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Frequently Asked Question

Laws & Worship Marriage

This question is on the subject of"Polygamy". A Muslim is allowed, with certain conditions, to marry upto 4 wives at a time. (Now see "Why Polygamy Is Allowed In Islam'' available from this Mission). Before Islam there was no limit to the number of wives a man could marry. In every country from India to Rome and from Russia to Africa a man could marry as many wives as he pleased. (Perhaps you may have heard of some living Chiefs in Kenya having more than 50 wives).
Islam restricted the number to four. It is the maximum; and it has been fixed keeping in view the average ability of a man to satisfy all necessary conditions conducive to a happy household; physical, emotional, financial, etc., all taken together.
The 'essentiality' of polygamy in certain circumstances cannot be denied; and once you allow polygamy, you have to stop somewhere to prevent its misuse. Thus, a number had to be fixed and Islam, after keeping in view the above-mentioned requirements, has fixed it at four.
No - Nor will it be allowed by Christianity.
Yes. And it does not matter whether he is well-educated and well-to-do or not. There is no colour, caste or race-bar in Islam.
The differences between permanent and temporary marriages are as follows:-
1.A woman married by Mut'aa cannot be divorced. The parties become absolutely separated upon the expiry of the period agreed upon.

2.But the husband may dissolve the marriage of Mut'aa by making to the woman a gift of the remaining term, i.e. to waive his right to her.

3.The wife, married by Mut'aa cannot be subject to 'ILA'. or 'LAAN'

4.A Mut'aa marriage creates no right of inheritance in either party. But, if there is an express condition stipulated in the formula (Segha) of'IJAB' and 'QUBUL' the parties would inherit from each other if the death occurs during the period of Mut'aa or its Iddat.

5.In Mut'aa marriage, the woman's Iddat period extends for two full terms of her monthly course, if she is not pregnant. But if she is pregnant, the Iddat lasts until the delivery of the child. The Iddat of widow is four months and ten days, like a widow of a permanent marriage, if she is not pregnant. But if she is pregnant, the Iddat of death lasts until the delivery of the child, or four months and 10 days, whichever is longer.

If she is in the age of having her monthly course, but does not have it owing to any reason other than pregnancy, her Iddat will be forty-five days.

There are some other differences but this much is sufficient for all practical purposes.

People nowadays see no harm in committing adultery; but are shy of taking advantage of the permissions given by Sheriat.
In the condition mentioned in the question, the woman may refer her case to the Mujtahid (or his authorised agents) who would direct the husband to maintain her and treat her according to Islamic Shari'ah. If the husband persists in his misbehaviour, the Mujtahid (or his agent) would give her talaq by his own authority.

Why the woman has not been given the authority to give talaq to her husband? For its reason, read my booklet "Family Life of Islam" (pp. 44- 52 and 63-67).
She may go out during 'Iddah, if need be, observing proper hijab.

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