Confused About Polygamy: Christianity, Prostitution, and More

Lot of confusion is caused by Feminism and the clash between Islam and modernist norms. Let’s address polygamy.

Some facts:

1. About 75% of societies historically and globally practiced polygamy (source: Ethnographic Atlas).

2. Polygyny (multiple wives) is endorsed in the Quran: “And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hands possess [i.e., slaves]. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].”

3. The Prophet ﷺ practiced polygamy as well as many of the major Sahaba.

4. All Islamic madhahib in fiqh encourage marrying a second (third, fourth) wife for the man who has sexual desire that is not satisfied by one and who has the financial means to support his wives equitably. (Those of you have heard that the Hanbali or Shafii madhhab says getting a second wife is makruh or discouraged have been misled. See here.)

Now, polygamy has been an accepted practice for most of history and for the vast majority of societies. So, why has polygamy become a stigma for some Muslims in present times?

The taboo began with the Christian Church, which started advocating against polygamy in the 4th century despite the Bible having many examples of the practice. Both the Catholic and Orthodox Church ultimately prohibited polygamy and considered it to be a form of adultery. Arguably, they took this stance due to the influence of Roman culture, which maintained strict monogamy but also expected men to engage in prostitution.

The legacy of rampant prostitution in the West up to present times as well as the proliferation of adultery seems to be directly tied to the history of the Church and its adoption and eventual canonization of certain Roman social practices and norms, including its opposition to polygamy.

Banning polygamy creates a major incentive for the institutionalization of prostitution. This is due to the fact that the primary beneficiaries of polygamy are the elites.

Men with high social status are pursued endlessly by women. Just look at groupies who follow celebrities and wealthy athletes.

These are women who are so attracted to wealth, power, and status that they don’t mind being one girl out of dozens. This is a biological attraction, and from the perspective of self-interest, it makes sense.

For these women, it is better for them materially to be a co-wife or “side chick” for a millionaire than to be the sole wife of a poorer man. Of course, this is not always conscious. It is more often just a sub-conscious biological urge.

So, when elite men and these women are blocked from marital-type committed relationships, prostitution is the alternative. And the elites then have a big incentive for prostitution to become socially acceptable so that their dalliances aren’t looked upon unfavorably by the masses.

So there is a major wisdom in the institution of polygamy in terms of curbing prostitution. And there are other wisdoms that can be discussed as well.

But for some Muslim women today, the idea of polygyny is viscerally offensive. They have difficulty thinking about the issue without thinking of themselves as personally involved.

This is not helpful.

Take your emotions out of it. Just because you personally don’t want to be a co-wife doesn’t mean others don’t want to. Many women have no problem being a co-wife and for some of them, that is the best option they have. There are countless stories of women who are divorced, widowed, etc., who have children and they need support. Being a second wife can be a great option for many of them.

Feminists are not doing these women any favors.

RELATED: An Attack on Polygamy Is an Attack on Marriage Itself

And the general Muslim community is not doing anyone any favors by stigmatizing a Sunnah practice.

The other aspect of polygyny that some women have a problem with is the lack of equality. Why not one wife with multiple husbands. This doubt mostly comes from teenagers with little life experience.

For those who are more mature, just imagine for a second the type of man who has to resort to being a co-husband. Is he going to be a strong, successful, confident, wealthy, good-looking man? Or is he going to be the opposite of those things? Now imagine a woman who wants to marry not one, but more than one of these losers.

This is what equality looks like. Try not to look at equality on a full stomach.

Not very appealing. Which is why there are only 1 or 2 small tribes on the verge of extinction in all of human history who have practiced polyandry (multiple husbands). It’s not an appealing practice.

Polygyny on the other hand…

If it weren’t for the stigma of polygyny created by the Christian Church, polygyny would be probably be far more common today, especially among Muslims.

What’s sad is how the taboos of Christianity and Feminism can confuse some Muslims so badly. Allah help us.

Practical Note:

Ultimately, polygyny is a right Allah gave to men. Is it advisable for all married Muslim men to pursue second wives? No. There are many factors to take into consideration. A big factor is how your first wife feels about it. Just because the husband has a right does not mean he should just bulldoze ahead. Successful marriage involves using wisdom to give and take with your partner, to be merciful and sensitive of feelings, not to always be in demand of your rights at all costs.

Note 2:

Since some misunderstood the first note, I did not say approval of the first wife is a shar`i condition. I said it is a factor, meaning that the wise man will be wise in how he approaches this issue. The wise man does not make his private parts the first and last factor in how he conducts his life. He is also concerned about his children, his wife, etc. THAT BEING SAID, a wise woman also doesn’t make her possessiveness or her sensitivity the first and last factor in dealing with her husband. As with all issues, make dua for guidance and protection in all matters.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Brother Daniel, would you say that media and movies managed to somehow warp our minds around romance? The notion of a “happily ever after” or “one true love” did more damage in our perception of marriage nowadays?

  2. It would be great if you can continue with another article solely focusing on how the West or any anti polygyny societies are still polygamous at heart even if they don’t realise it.

    You touched upon prostitution in Rome and groupies, but there’s also numerous stories of adultery, eloping with mistresses, sugar daddies and babies or the fact the average westerner has been in about 7-10 relationships before settling with one.

  3. “A big factor is how your first wife feels about it.”

    Liberal, Feminist nonsense.
    It is *obligatory* for Wife to obey husband if the command is *mubah/OK* by Islam.

    Now what about polygamy which is *Mustahabb/Sunnah*!!!

  4. Men should be very careful when marrying these “muslim” women who prioritize their ‘feelings’ above what Allah has revealed.
    “whoever hates what Allah has revealed all his good deeds become fruitless” (47:9)

  5. “to be merciful and sensitive of feelings”

    What kind of Muslim prioritizes “feelings” above the Sunnah & what Allah revealed!?!?!

    SubhanAllah
    Daniel,
    you spent so much time with this Liberal nonsense, why are you implementing it yourself?!?!

  6. “wise man will be wise in how he approaches this issue”

    So you should prioritize how “wise” you above the Sunnah??!
    There is no doubt, what Allah has revealed is the best for mankind.
    No human intellect can be better than what Allah has revealed!

    I am afraid you are giving “intellect” & “feelings” priority above Sunnah of Muhammad(pbuh), which is no doubt, best for every human, despite how “wise” they believe they are.

  7. Feelings are taken care of in Islam. The Prophet (SAW) – as the Imam of the Salah – would cut prayers short when he heard a baby crying – not because of the baby – but out of kindness to spare the mother of her worry. We are not supposed to talk to another in private in the presence of a third person, so that he doesn’t feel left out. If this is how we treat strangers, how can wives not qualify? Feelings are so important to the point that even in the event of a divorce, when the relationship is already over, Allah asks men in the Quran to consider the feelings of women and not take back what they have given – “And how could you take it away after you have given yourselves to one another, and she has received a most solemn pledge from you?” Human beings who are broken and bitter cannot make for a good society. The Prophet (SAW) forbade Ali (R) from marrying another woman while he was married to Fatima (R) and he did include her feelings as a reason.

    A man who is fully aware that the life of his first wife (and thereby his own children too) is all going to become bitter (because of feelings, not just finances) and is aware he will be the reason of the ruination of their Iman – such a man is in fact being unwise. Hanafi scholars even say that if a man knows he is going to end up doing injustices to one wife, then even marrying one woman is haram for him.

    I’m not saying a man cannot marry again without permission from his first wife. If there is a need to marry another and there is potential that things can work out fine for all parties involved, then fine.

    I’m just saying that Bob Smith’s apparent complete dismissal of “feelings” and “intellect” seems out of place. Marriage is a bond between humans, not robots. And Islam is practical, not impractical.

  8. The quote above is from Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 4:21

    Even if he has zero concern for his wife’s well-being, a man has to look at the future of his children’s Iman too. The children from the first wife are also his own children, who will be spending time with her, and his decisions will affect generations.

  9. The West encourages promiscuity and forbids polygamy. A man may have multiple women but can’t have multiple wives.

    “So, when elite men and these women are blocked from marital-type committed relationships, prostitution is the alternative.”

    Indeed, but not only that. What you do notice in communities with al lack of heterosexual prospects is women turning their sexual energies on one another i.e. the proliferation of lesbianism.

  10. “So, when elite men and these women are blocked from marital-type committed relationships, prostitution is the alternative.”

    So we have women that are willing to prostitute themselves to get with the top 10% or whatever because of their hypergamy. We have two options here:

    1. Shame these women for their choices and recognize that becoming a prostitute or an adulteress is in fact a choice by someone who can do better, and choose a more ethical solution to their desires.
    2. Recognize this as an obvious fact of life, like when you pour water from a glass, the water will be drawn down by gravity. Similarly if these women cannot marry from the top 10% they ARE going to fornicate. This option does in fact imply that women has a lesser worth (in comparison to men). Because they are like animals that are ruled by their instincts rather than any notion of morality. The next implication? They should be treated as such and men should not think about connecting with women at any deeper level than merely one of exchange of favors (and in fact if you want a family you should keep the woman on a metaphorical leach so that she doesn’t do anything stupid). Untrustworthy, without true honor or loyalty.

    Is Option #2 fair? I want the ladies to answer that. Because honestly, I’m starting to personally lose faith in women.

  11. To be honest brother, lots of Muslim womens are having premarital intercourse in order to attain the men or get experience. This means virgin and chaste mens like me are left with little to no incentive to find another virgin and chaste girls as they are becoming rarer and rarer. Sadly our muslim community no longer thinks Zina is wrong. Now I am more inclined to marry revert as they are clean from their past mistake.

    • I don’t know what you mean by ‘lots’, this word is very relative. It could mean 80%, it could also mean 0.0008%, depending on what culture you’re talking about and the expectations that you have of said culture. Your own personal experience may also be unrepresentative of the actual population of muslims.

      A tip from a fellow muslim: Stay away from shias, sufis and the Muslim Brotherhood types. The first two are obvious, they have shirkiat and kufriat so don’t be surprised they will also by more prone to fall into zina or other evil acts. When it comes to the MB, they are known to be quite liberal and also being influenced by western norms. If you fear hypocrisy from women, I would say avoiding these groups filter out a lot of insincere people.

      There are many muslims that follow the Quran and the Sunnah and care about modesty and obeying Allah. Have hope, there are good people out there. Just do your part, and maybe Allah will help you out.

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