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Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: question for Dima and Anonymous

Submitted by Anonymous (Sweden), Mar 1, 2006 at 05:07

Good question. You mean, if the men are allowed to have more than one wife, why can't the women have more than one husband? This is discrimination, right?

Islam says, in case your husband is impotent or infertile, you can always divorce him and marry another man. Islam is the first religion that allowed women to divorce and remarry. Other major religions such as Christiandom and Hinduism did not do that. Later, the moderate Christians and Hindus changed their laws and allowed women to divorce.Islam did that from the very beginning.

Let's come to your original question: why women were not allowed to have more than one husband while men were? It was, perhaps, because of the possible complications that would arise regarding the identification of the father. Nowadays DNA test allow you to prove paternal identity, but 1400 years ago it was impossible. If one woman had several husbands, her children did not know for sure who was their father.

Polygamy, in many muslim societies, is not being practiced any more. You got to get permission from your first wife to marry another woman. Most women- who have self respect and financial capability to support herself and her children- would straightaway divorce her husband if the man seeks permission to marry another woman! Women's education and appropriate law are playing a big role in abolishing this system.

But let me tell you very frankly, some men are taking advantage of such laws in their religions (not necessarily Muslims, but also from other religions- Hindus /Buddists/Mormons etc). But the problem is, everybody discusses about the muslims, not others. Kings and Emirs of the Muslim countries are ridiculed regularly in the media, but 4 wives of the king of Bhutan remain unnoticed.

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