So having said that, let me backtrack for a second. Islam is about getting down to basics. Quite literally too, modesty is not only the way one dresses, but it’s about the way Muslims eat, sleep, work and interact with one another male or female. Islam teaches us how to do these individual tasks, and for that reason, we will be held accountable for every single minuscule detail in our lives. Everything “insignificant” is actually quite significant. Living large because life is short is a reckless mentality in the heart of a true Muslim. Moderation is key, so key! I am not saying not Islam tells Muslims they shouldn’t seek the pleasures of this life, I am saying that Islam tells people to always have the goal of the Hereafter and that we should love to do good deeds for the ultimate purpose of reaching Paradise.
Ok, so back to this Polygamy issue. Allah tells us in the Quran:
"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…" (Qur’an 4:3)
Dr. Jamal Badawi points out what this Verse (Ayah) really means:
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. Rather, it is associated with compassion towards 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 that existed among the Arabs and other peoples 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 says: "then (marry) only one." (Quran 4:3) This verse, when combined with another verse in the same chapter, shows some discouragement of such plural marriages. The other verse plainly states: "You are never able to be fair and just between women even if it is your ardent desire…" (Quran 4:129) The requirement of justice rules out the fantasy that man can "own as many as he pleases." It also rules out the concept of a "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 court and ask for a divorce.
5 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.
Men are allowed to marry up to 4 women under circumstances that anyone can digest easily. Its not about men abusing this right of theirs to get married to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife for the sake of their own entertainment. Nothing annoys me more than when I’ve heard or read somewhere that a man can marry more than one woman rather than just “hooking up”. Marriage is something SO SACRED in Islam. So you can imagine me, as a woman, how ticked I get every time I hear that excuse. Hypothetically, if a man has children, a God-fearing good wife and another woman comes along who has embraced Islam and there are no pious men for her for whatever reason, then I can understand. If a wife is terminally ill and has children and the husband seeks to marry another woman, I can also get that. My point, is the point of polygamy justification, as ruled in Islam. It means a man marries for a justified reason, out of responsibility, out of compassion and mercy for another woman, or even for that first woman, not for feeding into his testosterone. Because if a man has everything and then goes out looking for some more, then that in itself is NOT JUSTICE done towards his first wife. Surely, Allah is a witness over all things. Let’s also keep a mental note of the fact that Allah tells men that it will be easier for them to stick with one wife as it will be difficult to be fair and just. So polygamy if practiced, needs to be done for the same careful purposes Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did it. Not for adorning himself in life, and not for the sake of the materialistic principle that having more is better. Period!