With the wife's permission is having another woman to fulfill some needs a sin?
Submitted by on Wed, 01/04/2009 - 05:22
Dear Brother / Sister,
In terms of the validity of the marriage, it is not necessary for a man to inform his wife or to get permission from her when he wants to marry another woman. However, a man is advised to inform his wife about his intention and not to do it secretly for the sake of the tranquility of the family.
A man is allowed to marry more than one woman only if he has decided to treat the women equally in terms of behavior, sleeping with them, justice, clothes, meeting their needs and other issues and he really needs another woman. Otherwise, it is not permissible. If he does not act accordingly, he will commit haram and infringe others’ rights.
Allah allowed marrying more than one woman in the Quran. However, He wanted men to marry only one woman if they cannot treat them justly. Therefore, we can readily say that it is not right to marry more than one woman unless it is necessary because it is almost impossible at least very difficult to treat women equally and that not every man can manage to do it.
However, if a man thinks that it is absolutely necessary for him to marry another woman, he can marry in the presence of witnesses; it is not fard (obligatory) for him to inform his relatives about it.
Polygamy is not a system that Islam introduced. It was very common and widespread without any limits before Islam. It was impossible for a woman even to express her opinion. Islam came in such an environment and reduced the number of women in polygamy from twenty or thirty to four. In addition, Islam laid conditions for polygamy. It laid some difficult conditions like treating one’s wives equally. Otherwise, Islam advised that marrying one woman is better.
There are important reasons (wisdoms) why Islam allows polygamy. Some of the reasons are diseases that affect many people, disproportion of males and females in the population, etc. For instance, in the western culture a man cannot marry another woman even if his wife is paralyzed or has gone mad. Therefore, man is forced to seek illicit ways. Generally, men take part in wars. Many men die in wars; and, especially at the end of time, more females are born than men due to a wisdom that we do not know, which causes more women to remain unmarried. Sometimes polygamy becomes necessary whether due to serious diseases or women outnumbering men. Otherwise, the family home may become like hell for a man and many women may be deprived of the holy right of marriage. It harms social peace and deteriorates ethics.
The permission of Islam for polygamy aims to cure those conditions.
In this century, it is better for men to be content with monogamy if possible. It will prevent them from oppression, unhappiness and harming the rights of the second, third or fourth women and their children in terms of law. Although it is not necessary to get permission from one’s wife to marry another woman, it is better to get her permission and consent for the continuation of respect and love in the family.
Ancient Egypt Law: A man was allowed to marry more than one woman under some conditions.
Babylonian Law: According to Hammurabi laws, a man was allowed to have a concubine if his wife could not give birth to a child or if she had a serious illness.
Chinese Law: If a man were rich, he was allowed to have secondary wives. However, the children from those secondary women were regarded as the children of the primary wife.
Ancient Brahmans: According to the book Vichnou, men could marry one, two, three or more women in accordance with their classes. In the book Apastamba there was a limit; if the woman carried out her tasks and she had a male child, the husband was not allowed to marry a second woman. In the laws of Manu, a man had to choose his first wife from the same social class; he was allowed to marry a woman of lower classes as his second wife
Ancient Iran: Polygamy was legal.
Roman Law: A man was allowed to have a concubine, without a legal wedding.
The Bible: It is stated in the Old Testament that Hazrat Dawood married more than one woman. There are some other places that mention polygamy in the Old Testament. There existed polygamy in Judaism too.
In the New Testament, there is nothing prohibiting polygamy. However, there are recommendations that it is better to be content with one wife.
In Christianity, polygamy was normal until the 16th century.
Arabia before Islam: There were no limitations regarding polygamy. A man was allowed to marry as many women as he wanted; sometimes, men even exchanged their wives.
POLYGAMY IN ISLAM
Allah states the following:"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 that which your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice." (an-Nisa / 3)
It is seen clearly in the verse that marrying more than one woman 2, 3 and finally 4 is not an order that has to be carried out like fard or wajib (compulsory) but a permission. However, the permission depends on dealing justly among the wives. It is stated that being content with one wife is the closest and the truest way to justice; it is ordered that a person who fears he will not be able to treat them justly should be content with one wife.
PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM REGARDING POLYGAMY
1) Limitation of the number: Islam put a limitation to the limitless number of marriages of men of the period of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance). After Allah sent down that verse, acting on the order of the Messenger of Allah, those who had more than 4 wives divorced the extra ones.
2) Dealing justly among wives: It will be in eating, drinking, clothing, housing, intercourse and love. However, it is very difficult, almost impossible to deal justly in terms of love. Various physical and psychological characteristics will cause differences in the level of love. No matter how hard a man tries to deal justly, it is almost impossible for him to achieve it.
Allah states the following:
"Ye are never able to do justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire: but turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding and practice self-restraint, Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful." (an-Nisa/ 129)
In this verse, Allah exempts men from dealing absolutely justly in terms of love and affection. However, He prohibits men from inclining totally to one and ignoring the other(s), and He orders men to do their best to deal justly.
The following is stated in a hadith: "A man who has two wives and who is completely inclined to one and who ignores the other emerges with one side of his body paralyzed in the Day of Judgment." (Hadith; Ibn Majah, Nikah, 47; Mishqatl’l-masabih, 2/196)
A woman does not consent to share his husband with another woman under normal circumstances, and no woman would like to marry a married man unless she has to.
It is a necessity of belief to believe that polygamy is allowed. However, to believe it does not necessarily mean for a woman to consent to the second marriage of her husband and approve it.
No believer father is expected to consent to his son-in-law to marry a second, third or fourth woman along with his daughter. The jealousy nature of the woman and the affection of the father prevent it. As a matter of fact,
The daughter of our Prophet, Hazrat Fatima, objected to his husband’s, Hazrat Ali’s, marrying to a second woman. If it were not permissible to object, Hazrat Fatima, who was brought up by our Prophet, would not have objected. The Messenger of Allah would have warned her and ordered her to consent to her husband’s wish. However, it did not happen like that. On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah, who saw that his daughter was sorry, asked Hazrat Ali to give up his wish and told him that if he did not give up, he could marry another woman after divorcing Hazrat Fatima. He did not consent to Hazrat Ali’s second marriage and his depressing his daughter.
By considering that act of the Messenger of Allah, it can be stated that Muslim daughters and fathers may object to the second marriage of the husband or son-in-law.
To sum up: Islam neither orders nor prohibits polygamy. It only permits it when it is absolutely necessary. There is no need to say much after narrating the incident above.
Questions on Islam
- Can a man do second marriage without first wife's permission?
- Marrying more than one woman
- Is it not a sign of privilege that men are allowed to marry more than one woman?
- Is there not a paradox between verse 3 and verse 129 of the chapter of an-Nisa?
- Marriage and Family Life
- What should a woman do If her husband has more than one wife and doesn't treat them fairly?
- Why was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) polygamous?
- Why was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) polygamous?
- Is it permissible for a woman to work? Is her husband’s permission necessary for it?
- Does my husband have to be given houris in Paradise?