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Life Talk!

the role of Muslim women



North Korea

yesterday, I paticipated in a 'Knowing Islam Symposium'. the speaker gave a speech about human justice and free will which Islam intends. later, while he was speaking about the role of Muslim women, he said that women can not be political leader and they always stand behind men's sucess.

Friends, would you mind to talk about it?

07:14 AM Mar 01 2008 |

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Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is

polygamy allowed in Islam?


1. Definition of Polygamy

Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one

spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries

more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries

more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry

is completely prohibited.

Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than

one wife?

2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says,

“marry only one”.

The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the

phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to

have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the

Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does

one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one

can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and

the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple

wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had

several wives.

In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished,

since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few

centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had

three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny

continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an

edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries

continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of

Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

(*Interesting Note:- As per the 1975 census of India Hindus are morepolygynous than Muslims. The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of

Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that

the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961

was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According

to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is

illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being

illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there

was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives

allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it

became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian

Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the

Hindu scriptures.)

Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

3. Qur’an permits limited polygyny

As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth

that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from

Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an:

“Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that

ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one.”

[Al-Qur’an 4:3]

Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and

many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit

of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women,

only on the condition that he deals justly with them.

In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says:

“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women….”

[Al-Qur’an 4:129]

Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the

misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife.

Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:

(i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory

(ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged

(iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed

(iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged

(v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden

Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be

said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as

compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

07:54 AM Mar 01 2008 |




4. Average life span of females is more than that of males

By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A

female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the

germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the

pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the


During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die

due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females

is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the

world than widowers.

5. India has more male population than female due to female

foeticide and infanticide

India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in

which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in

the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one

million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are

identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have

more females as compared to males.

6. World female population is more than male population

In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one

million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male

population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole

has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not

wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared

to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia

has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million

more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

7. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not


Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than

thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands

(considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more

than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine

million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.

Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or

suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The

only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who

already has a wife or becomes 'public property'. There is no other option. All

those who are modest will opt for the first.

07:57 AM Mar 01 2008 |




Most women would nto like to share their husband with other women. But in

Islam when the situation deems it really neccessary Muslim women in due faith

could bear a small personal loss to prevent a greater loss of letting other Muslim

sisters becoming 'public properties'.

8. Marring a married man preferable to becoming 'public property'

In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple

extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected

life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one

wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and

lead a protected life.

Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to

marry a married man or to become 'public property'. Islam prefers giving

women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the


There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but

it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.



If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a

woman from having more than one husband?


A lot of people, including some Muslims, question the logic of allowing Muslim

men to have more than one spouse while denying the same ‘right’ to women.

Let me first state emphatically, that the foundation of an Islamic society is justice

and equity. Allah has created men and women as equal, but with different

capabilities and different responsibilities. Men and women are different,

physiologically and psychologically. Their roles and responsibilities are different.

Men and women are equal in Islam, but not identical.

Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with whom

Muslim men can not marry. It is further mentioned in Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4

verse 24 “Also (prohibited are) women already married”

07:58 AM Mar 01 2008 |




The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is prohibited in


1. If a man has more than one wife, the parents of the children born of such

marriages can easily be identified. The father as well as the mother can

easily be identified. In case of a woman marrying more than one husband,

only the mother of the children born of such marriages will be identified and

not the father. Islam gives tremendous importance to the identification of

both parents, mother and father. Psychologists tell us that children who do

not know their parents, especially their father undergo severe mental

trauma and disturbances. Often they have an unhappy childhood. It is for

this reason that the children of prostitutes do not have a healthy childhood.

If a child born of such wedlock is admitted in school, and when the mother

is asked the name of the father, she would have to give two or more names!

I am aware that recent advances in science have made it possible for both

the mother and father to be identified with the help of genetic testing. Thus

this point which was applicable for the past may not be applicable for the


2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.

3. Biologically, it is easier for a man to perform his duties as a husband despite

having several wives. A woman, in a similar position, having several

husbands, will not find it possible to perform her duties as a wife. A woman

undergoes several psychological and behavioral changes due to different

phases of the menstrual cycle.

4. A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual

partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or

sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her

husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case

in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital


The above reasons are those that one can easily identify. There are probably

many more reasons why Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has prohibited polyandry

07:59 AM Mar 01 2008 |






Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil?


The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media.

The ‘hijab’ or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the

‘subjugation’ of women under Islamic law. Before we analyze the reasoning

behind the religiously mandated ‘hijab’, let us first study the status of women in

societies before the advent of Islam

1. In the past women were degraded and used as objects of lust

The following examples from history amply illustrate the fact that the status of

women in earlier civilizations was very low to the extent that they were denied

basic human dignity:

a. Babylonian Civilization:

The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian

law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife

was put to death.

b. Greek Civilization:

Greek Civilization is considered the most glorious of all ancient civilizations.

Under this very ‘glorious’ system, women were deprived of all rights and

were looked down upon. In Greek mythology, an ‘imaginary woman’ called

‘Pandora’ is the root cause of misfortune of human beings. The Greeks

considered women to be subhuman and inferior to men. Though chastity of

women was precious, and women were held in high esteem, the Greeks

were later overwhelmed by ego and sexual perversions. Prostitution

became a regular practice amongst all classes of Greek society.

c. Roman Civilization:

When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘glory’, a man even had the

right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common

amongst the Romans.

d. Egyptian Civilization:

The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of a devil.

e. Pre-Islamic Arabia:

Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and

very often when a female child was born, she was buried alive.

08:00 AM Mar 01 2008 |




2. Islam uplifted women and gave them equality and expects them

to maintain their status.

Islam uplifted the status of women and granted them their just rights 1400 years

ago. Islam expects women to maintain their status.

Hijab for men

People usually only discuss ‘hijab’ in the context of women. However, in the

Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) first mentions ‘hijab’ for men before ‘hijab’ for the

women. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Noor:

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard

their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is

well acquainted with all that they do.”

[Al-Qur’an 24:30]

The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought

comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.

Hijab for women.

The next verse of Surah Noor, says:

“ And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and

guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and

ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they

should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty

except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their


[Al-Qur’an 24:31]

3. Six criteria for Hijab.

According to Qur’an and Sunnah there are basically six criteria for observing


1. Extent:

The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is

different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male

is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the

extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face

and the hands upto the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these

parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands

are part of the obligatory extent of ‘hijab’.

All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women.

08:02 AM Mar 01 2008 |




2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.

3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through


4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.

5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.

6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbelievers i.e. they

should not wear clothes that are specifically identities or symbols of the

unbelievers’ religions.

4. Hijab includes conduct and behaviour among other things

Complete ‘hijab’, besides the six criteria of clothing, also includes the moral

conduct, behaviour, attitude and intention of the individual. A person only

fulfilling the criteria of ‘hijab’ of the clothes is observing ‘hijab’ in a limited sense.

‘Hijab’ of the clothes should be accompanied by ‘hijab’ of the eyes, ‘hijab’ of the

heart, ‘hijab’ of thought and ‘hijab’ of intention. It also includes the way a person

walks, the way a person talks, the way he behaves, etc.

5. Hijab prevents molestation

The reason why Hijab is prescribed for women is mentioned in the Qur’an in the

following verses of Surah Al-Ahzab:

“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women

that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when

abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such)

and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

[Al-Qur’an 33:59]

The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are

recognized as modest women and this will also prevent them from being


6. Example of twin sisters

Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down

the street. One of them is attired in the Islamic hijab i.e. the complete body is

covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists. The other sister is

wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is

a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he

tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini?

Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. Such dresses are an

indirect invitation to the opposite sex for teasing and molestation. The Qur’an

rightly says that hijab prevents women from being molested.

08:02 AM Mar 01 2008 |




7. Capital punishment for the rapists

Under the Islamic shariah, a man convicted of having raped a woman, is given

capital punishment. Many are astonished at this ‘harsh’ sentence. Some even

say that Islam is a ruthless, barbaric religion! I have asked a simple question to

hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose, God forbid, someone rapes your wife,

your mother or your sister. You are made the judge and the rapist is brought in

front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said they would

put him to death. Some went to the extent of saying they would torture him to

death. To them I ask, if someone rapes your wife or your mother you want to put

him to death. But if the same crime is committed on somebody else’s wife or

daughter you say capital punishment is barbaric. Why should there be double


8. Western society falsely claims to have uplifted women

Western talk of women’s liberalization is nothing but a disguised form of

exploitation of her body, degradation of her soul, and deprivation of her honour.

Western society claims to have ‘uplifted’ women. On the contrary it has actually

degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies

who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketeers,

hidden behind the colourful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’.

9. USA has one of the highest rates of rape

United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries

of the world. It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the

world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average

1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone. Later another report said

that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA. The

year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans

got ‘bolder’ in the following years.

Consider a scenario where the Islamic hijab is followed in America. Whenever

a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his

mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic hijab, that is the

complete body is covered except the face and the hands upto the wrist. After

this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment. I ask you, in such

a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or

will it decrease?

10. Implementation of Islamic Shariah will reduce the rate of rapes

Naturally as soon as Islamic Shariah is implemented positive results will be

inevitable. If Islamic Shariah is implemented in any part of the world, whether it

is America or Europe, society will breathe easier. Hijab does not degrade a

woman but uplifts a woman and protects her modesty and chastity.

08:03 AM Mar 01 2008 |




peace be upon u

I just wanted to thank you,great job Smile 

08:51 AM Mar 01 2008 |




TTR100 i couldn't answer to your question because i don't have the knowledge which allowing me to replay, hope someone else can do it because your question is very important and i guess that many non-muslims ask the same question.But i can say that women had already their role in muslim society even when our prophet Mohamed (PBUH) was alive.

God bless you Mim-dica, what you wrote was very interesting, you gived many informations which are very important, and everything you said was logical.I realy appreciate it, thank you.

08:56 AM Mar 01 2008 |