Polygamy: Norm or Exception?
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Polygamy: Norm or Exception?



Reply Date

Jul 26, 2017


I had previously understood that polygamy is allowed in Islam. Recently, however, I was informed that Islam is in fact against polygamy, yet still there are some that say polygamy is the right of man and is the norm and not the exception. What is your opinion on this matter?



Polygamy: Norm or Exception? - About Islam

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- There is a consensus amongst Muslims that polygamy is permissible

With regard to the issue you raised, the European Council for Fatwa and Research states:

There is a consensus amongst Muslims, historically and currently, that polygamy is permissible, and that it is not allowed for a Muslim to have more than four wives at any one time.

Further, that if a Muslim has two or more wives, he should practice equality of provision and abode amongst them. For Allah Almighty says: “…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 or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice.” (An-Nisa’ 4:3)

We know of no clear evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah, which encourages the Muslim to either keep to one wife, or to polygamy. However, it has been narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whosoever had two wives and treats one of them more favorably than the other will come on the Day of Judgment bent to one side.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)

This hadith warns against polygamy should the man not be able to practice equality amongst his wives.

 Allah Almighty knows best.

About European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR)

The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR)

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