Is it true that Muslim men can marry more than one woman?
  • "The norm in Islam is monogamy as emphasized in numerous Qur’anic verses that discuss the creation of all things in pairs, beginning with Adam and Eve.

    Polygamy was not initiated by Islam but existed in many pre-Islamic cultures, including those referenced in the Bible, which mentions, for example, Abraham, David, Jacob, and others having more than one wife. In Arabia before Islam men married women without any limitations on the number. Islam restricted this practice according to very strict, defined conditions. While Islamic teachings allow for more than one wife, the condition for such a marriage is that a man be fair and equal in his treatment of each wife. However, the Qur’an states, “You will never be able to treat women the same, no matter how hard to try…” (Qur’an, 4:129). The verse in the Qur’an allowing this practice was revealed in the context of war and caring for orphans. Polygamy at this point in history provided assistance to widowed women with children who otherwise would have been left to fend for themselves in a brutally patriarchal social order.

    Today polygamy is only practiced by a small minority of Muslims, mainly in societies where it is culturally acceptable such as in Africa or the Arabian Peninsula. According to Islamic teachings, a wife who does not accept a polygamous relationship can write this stipulation into the marriage contract and seek a divorce if her husband marries another woman. If Muslims live in a country where polygamy is illegal, which includes many Muslim-populated countries, they must abide by the rules of that country.