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Polygamy in Islam Essay

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2019


Marriage is one of the important aspects of the Islamic culture. The Islamic law allows Muslim men to practice polygamy, but it does not encourage it. The Islamic rules state that a Muslim man can marry a maximum of four women. Conversely, Muslim women do not have the right to marry several men. Muslim men in polygamous marriages should be kind to their women.

According to the Quran, a man should not marry many women if he cannot take care of them. Globally, majority of Muslim men are monogamous. The practice of Islamic polygamy is not homogeneous in all countries. For instance, many men in Saudi Arabia practice polygamy. However, Islamic polygamy is uncommon in Egypt. In Iran, polygamy is quite popular in the countryside.

Shia Muslims practice polygamy more than the Sunni Muslims. Polygamy has been a contentious issue among Muslim men and women because they have different views about it. This essay argues that polygamy should not be encouraged because of the following reasons.

Laws of Islamic Polygamy

A Muslim man can become polygamous under the following circumstances. First, “if a man has a high sex libido, he can marry more women to avoid committing sexual offenses”.

Second, he should have resources such as land and money. Third, he should be truthful and responsible. Fourth, he should be acquainted with Islamic laws. Last, he should possess good leadership skills because it is quite difficult to solve social disputes in polygamous marriages.

Disadvantages of Polygamy

The aforementioned requirements are important because they ensure that men provide enough social and economic support to their families. Nonetheless, many Muslim men in polygamous marriages cannot fulfill all these requirements. Failure to fulfill the aforementioned requirements often leads to many challenges.

In the contemporary world, polygamy is increasingly becoming unpopular due to economic constraints. For example, food insecurity is endemic in most parts of the world. Hence, it is difficult for many men in polygamous marriages to provide enough food to their large families.

Inadequate food and shortage of basic needs often leads to many quarrels in polygamous marriages. Moreover, many rich men in polygamous marriages become poor because it is expensive to maintain a big family.

There are many social challenges in polygamous marriages. Thus, many Muslim women detest polygamy. First, a woman often develops a low self-esteem when her husband marries another woman. For example, a woman whose husband marries another woman without her consent and proper reasons is likely to be depressed.

Second, women always lack social support in polygamous marriages. For instance, majority of men often give their new wives much attention and abandon the old ones. This often leads to emotional problems and rivalry in polygamous marriages. Indeed, women in polygamous marriages often develop psychological problems such as depression because their husbands do not spend enough time with them.

Furthermore, children in polygamous families often become indiscipline due to lack of proper parental guidance. Cases of physical and emotional abuses are frequent in polygamous marriages than in monogamous ones. Men in polygamous marriages like abusing their wives because they have many women.

Many Muslim women criticize polygamy because it encourages patriarchy in the family. Usually, men become authoritative in polygamous marriages. They do not allow their women to participate in important decision-making processes in the family. For example, some men marry many women without consulting their wives.

Moreover, many women in polygamous marriages do not have power to control family resources such as land. Consequently, lack of proper decision-making often leads to bickering, violence, and jealousy in polygamous marriages. In addition, polygamy can lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Advantages of Polygamy

Despite the numerous shortcomings of polygamy, it has the following advantages. Polygamy can enable a man to have children if his first wife cannot give birth. In such a situation, a woman can allow her husband to marry another woman to enable them have children.

Polygamy can prevent men from engaging in sexual offenses. Polygamy can be encouraged if a woman cannot fulfill her family roles due to disability and ill health. For example, a married woman who is suffering from a chronic disease can encourage her husband to marry another woman to support her family.


This essay has discussed the practice of Islamic polygamy. It has revealed that a Muslim man can marry a maximum of four women, but he should be kind to all of them. Moreover, a Muslim man should be financially stable because a polygamous family requires many resources.

Nonetheless, many Muslim men are unable to comply with the rules of Islamic polygamy. This often leads to immense suffering of women and children in polygamous families. Therefore, the shortcomings of polygamy outweigh its advantages. Consequently, polygamy should only be encouraged if there are genuine reasons to practice it.

Works Cited

Ameenah, Abu and Bilal Philips. Polygamy in Islam. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, 2005. Print.

Nurmila, Nina. Women, Islam and Everyday Life: Renegotiating Polygamy in Indonesia. London: Taylor & Francis, 2009. Print.

Youtube. Four Wives and One Husband – Polygamy in Iran. 9 Feb. 2013. Web. <www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMfLzPzY2-s>.

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