Author [EN] [PL] [ES] [PT] [IT] [DE] [FR] [NL] [TR] [SR] [AR] [RU] Topic: Plural Marriage

Offline Sardar Miyan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 970
    • View Profile
Plural Marriage
« on: April 13, 2012, 06:19:48 AM »
Misconception: Polygamy - Muslim men can have as many wives as they wish

Background: Some think that Muslim men can have multiple wives if they desire to and that Islam and The Quran promotes polygamy
The Quran is very clear on this subject, that monogamy is the basis for normal relationships, while polygamy is only allowed in cases involving marrying the mothers of orphans so that the orphans are taken care of. A maximum of four wives are allowed in such cases. For example, in the aftermath of war, it is likely that many men would have lost their lives, resulting in many widows with fatherless children, thus The Quran allows an exception in these cases so that the needs of the wider community can be met:
Give the orphans* their money; do not replace the good with the bad, and do not consume their money to your money, for truly it is a great sin!
And if you fear that you cannot be just to the orphans, then you may marry those who are agreeable to you of the women: two, and three, and four. But if you fear you will not be fair, then only one**, or to whom you are committed to by oath. This is best that you do not face financial hardship. [4:3]
*the Arabic word for "orphans" is "yatama" and specifically means children who are fatherless.
** note the emphasis on one wife, i.e. monogamy.
Again, the subject of polygamy is addressed in the context of orphans:
They ask you for divine instruction concerning women. Say, "God instructs you regarding them, as has been recited for you in the book about the mother of orphans who you want to marry without giving them what has been ordained/written for them, as well as the powerless children, and your duty to treat orphans with equity. Whatever good you do, God has full knowledge of it. [4:127]
The above verse has been commonly mistranslated to justify marrying orphan girls rather than marrying their widow mothers. The Arabic plural pronoun in this verse is the female form, "allatee" (not the male form "allazyna"), and it can only refer to the women just referenced, not to the orphans. This is because in Arabic the word "yatama" (orphans) is grammatically male in gender. The beginning of the verse also tells us the subject of the verse, it is about the women. That is why it is important to remember all translations are imperfect, and to seek knowledge and verify information for oneself [17:36].
Again, The Quran shows a preference for monogamy in the following verse:
And marry the single from among you as well as the good from among your male and female servants. If they are poor, then God will grant them from His grace. God is Encompassing, Knowledgeable.[24:32]
To summarise, The Quran was revealed to a society where polygamy was commonplace and men could have many wives (e.g. more than four for example). By setting an upper limit, citing a moral restriction on polygamy and limiting the situations in which it is allowed would result in reducing polygamy significan

Assalam Bro.I read Joseph Islams Article on Plural Marriage & was convinced that what Allah wants the Muslims to do. While Allah permitted for Muslims to marry  Two Three Four but clarified at the same time that one can not do the justice. This "JUSTICE"clause appears to be asking to have one only if we can understand.Secondly I would like to draw attention to the above misconception I got on asite where it clarifies that more than one wife is to be resorted when muslims find more mothers of Orphans become widow after war.Though it is not expreedly directed ,some think is that way.In 4:30 Allah says " If you fear not able to do justice to Orphan then marry other women"this I can not undestand. Thanks
May entire creation be filled with Peace & Joy & Love & Light

Offline chadiga

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
    • View Profile
Re: Plural Marriage
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 04:33:59 PM »
Salam sardar Miyan

I read your post and see it that way. Allah says that one can never be fair, especially as regards the feeling. See the following verse Allah says,

O MANKIND! Be conscious of your Sustainer, who has created you out of one living entity, and out of it created its mate, and out of the two spread abroad a multitude of men and women. And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand [your rights] from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you!

وءاتوا اليتمى أمولهم ولا تتبدلوا الخبيث بالطيب ولا تأكلوا أمولهم إلى أمولكم إنه كان حوبا كبيرا
Hence, render unto the orphans their posses­sions, and do not substitute bad things [of your own] for the good things [that belong to them], and do not consume their possessions together with your own: this, verily, is a great crime.

وإن خفتم ألا تقسطوا فى اليتمى فانكحوا ما طاب لكم من النساء مثنى وثلث وربع فإن خفتم ألا تعدلوا فوحدة أو ما ملكت أيمنكم ذلك أدنى ألا تعولوا
And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you, two, three or four.but if you fear to be not fair, then only one or what your right hands posses.  This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.

وءاتوا النساء صدقتهن نحلة فإن طبن لكم عن شىء منه نفسا فكلوه هنيءا مريءا
WaάATWAō ALNeSAάa ßaDoQaTeHeNa NeĦLaHtan FaEN ŦeBNa LaKoM ÂN Å aYάen MeNHo NaFSAn FaKoLoWHo HaNYάAn MaRYάAn
And give unto women their marriage portions in the spirit of a gift; but if they, of their own accord, give up unto you aught thereof, then enjoy it with pleasure and good cheer.

This Sura was revealed FOR THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN, not to allow men to marry multiple wives for no reason, or worse, to marry this girls ... is to mention that in the Arab word "Yatim" only for children without a father the word is not used for a child without a father and mother. A child whose mother has died counts,is not as Yatim.

In the first verse we see the indication that we are all each other, equally, no one should feel better than another. In the second verse is said that the property of orphans needs to be used. it is not so that all orphans have to be automatically poor and destitute. The risk of misuse it's here a guardian sees the riches of the yatim, he can used it for his need, but t must not take more in plus for himself.  God warned him 'to squeeze' clear, not his money for himselves.

The third verse now declared the Justice.
So these are either orphans or children's children and their mothers. Usually, yes is the guardian of themselves already married and now has to still take care of these orphans. If he is afraid  the orphans not have the necessary care, justice as his own family, he can either marry the orphan mothers or other female (s), depending on how many orphans they are responsible. This ensures most likely that it is fair to all and can also offer a familiar, loving environment.

AND THEY will ask thee to enlighten them about the laws concerning women. and about help­less children; and about your duty to treat orphans with equity. And whatever good you may do - be­hold, God has indeed full knowledge thereof.

Wa ... yastaftanuka fi Nisaa ': qul illahu yuftikum fihinna wa ma fil yutla aleikum Kitabi fi yatama annisaa' illati la tu'tuunahunna kutiba lahunna ma ...

وإن امرأة خافت من بعلها نشوزا أو إعراضا فلا جناح عليهما أن يصلحا بينهما صلحا والصلح خير وأحضرت الأنفس الشح وإن تحسنوا وتتقوا فإن الله كان بما تعملون خبيرا
And if a woman has reason to fear ill-treat­ment from her husband, or that he might turn away from her, it shall not be wrong for the two to set things peacefully to rights between themselves: for peace is best, and selfishness is ever-present in human souls. But if you do good and are conscious of Him - behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do"

In 4.127, we see that at the various translations, the verse where the problem lies, depending on the translation are the orphans looked at as a women or a girl.
As he expressed 'yatam al illati is either translated as' the orphans, the women' or 'the orphans of women'. The relative pronoun is feminine plural illati and can only refer to the aforementioned women.

1. would call the first interpretation, the adult orphan
2. the second, however, the mothers of the orphans

I tend to first possiblity because of the following Aya, by the reason stated for the regulation: because you may want even to marry her, do not give what has been prescribed for them.
This sentence is a clear warning to those men who have the welfare rights of orphans and their cargoes and the need for themselves and they hand over the adult orphans do not want by playing with the idea of ​​marrying the orphans, the legal to come into the possession of their goods.

To 4.128: This for me is a general statement and refers to both monogamy and polygamy . However, it is a reference to 'material good' to be found in the present verse, there is talk of the selfishness. The verse that is linked in the topic to the foregoing Ayas and will conclude by Allah clearly says that there will never be able to give women the same emotionally.

Such a material and temporal justice in more than one woman is an absolute MUST, but  a emotional justice is not possible though, but should be sought. No woman should have the feeling, 'to be left hanging in the air'. The next verse closes in mind: If the situation is for women (because of the emotional and / or financial injustice) has become unbearable, then it is better to separate. God will pay for both.
it's my humble view. sorry for the english. peace and salam  :)

Offline Joseph Islam

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1858
    • View Profile
    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Plural Marriage
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 09:13:44 AM »
Dear brother Sardar,

Salamun Alaikum.

As you have already shared, I have shared my humble perspective from the Quran with what I have felt is clear evidence on this matter.


The theme of verse 4:3 in my humble opinion, is not focused with 'prescribing marriage or marriage numbers'. It is dealing with protecting orphans. That is the theme. Otherwise, there could be a clear verse saying..."You are only to marry 1 wife" Full stop - with no conditions. The Quran could have also said "You are only allowed to marry one wife EXCEPT in X Y Z circumstances". Again such a sentiment is no where to be found in the Quran. The Quran is a complete, clear book and God does not run out of words (31:27). We can't impose our desires on the Quran. Either we have clear proof or we submit to God's words.

I have summarised my position in the article as:

"Verse 4:3 does not appear to focus on stipulating an allowance of the number of wives. Rather, the focus seems to be concentrated on curtailing any potential injustice to an orphan with regards her wealth (4:129). The Arabic term 'mathna wathulatha waruba'a' ((by/in) twos and threes and fours) seems to simply denote a multiplicity which can be affirmed against verse 35:1 which uses the same phrase to describe certain attributes of the angels.

The Quran seems not to either encourage or discourage polygyny or stipulate any particular numbers. This seems to be much in tandem with the previous scriptures. The Quran seems to recognise individual capacity and guidance is offered with respect to it"

I have yet to receive convincing evidence from the Quran that shows me clearly that God only sanctioned 1 wife as a rule. The only place we find the stipulation of 1 wife is 'if we fear we cannot do justice'. (fa-in khif'tum alla ta'dilu). Note that 'khauf' (fear) can be a legitimate fear and an unfounded fear. That is why the Quran separates the term 'khashiya' (a legitimate fear) with 'khauf'. See related article.

Although God clearly expresses that one will never be able to do 'absolute' justice, the Quran clearly acknowledges one's desire to do justice (4:129 - walaw harastum). Therefore, although complete justice is impossible, the option is granted to try to do one's best in such a situation.

I hope that helps, God willing.

Your brother in faith,
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Sleepysoul

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
  • ?
    • View Profile
Re: Plural Marriage
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2015, 02:59:02 AM »
The first two responses make more sense to me. Especially when it comes to protecting the emotional well-being of women. How many modern day cases of polygamy do you know of that have been successful? It's not the case of, IF you fear that you can't be just to orphans (ignore them) then marry as many women as you like for sex or whatever you like without the permission of your wife and against her wishes. Also, why do men have to worry about polygamy and orphans if they don't fear any injustice? By marrying 'other' women, are they no longer a guardian over said orphans? If yes, then they would still need to fear about any injustice towards them, no? 4:4 talks about giving the women their marriage portions so how can verse 4:3 be about not being able to give orphans their marriage portions when you have to give 'other' women you marry their marriage portions? And what is the word for orphans? Does it not include both girls and boys? So how can it be about men marrying orphans?
It also doesn't make sense to me to use corrupted Christian or Jewish scriptures to justify men marrying as many women as they please just for pleasure or other stupid reasons. Women also have desires, if men are allowed purely for so-called 'desires' (a man doesn't 'need' more than one), why aren't women? 

Offline Irfan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 53
    • View Profile
Re: Plural Marriage
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2015, 04:40:20 AM »
The verse 4:3 does not say "Marry among 'them' or orphans".  It says marry "min annisaai" (from women--these could be the women among the mothers of orphans, orphans f marriageable age (4:6), or other women).
Here is another question concerning the verse 4:3:  It says "mathna wa thulatha wa rubaa'a" which really does not mean "two or three or four" according to the Arabic language but this could only be a 'way' of saying "two, three, four".  To clarify, In Urdu, for example, the part of the verse "mathna wa thulatha wa rubaa'a" would be as we say "do do, teen teen, char char". 
Why do I raise this question? Well, because I wonder if having four wives is already not too many that one can normally handle (unless one is Rasputin!).  In other words, I wonder if the verse is really saying "two to a maximum of four".  It may be a way of saying in the Qur’anic Arabic "you can marry as many women as you think you need to take care of the orphans".  So I agree with the brother—it’s not about the numbers—it’s about the quality of caring about the orphans!
If the verse 4:3 really is talking about taking a maximum of four wives, then, we have to understand that the angels can have only up to a maximum of four wings.  Please note that we find exactly the same statement "mathna wa thulatha wa rubaa'a" being used in  35:1.

     الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَاعِلِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُولِي أَجْنِحَةٍ مَّثْنَى وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ يَزِيدُ فِي الْخَلْقِ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (35:1)

Alhamdu lillahi fatiri alssamawati waalardi jaAAili almalaikati rusulan olee ajnihatin mathna wathulatha warubaAAa yazeedu fee alkhalqi ma yashao inna Allaha AAala kulli shayin qadeerun

35:1 (Y. Ali) Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels, messengers with wings,- two, or three, or four (pairs): He adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things.
If your understanding of the "wings/duties/???" of the angels is a maximum of four as per 35:1, then your understanding of the the same is justified for 4:3.