Bismillah Rahman Raheem
RE: Question – “Islam gives man permission to marry four wives. Why can’t a woman have four husbands?
Answer – Al Hamdulilah, was-salat was-salam ala rasoolullah. Allahu ‘Alim.
(It is Allah who has All Knowledge).
First of all, it is important for us to keep in mind that Islam came to establish two very important fundamentals for human beings:
Rights and Limits.
Everyone and everything has certain rights given to it by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Allah). At the same time, each creation has its own limitations established by Allah.
First Right – Allah has the right to be worshipped without making partners from what He has created. Direct worship to Him, alone.
Second Right – Prophet’s right to be followed according to his treaching and commandments.
Third Right – Parents rights to be honored and cared for, with special emphasis on the mother first.
Fourth Right – Wives and Husbands have rights on each other.
Now let us do some basic research here. We begin by looking into the condition of the women in various societies at the time 1,400 years ago when Allah revealed the Quran to Muhammad, peace be upon him.
During that time the pagan Arab men used to bury their newborn daughters alive in the sand, out of shame for having something so low and disgusting like a girl instead of a son. Women were treated horribly and with utter disgust.
Men could marry as many as they liked and very often they owned women like cattle or sheep. There were no laws to protect the women and they had no rights at all.
Christians at that time were holding council meetings to determine whether or not a woman even had a soul. The church blamed “Eve” the mother of all humans after Adam, peace be upon him, for the “original sin” and damned her and her seed for what she had done.
Priests, bishops, cardnels and even the Pope are the very best of the Catholic men within the church. Yet the church still forbids their clergymen the chance for marriage and families. This unnatural situation has caused very serious ramifications throughout the society around the world.
Nuns are the very best of the Catholic women. They cover themselves in proper attire much the same way as the Muslim women. Yet, they are never allowed to marry or have children throughout their lives. This unnatural condition has caused untold number of disgraceful and disgusting practices within the very church itself.
We must ask the question, “If the very best of the men and the very best of the women are not allowed to marry or have children – does this mean only the worst of the people are the ones allowed to reproduce and populate the world?” – And where will that leave us tomorrow?
The Jews blamed women for the “original sin” and as such they were treated with disgust. A woman’s monthly cycle was considered by the Old Testament of the Bible to be a “curse from God” for her inequities. Her child bearing pains were also a ‘punishment from God’ for her bringing man down from heaven.
Islam does not blame Eve for Adam’s sin. Each of them accepted their own mistake and repented to Allah, and asked Allah to forgive them and Allah did forgive them.
Now before going any further, please read surah An Nisa (chapter 4 in the Quran) – all the way through, in order to better understand what is actually being said about women, men and marriage.
Now let us think about the verses. Do you believe that Allah Knows what He created and He has revealed the perfect ‘deen’? Do you know the condition of the people at the time the order came to restrict the number of wives? (Restricted to be only four)
Now read the verse about having more than one wife, very carefully. [4:3]
What does it say? And what do you understand from it?
Now read the ayah (verse) that forbids men to marry women who are already married. [4:24].
Now read from An Nisa (Chapter 4) about the role of men and women. [4:34]
Do you understand that one must take on the role of supporter, protector, provider, custodian and servant to the family (man’s role)?
Woman Gives Birth – Raises Children
One must take on the role of carrying the child and delivering it and then feeding it and raising it to become a true servant of Allah (woman’s role).
Men and women are not the same nor are they “equal” as some folks would have us believe. Whatever is on one side of an ‘equals’ sign must be exactly the same as what is on the other side without any difference in value, only in the way that it is expressed. How then could we say that a man, who is unable to conceive or give birth and then breast feed a baby is the equal to a woman who can?
They are equal in their beliefs and good deeds of course. But still they are not the same as each other. Each one must fulfill their role as humans.
Islam is also very much about rights. Children also have rights in Islam. When a man dies his wealth is left to his family. How could the court know who to give the wealth of a man, if he was one of several husbands to a woman? How would a child know who his father was? No society ever supported the concept of a woman being married to two or more men at the same time.
Almost every society supported the concept of a man having more than one woman. Yet, they did not limit the number nor did they provide the protection and maintenance that Islam insists on for each one. Islam came to set things straight. Women were given rights. Men were strictly ordered to treat their women with the very best of treatment.
When the verse was revealed the companions of Muhammad, peace be upon him, did not run out with the attitude that they were going to get four wives all of a sudden. Some of them already had much more than that and these men had to divorce their wives, if they had more than four. So this was not an order to go out and get four wives. It was an order to begin limitations. And the first limitation was; No more than four.
Second, the limitation of equal treatment for all of them. How could a man keep more than one wife unless he was exceedingly wealthy and/or exceedingly strong and virile?
Next, the limitation very clearly states; “.. but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one …“
Step by step, the men of Islam have come to be known today as the most monogamous of all men on earth (we only have one wife). Check for yourself and see. In the majority of all the Muslim homes on earth, a man gets married once, to one woman and then he stays married to her until the death of either himself or his wife.
Even If He Is Already Married
One very important point that is often overlooked by modern society is the right that Islam gave to the women that it does not give to the man. A man is limited to marry only from the woman who is not already married. Obviously, this provides rights for the children and provides for them from inheritance from the father. But Islam also permits the women to marry a man who is already married to protect her in a society where the number of women outnumbers the population of men. Additionally, the woman has a large selection of men to choose from. In fact, she has the right to choose from any man in the community as long as he does not already have four wives. She also has the opportunity to see how the other wife was being treated and go into a marriage knowing exactly what to expect from her husband. After all, he must treat her in the same way as he is treating the other wife.
The prophet, peace be upon him, predicted that in the Last Days the women would outnumber the men to a great extent. Today we are seeing this become a reality all over the world. Allah has already provided for us for this occasion. After all, He is the One who makes it all happen and He already knew that many women would come into Islam in these days. He also knew many of the Muslim men would be killed or die at an early age, just as it is happening these days. These women all need husbands. Allah has given us the solution to all of life’s problems.
We might add that Islam also gave the women full status as citizens over 1,400 years ago by giving her to right to speak and vote the same as anyone else. American women had to take their cause to the streets with “Women’s Suffrage” and were not granted the right to vote until just ninety years ago.
Additionally, Islam protected women’s rights to keep their identity and they were not considered property of some man. As such, they were no longer forced to change their last names to be that of their husbands. This is still the practice of Muslim women today just as it was fourteen hundred years ago.
Yet, at the same time the western society is so concerned about the way Islam demands that a couple be married, the man actually must work instead of the woman; the woman owns her own property without giving anything for the support of the house or the child; a child has the right to his or her own mother raising them instead of a baby sitter or day care; father must support his children; divorce is hated; and marriage is sanctified.
It is strange isn’t it, a society like America, has no problem accepting sex without marriage; homosexuality; same sex marriages; sex without responsibility; children without fathers; and divorces are more common place than the measles or chicken pox. Yet, there is no tolerance for marriage between a man and a woman if it is not on their terms.
Compare the two for yourself and see which one needs correction.
We will be waiting to hear from you. May Allah Bless you all and increase you in all that is good, ameen.
Jazakumallahu khairan was salam alaykum,
National Muslim Chaplain