Allah tells us in the Quran,
"And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]." (An-Nisaa’ 3:3).I hear so many people say that polygyny is not recommended in Islam, but it is permitted. How does that align with Allah's words? He, subhaana wa taala, didn't say, "Marry one woman of your choice, and if you can check off a list of requirements that she gives you and also be fair, then marry 2, 3, or 4." Go ahead and look it up in Tafsir Ibn Kathir. So, to those who come with claims and opinions, I say to you, "Allah says what He means."
When it comes to practicing polygyny, there is much to be taken from our best example, Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.) His wives had varying dowers. They were of varying ages, physical attributes, personalities, and personal situations. They were all provided with their own home within close proximity of the others. They used to meet together for a while in the home of whomever night it was each day. They had to treat each other with respect and kindness. He was kind, loving, patient, and fair with them all. He did housework. He ate whatever was available and never put his wives to trouble about special food. He was fair and firm with them when they erred. As per his example, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, his wives situations weren't worsened by him marrying others.*
However, we must bear in mind that they were living as simply as possible...quite the opposite of how we live today.
I cannot tell you how many times I think of this hadith.
Narrated Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhuma), "Once the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) went to the house of Fatima (radhi Allahu anha) but did not enter it. Ali came and she told him about that. When Ali asked the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) about it, he said, "I saw a multi-colored decorative curtain on her door. I am not interested in worldly things." Ali (radhi Allahu anh) went to Fatima and told her about it. Fatima said, I am ready to dispense with it in the way he suggests. The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) ordered her to send it to such and such needy people."I look around our apartment and know that even though we have a much simpler home and belongings that the majority of our peers, the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would not want to enter. Our lives today are so far removed from what he enjoined, that a decorative curtain is an atom in the universe compared to the worldly things most of his Ummah have, accumulate, and covet. AstaghfirAllah!
It is reported that Hafsah – Allâh be pleased with her – once said to her father (‘Umar, during his Caliphate):It is, for this reason, that I understand (yes, ME, personally, which has nothing to do with anyone else with a different opinion) that there is no success for us in polygyny until we let go of our own opinions and materialism. Specifically, in both monogamy and polygyny it isn't about having the bigger or more expensive home, the fancier decor, or the higher lifestyle. An increase in those those things just takes us further and further away from what our beloved example, our Prophet, approved of.
Allâh has increased the provisions; if only you would eat better food than the food you eat now and wear softer clothes then those you wear now?! He said, “I will argue [against] you with your own self: Was not the condition of Allâh’s Messenger – praise and peace be upon him – such-and-such [when you were his wife]!?” He kept reminding her until she cried. He continued, “I have told you, by Allâh, I will share in their hard living (in this world, referring to The Prophet and Abû Bakr) so that I may partake in their good life (in Paradise).”
Hunâd b. Al-Sarî, Al-Zuhd article 687; Imâm Ahmad, Al-Zuhd article 201, et al. (1)
(1) Shaykh Abd Al-Rahmân Al-Farîwâ`î explains in his edition of Hunâd’s Al-Zuhd that this narration is sahîh if it is confirmed that Mus‘ab b. Sa’d heard it from Hafsah; otherwise its chain of transmission is mursal sahîh (i.e. it is authentic except there is a missing link between Mus’ab and Hafsah)
If both husbands and wives follow the words of the Quran and Prophet's example, all those personal criteria and opinions regarding how polygyny should be practiced, under what "rules", and by whom, will end up baseless dust.
We need to stop LIVING with Allah and His Messenger in our lives and start living our lives in worship of ALLAH and gaining the approval of His Messenger.
*I have had someone named Nazia claim that I post without giving proof, but I don't know how I can write a blog post of any reasonable length and give all the hadith, quotes from the relevant books and seerah to support the things that I write. The things I write about are easily located in Tafsir Ibn Katheer, reputed books on the Seerah of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam), his wives (radhi Allahu anhunna), and major hadith collections. I don't write about obscure things, and if they are lesser known, then I include the proof.