Polygamy, Poor and Needy, Drained of Love

Issue 480 » June 6, 2008 - Jumada-al-Thani 2, 1429

Living The Quran

Al-Nisa (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verse 3 (Partial)

"If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then (marry) only one."

From this verse a number of facts are evident:

  1. That polygamy is neither mandatory, nor encouraged, but merely permitted.

  2. That the permission to practice polygamy is not associated with mere satisfaction of passion. It is rather associated with compassion toward widows and orphans, a matter that is confirmed by the atmosphere in which the verse was revealed.

  3. That even in such a situation, the permission is far more restricted than the normal practice which existed among the Arabs and other people at that time when many married as many as ten or more wives.

  4. That dealing justly with one’s wives is an obligation. This applies to housing, food, clothing, kind treatment etc., for which the husband is fully responsible. If one is not sure of being able to deal justly with them, the Quran say: “then (marry) only one.”

This verse, when combined with another verse in the same chapter (Quran 4: 129), shows some discouragement of such plural marriages. The requirement of justice rules out the fantasy that man can “own as many as he pleases.” It also rules out the concept of “secondary wife,” for all wives have exactly the same status and are entitled to identical rights and claims over their husband. It also implies, according to the Islamic Law, that should the husband fail to provide enough support for any of his wives, she can go to the court and ask for a divorce.

The verse says “marry,” not kidnap, buy, or seduce. What is “marriage” as understood in Islam? Marriage in Islam is a civil contract which is not valid unless both contracting parties consent to it. Thus no wife can be forced or “given” to a husband who is already married.

It is thus a free choice of both parties. As to the first wife:

  1. She may be barren or ill and see in polygamy a better solution than divorce.

  2. She may divorce him (unilaterally) if he is married to a second wife provided that the nuptial contract gives her the right of unilateral divorce (Ismah).

  3. She can go to court and ask for a divorce if there is evidence of mistreatment or injustice inflicted upon her.

"Polygamy in Islamic Law" - Jamal A. Badawi

Understanding The Prophet's Life

On the Poor and Needy


Ibn Abbas related that the Prophet said: Any Muslim who gives a Muslim a garment to wear will be in Allah's safekeeping as long as a shred of it remains on him. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

Relieving the person in debt

Abu Qatadah related that the Prophet said: If anyone would like Allah to save him from the hardships of the Day of Resurrection, he should give more time to his debtor who is short of money, or remit his debt altogether. (Muslim)

Food and the needy

Safwan ibn Salim related that the Prophet said: Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah's cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

Relatives who are needy

Salman ibn Amer reported that the Prophet said: To give something to a poor man brings one reward, while giving the same to a needy relation brings two: one for charity and the other for respecting the family ties. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Nasai, Tirmidhi)


Jabir reported that the Prophet said: Avoid doing injustice to others, for on the Day of Judgment, it will turn into manifold darkness, and safeguard yourself against miserliness, for it ruined those who were before you. It incited them to murder and treating the unlawful as lawful. (Muslim)

The Quran and Hadiths on the poor and needy” – SoundVision.com


Drained of Love

It seems that we have forgotten how to act like human beings. Despite all the qualities we possess which the angels envy, we engage in acts that even evil spirits would be embarrassed of. We are overcome with rancor and hatred, flushed with fury, and regard one another with feelings of vengeance. Our breasts are drained of love, a haze of loathing obscures our feelings, and for so many years now the magical aura of love is alien to our perceptions. We constantly produce evil in our thoughts. Destroying our environment, assimilating everything into those things we like, and suppressing the "other" have become almost routine. So many of us act upon our emotions and abandon rational thinking. We trample and silence those who do not think the same as us; this, indeed, is our most distinct character. We plunge forward, headstrong, on our own way, without considering for even a moment that there may be other solutions to different problems; thus, we lead the way to destruction in many cases where we could have been a means for constructive solutions. Winning hearts by addressing one another in sincere tenderness is like a long-forgotten tradition that has fallen out of fashion.

We are frenzied by facing the numerous challenges of oppositional thought and their representatives, all generated by our selfishness. We easily become enraged and filled with hatred; we crush others if we are powerful enough. If we are not, then we do not hesitate to defame them, damaging their dignity with all the power of the media and the facilities at our disposal, causing more grievous harm than death can possibly cause. In the face of all these inauspicious facts, all that can be heard in the world is either the joyous laughter of the tyrants or the screams of the wronged. There are so many countries that have been suppressed for decades, their victimized peoples engulfed. Minds are pacified, emotions and enthusiasm are extinguished, and people becoming alienated from their own values, and thus find that they approach one another with enmity. Violence is everywhere, as savage as, or perhaps even more atrocious than that caused by any barbarian.

Everything and every one expect a helping hand from us; however, responding with indifference and poverty in most cases, we aggravate their desolation. With no sign of emotion, indolence pervades, and their cries are not echoed. Those who sympathize with them do not have the power or the means to help. Witnessing all this violence every day is no different than dying over and over with each incident.

Shaken in despair, we cannot help but say "Then, this is how nations will devour one another; friction will continue between the masses and no one will sincerely love others. People will no longer be concerned for others and no one will extend a hand to the wronged; no mercy will be shown for the victim, people will not welcome one another, no sense of security will remain, mad people, whose thoughts, speeches, and hands are stained with blood, will shape the fate of the world, and once again it will be an era of tyrants . . ." This situation cannot continue; if it does, then the end of humanity and human values is eminent.

"Longing For Love" - Fethullah Gulen