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“Logical” Reasons for Polygamy in Islam by Dr. Zakir Naik – Polyandry

January 1, 2009

In my previous post I discussed Dr. Zakir Naik’s arguments for Polygyny. In this part let’s take a look at his arguments against Polyandry. My replies as before are in black.






If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than one husband?


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. SurahNisa’ Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with whom Muslim men can not marry. It is further mentioned in Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verse 24 “Also (prohibited are) women already married”


Thank You Dr. Naik for that disclaimer. I think what Dr. Naik means here is that , since Allah created men and women equal but different physiologically and psychologically, in Islamic societies men and women have equal social rights and enjoy equal social justice? Or is it? Even though the Prophet, did codify some laws with respect to women and mothers and laid down rules for what is considered proper behavior for them, the laws can hardly be called fair if we look at it closely. So, let’s look at Dr. Naik’s assertion in light of the Quran, Islamic law and customs practised in Islamic countries.





1. The verses 4:22, 4:23 4:24 and 4:25 are all written for men and instructs Muslim menwhat types of women they should or should not marry. I haven’t come across a single verse in the Quran which instructs women on whom womenshould marry, as if it is to be assumed that all Muslim men are virtuous. In fact as far as I have read the Quran, majority of the verses are addressed to men (implicitly and at times explicitly, although there are a few exception where a few chosen women likes the wives of the prophet have been addressed directly – verses 33:32 and 33:33) . Now why would Allah who created men and women as equal and who admits to being fair and just with both sexes instruct men most of the time? Isn’t that being disingenuous? If someone admits that both his son and daughter is equal in his eye and yet talks to his son most of the time and instructs him on the lessons in life neglecting the daughter, what sort of fairness would we call that? Wouldn’t that be termed as a sort of double-standard? And Allah is Merciful and Just ?


2. Verse 4:34 clearly states that

“Men are in charge of women, as Allah has made one of them superior to the other….”

and then goes on to say

“….the women from whom you fear disobedience, (at first) advise them and (then) do not cohabit with them, and (lastly) beat them…”


How can someone inferior have equal rights? Doesn’t the very fact of being superior confer that person with a few more privileges and rights than the person claimed to be inferior? Can we then say that the superior is equal to the inferior? Dr. Naik conveniently fails to mention this verse since that would totally contradict and consequently nullify his statement about the equality of men and women in Islam. Can Dr. Naik show me a similar verse in the Quran which instructs women to “beat” or admonish their husbands for disobedience or for improper conduct ? And men are equal to women?


3. Verse 2:228 has this to say about divorced women 


Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.


Now how does this verse figure in the gender equality equation when husbands have the right to take their wives back and men have a degree of advantage over women? According to Sunni custom, men have the right to divorce their wives by uttering “Talaq” 3 times and in most Islamic societies men have a much easier task in initiating divorce than women. All verses in the Quran pertaining to divorce are implicitly or explicitly addressed to men and gives them a clear advantage in such matters. And Yes, Allah is Merciful and Just !!



4. In Islam ONLY men can have multiple spouses but not women. That’s right, Allah is Merciful and Just !!




5. According to Sharia law, daughters are allotted only half the inheritance of sons (Verse 4:11). Truly, Allah is Merciful and Just !!

“Allah commands you concerning your children; the son’s share is equal to that of two daughters….”

6. The Quran decrees that a woman’s testimony in court, at least in financial matters, is worth half that of a man’s (Verse 2:282).

“…..then if two men are not available, one man and two women from those you would prefer to be witnesses, so that if one of them forgets, the other can remind her….”

And the reason for it ? The prophet himself lays it out emphatically in this hadith

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.”


Yes, that’s right, men and women are equal in Islam !!


7 Islam, like Christianity, agrees that women were created from men. How does that factor in the equality theory? And did you say Allah is Merciful and Just ?



8. Women in majority of Islamic societies cannot lead a mixed congregration in prayer (Salat) and prayer rooms for men and women are separate in most mosques. Under Shari’a, or Muslim law, compensation for the murder of a woman is half the going rate for men (remember verse 2:178  does not speak about compensation but retribution). Although a cultural aspect, most Islamic societies prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-muslims but Muslim men do not have such stringent rules to follow. According to muslim scholars and sharia law, muslim women are not allowed to travel without a male escort (mahram) and their movement is generally restricted.  And can we still say that men and women are equal in Islam?





These examples show that contrary to Dr. Naik’s claim and the claims of all Muslim scholars, men and women are not equal in the eyes of Allah and there are several instances besides these one can point to which prove that women are discriminated against and lead a repressive life in most Muslim majority countries.  Here and here are some links which talk about women’s rights in Islam and here is a site which rebuts all these claims and asserts that men and women are truly equal in Islam. I leave it to the reader to judge the merits of the arguments in each of the sites themselves.





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.



Ah! Thanks for the rare display of intellectual honesty Dr. Naik.


2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.


Men maybe more promiscuous by nature, however I haven’t come across any biologically conclusive evidence to suggest that men are more polygamous/promiscuous than women. But does that mean we should allow men to do what they please and keep women under bounds. What sort of fairness would that be? Applying that same logic, we can say that since men are physically stronger than women, men should be allowed to use more physically hard-handed and abusive tactics to resolve conflicts with women. Would that make it right? Such sexist statements show clearly the hidden agenda and prejudices of Islamic scholars who propagate such methods.


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.


That is a baseless remark with no scientific proof or precedence. In an age when we see increasing number of women in the leadership positions in politics, science/technology, industry and education – women who manage their duties as well as men or better – such narrow-minded biased opinions are a reflection of the bigotry and brainwashing of fundamentalist Islamic scholars who refuse to concede their positions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. These are claims made with only one goal – to keep women subjugated and subservient to men.  




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.


What?! He can’t be serious can he. It’s just moronic logic and I am sure this was not the reason for prohibiting polyandry in 7th century Arabia, when such diseases were hardly known. Even though women may be more prone to certain types of STDs, that doesn’t mean men are immune to STDs. How is “high chance” and low chance of getting a disease any justification for indulging in multiple sexual partners? What are probabilities and statistics have to do with justification for an act ? Can we say that since men are more prone to developing liver cancer, men should not be allowed to eat fatty or sugary food? Just making nonsense claims using fallacious logic to justify or prohibit an act is a sign of bigotry or even quackery.


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


The above reasons were not given by Allah but by men with the sole motive of keeping women under their control. They were lent Allah’s name so that people do not question them and accept them inspite of their doubts and problems. Unfortunately Islam is not alone in such wickedness. Most of the major religions of the world are parochial in their beliefs and mete out laws which limit the freedom of women and the freedom of their expression and speech. However the fault in Islam is that it takes a much more hardline and rigid view and is much less open to discussion or debate, which seriously impedes it’s growth or evolution compared to other religions. The only hope of stamping out such practices is to allow people to critically question these dogmas and rules and follow what rationality, reason and fair-mindedness dictate them to follow – not blind adherence to foolish laws.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Rabidly Hindu permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:52 pm


    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.

    Brother Nitwit, either you are extremely naive or you chose not to ‘read between the line’. Jokes apart, a translation into modern English from “7th century Arabic” with it’s attendant cultural as well as historical linguistic implications means, I (and I believe anyone else with half decent common sense) would interpret above to mean that a man can copulate with many wives in the same night which the medieval Arab mindset believes, a woman can’t; this being said in flowery, obtuse Arabic.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      February 1, 2009 6:54 pm

      @rabidly Hindu

      Yes, I agree with you. That maybe one possible explanation however my reasoning was more general. Btw this was Zakir Naik’s explanation and I haven’t encountered any verse in the Koran which gives this reason. My post was mainly to point out the fallacies in Zakir Naik’s logic.

  2. February 26, 2009 9:14 pm

    A nice read boss!!
    Let us beat the hell out of Dr. Naik 😀

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      February 26, 2009 10:16 pm


      Well your comment can land me in jail these days…with the supreme court setting a precedent with a ruling against the 19yr old orkutter..:-)

      if you meant beat literally..maybe you need to find someone else…I am strictly non-violent other than for defensive purposes…

      but if you mean beat metaphorically then yes let’s beat the hell out of any fallacious logic and idiotic arguments that religious fanatics propose to forward their deluded goals.

  3. May 5, 2009 7:44 am

    No. 3 is like a “Blame it on PMS”. But seriously, one cannot argue with the Godbots- they have the most circular of all kinds of reasoning…

  4. Atharva permalink
    May 7, 2009 1:00 pm

    Zakir Naik is such a quack. His speeches are riddled with logical fallacies, misinformation, wordplay and distortion of facts. If you are ever feeling down and want a good laugh, tell me: I’ll send you two brilliant pamphlets from this great thinker.

  5. Sajjad Ahmed permalink
    July 26, 2009 5:18 am

    Brother Rabidly Hindu,

    Have you forgotten how many wives Rama’s father had OR the number of wives Krishna Had????????????????????? OR do you want me to remind you.
    Please try to understand any religious script with an open mind without prejudice. I pray to the almighty Creator who created me and you and all in this universe to guide all of us.
    with best regards
    Sajjad Ahmed
    worship the Creator, not the creation

    • Vipul permalink
      August 20, 2009 3:10 pm

      Sajjad, Could you first prove the creator in first place? All religion are useless and out of context most of the time!

  6. August 2, 2009 11:00 pm

    I was trying to prepare a write up on how in Islam / Quran women are implied as being superior to men… and bro you wont believe it yourself you provided me about 80% of the material I needed, from this article of yours..
    This would be a good exercise in finer reasoning for you.. Just trying reading your writeup once again with an opposite stance …
    Just to give you a go ahead .,.. i say we have two entities x and y .. I write a book of guidance for both (x+y) , where i put 80% of directions for entity x and 20% for entity y .. what would your interpretation be about x and y .. who is presumed better by the writer of the book ?? think about it and don’t stop just there.. YOU WONT REALIZE HOW IMMATURE YOUR REASONING IS , TILL YOU GET BETTER AT IT .. please don’t limit yourself to this stage..

    • Fatima permalink
      November 15, 2009 4:22 pm

      jazakullah khairan.

  7. Sajjad Ahmed permalink
    November 4, 2009 7:05 pm

    Vipul, I would like to answer your question with something which all of us human beings ask, but mostly dont get the answer. ‘What is the purpose of your creation or being alive?’ Kindly have patience and forward what you tryly believe.
    When you say ‘all religions are useless’, please let me know why you think so?

    Sajjad Ahmed
    worship the CREATOR, not the creation.

  8. Jenaphyr permalink
    November 11, 2009 10:33 am

    First if all, one of the only reasons that the prophet married more than one wife at the same time was to make alliances with other tribes and to support widows and other women who had no one to take care of them after the war killed their husbands. It was more of a burden than a boon. In Islam It is the male’s duty to support the the family; I’m not saying that a woman can’t support the family if she wants to, but she has the right to choose whether she wants to keep her money or not. This is why polyandry isn’t allowed, because the root reason was just to take care of woman with no means of support. And yes, it’s true there are muslims that abuse this right and it’s wrong.
    “….the women from whom you fear disobedience, (at first) advise them and (then) do not cohabit with them, and (lastly) beat them…” This verse has been misconstrued so many times that it’s seriously getting tiring now. The part that says beat them was not translated correctly, because arabic has very suble differences between words. What it beans is to sort of tap them lightly with something no thicker than a toothbrush, and only if you want to get their attention. But if it will just get them mad or it will have no affect you are not supposed to do it at all.
    “Allah commands you concerning your children; the son’s share is equal to that of two daughters….” As I said before it is the male’s job to take care of the female, and this verse is for inheritance. If a girl’s parent’s die and she has a brother he gets double the amount of her share of money; this is because he would have to take care of her. If she wanted to buy groceries or school supplies he would have to pay. Basically he would have to pay for everything that a parent would pay for, and the whole time she gets to keep her money. This is why it’s equity and not equality.
    “…..then if two men are not available, one man and two women from those you would prefer to be witnesses, so that if one of them forgets, the other can remind her….”
    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
    The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.”
    These lines are used so many times in Islamic debates. And the hadith is always mistranslated. The reason that men are worth double a women’s testimony in financial matters was because at that time a woman wouldn’t know the financial jargon. For example, if a woman heard some one talking about cheating a customer or cheating taxers in a marketplace and she had no understanding of certain financial terms she wouldn’ t be of much use. It would be like someone having to testify in court about hearing a terrorist’s conversation in a different language. The person may be able to remember the sounds of the words but, it would be very easy to get the sounds mixed up because they aren’t familiar. They would be able to testify but they may or may not be accurate. And the hadith just means the knowledge of the financial terms.
    About number 8:
    Women can’t lead mixed congregations because although most mosques do have separate rooms for the man and women most don’t, and the leader of the prayer has to be in the front because they are the leader. So the reason that women can’t lead is because she would be sticking her butt out to the man when she would go down to kneel. It’s really out of respect for the women that she can’t lead mixed congregations.
    The reason that women can not marry jews or christians like the men can is because the kids are most likely to follow the father’s religion (I know most people try to deny it but it’s true in most cases) and like every person that follows a certain religion they believe that theirs is the right one so it makes sense that it would say that.
    For this line that you wrote: According to muslim scholars and sharia law, muslim women are not allowed to travel without a male escort (mahram) and their movement is generally restricted.
    It is only the most conservative scholars that say this. Most muslim girls I know are allowed to travel without a male escort. But that is probably because this is the West. In muslim countries it would be more strict but still some of the parents allow their daughters to stay out later than they would here because they feel that it’s safer in a muslim country.
    It always depends on the parent’s opinion for these kind of things.
    I hope this helped in some way…
    By the way you shouldn’t listen to Dr. Zakir Naik
    Dr. Jamal Badawi would probably be a beter choice if you want to find the right meanings and such.

  9. December 21, 2009 10:37 am

    iwant to no the significance of study islamic family law

  10. javed permalink
    September 1, 2010 1:55 am

    it’s totaly fake !

  11. September 26, 2010 3:40 am

    well will you say later how can’t a man become mother? Islam feels mother has more right then father. Islam gives man more right than woman but in other matter Islam give women more rights than men

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      November 19, 2010 12:44 pm

      really !! that’s news to me..LOL !!

  12. bilal permalink
    October 27, 2010 11:52 pm

    “What?! He can’t be serious can he. It’s just moronic logic and I am sure this was not the reason for prohibiting polyandry in 7th century Arabia, when such diseases were hardly known.”

    “It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: All (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.” [Al-Qur’an 21:33]
    “And We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them.” [Al-Qur’an 21:31]
    “Now let man but think from what he is created! He is created from a drop emitted – Proceeding from between the back bone and the ribs.” [Al-Qur’an 86:5-7]

    and other many verses are there in quran which were not known during those days of Arabd in 7th Century.

    so remember God knows better than u it may be the reason too to prohibit polyandry

  13. Werda permalink
    April 19, 2011 12:10 pm

    Salutes to jenaphyr for seeing the glass half full than half empty and having faith in Gods decisions.

  14. ahmed muhd permalink
    December 10, 2011 10:51 am

    nitwitnastik am glad to have landed on your web, i have a simple question which is, what is the solution of access women in the world. ofcourse by using your logic, u shd be in position save the world.

  15. roshan braganza permalink
    May 22, 2012 10:30 pm

    well , dr zakir naik is right . God created man , and woman from mens rib . So men enjoy bit of superiority over women , and thats ok and normal.

  16. December 10, 2013 1:09 pm

    Нey there just wanted to give you a quick heаԁs up.
    The words in your article seem to be running off
    the sсreen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue оr somethіng to do with internet broωser compatibility but I thought
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    Hope you gett the issue solved soon. Manny thanks

  17. Eshther Greenwood permalink
    April 5, 2014 9:13 am

    Zakir Naik is the asshole of the Millenium.He only spreads misinformation,misogyny,Islamic Totalitarianism etc.His Arguments are full of logical fallacies,distorted facts and he lies about Islam being modern while it is not.Islam is like any other abrahamic religion,a dickhead religion and wanna piss on that rapist,pedo Muhammad (piss be upon him).I use zakir naik as a laughing gas whenever its needed.

  18. September 4, 2015 12:00 am

    Both polyandry and polygamy is prohibited from the Quran.

  19. August 25, 2017 1:11 pm

    This is a article with poor research. An easy example of why polyandry is forbidden can be seen in Hadiths. Read for example the Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2 Chapter 37, pages 44-45 which mentions pre-Islamic polyandry in Arabia. Not only is it considered sinful, with men together or one after one peforming sex, but it also says that all were the child’s father. This naturally Allah tries to avoid so the parents are known, which can become impossible in polyandry.

    Also as for women being equal to or better to men in modern age, these verses are not about modern age. Even in modern age, men still outnumber women as successful enterperneurs that too even in developed countries with a lot of equality. It is also a fact that men are on average stronger than women. Though there are always women. The Quran itself contains examples of women like the Pharoh’s wife who was better than her husband.

    It is natural that women get matried off especially in that age, so one cannot say women cannot support themselves if they don’t receive full share. The Hadith about 2 women being equal to one man is actually from the book of menses, regardless as men at that time were the main bread-earners and were more literate, studied and successful, it is natural one may assume them as more wise.

    Try to see things in context. As Quran says some verses are specific while others are allegorical or not specific. One should try to understand.


  1. Shocking : Kafirs scoffing at Zakir's views on Polyandry - IB Islamic Forum
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