Plural Marriage Is Mustahabb For The One Who Can Afford It; It Is Not Obligatory
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
marriage obligatory for every Muslim who can afford
Praise be to Allaah.
marriage is Sunnah for the one who can afford it, and
is not obligatory, according to scholarly consensus.
See al-Mughni, 9/340.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
asked: Is plural marriage permissible in Islam or is
He replied: Plural marriage is Sunnah for the one who
can afford it. Allaah says (interpretation of the
"And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal
justly with the orphan girls then marry (other) 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 or (slaves) that your right hands
possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing
And it is Sunnah because the Prophet (Peace And
Blessings Of Allaah Be Upon Him) did it. He had nine
wives and Allaah benefited the ummah through them.
This is one of the things that applied only to him
(Peace And Blessings Of Allaah Be Upon Him). Other men
are not allowed to have more than four wives.
There are many benefits in plural marriage for men and
women and for the Muslim ummah as a whole. Plural
marriage enables everyone to lower their gaze and
guard their chastity, to have many children, and for a
man to take care of many women and protect them from
the causes of evil and deviation.
As for the one who cannot afford that and fears that
he will not be able to treat co-wives justly, he
should settle for just one wife, because Allaah says:
"but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal
justly (with them), then only one". From Fataawa
It should be
noted that in principle, marriage may be obligatory or
mustahabb, depending on each person's situation and
his need for marriage. Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said:
With regard to marriage, people are of three
1 – Those who fear that they may commit haraam actions
if they do not get married. In this case marriage is
obligatory according to most of the fuqaha', because a
person has to keep himself chaste and avoid haraam
2 – Those for whom it is mustahabb, who are those who
feel desire but they are certain that they are not
going to do haraam things. For such people marriage is
better than devoting oneself to naafil acts of
worship, because Allaah and His Messenger (Peace And
Blessings Of Allaah Be Upon Him) enjoined and
encouraged marriage, and because the Prophet (Peace
And Blessings Of Allaah Be Upon Him) got married, as
did his companions, and the Prophet (Peace And
Blessings Of Allaah Be Upon Him) and his companions
only did that which is best. And because the interests
served by marriage are many, because it protects one's
religious commitment, and it protects the woman, keeps
her chaste and takes care of her, and produces
children, and increases the numbers of the ummah, and
will make the Prophet (Peace And Blessings Of Allaah
Be Upon Him) proud [of the numbers of his ummah in the
Hereafter], and serves other interests, any one of
which outweighs the benefits of doing naafil acts of
worship, so it is better.
3 – Those who have no desire, either because they were
created without desire or because they were created
with desire but have now lost it, because of old age
or sickness, etc. These people are of two types:
(a) Those for whom marriage is mustahabb, because of
the general meaning of the evidence which enjoins
(b) Those for whom devoting themselves to worship is
better, because they cannot fulfil the purposes of
marriage and they would not be able to keep a wife
chaste, which will cause her harm and this means that
he will be keeping her without looking after her
properly, and he will be taking on obligations and
duties that he may not be able to fulfil.
The evidence which indicates that marriage is
encouraged should be understood as referring to those
who have desire.
And Allaah knows best.