Is Polygamy Humiliation for Women?

Question and answer details
As-salamu `allaykum. My husband is a Muslim but I’m not. We married in an Islamic way one year ago. My husband wants me to know Islam better. I tried to read the Qur’an but there are things I can’t get, and I am not satisfied by the answers I get. First, wife hitting: how can that be a way of discipline? It looks humiliating, and why would any husband who loves his wife humiliate her in that way? Second, why can men have 4 wives? Can he be the same with all? Can a person love 4 other persons in the same time? What about the sexual diseases? Is it natural that in one night a husband sleeps with one woman and other night with a second woman, etc.? How can one woman, one human being, feel about it?
Ahmad Kutty

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear sister, thank you for your question that shows your eagerness to be more knowledgeable about Islam.

Islam never allows a Muslim to humiliate his wife. Rather, there are numerous hadiths (Prophetic sayings) ordering the husband to best deal his wife showing that the best man is the one who honorably deals with his wife.

As for polygamy, it is not the norm or the base. Rather, it is allowed under certain situations and circumstances that necessitate it for solving some social problems.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,

Islam does not allow man to humiliate his wife; the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It is only the honorable men who honor women; it is only the most dishonorable men who shall dishonor women.” and “This world is an abode of a brief sojourn, and the best asset one could have here is the companionship of a righteous woman.” And he said also, “The best of you is the one who is the kindest to his family.

The Prophet is our perfect role model, and he never used his hands to strike anyone; neither a man or woman or anyone else, for that matter, as his own beloved wife `Aishah told us.

So, there is no question of humiliating one’s wife by beating her as a religious norm in Islam.

As for polygamy, you are again wrong in assuming it to be a norm; the norm in Islam is one wife. However, polygamy is allowed under certain conditions and circumstances. It is an exception.

For your information, polygamy was never banned in the Jewish or Christian scriptures. We know most of the great Biblical prophets practiced it.

Allah Almighty knows best.