One Husband - 4 Wives?
How can you justify that a man can have four wives in Islam?
If you want to criticize us because we can have four wives, how many girlfriends can you have legally in the state of California? As many as you can fit in your car or your van I guess. There is no limit, you can go rent a bus.
But we have limits, we can not have more than one unless we treat them with the same equality.
When the order came, it came to people that had many wives, who had to divorce their wives because they couldn't treat them with equality and some of them had more than four. So it didn't come out as good news to them, it came as bad news, because they had to divorce wives.
And today, Muslims are the most monogamous of all people on the earth. And we don't practice polygamy. It is called polygyny, because a woman is not marrying 4 husbands or 5 husbands or 10 husbands. Why? Because Islam has rights and limitations.
When there's a baby born, a man has to be responsible to care for that baby financially, not the woman, the man is responsible for that baby, that’s his child and he is financially responsible for that child, yes or not? and when he dies, the inheritance goes for that child and how can it go to the child if the child doesn't know who his father is? If a woman has more than one husband, how does the child know which one is the father?
But watch this, there is another point, I want you to think about this: A man is limited because, in Islam, he can not marry a woman who is already married. So if you have a community of 100 women, 99 are married, you only got one to choose from, but a woman can be in a community with 100 men and all of them could be married and she could still choose from all of these men except those that already have 4 wives, and she has the advantage of knowing how he treats the other wives and she is assured by the Quran that she will receive the same good treatment
So the benefit is for the lady, not for the man, because every time a man takes a wife he takes on obligation, responsibility and he is ordered in the Quran, chapter 4, verse 34, that the men are the protectors, and providers, and maintainers of the women. Men have that responsibility but women don’t have to pay a dime from their money to support the household. If she is a millionaire and he is the garbage man, he still has to spend all from his to take care of her.
By the way, my wife makes more money than I do in real life. She has a baking thing she does at the house; and she makes cookies and things like this and at the end of every week she has more money than me, so I remind her, even though you don’t have to, Allah gives big, big, Ajr for giving Sadaqah to the poor. She racks up a lot of Ajr around our place, I tell you, Alhamdulillah.
So this is something important and many women, when they realize the high position they hold in Islam, they like it because they are treated like a queen. If somebody is going to treat you like a king, don't you like? So that's the next part of the verse, because of this, the woman is devoutly obedient to Allah, and certainly to her husband as well because look! “This man is really sacrificing for me. If I need anything for my health, for shelter, for clothing, for food or drink, education for my children, this man has to take care of all of it.” And even if she has a career, she can keep her money. This is why it is not important for a woman to go out and make any money anyway because she can keep it. When she inherits, all of it stays with her. This is why that when there is inheritance, the boy takes a bigger share than the girl because the boy turns around and spends it on the women, whereas she keeps hers. So there's something in Islam not called equality, it's called equity. Equality means everything is equal, well it's not equal.
In reality it's not equal. Does a man have a baby? I don’t think so, but a woman does. So the equity is that the man goes out and does the things that a woman is not able to do, especially at that time. And every month the woman has the time of the month, when things are harder for her and uncomfortable for her, and the man has the responsibility to care for her and it is not an option, it's an obligation.
See also: Man Can Marry Four - Why Not Women Marry Four?
Sheikh Yusuf Estes