Featured, Life, Marriage

Think polygamy is sunnah? Read this first

Polygamy is one of those things that always seems to come up when discussing Islam. Be it in banterous conversations between a husband and wife (which never end too well!) or during a serious discussion circle between ‘akhis’ on a Friday night. Lots of Muslim guys justify their interest in polygamy by saying “it’s Sunnah.” But here are some other Sunnahs of how the Prophet conducted polygamy to think about doing first:

1) Stay monogamous for 25 years, and only practice polygamy after your first wife passes away

The Prophet was married to only Khadijah, his first wife for 25 years. He only married other women after she passed away, and even then he reminisced about her, even showing particular love for anyone who used to visit him in the days of Khadijah, just out of the positive association. It’s almost as if a romantic monogamous marriage is the norm, and polygamy came as a dispensation afterwards.

2) Marry a widow

Most of the Prophet’s wives – 8 out of 13 – were widows. Khadijah had been married – and widowed – twice before. If you’re so keen on the Sunnah of polygamy, please be as keen on the Sunnah of marrying widows. Unfortunately, we are very selective about the sunnahs we like and the sunnahs we ignore. It’s a crime that a widow or a divorcee is seen as ‘less than’ a previously unmarried woman by many Muslims. That’s the Sunnah of Shaitan.

3) Marry a woman 15 years older than you

When they got married, Khadijah was 40, and the Prophet was 25. Not quite a Macron-sized age gap, but still significant. When was the last time you went to a Muslim wedding where the bride was 15 years older than the groom? Single guys reading this: what would your parents say if you wanted to marry a woman 15 years older than you? If the answer is anything other than “masha’ Allah, that’s Sunnah”… then we have a problem.



4) Marry an old widow with 5 children from a previous marriage

Sawda bint Zam’a had children from a previous marriage – some narrations say five or six sons! When her and the Prophet married, there was great surprise in Mecca that Muhammad would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. The Prophet, however, remembered the trials she went through for the sake of her religion, immigrating to Abyssinia and leaving everything behind. When was the last time you saw that in the “what I’m looking for” section of MuzMatch?

5) Marry a woman richer than you, who is an international entrepreneur

Khadijah was a wealthy, international businesswoman – basically, if she was alive now, she’d be starring in Dragon’s Den or The Apprentice. The Prophet worked for her. She asked him to marry her. This is literally the opposite of an older man proposing to a young girl who hasn’t developed her career yet, and then asking her to ‘look after the house’ as if she’s some kind of structural engineer. Do you think maybe the Prophet was trying to teach us something? He was given knowledge of his ummah’s actions by Allah – so he knew then the state we would be in now. What do you think he was trying to tell us?

6) Marry a Jewish woman

Two of the Prophet’s wives – Rayhana bint Zayd and Safiyya bint Huyayy – were Jewish. <any Muslims are surprised to hear this, because there seems to be an unwritten rule between some Sheikhs to avoid this subject. Everyone talks about how close we are to Ahl-el-Kitab (people of the book)… why not put it into action and set up an account on Jdate.com? And by the way, when Safiyya was the victim of antisemitism, the Prophet told her to respond: “Aaron is my father, Moses is my uncle, and Muhammad my husband.” When Muslims let their love for Palestine slip into talk of a ‘Jewish conspiracy’, they should remember that they are insulting one of the Mothers of the Believers.

7) Marry a Christian woman

Maria Al-Qibtiyya was a Coptic Christian from Egypt. It is because of her that the Prophet told the companions to “…treat its (Egypt’s) inhabitants well. For there lies upon you the responsibility because of blood-tie or relationship of marriage.”

Are these 7 Sunnahs of polygamy too difficult?

Maybe these 3 Sunnahs of married life should be easier to practice on wifey number 1:

1 – Do the housework
2 – Wash your own clothes
3 – Serve your own food

(All narrated in Sahih Bukhari)

So brothers if you’re planning to follow the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad regarding marriage and polygamy, please consider all of the above, and if after reading that you’re still game, mashallah you’re a better man than me!

Whilst we’re on the topic, here’s a fantastic video about polygamy that I came across a few days ago, which asks the question, does Islam encourage men to marry four wives?

Hassan lives in London. He loves hummus and hates bid’ah. You can find him on Twitter on @Hassan_Nazimi

62 Comments

  1. Mia,
    I wonder what would you say about the updated demographics numbers. There are more males in the world in 2017 year. It was OK for polygamy 1400 years ago, when there were less men than women mainly due to wars and heigh mortality of baby boys .However we live in different times, with improved lifestyle, medical help, less war conflicts etc. The ratio of births is 1.07 boys for every 1 girl as per recent statistics. Looks like soon two males will be fighting for one female…. or men will be marrying between themselves. What did Quran say about polygamy in such situation? Did someone in your book predict such outcome? Or maybe Muslim men should start a new war to exterminate each other… in this case if they go for 4 wives, three males should be killed…. is there any Surah in Quran about it?

  2. Please, do properly research before you write an article, if not any misinformation mentioned in the article will create more and more misunderstanding between the readers. As you can read, we got some quite confused people professors/scholars leaving their comments behind. If you post an article which is your personal intellec property, is great but know your responsibilities toward the readers and to Allah. At the end to the day you will all will be held accountable for our actions and deeds, so you too. As we are humans with shortcomings, we make mistakes. If you make a mistake and you find out later, there is nothing wrong to apologise. By ignoring it, you will commit a sin especially when other people have make you aware.

    Further I want to mention that this webiste is called a Muslim Vibe and not a Shia or Sunni Vibe. Please, avoid to create fitna between the believers. If you do, then I guess you are at a wrong site and should leave immediate.

    Please, remove immediate post from people like Luna Atmoviyojo and Timothy Raj etc. Check the post before it can be uploaded. In this way you can maintain the real purpose of the website and its quality standard if that is important for you.

  3. As correct as this article is. It just has the tone of discouraging men from marrying four wives which is legalised in the Qur’an after fulfilling some conditions. Let’s be wary not to mislead people. We do try to emulate the prophet but we aren’t him coz he’s the best of mankind. Let’s stop rationalising and accept whole heatedly. Remember its sam’eena wa ata’ana(we hear and we obey) not we hear and rationalise. If you have the ability of marrying four,Walilah all hamd. And yes we can still practise those sunnahs you mentioned as seeming substitutes for polygamy while practising polygamy. May Allah forgive us all

  4. Honestly the only people complaining here are sunnis so if you didn’t like the article keep your thoughts to yourself and have a damn nice day.

    1. Firstly I would like to thank the author of this article for correctly relaying the various narratives from the life of Muhammad s.a.w. However I cannot commend the manner in which he put across the point. Secondly I would like to point out that people must be careful what they post. Ask yourself what, as a complete effect, is the outcome of what I have posted?

      He goes on to mention “7 sunnahsof polygamy.” Where in any kitaab of fiqh is there mention of 7 sunnahs of polygamy?

      Next he goes on to mention that maria qibtiyaa r.a was a Christian. Under the topic marry a christian! Wallahi Nabi s.a.w did not marry mariyya qibtiyya. She was his slave girl.

      This man has what qualifications in Islamic jurisprudence? He should fear for his abode in the hereafter for Allah’s sake. People like this are amongst the statistics of the prophet of Allah s.a.w of those who will come near the the final hour and misguide the Muslims. You and I will be very careful about what doctor we see when we have a terminal illness, we wouldn’t dare attempt to treat ourselves in the direness of our health. What about the direness of the health of your soul and the condition in which it is retuned to Allah? Would you not seek the best advice available and not just that of any Tom, Dick or Harry on the internet and, in general, be careful about it?
      Many people today come about with minimal Islamic knowledge, misguiding and beguiling the masses and all for the sake of throwing forward their interpretation of Islam. It’s these kind of self made interpretations that led to people thinking suicide bombings are halaal.

      I ask you now my sister, for Allah’s sake, be careful on who you follow and whose hand you place the safety of your Imaan in. Nabi s.a.w praised the scholars of deen (ulama) on multiple occasions, so much so as to call them those who have inherited from prophethood, yet this person comes forth and picks on the manner in which the ulama have explained deen to us. What gives him the authority? He knows less than them on the matter. How often have ulama called people to firstly educate themselves and their children on the path of deen? Had this been so, the facts which he blames ulama for not spreading would have no grounds. As they would have been learned in it. Issues like this cannot be explained over a single jumuah bayaan.

      I make duaa Allah grants us all the taufeeq to act upon the true sunnah and the tareeqah of the life of Nabi Kareem s.a.w, and that Allah save us from imposters and falsehood Ameen!

  5. Let us not forget Al Qur’an and Shariya for the aforementioned is Allah swt laws and guidance. Marry 1,2,3,4.

    1. And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].

      Firstly the ruling was to marry only orphans or widows, which men do not do when preferring a second wife. Second wives are usually younger, prettier or the husband’s new flame. Secondly, when Allah says that you wont be able to do justice between all 4 wives and its better if you keep only one so its only allowed to keep more than one wife at a time.

      Men should accept the fact that Polygamy is unnatural and take lesson from seahorses, penguins, and elephants who stick to one mate for the rest of their lives. Men should act better than animals. If polygamy was allowed in Islam, so would have been polyandry.

      1. “Firstly the ruling was to marry only orphans or widows”

        You have clearly said above in the translation of the ayah that:

        “marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four”.

        You are contradicting yourself and the ayah in this manner. Men may marry who they please and who pleases them from among women. However this right comes with the responsibility of being a husband to all his wives.

        You say monogamy is better because animals do it, yet you follow that we should be better than those same animals we take example from by being monogamous. Tell us who among men are better than the prophets and who among the prophets forbid or at least spoke against polygamy.

        “If polygamy was allowed in Islam, so would have been polyandry.”
        How can you be so presumptuous to assume the intent of God without proof from God nor from the prophets, but what pleases your heart.

  6. Assalamualaikum…
    Just bear this in mind…
    The sunnah that we have to follow is after the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam starts receiving the revelation… So stop harping on his actions before that.. Imagine if all men wanting to follow the “sunnah” only wants to marry older widows (when actually most of the widows are younger in age), who’s going to marry the not-yet-married girls?
    The Prophet salallahu alaihi wassalam actually admonished a young sahabah for marrying a widow and said it would be better for him to marry a young girl (but the sahabah had his reasons)… So, read some more (actually.. A LOT more..!!) before writing articles (& making comments) that can be so misleading..

    1. The article is on point. It asked you when did you attend a wedding where a Muslim man was marrying a widow? When did a Muslim marry a woman that is divorced or has kids from a previous marriage? There are some men who marry more then one wife just for sex. When he is done he gets rid of her and takes another. I met a woman who said her boyfriend broke up with her because he converted to Islam. He converted because he can have 4 wives. They are out there.

  7. Be careful with sharing this type of write-up, because Allah has specifically given permission for this practice if one is less imbued with it’s attainability he must admit his own weakness and not attempt to create misgivings in the mind of innocent and sincere believers. Virtually all his conditions are never instructed. It’s pure academic exercise which is allowed. It’s not about thinking it’s knowing polygamy is Sunnah.

  8. Well, I was reluctant to read this article following a couple of pages from FB sharing it… I eventually have (obviously!) and will have to say that I too will have to respectfully disagree with the writer, for too many reasons, some of which have been listed by other commenters.

    Academically, it’s a nice effort. For sisters who are against the practice of polygtby concerning their own husband, they will also enjoy this article.

  9. I love how they conveniently leave out Aisha (ra). Though understandably. Going that route is just not legally allowed anymore in the world, so they left it out.

    1. Seriously Aisha deserves to be left out! She ate the intestines of the prophets cousin Hamza! Do you really look up to someone like that?

      1. First, Hamza is the Prophet’s uncle. Second, there is no narration whatsoever stating Aisha r.a ate his intestines. She was the Prophet’s beloved wife, and our beloved mother. So ye, we look up to her. Before starting to criticise this, you should check the source of ‘facts’ you’re obtaining. Make sure it is authentic, not fabricated stories.

      2. You are out of line and should be ashamed of yourself Sara A. Get your facts right because Aisha may Allah be pleased with her is not the one that ate Hamzas organs which was by the way his liver and not his intestine. Moreover, I agree with most comments here that this article is WRONG in MANY WAYS and should be removed or corected immediately instead of being spread. I am a woman by the way and I believe Allah has made polygamy permissable for reasons our little human brain cannot understand. Indeed Allah is the most wise the all-knowing and He alone makes the best decisions.

      3. Subhaanallaah.
        What are you talking about!
        It was not Aisha who eat Hamza’s the prophets uncle liver….
        It was Hind who wanted to rivange her kufar fathers death..
        The she also accepted islam

      4. Most are making comments out of hearsay, with their harden heart and shallow mind whilst claiming they are speaker of Islam. As for the writer, i can just sympathise with your hatred polygamy view and hopefully Allah will guide you to a clearer path.

  10. Also:
    8. Marry a six year old little girl who still plays with her doll
    9. Consummate the marriage after that little girl reach 9 years of age (Hijriyyah year, which is shorter than Gregorian year)
    10. Own some sex salves (also the christian one)
    11. Raid a tribe, kill the leader, and marry his daughter
    12. Make your adoptive son divorce his wife then marry her
    13. Threatened to divorce your old wife so that she’s willing to give up her turn to the younger wife
    14. When your wives getting into a huge conflict because they’re jealous of each other, threatened to divorce all of them and replace them with a new set of wives
    #itsSunnah ☝️👳‍♂️

  11. Maybe you guys should start thinking why you are all so fucked up, perhaps your leader /religion founder was being a man, wasn’t perfect like all of us, being human, was fallible. Did, made and continued to make all laws, decrees based on his needs and urges.. Great leader he was, still human.

    1. How are all Muslims ‘fucked up’, as you put it? Have you done much history/research on Islam and Muslims? Or is the media you guide to Islam and Muslims?

      Muhammad peace be upon him isn’t the founder of Islam… he, like all known messengers and Prophets preached the message from God. If you are angry at God, you have to resolve that the best way you know possible.

  12. Assalamu alaykum brothers and sisters! I noticed naked display of ignorance amongst the muslim ummah. Both the writer and the commentators appear emotional and rationalizing a serious Islamic subject. The writer seems to be taking the whole issue of marriage from plain academic standpoint, which is allowed in islam to raise an issue for dependable clarifications, therefore, it is upon the reader or commentator to rebuff him on cogent; more superior argument and not to pour venom on him. Islam is a religion for all times and all arguments must be based on the main sources of sharia: Quran, Hadith, Ijma and Qiyas. From the tone of his writing, I doubt if the brother can be classed as ulama that has the analytic capacity to discuss convincingly sensitive topic as marriage. Let me state in a simple plain lay man’s language that law of Allah is not open to any whimsical interpretation(s). Allah said in surah Al Nisa marry 4,3,2 or one if you fear INJUSTICE among them. The injustice stated here refers to showing differences in terms of time-sharing; feeding; housing and not the hidden things like love, feelings and affection. This is the ONLY condition Allah set for marrying more than one wife. All the other conditions as presented by the are conjuncture and can’t be found in the four main sources of Sharia. Islam strongly recommend polygamy for Allah knows His creatures that some among men can’t be satiated by one wife: a stand modern science discovers recently. With this brief contribution of mind, I would like to plead with brothers and sisters to learn to control our emotions and be patient with one another. if a brother or sister marred in their statements, let us give them the benefit of doubt and try to correct them but not to rebuke or ridicule them. Islam is a religion of hikmah and wisdom. it is wise not to say anything if you are not concretely sure of the subject. Maasalaam

    1. If Islam STRONGLY recommended polygamy then why gender ratio in humans is approximately 1:1 (to be more accurate the sex ratio for the entire world population is on average 101 males to 100 females)? Then the question is: ideally how many men/women would be able to follow this Recommendation? Do the math…

      1. Corrections… i was meaning to agree with another persons comment but somehow linked with yours. I was agreeing with Habib.

  13. Since you wanna go that route, you forgot marrying a young girl like A’ishah, marrying a teenager like Hafsah & marrying your best friends’ daughters like both A’is hah & Hafasah………

    1. Why don’t you check the entire scope of hadith on the matter before jumping to conclusions about the age. The muhadithun created that 9 year thingie to give the veneer of virginity..for in their MALE view, a prophet could not be a real man if it was not established that at least one of his wives was a virgin. So they came up with that. yet, research…also available on the net..shows most probably that Aisha was a teenager. Hafsa had already been married, so I don’t know what your point is regarding her.

      1. Um, you should going to at least cite a source for that. I’ve never heard this before. Aisha was nine. As a Muslim I say this. There’s nothing to be ashamed about it.

        1. Fatima bint Muhammad was also 9 when marrying Ali ibn Abi Talib… your point is? Back then, marriage happened at a young age. It was normal for them. There’s a difference between marrying a nine year old hundreds of years ago and marrying a nine year old now.

  14. This is one of the haters of Islamic practices,apuuu u can not do anything about it, even one billion words can not do nothing.

  15. The one who wrote this just ignorant fellow
    Allah legalised polygamy without any condition as you mentioned some in your article
    Fear Allah and don’t write anything in which you don’t know nothing about it
    Polygamy has more benefits because if it had more negative effects Allah will not have prescribed it

    1. While I agree that the writer is woefully ignorant, you are absolutely wrong in stating there are no conditions in polygamy. You need to treat all of them equally (financially), and if you think can’t do that, you are told to be content with 1 wife

    2. Actually you need to improve your knowledge. Allah did not promote polygamy in the Quranic revelation rather he curtailed it as unrestricted polygamy was the norm and this was limited to 4 wives which led to a number of the Sahana having to divorce some of their wives. If you check the text it also is a provision to avoid injustice to orphans who needed a guardian to protect them. Allah in his wisdom also warns we must be just between our wives and then states that we cannot! This from the Qur’an monogamy is clearly the norm with limited polygamy as an exceptional provision.

  16. Assalamu alaikumu warahumatullahi wabarakatuhu, There’s no confusion here pliz ,just got Quran and see what Allah is encouraging us to hw we sh’ld marry. Ok? Coz Allah is the one told the prophet hw the UMMAH should marry! May be this might be a shi-a guy. That’s hw they misleading Moslems.

    1. Your misleading muslims with your bad grammar dude. And being Shia has nothing to do with anything he said.

  17. Saffiyah (R.a) may have been born Jewish n Mariah Qibtiyah (R.A) may have been born Christian, but they both became muslims, so to make it seem like Nabi (S.A.W) married a Jew or Christian is wrong….. but yes He (S.A.W) did marry those who were not from his own race…. arabs n non Arab…

  18. I understand the different perspective the writer intends to present on this issue, and may Allah bless him for that, however I will have to respectfully disagree with the overall suggestive notion that in order to practice polygamy in the strictest sense in terms of following the Sunnah, a man has to also consider the marital and social-economical status of a woman, including her age. So basically we are imposing strictures to a Sunnah which is initially generic to marrying four women. I also wouldn’t encourage in this time an age marrying Jews and Christians as there are enough Muslim women who are single and unmarried nowadays. In any case, it was an interesting read !

  19. Couldn’t agree more with the writer…how often people ignore the women and circumstances under which prophet Muhammad (saw) married the women he married…
    While they never ignore the fact that he married more than once…!

  20. A lot of the points raised here are misleading. For instance, some of the wives of the prophet were Jewish or Christians but we’re they following the Jewish or Christian religions? The answer is no based on the quranic verses that targeted the Prophet’s wives.
    I believe the women who naturally don’t support polygamy will readily memorise this article to make their point. Remember, the prophet SAW got married to Khadija before revelation began – I.e. before he began his prophethood hence, the point that he married a rich widow who was 25 years older than him shouldn’t apply here.

  21. For me the article came up as utter confusion, i agree with cdrtain points and how aome people exploit this right but its more of a confusing article then educative one

  22. With regard to the History of the married Life of the Holy Prophet SAW, the write-up is a good reminder. But on Polygamy, iI failed to state or cite any authority that states that the Prophet has said one should only marry a woman 15 years older, or an orphan, or one who already had children before!

    Sunnah comprises of both the sayings and actions of the Holy Prophet, SAW and in most cases he followed up his actions explanations to his companions and vice-versa. Now did he actually say that if you want to marry a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife, such a woman must be 15yrs older than you, or that she must 5 or more children or she must be rich, a jew or a christian? And how come none of the companions practiced or prescribed these conditions to the people/ummah?

    I am not a scholar, but I must say that this write-up is a misrepresentation of the Prophetic Hadiths. Therefore, it is capable of misleading people. I suggest it should be removed from public domain!
    Thank you.

    1. I share the same view with you. Tje article is a misrepresentation of the sunnah. There are strong evidence that Khadikah may Allah be pleased with her, is not as elderly as portrayed.

    2. Salam Aleikum Mallam Abubakar Yahya. For your information, Sunnah is not sayings. Hadiths are sayings of the prophet SAW while Sunnah are the deeds. thank you

  23. wasted my time on this illogical article. I thought it contained some sense or religious teaching, not knowing some senseless write up. There are several Sunnahs we do not behave exactly how the prophet behaved. Polygamy is Sunnah – not the type of wife or the number of years you lapsed before marrying.I believe this article was written by a child honestly. If one practices Sunnah, it means he or she should do it exactly as the prophet did? Where from that teaching? One sees the madness in this article if you project the conclusions and ask yourself a question as below; “if the prophet had remained monogamous, would have meant that all men should marry one and to follow the sunnah, they should marry widows?” What logic is this?

    1. No it is not. There is an ILLA..which means that there had to be a reason for it. And Islam is not rooted in ice..so times make changes. If you are in a community that sees polygyny as a crime, then it is. By Q 2:177, in the modern world, you have an oath of citizenship to follow the rules.

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