Q. Why are men allowed to have more than one wife?
A. In Sura Nisa (chapter4) verse 3, the Holy Quran states ‘Marry of the women that please you, two, three or four. But if you feel that you shall not be able to deal justly, then only one or what your right hand possesses. That would be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice’.
In this verse, an allowance and permission has been granted to the Muslim male to marry more than one wife. This allowance is however permitted on the condition that the man can treat all his wives in a just and fair manner.
`Dealing justly’ with more than one wife requires that a man must have sufficient financial capacity to look after the needs of the additional wives which he has taken. He is also required to treat them equally in the matter of food, residence, clothing and even in sexual relationship as far as possible. It is also essential upon the husband (who has more than one wife) to divide his time equally with the wives. It is therefore compulsory upon a man who has taken more than one wife to be just and fair with each, and to provide equally to all, with respect to food, residence and clothing. If a man cannot fulfill this condition of being fair, equal and just to all his wives, then he is ordered by Allah to keep only one wife. In this regard, the Holy Quran emphatically stated, ‘If you fear that you will not be able to do justice, then marry only one’ (Quran chap.4 verse 3)
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan