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
Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of
women with who you can not marry and it is further mentions in Surah Nisa’
Chapter 4 verse 24 "Also (prohibited are) women already married"
The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is
prohibited in Islam:
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 present.
2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a
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 sex.
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.