Polygamy was a way of life until the Quran was revealed 1400 years ago. When the earth was young and under-populated, polygamy was one way of populating it and bringing in the human beings needed to carry out God's plan. By the time the Quran was revealed, the world had been sufficiently populated, and the Quran put down the first limitations against polygamy. Verse 4 : 3 - 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 hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. Verse 4 : 129 - And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging. And if you amend [your affairs] and fear Allah - then indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. Incidentally, the details appearing above also serve to remove the misunderstanding of those who, by juxtaposing these two verses, wish to conclude that the verse appearing at the beginning of Surah al-Nis'a (3) says; 'If you cannot maintain equality between wives, marry only one'; while, the other verse (129) says: 'Maintaining equality between two wives is just not possible'; therefore, the outcome is: The very keeping of two (or more) wives in the bond of marriage is impermissible as such! Polygamy is permitted in the Quran, but under strictly observed circumstances. Any abuse of this divine permission incurs severe retribution. Thus, although polygamy is permitted by God, it behooves us to examine our circumstances carefully before saying that a particular polygamous relationship is permissible. In prescribing moral or legal norms which believers are required to follow in the future, the Quran upholds the highest ethical ideals. However, it also recognises that most human beings would not selflessly undertake the responsibility of caring for disadvantaged children and women, and states in Surah 4 An-Nisa' 3 : “And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among (other) women such as are lawful to you — (even) two, or three, or four but if you reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then (only) one — or (from among) those whom you rightfully possess. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.” In order to understand the full meaning or implications of the verses referred, a systematic analysis of the text is required. The well-being of orphans is the primary concern of this text. (www.dawn.com) Permission for polygamy was given in order to safeguard the rights of orphans. This means that there has to be a relationship between the woman or women whom the Muslim man marries and the orphans, because marrying a woman unrelated to orphans will not be of help in safeguarding their rights. While doing justice to orphans is mandatory, so also is doing justice to all the women whom a Muslim man marries. If he cannot do justice to all his wives, he must have only one. Polygamy, then, is permitted by the Quran — not readily but reluctantly as the last resort — and only in conditions of great social hardship and for humanitarian purposes (www.muftisays.com)
In order to make married life pleasant and stable, the Holy Qur'an has given important instructions to both parties in these verses. Out of these, there is the verse: (And you shall never be able to maintain real equality between wives ... -129) which carries a special instruction for both. At this point it will be recalled that the Holy Qur'an has already established in the beginning of Surah al-Nisa' that a man who holds more than one wife in the bond of marriage is duty-bond to maintain justice and equality among all wives, and that if one thinks that he would be unable to...
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