16 Apr 2001


Sura 4 (Nisa), Ayat 3. One of the most powerful laws mankind has ever experienced on this planet.

This is the only place where the Qura’an not encourages but permits Muslim men to have up to 4 wives (only from Ahle Kitab) at one time. This law had/have serious effects on millions of Muslim co-wives and their children, forever. And so it is extremely important to look at it once again.

On one hand this is a divine permission from the merciful Creator. On the other hand nobody willingly gives his or her girl to a married man. Why? Simply because there is pain for women in it. Even all our Maolanas (many a times having co-wives themselves) definitely look for a bachelor to get their daughters married with. Even the Prophet (SA) did not allow it for his own daughter, twice.

While dealing with the sensitive subject, it must be remembered that throughout history, this has been a point of attack by anti-Muslim groups on Islam/Muslims. Throughout history our Maolanas, as we will see, defended the attack with peculiar, unrealistic and completely unacceptable logic. Only because they always looked at the reality of human-pain through the window of Books/words.

That was a mistake. As the result of this mistake they were forced to justify the words of the Qura’an at the cost of human lives, which the whole world could see and still can see. We will not do that. We will take the opposite course. We will start from the reality of cursed house of co-wives and proceed through Hadis/other information to reach the Qura’an ultimately. It will be an honest journey without any “hidden agenda” against Islam. That way we will recognize the undeniable facts that

(1). This law is extremely painful/insulting to innocent women, (2) Anything which tortures innocent people can not be divine, (3) If the Qura’an is divine as it claims to be, something went very wrong with the law.

First let us imagine a house of  co-wives. We see there: -

1. Polarization of “Groups” centering each wife. 2. A competition/enmity/rivalry between/among the groups/wives. 3. Continuous quarreling with high voices/indecent words. 4. Mutual distrust disrespects and insult. 5. Family-conspiracy (for property etc.) against each other, sometimes ending in killing. 6. Continuous absence of positive values and virtues in the home. 7. Kids grow up in that poisonous atmosphere with a negative philosophy. 8. Kids never receive a passionate, kind approach towards life and people. 9. Kids generally develop a strong resistance/repulsion to the stepmother and her kids. 10. Kids develop a silent hatred towards the father, making him responsible for the mess. 11. The father becomes a victim of the situation, as he grows older. 12. In poor countries it increases poverty of the home. Nobody can stop even a poor man from having co-wives.

I can go on and on, without being a social scientist. Microscopic exceptions are there but those are not examples. No matter how you approach, the fact remains that a house of co-wives is the worst place for a kid to grow up in and a hell for the women themselves. So when such a hell is allowed by a divine command, there has to be a very strong reason, not an excuse.

And there is one. A real reason, not the excuse/s our Maolanas show. What they show?

1. The wife may be unable to bear children. 2. The wife may be too sick to do household work. 3. Women like the system.  4. Women get “old” faster, so men have to be provided with more women for their “need”. 5. The “need” of men is higher by 99 times than that of women. On the contrary, in some books, it is stated that women’s “need” is 99%, men’s is only 1%. (Ref- some “Islamic” books from the footpath of Dhaka, Bangladesh). 6. The number of women is much higher than the number of men. Some factual statistics are there to prove it. This will be dealt with in details.

1, 2 and 3 above are dishonest. Although no Maolana says that, infertility and sickness can happen equally with men as well, but even then the women are never allowed to have another husband at the same time. No. 4 is medically wrong. Rather, in Europe for last decades we saw that women got hyperactive with hormone-therapy and since then men were in wild search for Viagra. For no. 5, it is difficult to say who was the great Islamic-Einstein that gave us the numbers on what basis. I can only ask scholars to prove it medically.

Point number 6 is the most important one. Statistically women are more in number almost everywhere. The UN Population Report of 1964 shows it clearly in Korea, USSR, England, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary, USA etc. In general, females are 52% and men are 48% of human society. That makes women more than men in number by 1.08 times. (WOMAN AND HER RIGHTS – Maolana Allama Mutahhery. In some countries such as India, the figure is opposite though). Marriage is a human right, and “ If the right of the surplus women to marriage is not recognized and the morally, financially and physically well-qualified men are not allowed to have more than one wife, free love and concubinage are bound to become rampant, destroying the very basis of real monogamy”. Here al the Maolanas show a picture of as if all the marriageable men and women are going to marry at the same time on the same day. This does not happen. It is a high number of people with a dynamic situation. Never a groom will find that there is absolutely no bride for him. Again, can polygamy free a society from free love and concubinage? . Did allowance of up to 4 wives save Muslim-societies from secret love or extramarital relationship? No, not at all. The root of those social aspects are embedded in complex human nature. Polygamy ( up to 4 or 40) is not even a remote answer of those. Free sex of the West often results in social “disease”, but a “religious medicine” does not work there. It depends on morality, which is not dependent of religion, as proved by our experience and a research of Mr. Probeer Ghosh. He showed that 100% of the criminals (from chicken-thief to killers) in Jail strongly believe in God, Prophet, Books, Sin, “Sawab”, Keyamat, Roj-Hashar, Pool-Sirat, Behest, Dojakh etc. etc. Still their religious belief could not stop them from committing heinous crimes.

It is interesting to note that (1) The critics of this law always disregard the social/familial need of it in some special circumstances. They focus only on the free license of satisfying sexual lust of immoral men and on the inhumane torture on women. (2) On the other hand, the Maolanas always highlight only the social/familial need of it with an artificial generality, disregarding the cry of pain of the women and free license of satisfying sexual lust of immoral men. They never say that “Check-Balance” of this powerful law is confined only in advises and not in visible applied legislation of Islam as in the punishments of theft and adultery. So it acts not in favor of the oppressed but in favor of the oppressor.


As men were not, are not, and never will be, even double than women in number, a law of “up to 4” can not at all relate to that. At best it could be “up to 2”. It can be said with absolute confidence that nature keeps a balance so that no species will ever have male or female 4 times than the other. So, the Qura’anic purpose of “up to 4” was not to handle the situation of the numbers of 52-48%.

Then, what was the purpose? Let us look at those very words of 4:3 now.

“And if you fear that you can not act justly among the orphans- then marry those who seem good to you, two, or three, or four, and if you fear that you shall not deal justly (with so many) then (marry) one only….”.

Is it clearly said here that you are allowed to marry any woman of the whole world? Nope ! Not at all! On the backgrounds of (1). The hadis about its situation of revelation of the law, (2) The clear use of “orphan-girls” in 4:127 related to 4:3 and ( 3) The preceding and succeeding sentences of Sura Nisa-3, leaves no way to use this law to marry other than orphan-girls. Readers, please read the Ayat once more. Isn’t it more relevant to orphans? Yes, definitely

This Ayat was revealed after the “Ohud” war, where many Muslims were killed leaving behind many orphan girls. As recorded in Sahi Bokhari page-678-Hadis#2428:- When she was asked about the Ayat 4:3, Bibi Ayesha (RA) said :- “If the orphan girl is beautiful or rich, the caretaker himself marries her without giving suitable “Mohr” but they do not do that if she is not beautiful or rich. THIS AYAT IS REVEALED TO STOP THIS INJUSTICE (emphasis mine).

So we got that the law was meant to handle a particular situation of orphan girls of that particular situation. If “THIS INJUSTICE” of that situation does not exist, the instruction does not imply either. This is further and conclusively proven in Ayat 4:127. “ THEY ASK FOR YOUR PERMISSION TO MARRY WOMEN. TELL THEM, ALLAH PERMITS YOU ABOUT THEM AND WHAT IS NARRATED TO YOU, IS THE INSTRUCTION ABOUT THOSE FATHERLESS-GIRLS WHOM YOU WANT TO MARRY BUT DO NOT GIVE THE PRESCRIBED RIGHT… “

The explanation section of the Qura’an ( S.V. MIR AHMED ALI) says the same :- “This is directly related to 4:3 as in THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN REFERRED TO HERE ARE THOSE MENTIONED IN Vr.3………… Yataaman-Nisa MEANS THE GIRL-ORPHANS.

Now, let me put forward some faint voices responding to humanity against this century old strong inhumanity towards our women.


“ The permission to marry more than one wife is ….. in no way general in nature”. --J. Aftab Hussain in “ Status of Women in Islam”,

Also, “ ….the choice of wives for plural marriages MUST BE FROM AMONG THE WIDOWS OR ORPHAN GIRLS. IT IS ONLY IN THIS SENSE THAT THE RELEVANCE OF THE OPENING SENTENCE OF THIS VERSE IS JUSTIFIED. If this is read and considered with the preceding verse (4:2), the meanings become more clear. IT IS AGAINST THIS BACKGROUND THAT POLYGAMY HAS BEEN PERMITTED. (Women’s Rights in Islam- Mohd. Sharif Chowdhury).

The preceding and succeeding sentences of 4:3 deal only with the interest of the orphans. In the middle, a sudden permission of marrying “any woman” of the whole world is not befitting. It could be befitting in Sura Nisa Ayats 19, 20,21,22, 23, 24, 25 and other places where the Qura’an tells whom we can marry and whom we can not. We all know that many words of the Qura’an can be explained in more than one way. And unfortunately our rule-makers always took the ones against women.

At the end, we have to look at the verdict of none but the Prophet (SA) himself about none but his own daughter Bibi Fatima (RA). A solid clue indeed. Hadis No. 2472, page 687:- “( After Hazrat Ali (RA) had sent a proposal to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl) the Prophet (SA) said “……..Definitely I say , Allah’s Kasam! The daughter of Allah’s Rasool and the daughter of Allah’s enemy can not unite in the marriage of the same person”. After this sermon, Hazrat Ali (RA) withdrew the proposal of marriage”.

Bypassing the fact that a creation (a man) can not be an “enemy” of the all-powerful ever-existing magnificent Creator, let us move to the next incidence. This time it was a Muslim father, so “Enemy of Allah” was not applicable. Hadis no. 2473 page 687:- “ I heard the Prophet (SA) saying from the Mimbar – “Hisham Mugeera proposed to me for the marriage of his daughter to Ali Ibne Talib (RA). But I did not allow and I will not allow until Ali (RA) divorces my daughter Fatima (RA). Because Fatima is a part of my body. I hate what she hates and whatever hurts her hurts me””.

So our Prophet (SA) accepted the fact that being a co-wife hurt Bibi Fatima (RA) and she hated it. She was saved from the curse of this verse because she was none but the daughter of none but the Prophet (SA) himself. But our poor helpless fathers, or anybody in the world in that matter, have absolutely no authority to stop any cruel/torturous husband from marrying again, again and again. Because it is not true that “Islam allows a Muslim man to have a maximum of only 4 wives”. The truth rather is, “Islam allows a Muslim man to have a maximum of 4 wives at a time”. Then he is absolutely free to divorce any wife anytime quite easily, none in the world can even ask him the reason of divorce. Then the happy man can marry again. This cycle can be repeated endlessly, legally, Islamically.

For the Rahmatullil Al Amin (SA), billions of helpless Fatimas/Ayeshas of Muslim world were/are also expected to be his virtual daughters and be helped the same way.

They were/are not, they were/are to abide by the law. And our Maolanas are stubborn too. They would rather save the words at the cost of human lives. So there is nobody to save our dear women.

No, not true. There is something called time. And the women themselves.






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