Polygamy: The Pros and Cons

1. Introduction

Polygamy exists in many societies all over the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim. It is important to de-link polygamy with Islam as many people wrongly associate the two. Polygamy has existed before Islam and there are many societies which allow polygamy even though they are not Muslim. In Islam, polygamy is not compulsory but permitted under certain conditions.

2. Polygamy in Islam

There are two types of marriages in Islam: polygyny (a man having more than one wife) and polyandry (a woman having more than one husband). While polygyny is permissible, polyandry is forbidden as it goes against the natural order of things.

The Quran does not mention anything about polygamy but there are some verses which talk about men having more than one wife. In Surah An-Nisa, Verse 3, it says:

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if you fear that you cannot do justice (to so many), then one only…”

This verse gives men the permission to have up to four wives as long as they can deal justly with them. The word ‘deal justly’ is key here as it means that a man has to treat all his wives fairly and equally in terms of love, time, attention and resources. If he cannot do so, then he is only allowed to have one wife.

In another verse in Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 228, it says:

“Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have a better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women have rights similar to those against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

This verse talks about the waiting period for divorced women and how men have a degree of advantage over women. This verse is often used by those who argue that polygamy is permissible in Islam as it gives men a higher status than women. However, this verse can also be interpreted to mean that men have a greater responsibility than women and therefore should only take on more wives if they can treat them all fairly and equally.

3. The Benefits of Polygamy
There are some benefits of polygamy which include:

-Social problems: In western societies, divorce rates are high and infidelity is common. Many people argue that polygamy can help reduce these social problems as it allows men to have more than one wife and therefore gives them a sense of responsibility towards their family.
-Second wife: In some cases, a second wife can be beneficial for the first wife as she can help with domestic tasks and childcare. This can give the first wife more time to pursue her own interests or career.
-Benefits for children: Some people argue that children benefit from polygamy as they have more role models to look up to (i.e. their father and his wives).

4. The Disadvantages of Polygamy

There are also some disadvantages of polygamy which include:
-Jealousy and rivalry: There can be a lot of jealousy and rivalry between the wives which can lead to arguments and even violence.
– financial burden: Polygamy can be a financial burden on the husband as he has to support multiple wives and families.
– social problems: Some people argue that polygamy can actually lead to social problems such as jealousy, insecurity, and infidelity.

5. Polygamy in America

Polygamy is illegal in the United States but there are some religious groups who practice it. The most well-known group is the Mormons who believe in plural marriage. In 1852, the Mormon leader Brigham Young announced that men could have more than one wife and by 1857, there were around 20,000 Mormons practicing polygamy.

However, polygamy is not exclusive to Mormons and there are other religious groups who practice it too such as the Islamic polygamous movement in America. This movement began in the 1980s and is made up of Muslims who believe that polygamy is permissible in Islam. The movement is small but growing and there are now an estimated 500 polygamous families in America.

6. Polygamy in France

France is a secular country and polygamy is not recognized by the law. However, there are some Muslim immigrants who practice polygamy despite it being illegal. In 2003, the French government estimated that there were around 20,000 polygamous families in France. This figure is likely to have grown since then as the Muslim population in France has increased.

Polygamy is a controversial topic and there are both advantages and disadvantages to it. While it is not compulsory in Islam, it is permitted under certain conditions. There are also some non-Muslim societies which allow polygamy even though it is not part of their religion.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, polygamy is a controversial topic with both advantages and disadvantages. While it is not compulsory in Islam, it is permitted under certain conditions. There are also some non-Muslim societies which allow polygamy even though it is not part of their religion.


Polygamy in Islam is the practice of a man taking more than one wife.

The Islamic requirements for a man to be able to marry more than one wife are that he must be able to financially support all of his wives, and treat them all equally.

A Muslim man can have up to four wives at one time.

Islam allows polygamy because it is seen as a way to provide financial stability and security for women and families.

Some of the arguments against polygamy in Islam are that it can lead to inequality and unfair treatment of women, and that it can create financial instability within families.

Polygamy does impact women and families in Islamic societies in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, polygamy can provide financial stability for families and give women security in their marriages. On the negative side, polygamy can lead to inequality between wives, and sometimes create financial instability within families if the husband is not able to support all of his wives equally.

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