Polyandry means when one women marry more than one husband at a time. Polyandry is prohibited in Islam due to its disadvantages and drawbacks. The most common question asked by people is that why polyandry is prohibited in Islam? when polygamy is allowed then why polyandry is prohibited is Islam?
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.
Surah Nisa’ 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”
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.
2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.
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.
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. 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.
IN POLYANDRY LINEAGE THROUGH THE FATHERS IS HARD TO DEMONSTRATE COMPARED TO MOTHERS
Since lineage through the fathers is hard to demonstrate compared to mothers, it would be saved and preserved through polygamy. On the other hand, it would be impossible through polyandry. In the case of polygamy, the father of a child is always known and therefore the lineage is easily determined. As for the case of polyandry, the father is not necessarily obvious and therefore the lineage of a child is also obscured.
THE REASON IS BECAUSE POLYANDRY CREATES NUMEROUS SOCIAL, PERSONAL AND ETHICAL PROBLEMS UPON THE WHOLE OF SOCIETY. FOR EXAMPLE:
1. The identity of the child becomes ambiguous. The husband has difficulty in knowing who the father of the borne child is. Even if such a problem could be overcome through DNA tests, polyandry still has many drawbacks. The other husbands will often be jealous of the father, and will show such negative feelings towards the child too. The wife will then be upset; that the other husbands sleep with her to fulfill their desires, yet they show no love towards her child. In short, polyandry creates social problems beyond our imagination.
2. The stronger and mightier husbands will sleep with the wife when they want to, whereas the weaker husbands will have no choice but to accept. This will only lead to domestic turmoil.
3. If a husband becomes bed-bound due to an accident for a few months, then he will need his wife to look after him day and night. Because of this attention, the other husbands will find that she cannot fulfill their desires in that time. Alternatively, if a woman has such an accident, then to please the husband, the other wives can help the woman and thus lift the burden of the husband.
4. When the wife goes through pregnancy and feeding the child in its early years, the real husband will find comfort and content. But will the other husbands be patient for such a long period of time?
5. Women find they cannot sometimes fulfill the sexual desires of their husband, due to monthly periods, pregnancies and so on. If this is the case in a monogamous relationship, then what about in a polyandrous relationship?
6. One of the primary functions of marriage is the producing children and establishing a family. It is possible that in a polygamous relationship, numerous women can become pregnant in a short period from the same man. However, in a polyandrous relationship, a woman can only become pregnant once, regardless of how many husbands she sleeps with. This is biological proof that polyandry is unnatural and biologically unsustainable.
Note; Today, medical science affirms that a woman usually produces only one egg at any one time, whereas the man can produce approximately five-hundred million sperms. When the sperm enters the egg, then a web forms around the egg which prevents any further sperms from entering. From this one egg, one child is usually produced, though sometimes more are born, but even in the latter case, the father of the children will still be one, since it was made from one sperm.
Sometimes the woman produces more than one egg; if the sperms of one man enter these eggs then again the father will be one. In some cases, the sperms of a different man (husband) can enter an egg, but the likelihood of such a scenario is very rare, since the woman’s eggs are produced at the same time.