Polygamy: Why is it permitted?

Q458 :Why has polygamy been allowed in Islam? What is the punishment for illegal contact between a man and a woman?

A458 : Polygamy has been permitted in Islam as a solution to social problems that may not have any other satisfactory solution. Take, for example, the case of a woman who has a chronic illness which makes her unable to satisfy her husband's needs. Rather than divorce her, her husband is allowed to have a second wife. Other examples can be given in which marriage with a second wife provides a better solution to a problem than any other alternative. There is an important condition for a second or third marriage, namely that the husband should treat his wives with absolute fairness and equality. If he feels that he may not be able to do that, then he must not take a second wife. Punishment for fornication [or intercourse between unmarried persons] is flogging in public with 100 lashes. Punishment for adultery [or intercourse between the married persons] is stoning to death. However, these punishments cannot be enforced unless proof is obtained either through freely given confession, [which, incidentally, may be retracted] or through the testimony of four men who testify under oath to have seen the offense being committed. Otherwise, punishment is left to Allah to inflict on the day of judgment, or in this life as He pleases. It is his prerogative to inflict punishment or to forgive the offender.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )