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Islam for non-Muslims
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Tariq
 
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Quote Tariq Replybullet Topic: 1st Question asked about islam
    Posted: 09 May 2008 at 1:59pm

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

Answer:

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

4
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 analyse 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 neighbouring 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 nto like to share their husband with other women. But in
Islam when the situation deems it really neccessary 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 honourable, 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 honourable 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.

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Quote believer Replybullet Posted: 12 May 2008 at 5:53pm
GOD's first intentions:  man didn't listen.
 
Genesis 2
 
 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
John 3
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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Quote honeto Replybullet Posted: 16 May 2008 at 6:42pm
believer,
Tariq has touched on a subject that is very important when it comes to understanding Islam. It is used to scare people specially woman here in the west if they are getting close to a Muslim man in relationship. " be careful, he is Muslim, they have many wives".
Tariq has done a good job.
 
Anyway that quote of yours does not say anything about having one or more wives. I can tell you that it was "a nothing out of ordinary practice among the O/T prophets and their people" as I have found proof of such in my own study of the Bible.
I will give some quotes from the Bible that prove my claim. I find the followiing quote to be very convincing that having more than one wife was a very ordinary practice then, and I find no place where its forbidden or even restricted to a certain number. And remember these were God's guided prophets who are quoted here.
1) Exodus 21:1 "These are the laws you are to set before them:........
10 If he (a man) marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.
That is exactly in line with the Islamic teachings.
And here are only some of the prophets and their many wives as recorded in the Bible. Remember that Christians honor them as well as name their kids after them (except those who were taken from the maidservant):
Genesis 35: 22.......Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: 23 the sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24 the sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin; 25 the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant, were Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant, were Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Padan Aram.
So, Jacob here is recorded to have Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, Zilpah.
So believer if we count, that is four wives!!!!
In Genesis 36:
1 Now this is the genealogy of Esau, who is Edom. 2 Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite; Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3 and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. 4 Now Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel. 5 And Aholibamah bore Jeush, Jaalam, and Korah. These were the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.
I see three wives of Esau mentioned here. There are many many more examples, Abraham, David, Solomon and so on that did have many wives. And remember these were man of God, practiced what God approved and  taught them to preach and practice.
Hasan 


Edited by honeto - 16 May 2008 at 6:55pm
39:64 Proclaim: Is it some one other than God that you order me to worship, O you ignorant ones?"
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 16 May 2008 at 7:34pm
honeto, I'm not sure what you're trying to prove here.  Judaism did indeed permit polygamy thousands of years ago, but it no longer does; and mainstream Christianity never did.  Every Jew and every Christian knows this, and so does just about everyone else.  Do you really think you can convince anyone otherwise just by citing a few polygamous patriarchs?
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Quote honeto Replybullet Posted: 17 May 2008 at 9:21am
Ron,
what I did is to show refrances from the source that is claimed to be 'devine source' of those two believes (Christianity and Judaism). And that source does not teach against polygamy.
If now those people have made new rules that is fine with me. I am not arguing that.
believer have suggested that it was not a practice approved of God. I am a man of reason and I do my own homework on what I post. And according to my own studies those who are mentioned in this book (the Bible) practiced it as a normal way of life. The were teachers and Prophets who are followed and refrenced on other issues yet on this one you say, "no longer does".
If it was not for the man made laws, for example here in the US against ploygamy, many Christians of various sects (Mormons in particular) as well as other would have practiced it without making a fuss, and they do not say what you say.
If you put your trust in that book for guiding you into this life and you trust it enough to put your hereafter at risk, why is it that when it comes to matters like this you distance yourself from its teaching. Don't you have full belief and trust on this book and its teachings and practices??
Hasan


Edited by honeto - 17 May 2008 at 9:21am
39:64 Proclaim: Is it some one other than God that you order me to worship, O you ignorant ones?"
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Posted: 17 May 2008 at 11:05am

Ron,

You wrote:  "Judaism did indeed permit polygamy thousands of years ago, but it no longer does …"

Could you please provide a source?  I am interested.  I would have thought that the reason we don’t see much Jewish polygamy is because the Torah is not (at least not yet) the law of the Land (of Israel, especially).  I don’t see –and neither have I read- where the laws of polygamy, or polygyny, in Judaism were ever either annulled or abrogated (by Judaism).  Have you read otherwise?

Serv



Edited by Servetus - 17 May 2008 at 11:07am
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Quote believer Replybullet Posted: 17 May 2008 at 3:03pm
I repeat:  GOD's first intentions:  man didn't listen.
 
Genesis 2
 
 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
 
GOD did not will multiple wives but he did allow it.  Big differance here.
 

1 Timothy 3

2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

 12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.
 

Titus 1

6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
John 3
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2008 at 11:16am
Originally posted by Servetus

Ron,

You wrote:  "Judaism did indeed permit polygamy thousands of years ago, but it no longer does …"

Could you please provide a source?  I am interested.  I would have thought that the reason we don’t see much Jewish polygamy is because the Torah is not (at least not yet) the law of the Land (of Israel, especially).  I don’t see –and neither have I read- where the laws of polygamy, or polygyny, in Judaism were ever either annulled or abrogated (by Judaism).  Have you read otherwise?

Serv

 
Well, I don't know much about Judaism myself, but you can find out just about anything you want from Google. Smile
 
Polygamy was banned for Ashkenazi Jews in the eleventh century by Rabbi Gershom ben Judah. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbenu_Gershom) Technically his ban extended only to Ashkenazi Jews (currently about 80% of all Jews); but most other Jews abide by it as well.  For all practical purposes, polygamy is no longer permissible in Judaism.
 
The thing you need to understand about Judaism and (especially) Christianity is that they are living, progessive religions.  Although the basic values, traditions and framework of belief are defined by scripture, the specifics are continually re-appraised and adapted to different times and places.  There are certainly "fundamentalists" who resist change and insist on a literal interpretation of ancient scripture (and who may still cling to polygamy), but they are small minority.
 
In Islam, on the other hand, it seems to me that the fundamentalist viewpoint is mainstream, and progressives are the minority.  Muhammad was the last prophet, the "door to ijtahad" is closed, and every detail of life was frozen for all time back in the seventh century.
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