, 2012 - 9:22 pm

    Good grief, what an idiot you are. Polygyny WAS a CONDITIONAL PERMISSION, not a right. It has NO PLACE in today’s society. Stupid converts are the only ones who want to do it, because their people have not yet had time to realize, as the rest of us have, that polygyny causes far more problems than it ever solved.

    • #2 by rialive on April 27, 2012 - 8:58 am

      Well, I can see that you are thinking that you are more knowledgeable than all the scholars in the whole planet.
      Thank you very much for saying I am an idiot. May Allah forbid you from getting that calling from everyone else.
      Also thanks for visiting, come again =)

  2. #3 by Helene on April 12, 2011 - 9:13 pm

    I really liked Dorya’s question:

    “I need explanation, is there really no room for logic in religion?”

    Most Clerics fear logic. At best, they believe logic will distance the faithful from God. At worst, they believe logic will diminish their powers to influence others. These failures are their loss. Too bad.

    • #4 by rialive on April 12, 2011 - 9:46 pm

      Hi, Helene
      Thank you so much for visiting.
      I like Dorya’s question, too. That’s why I’m going to answer on the next post about polygyny.
      Of course there is room for logic, in fact that’s the whole religion is all about.

      I hope I will see you around again 😀

  3. #5 by Halima on April 3, 2011 - 4:57 am

    Salamz again-
    The only other thing that I would like to add is: Although polygamy is an undeniable part of Islam, there is no compulsion on a man to practice it or for a woman to accept it for herself. I really dislike it when muslimas are made to feel that they are denying their religion or sinning because they don’t want a second wife in their marriage. Like wearing the niqab- it’s part of Islam and permissible, but not fard. So we wouldn’t tell a sister “You’ve got to wear niqab”- no! It’s for some people but not for others. And there’s nothing wrong with that, inshallah.

  4. #6 by Halima on April 2, 2011 - 8:10 am

    Asalaamu aleikum_

    Well, as you say, polygamy is permissible in Islam, but it’s not obligatory. I don’t have to practice polygamy to be a muslim, but I do need to make salat, pay zakat, fast in Ramadan, etc, wear hijab, etc… all of which ARE obligatory and more central to our deen.
    Of course, as a Muslima, I have to admit that polygamy is a part of Islam, and I can’t deny that. So, I have to allow that others may choose to be in a polygamous marriage, and that’s ok- but I do not have to accept it for myself. That’s All!

    • #7 by rialive on April 2, 2011 - 8:42 am

      Wa alaikum salam warahmatullah, sister Halima 🙂
      Exactly, that’s what I meant. The fact that we chose not to practise it doesn’t make it wrong. But making movement or discussion against it, THAT is wrong.


  5. #8 by Wendy (US) on April 1, 2011 - 11:52 am

    As always, an insightful post. You’re saying that though many women may not like it, if they are to follow Islam, they must accept plural marriage. This is like the religion I was raised in, in which some participants are trying to change what is written in the holy book to “modernize” the religion, to make it more popular. But, if it was laid down all that time ago that it is not to be, then we are not to change it, unless God or another prophet says it, right? We can’t just take out parts of the religion that we don’t like and still say we’re following it.

    • #9 by rialive on April 1, 2011 - 12:44 pm

      Exactly, Wendy..
      We have to accept that it is allowed, doesn’t mean we HAVE TO practice it. But as Shaikh Moutasem said, marriage is not only abt sex and intimacy..
      I still don’t understand the polygyny in Christianity, I think I have to read more. Thanks for your insights Wendy ..


  6. #10 by rialive on March 31, 2011 - 8:11 pm

    @ Little Auntie : I will surely look forward to that. I’m sure you’re gonna make it looootz more better than I did.

    @ Ayesha : I hope so too, sister. thanks for dropping by, please keep supporting 😀

  7. #11 by Little Auntie on March 31, 2011 - 6:56 pm

    Ria, this is a great post. I love how you make no excuses and just say it as it is. We actually have been asked to answer this question, ourselves- we’re going to attempt to highlight benefits that polygny gives though, (because the sister is having problems understanding that), but I really do like this post ma’shaAllah.

  8. #12 by Ayesha Haroon on March 31, 2011 - 5:25 pm

    Amazingg sister Ria, Masha’Allah! 🙂 Really appreciate it. Hope it helps in removing misunderstandings in Muslims =) Jazaka’allah ul Khayrn! ❤

  9. #13 by Moutasem on March 31, 2011 - 12:47 am

    Just one more thought, when people express their opinion about something; it is rather a description of who they are. Those who think polygyny is about intimacy and sex; it is just who they are and it shows their brains are not in their heads. Marriage in Islam is first and foremost about resposibility and mutual care. Intimacy is a small portion of marital life; there is alot emotional support, financial care, family time, childcare and upbringing, social issues related to marriage. when A Muslim male and female decide to get into polygyny, they know what it is all about. The fact there are some negligent Muslims out there who do the wrong thing has nothing to do with what Islam really teaches.

    • #14 by rialive on March 31, 2011 - 10:39 am

      Thank you for the insights, brother Moutasem. MashaAllah. It explains really clearly about the most important aspects of marriage with such a few words.

      I do think when people chose not to do some things permissible by Allah, just dont it. But looking for reasons that sound logic to prove that something permissible is not actually ‘halal’ is very wrong.

      Jazakallahu khair, Bro..

  10. #15 by Moutasem on March 31, 2011 - 12:40 am

    Thank you sister Ria for nicely expressing your thoughts on this subject.
    Women who don’t feel they can live with polygeny why don’t they do just that? What is the hype for. There are women out there who see alot of good things in it and it does work fine for them and they can not only handle it but are also happy about it. No one has the right to choose for them.
    I say just out of courtesy, poeple should choose their words. They can express the fact they feel they can’t live with it and show some respect to people who think otherwise. Don’t talk in absolute terms. As humans we can only see things from our perspective and the problem with many is they think they can decide for the whole world.

  11. #16 by Viera on March 30, 2011 - 3:12 pm

    Good post, I can’t wait for the answers for the questions on the comments.

    • #17 by rialive on March 30, 2011 - 3:41 pm

      Have patience, inshaAllah as soon as possible 😀

  12. #18 by Dorya on March 30, 2011 - 11:44 am

    I need explanation, is there really no room for logic in religion?
    It is just impossible for a woman to be happy by sharing her husband with another woman.
    And if Hindu and Christian now limit the mariage into monogamist? Why not islam?
    please respond, thx

    • #19 by rialive on March 30, 2011 - 12:02 pm

      The answer to this question needs a post for it’s own.
      I will write it as soon as possible.
      But if I may ask, what is your religious view, Dorya?
      I am a muslim by the way 🙂

  13. #20 by Ully on March 30, 2011 - 10:57 am

    I do agree with your writing,but personally,i would prefer monogamy 😀 (like u said many woman agree as long as its not happening to them xixixi)
    But my hubby said for a husband its just a matter of being able to be fair to the wives,and nobody will do this as good as Rasulullah SAW,so why bother.. I hope my hubby will keep this thought for the rest of his life ..

    • #21 by rialive on March 30, 2011 - 11:10 am

      As my cousin said (well, you are my cousin, i mean another cousin from dad’s side, hehehe).
      The patience is the jihad for woman, to get rid of jealousy, etc. Because that’s our specialty, to deal with emotions. Anyway, she is very wise..
      But as a cousin, I wish for you all the best in the world and after, amin..

  14. #22 by rialive on March 30, 2011 - 10:43 am

    @ Jessica : 1st of all, let me ask, do you believe in God? What is exactly your religious view?

    @ Miki : and to be able to manage with it, i hope you will be more religiously attached by Islam and everything in it, Mike. May Allah help you 🙂

    @ Kak Mona : May Allah guide us all 🙂

    @ Dorya : Thanks for stopping by, and what explanation you need exactly? Can you please be spesific?

  15. #23 by Dorya on March 30, 2011 - 10:32 am

    My friend shared this on facebook.
    I think your views are interesting but I need more explanation.

  16. #24 by mona on March 30, 2011 - 10:28 am

    Salamu’alaikum dear,
    I personally hope my husband will not do poligamy. But if he decides to, may Allah help me.

    As always, I admire your thoughts, darling. Love you!

  17. #25 by miki on March 30, 2011 - 10:25 am

    I surely want to have 4 wives. It is awesome!

  18. #26 by jck on March 30, 2011 - 10:24 am

    How do you know that Koran was written by god?
    And why do you think god would need woman to sacrifece anything?
    and why there must be religion? cant we just do good? i really dont get it.
    why would we have to sacrifice anything to god?
    i followed your instruction by asking to muslim around me but they are too excited on making me a muslim as well but not explaining to me very well.

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