Thursday, September 30, 2010


Question: There is one thing I find curious though moslems are allowed more then one wife. A Saudi can have four provided he can care for them. Just thinking to myself though isn't one plenty. Perhaps the discussion to turn to the possibility of an undercurrent of masochism in Islam.
Answer: As I understand from the Quran, conditional polygamy is allowed:
In Surah Nisaa, ayaat 2 & 3 read as follows(Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation)
"To orphans restore their property (When they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin.
If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, 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. "
The point to be noted here is that the permission for marriage is for the purpose of taking care of orphans.
As I understand it is:
1. We are ordered to take care of orphans.
2. If we are unable to take care of orphans, marriage is permitted (as one aalim explained, to the widowed mother* of those orphans), or may be extended broadly to include, to any woman with the purpose of help in taking care of those orphans.
3. And if marriage is not possible, use the help of your servants/staff/slaves to take care of the orphans.
May Allah guide us all.
* Also see Holy Quran 4:127 They ask thy instruction concerning the women say: Allah doth instruct you about them: And (remember) what hath been rehearsed unto you in the Book, concerning the orphans of women to whom ye give not the portions prescribed, and yet whom ye desire to marry, as also concerning the children who are weak and oppressed: that ye stand firm for justice to orphans. There is not a good deed which ye do, but Allah is well-acquainted therewith.
Yet, the general understanding seems to be that even though polygamy is not recommended, it is not prohibited either. Nevertheless, they all agree that sex is only allowed within the bounds of marriage and a man must take full responsibility to provide for and care for his family.

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