Why The Quran Prefers Polyandry to Polygyny

polygamy-femaleAssalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barkatuh The Wisdoms of Islamic Polyandry as opposed to polygyny. The Holy Quran limits polygyny so that men are only allowed to marry plural wives if they are guardians of orphans, fearing being unable to protect them and also without any fear whatsoever of ever treating their wives unjustly. Polyandry on the other hand is allowed without limits according to An Nisa, as long as the wife allows herself to be one that her husband “right hands possess”.

First, we address the wisdom in allowing polyandry:

“…so, this is from the completeness of His blessing and Shari’ah, and is in accordance with His wisdom, mercy, and benefit for His servants. This is because one of the purposes of marriage is sexual intercourse and the fulfillment of one’s desire, and from the people are those who are overtaken by their desire, and are not satisfied with one. So, He allowed her a second, third, and fourth or a fifth one (since only the number of wives is restricted, not the number of husbands).

He then goes on to explain the wisdom in allowing unrestricted multiple spouses for the woman, in exclusion to the man:

“…this is from the completeness of the Wisdom of the Exalted Lord, and His goodness and mercy towards His servants, and His taking their interests into account, and He is Exalted above doing anything other than this, and His Shari’ah is far from coming with other than this. If it was allowed for the man to have more wives, the world would be ruined, and progeny would be lost, and the wives would end up killing each other, and a crisis would ensue, and the fitnah would become severe, and war would erupt. And how can the affair of the man remain firm when he has bickering partners? And how can the affair of these partners themselves remain firm? So, the coming of the Shari’ah with what it came with of opposition to this is from the greatest of proofs of the wisdom, mercy, and consideration of the Legisator.

So, if it is said: how can the interests of the woman be taken into account, with her being able to marry whom she wants, fulfill her desire, and move from one man to the next in accordance with her desires and needs – all while the needs of the man are just like her needs, and the desires of the man are just like her desires?

We answer: since it is the nature of the man to be concealed behind the walls and hidden in the depths of his home since we all know that man is lazy and arrogant, and his moods are cooler than that of the woman, and his outer and inner movements are less than her movements, and the woman has been given strength and intensity for intercourse that leads her desire more so than with the man, and she has been tested with what he has not been tested with, she is granted the choice of having multiple spouses that is not available to the man. This is from what Allah has set aside exclusively for the female, and has preferred for them over men, just as He has preferred for them compassion, being able to give birth to new life, emotional intelligence, endurance, etc. over men. Also, He has made women to be guardians over men, traversing about for the purpose of looking after their best interests, constantly on the lookout for means of sustaining them, encountering dangers, and exposing themselves to all types of hardships in the path of doing what is best for their husbands since women are more intelligent and less bent to stupidity and violence than men. So, the Exalted Lord is Thankful and Forbearing, and He thanks them for this, and has compensated them by instilling for them what He did not instill for their husbands.

And if you compare the fatigue, hardship, and efforts of the woman in fulfilling the interests of the men with what the men have to endure of jealousy, you would find that the woman’s share of having to endure this fatigue, hardship, and effort is much greater than what the men have to endure of jealousy…”

He continues:

“As for the one who says that the desire of the man is even more than that of the woman, this is not the case. The driving force behind the desire is fervor (lit. heat). So, where is the fervor of the man in comparison to the fervor of the female? The man – because of his free time, slowness, and absence of what will keep him busy from the fulfillment of his desire – might be overtaken by his desire, and will not find that which would oppose it. Rather, it finds a heart and soul free from distraction. So, it is able to instill itself within him to the utmost, resulting in one assuming that his desire is multiple times that of the woman, and this is not the case.

And from that which proves this is that if a woman has intercourse with her husband, she can have intercourse with other men in the same time frame, and it is known that with each man, she displays desire and fervor that drives her to have intercourse. The man, on the other hand, if the woman fulfills her desire with him, he becomes exhausted, and does not seek to fulfill his desire with any additional woman within that time frame.

So, the wisdom of of the Decree, Legislation, Creation, and Command is implemented, and praise is for Allah.”

[‘I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in’; 2/64-66]

18 thoughts on “Why The Quran Prefers Polyandry to Polygyny

  1. This is not true! There is a serious mistake and I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW ANYBODY CAN MISUNDERSTAND THIS. Men are allowed four wives, women are only allowed one husband. That is islam. All things said here are untrue.

  2. I think most likely Fiona found an article by a man talking on polygyny (where the usual illogical points are propped up based on faith, ‘wisdom’ and ‘mercy’ from the god that is worshipped), exchanged the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and added some of her own points. This article looks more convincing though in a number of ways than a number of articles on polygyny lol.

    //woman are more intelligent and less bent to stupidity and violence than men//


  3. Yikes I used a sample name by mistake. Name should be Mariam. Mobile typing creates hassles.

  4. LOL let the head-explosions, pearl clutching, wailing and gnashing of teeth commence 😀

  5. Good job I would say, Fiona 😀 The conservatives and fundamentalists at least, need a change in mindset regarding tight gender roles and them being commenced by a god. If a person or culture prefer their gender roles as they are, that’s up to them, but for them to say it is also commenced by God and should be the only universal standard, um. Just because one path suits someone and some people out of the several doesn’t mean that one is the be-it-all path or the only one allowed or sanctioned by God or something.

  6. Garth, maybe all Muslims have been lied to. Only the trouble maker students get special instructions from teacher to keep them in check. Maybe be thats why Allah strictly mentioned that men should only choose polygamy when needed to protect orphans and on top of it added the condition that if they fear they can’t be just and fair then MARRY ONLY ONE.

    Looks like there is a lot of wisdom in restricting men’s behavior considering their violent nature. We all know men often resort to violence in a conflict situation be it an argument with spouse, jealousy, property dispute, dispute with other tribe or country. Allah knows his creation, Allah knows its in the nature of man because of all the male hormones! Thats why men were strictly told that they don’t have a free pass to marry more than one and that it should be only under rare condition (to protect orphans) and even under that rare condition there is a limit on number of wives. Maybe this was to prevent them from being in control over women because they have tendency to oppress, abuse women.

    If Muslim men’s duty is to lead family prayers then more than one husband makes a lot more sense. If polyandry is followed, its possible to have at least one man present at home always to lead daily 5 prayers. At least one man should be present at home to guard the house against any burglars, rapists and to fight to protect the family if needed. This again requires more than one husband to ensure at least one man is there to protect the home and family while others are gone for work (to provide for the family, another important duty of a Muslim man)

    All of the above points are strong indication that polyandry will lead to a more Islamic family. Now prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was an exception, an ideal man and very different from all ordinary men (all Muslims agree with that). It makes sense why Allah allowed him any number of wives. I believe Muslim men invented all these rules (and Hadiths) to control their women but this is against Allah’s instructions. Men will pay a big price and burn in hell for ignoring Allah’s very clear message that polygyny is allowed only under rare circumstances.

    Anyone knows any verses from Quran that indicates that women should marry just one?

  7. Fiona is a good example that polyandry is a better option and women are better at being just and fair to more than one partner. Here is another story of a happy family with one woman and two male partners. Her first husband preferred to accept polyandry than to get divorced. Now they all live together as a family which is very good for children. Selfish Muslim men should learn something from these men who put their families happiness first.

  8. Laila, from me personally, I have been discussing this with a Muslim man, who is deeply spiritual and has been telling me that the Quran in it’s current method of interpretation in Arabic and translation has been quite badly distorted (also the Old Testament). There are a few contradictions and errors that I have found in the Quran, which include scientific, grammatical, language and logical errors. It is also unjust in several ways (remember showing the description of hell and those who would be present in it? That’s one example) and misogynistic.

    What caught my eye is how worldly/fleshly the scripture is. Especially for a more spiritual person they would notice such issues much more easily than a worldly/fleshly minded person. I am going with the idea still that these scriptures have had some level of divine inspiration. But they were still revealed to a patriarchal and backwards society and era earlier. So I would have to be choosy and careful regarding them for today’s more progressive, equal and enlightened age for my own inspiration. But that Muslim man has been saying even then a man and woman are supposed to be faithful to each other in marriage, and in matters of polygamy (for man or woman), should come from a spiritual place for them to make such decisions.

    The best thing would be to uphold one’s conscience, reasoning and observance of real world evidence, the only real tools for us people to navigate the world. I am seeing at the end that is what God (if one believes in it) would have wished for us humans. Being good and more spiritual than worldly (as many Muslims are already, even if they claim otherwise, such as sometimes even with their outward show of religiosity), which is more important than matters of belief/disbelief itself.

  9. “pearl clutching”. Unchained, I love it. Meanwhile, I hope you have smelling salts left over after the last guy was here; I think Garth needs some STAT.

  10. Maybe you have misunderstood everything? My suggestion is to ask a scholar or your imam and they will explain the proper rules for polygamy. Have a blessed day.

  11. So you’ve put your husband through hell to get back at him for doing something he had every right to do? Does it make you feel better? Aren’t you even a bit ashamed for what you’ve done? You call your co-wife a wh**e and other filthy words but as far as I can tell the only woman here sleeping with multiple men is you. No religion has ever condoned women sleeping around, so your texts become pathetic. The institution of marriage is in place so children can know their lineage and husband and wife can care for each other. Seems to me your husband wanted to care for two wives, while you just want to hurt two men.

  12. Garth,
    Perhaps you can check out Fiona’s earlier posts, she explained everything in them. And she is not a Muslim, by the way.

    I still feel surprised seeing Muslims hammering their own religious views down the throats of people who are not Muslims, and that if their spouses are Muslims then they have every right to impose their own Islamic views on them. Like really, this superiority complex is not nice at all, and even annoying and disturbing. But then many Muslims are raised with a superiority complex unfortunately, and pseudo science and cultural ideas in the form of religion to shape their own world views.

    // No religion has ever condoned women sleeping around, so your texts become pathetic. The institution of marriage is in place so children can know their lineage and husband and wife can care for each other. Seems to me your husband wanted to care for two wives, while you just want to hurt two men.//

    That’s ancient century and patriarchal thinking, so perhaps you can offer your thinking to people who would welcome such views.

  13. @ Kathy: Many people in all different societies would call a woman who sleeps with a man behind his wife’s back a wh***. Many people in many different cultures would call a woman who sleeps with a man much older than herself for financial allowance a wh***. I must say while I find the word itself misogynistic and refrain from using it, I can understand why a woman who essentially found a woman sleeping with her husband behind her – his wife’s – back whilst knowing he was married in the first place, and also knowing his wife was kept in the dark about the relation, and that essentially for money, to be no better than a prostitute in the streets.

    Wedding contract or not – a prostitute has a verbal contract with a client, too, and still many will not think very highly of the prostitute’s service for the client. Actually, the wedding contract in a traditional setting where the marriage is consummated – sex performed – without the two people having been alone together before sex is quite akin to regular prostitution. In the absence of even the possibility of actual feelings between two strangers, it becomes a very simple transaction at least in the beginning: Sex for custody (essentially, actual payments or payments in kind).

    So quite objectively, Fiona’s # 2 fulfills all the qualities of a prostitute. I personally have much more respect for women who are honest about doing sex work I must say.

  14. I couldn’t agree more. Over and over I’m hearing how beneficial to women polygyny is in terms of financial support and sex. Seems to me that’s prostitution by its very definition. Some religious ceremonial mumbo jumbo notwithstanding.

  15. You nailed it Chris!
    Unchained, yes all the benefits they mention make Islamic marriage especially polygyny sound more like a business deal. I don’t hear about companionship, love, growing old together. All they talk about is men suddenly wanting another woman, wanting more children!, wanting to support a widow/single mother, ex wife, baby mama (conveniently their wives don’t have that option to invite their ex to join the family 🙂
    All the discussions are around how to split husbands/family’s money, the never ending schedule issues, calling/not calling on other wife’s time, jealousy issues, what happens if husband gets sick or dies on other wife’s days, everything gets even more complicated when one wife is secret! all these endless issues should tell them something is inherently wrong with Islamic polygyny! I think doing it for the wrong reason, religious obligation is the main problem. If consenting adults choose equal polygamy without any religious or other obligations or pressures that will still make some sense.

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