The Reason Why Polygamy Stands a Contributing Factor Towards The Spread of HIV/AIDS in Malawi

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A man enjoying with his four wives


Who can be interested to see his/her sister living single for the rest of her life? What is important between marrying a man of four and becoming a public property? The answer I think can be a positive one. That is why this article is here.

We all know that Islam does not obligate every Muslim to marry more than one wife but rather it allows doing so on condition that if you will be able to treat them equally.

God says in the Holy Quran what means “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 only one.” Al-Qur’an (4:3)

Polygamy renders the best solution because if we look at mortality, we will se that the rate for men is higher than for women. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “In general, the risk of death at any given age is less for females than for males.”
It is widely established that the number of women outnumber the number of men due to certain reasons:

On going Wars: It is reported that In the First World War (1914-18) about 8 million soldiers were killed. Most of the civilians killed were also men. In the Second World War (1939-45) about 60 million people were either killed or maimed for life, most of them men. In the Iraq-Iran war alone (1979-1988), 82,000 Iranian women and about 100,000 Iraqi women were widowed. All in the space of ten years.

Imprisonment: In the U.S, no less than 1,300,000 people are convicted daily for one crime or another. A number of them – 97% of whom are men – are obliged to serve lengthy prison sentences. Work accidents and street accidents are also among the these reasons.

However, if we scroll down on the same chapter, we are finding the following verse which says “You will never be able to be fair and just among women (wives)….” Qur’an (4:129). Now the question is, why did Allah say this? It shows that He knew that it impossible to treat all wives uniformly due to other factors.

But why some people think that polygamy and poverty plays major role towards the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic?

When a man who is depending on a less than dollar per day marries four wives, you will see an increase of adultery. Why I am saying? It is because when that man fails to treat one wife fairly, then that woman will be looking for other external partners in order to get her daily needs, hence the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Secondly, there are other men who take advantage in this polygamy practice. They get another woman apart from his four wives and he tells his wife that ‘I am going to sleep to your friend today’ but in real sense he is going to his girl friend, the practice which leads to the spread of HIV/AIDS as well.

Therefore, we have also to know that multiple marriages lay a heavy responsibility on us, men, that is why Allah allowed having more than one wife only if the husband treats his wives equally. If a man has more than one wife, he must treat them all in an equal manner, emotionally and financially. He has to provide separate living accommodation for each of his wives as well.

May Allah soften our hearts and be among faithful partners Ameen!

17 COMMENTS

  1. What exactly are u saying here brother, are u saying that polygamy is what spreads HIV & AIDs? How many Muslims are in the world and how many people in Islamic states are infected with HIV & AIDs? How many mistresses do these men that are married to one wife have? U find a man who stays in Sunnyside with his family has other five children with different women in different locations of Blantyre. Is this man not spreading HIV & AIDs? Who spreads HIV & AIDs more here?

    Dont u think that this man who is doing it in hiding has to do it fast before being noticed and rarely takes necessary precautions to protect himself and his partner?

    The polygamy issue is a 'bit' out of question here. Are u saying what Allah (SWT) decreed halaal, we should now turn it into haraam because of a calamity that has befallen us because of our mischief to Allah? Polygamy gives a dignified status to the women ummah. Which is better to be a single woman or a second wife? If u are a single woman and miss a man what do u do? How long can one resist these feelings? What is the end result, zinah. Remember, its very easy to abuse single women than married ones.

    Yes poverty plays a major role in the spread of HIV & AIDs, but, polygamy is debatable.

    • Thank you very much sister Ida for your comment. I know is a controversial topic but if you can read the article thoroughly, you will notice that the points I have raised there, are what other people concludes that Polygamy contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS. And I have also started an article with questions: Who will be happy to see his/her sister staying single for rest of her life, meaning that it is good to be one of the four wives and get recognized that becoming a public property as well. So there is positive and negative effect of it on different conditions

    • Its better to be single than to be a fourthwife to a husband who is making the other three wives suffer in silence.Other people should not suffer because of you. Here in Malawi, On average its impossible to treat 4 wives justly. Kukondera kumakhalapobe basi( there is some sort of favouritism)

      Its the same for those women in a polygamous family, they miss their men when the man is busy making rounds to the four. What can they do in that state , they can easily allow the devil to reign in their hearts. Being ignored for three weeks just because the husband is attending to 2nd,3rd and then 4th wife and you are still waiting.

  2. Thank you for choosing this topic, you have raised many points in your article needs to be discussed, the fact that polygamy is helping spreading the HIV/AIDS then we are just victimizing the polygamy because the statics on the ground are showing the most devastated people are singles or even not married at all. I concur with what sister Ida has said in her comment, really there are so many men married to one woman but having 3-4 ladies outside, which one is more nobler having 4 lawful wives at home or having one and 4 unlawful outside? Nevertheless polygamy is not encouraged in the Noble Quran, nor Allah Almighty had allowed it because He really liked it. He was clearly careful to highly discourage polygamy to men by telling them "but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one…(4:3)" which clearly orders men to either be fair or to not marry at all. You may have a question why the prophet practiced polygamy! He didn't practice polygamy for the sake of sexual pleasure at all. Most of his wives were either widows (older than him in age too) or divorced women (also most of them were either older or same age). Only one of his wives was a virgin, and he only married her because her father was his best friend. He wanted to strengthen that relationship. And it was her father who offered her to our Prophet (pbuh) anyway.

    To the point of fairness no one on this earth including Muhammad (pbuh) can be absolutely fair. Our Prophet (pbuh) used to pray in one of his prayers to Allah Almighty by saying in Arabic "Allah humma innaka taalamu be anni aadiloo bima astatee', wa lakinnee la aadiloo bima la astatee'," which means in English "Dear Allah, you are well aware that I try to be just with all I can, but I can't be just with what I can't." This prayer means that our Prophet always tried to be fair as much as possible, but he couldn't always do that. From here we find that polygamy was made lawful just to salve the problems faced by Muslims by then which I think are still there, that is why Almighty didn’t directly prohibit polygamy Because Islam is the most straight forward religion, and because Islam is truly a religion for all times and all places that doesn't need to be modified as some of the other religions in the world do (including Christianity). Allah Almighty left the issue of polygamy open for Muslims in case Muslims face dilemmas in the future like the ones we faced during Islam's weak times by losing too many men. In cases like this, Muslim scholars should look into allowing polygamy. And Allah knows best.

    • Thank you brother for your comment. But do you want to tell me that there are polygamous men who have never contributed to the HIV/AIDS by becoming unfaithful to their partners? Or we should not take this into account because Allah accepted it? Brother, you have to know that this generation's polygamy practice is contrary to what our Prophet Muhammad (Saw) was practising because you will see that the women who are supposed to be married, I mean widows, etc are still suffering there but you say, nditenge ka mnyambo (I should take a fresh one) which is not quite good at all. And think if you can look properly you will see that those widows are the who are supposed to enjoy polygamy, but not just marry women because they are many. I once heard someone saying, 'am going to marry anothe woman because this one doesnt listen to me and I wanted to show her tham I am a man who can not play with.' Now, is that a sensible reason why Allah accepted polygamy?

      • Nobody is saying that polygamy does not contribute to HIV & AIDs spreading, no. The point is, its not the major cause of the spread of this pandemic if we are to compare it with other factors of the same. We can not also argue with what Allah demeed right for us. No way, whether individually we feel He was not fair or whatever, Allah is the Almighty and the All-Knower. He knows whats best for us even when we don't know.

        Remember there are so many reasons why men decide to marry more than one wife, and we cannot exhaust them, including some we view as very trivial reasons like the one you have sited above. Some men are just greedy and don't get satified with one woman, that is natural. But making polygamy the major factor in spreading HIV & AIDs is a bit too much.

        I will always make dua for Allah to increase brother M. Maulidi's knowledge, I have learnt a lot from you. Your arguments are constructive and well researched.

        • I think your comment contradicts with the real aim of the article. Because there is no any sentence I have said polygamy is illegal in Islam but I have outlined some of the things which happens in the polygamy practice which contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS. And you have said: Some men are just greedy and don’t get satified with one woman, that is natural. So should we stop preaching against that behavior because it's natural?. Please let us learn to accept the truth no matter how painful it will be.

    • Thank You brother Muhammad Maulidi for your comment but i wanted to highlight two points in your comment (though not necessarily related to the article but important to the general information because we also learn thru comments of others).

      First point is, you said "And it was her father (Abu Bakar) who offered her to our Prophet (pbuh) anyway." this seems to be contradicting with the hadeeth reported in Bukhari

      "Urwa reported that the Prophet (pbuh) asked Abu Bakr for Aisha's hand in marriage and Abu Bakr said to him: "but i am your brother" He said: "you are my brother according to the religion and book of Allah and she is permissible for me"(Bukhari 4691)

      This is also approved in the commentary of ibn Hajar who said it was the prophet who sent Khawlah bint Hakeem to Abu Bakr for proposal.

      Anyway the second point is that the dua that the prophet used to supplicate especially the last part "but i cant be just with that i cant" meant Love, affection and sympathy. but materially the prophet was fair because Imam Ahmad and other collectors of Sunan recorded that Aisha said:"The messenger of Allah used to treat his wives equally and proclaim: O Allah this is the division in what i own so do not blame me for what you own and what i do not own (refering to his heart)" =Ibn katheer". This wording is found in Abu Dawood and its chain is sahih. According to most scholars, they also say this is also what it means in the ayah :"You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire" (quran 4:129). So these are the points i wanted to share with you that i found in your comment.

      Mashallah brother you always bring informative and educative comments and articles. May Allah bless us All

      • Mashaallah, brother Abdulaziz Kaisi thank you very much for shading more light, and you don’t know how delighted am I with this comment. Let me start with the point which I said that Abubakr (ra) offered Aisha (ra) to Prophet (pbuh) and that the statement contradicts the Hadeeth narrated by both Bukhar and Muslim, in their respective books, I read the Hadeeth but some commentary to this hadeeth from some renewable scholars states that . Abu Bakr, (ra), was one of the earliest converts to Islam and hoped to solidify the deep love that existed between himself and the Prophet (pbuh) by uniting their families in marriage, it further states that when the desire of the prophet reached the extent of officially marrying Aisha (ra) is when he asked hand in marriage to her after Abubakr has already offered her to him. At that time, this marriage refuted the notion that a man could not marry the daughter of a man who he had declared to be his "brother" (even in the religious sense). Since the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr had declared each other to be "brothers", this notion was done away with. This is demonstrated in the following hadeeth: Narrated 'Ursa: The Prophet (pbuh) asked Abu Bakr for 'Aishah's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said, "But I am your brother." The Prophet (pbuh) said, "You are my brother in God's religion and His Book, but she ('Aishah) is lawful for me to marry." (Saheeh al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18) To the point of the supplication the Prophet used to make, what I meant brother is the affection and the sympathy of the heart only that I didn't specify it clearly and thank you very much for making it clear and well understood. Brother am really very glad with your comment and I have learned a lot of things in this short and eloquent comment. Jazaka llah khair.

  3. You know brothers and sisters that the world is under islamaphobia attack. Islam is attacked from all directions including the allegation that polygamy is a tool to spreading of HIV and AIDS.The hadeeth of our nabi SAW goes like"do not make halal things haram and haram things halal.What i mean here is the fact that despite that polygamy is halal in islam,not most muslims practice it.However,there are still some muslims who vow not to take more than one wives but have private relationship with other women yet their wives are not angry enough though they are aware.But is the same guy tells her wife about his intention to marry a second wife its a disaster.Can you see how satan works. Now my point is whether polygamy or not,people are still getting the virus simply because of neglegence with the only life that we have.

    Therefore polygamy can be a tool for transmitting the virus if the practitioner and the wives involved are still not faithful enough to one another just like those marrying only one wife.

    Aids is real lest we abstain ndipo kwa nkhutukunve use a condom!

    • “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.” [Quran 4:3]

      "You will be never be able to be fair and just among women (wives)" 4:129

      This verse was revealed after the Battle of Uhud in which nearly half the Muslim population was wiped out. Hence Allah (swt) in all His Wisdom told Muslims to:

      FIRST opt for adopting an orphan.
      If injustice was feared,
      THEN if you can be just, opt for marrying up to four women.
      If injustice was feared,
      THEN marry only ONE.

      As it is from the above verse it is clear that polygamy was never the first choice. The purpose of this Noble Verse was two folds:

      1) To give protection to the orphans
      2) To increase the Muslim population primarily by adopting and giving protection to the orphans.

      Hence despite the fact that the Muslims had lost a lot of men Allah (swt) still did not want polygamy to take place and the first option that He (swt) gave was for them to adopt. Regarding polygamy He (swt) strictly said that you have to be just between your wives and even if you FEAR that you cannot be just, you are to marry only ONE.

      Being “Just” with your wives is not an option but a compulsion. Hence if a man fears that he might not be able to be just with his wives then he cannot marry more than one woman.

      From the verse it is also clear that Polygamy is not something compulsory but only permissible. Everything that is permissible is not compulsory. Also no one can force anyone to marry. In Islam both the parties have equal rights to choose their partners hence a man cannot force a woman to marry him.

      There are many cases that occur where a husband divorces his wife for various reasons. These reasons may include anything; individual cases have different reasons. Many a times the wife is physically abused to the extent where she finds no way out other than to opt for divorce. I have personally seen cases where the husband throws the wife along with the children out of the house without any financial support. These are only some of the cases that take place in this world. Those who have undergone it are hurt and totally broken from the inside. It is not easy for such a woman to survive along with her children. Apart from that it is her natural and biological desire to have a family and a husband.

      Realizing these factors one must also recognize the fact that not many single men are willing to marry a divorcee. If such a divorcee has children then her case gets more complicated. Why should a woman whose divorce is not her fault, suffer through life without a family and a husband? Islam recognizes the need and carnal desires for people to have a partner. In such cases there is nothing wrong if an already married man wishes to marry such a woman to support her and provide her with a family. This also keeps the society in order and minimizes the chances of corruption.

  4. Allahu Subhanna wa Ta'ala made it clear in the Holy Quran on 4:3 and 4:129. But what we are witnessing now is contrary to What Allah said. We see muslim polygamous families in state of shambles. Once a man has married another wife, the former is no longer wanted. What she gets from her husband are all sorts of insults. To make matters worse, she is the one with many children from the uncaring husband.

    There is no point in getting married to a man whom you surely know that he will leave/abandon you once you have given birth to one or two children for another woman just for the sake of raising your status. Marriage is about love and not status.

    We have also seen men with more than one wife but also involved in extra marital affairs. This is common among us muslims and this tarnishes the image of Islam. Some christian with keen interest of joining islam are put off just because of these kind of behaviours. Some Muslim men reaches a point of boasting of sleeping around with so many women and claims they are able to support these women.This is a clear indication of misinterprting the Holy Quran

    Let us encourage one another especially those muslims who are muslims just because of place and birth and not by knowledge of the islamic faith to acquire some religious knowledge. In so doing these other Quranic Verses can be well understood and acted accordingly

  5. I just love the whole comment conversations I am doing research on polygamy seen as abusive towards women.

    All the points made here are so informative and I am getting to know more about Muslim religion.

    Although my research is mainly focused on Zulu cultural women but for literature review I am indeed getting to know more about Africans.

  6. I am going to be reading the commments and replies more often guys I am a Christian but so keen to know more about Muslim & other religions since we are all in an African Country. This is so interesting Nobuhle KZN – Durban/ Richard's Bay

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