Answered by Dr. Naik...
If a man is allowed to have
more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than
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 not identical.
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
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 woman.
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.