Even though polygamy is allowed in Islam, it is not something very much encouraged. If Islam does not encourage having multiple wives, why did they allow polygamy? There are 4 major reasons.
If you are afraid you will fail to maintain justice, then ˹content yourselves with one (wife). – An-Nisa 4:3
Widows have always seen suppression and rejection by society. Islam allowed polygamy to give respect, honor, and dignity to widows. To set up a trend where people would marry a widow without hesitation, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ married 4 widows;
- Khadija bint Khuwaylid رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- Sawda bint Zam’an رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- Zainab bint Khuzayma رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- Hind bint Abi Ummaya رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- 11 wives of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Strengthen ties with nationalities
Islam allowed polygamy to strengthen ties with other tribes and nationalities. It will promote unity among Muslims that would strengthen the religion, Islam.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ married Juwarriya bint Al-Harith رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ who was a war prisoner and then released her. This act of kindness resulted in the entire Banu Mustaliq accepting Islam.
Unity among Muslims
We tend to care for our relatives more than our friends, this is what could be achieved with polygamy. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ married the following 4 to build stronger relations with Sahabas.
- Aisha Bint Abu Bakr رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- Hafsa bint Umar رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- Ramla bint Abu Sufyan رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
- Maymoona bint Al-Harith رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
Spread the Islamic teachings
Islam allowed polygamy to spread the real meaning of Islam. Sahaba were the face of Islam, when they married someone else, they became the cause of the upbringing of the family unit as per Islam.