Often the customs and habits of representatives of another denomination cause us misunderstanding and even rejection. But, before condemning or admiring, it is worth understanding the very essence of the phenomenon.
Allowed, but not charged
Muslims build their lives according to the commandments of Allah set forth in the holy book of Islam – the Qur’an. There is also permission for polygamy in it: “.. then marry other women you like: two, three, four. If you are afraid that you will not be equally fair to them, then be content with one ”(surah“ Women ”, verse 3). But in Sharia, there is a whole set of rules and laws, ta’addud az-zavjat, which determines the parameters of polygamy. So, Islamic lawyers and theologians distinguish, depending on the situation, polygamy as mubah (permitted), makruh (condemned) and wajib (mandatory). This is enshrined, for example, in the Islamic Encyclopedic Dictionary, released in 2007.
It is emphasized that a man can have several wives (no more than four) if he is able to provide everyone with equal maintenance and fair treatment. Equal does not mean exactly the same, but each of the wives should have everything necessary. There can be no sharp difference in the quality of housing – one lives in mansions, the other huddles in a shack. That wives must live in different houses, at least in different rooms of the same house, is repeatedly emphasized. Moreover, the wives themselves must agree to live in the same house, this does not depend on the will of the man. Imam Ibn K’udam: “A man should not unite two wives in one house, except with their permission. And there is no difference between young wives and old ones, since this can be harmful to them, which will cause jealousy and enmity. The presence of wives in one house can lead to disputes and battles. ”
Also, a man must devote to each of his wives an equal amount of time, including night hours. But he is not obliged to love everyone equally, here Islamic theologians are unanimous: how to measure and share love?
But what about the Sultan’s harems in the past, another meticulous reader may ask. So there was a clear division into wives and concubines, while the conditions for equal security and, for wives, about living in different houses were fulfilled.
Modern Islamic theologians, developing the intellectual heritage of their ancestors, indicate that polygamy has a beneficial effect on the moral and physical condition of both the people and their individual representatives: there is no adultery, peace and harmony reign in relations, and population is increasing.
Economics and prestige
However, if we approach polygamy (polygamy) from a materialistic point of view, then prestige considerations through demonstrating prosperity play an important role in this phenomenon: a man is able to support several wives and their children. In particular, the materials of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics of the Higher School of Economics indicate that only 3-5% of marriages in North Africa, Syria and neighboring countries are polygamous, the indicator in the Persian Gulf is slightly higher, 8-19%. And if for a woman polygamy, increasing the chance of first and subsequent marriages, reduces the age of marriage, for a man – on the contrary. It is important for him to earn enough money to support his second and subsequent wives, and he has to be economically active and create wealth at a young age. As a result, for example, in the UAE, the average age of a husband in polygamous families is 11 years longer than in monogamous families,
Numerous domestic and foreign studies of demographers and sociologists in the XIX-XXI centuries give the following picture of the situation of polygamy from the point of view of women and fertility: each woman in a polygamous family gives birth to fewer children, maintaining health, but the overall birth rate increases. At the same time, the number of married women is growing, including after a divorce or the death of a husband. Polygamy has fewer widows and orphans.