- There was an incredible amount of people who were living in poverty. Polygamy was used to relieve them of this. We still have an unbelievable amount of world hunger, but are more ways of earning money than inheriting it from your parents–-and orphans don’t need to be saved from starvation, for the most part, not on this side of the world. So what about other parts?:
- #1 can only be done if #3 is valid.
- The man must be able to treat each wife (limit is 4) equally. This is already impossible to do. It’s even harder when you’re impoverished. There wouldn’t be men in poverty marrying women in poverty or vice verse in an Islamically sound manner because that would defeat the purpose of #1. The same goes if both parties are rich. And I don’t see many marriages where a rich person marries a not so rich person. I doubt that happens. Like, ever.
- A woman cannot be forced into marriage or to stay in marriage. When the Prophet’s daughter came to him and told him her husband wanted a second wife, the Prophet told him not to marry again, because it would displease his daughter. This provides that a man cannot marry again if his wife won’t allow it.
- Especially in modern times, #3 and #4 are pretty much impossible, and #1 is pretty much unnecessary or doesn’t occur in actual practice.
Conclusion: Polygamy is no longer allowed, under the very conditions and limitations outlined in the Qur’an.
In order to accommodate widows in times of war, men of sound finances and character shall be encouraged to marry these widows. If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly, then you must not take additional wives. This will prevent injustice and financial hardship. (Qur’an 4:3)
The Quran is timeless. Timeless does not mean that context doesn’t matter. As a matter of fact, it is precisely the context that makes it timeless, in emphasizing that these actions are only to be taken in the following conditions. This allows us continuous reference.
It is the interpretation, unfortunately, that changes once the contexts of the Quranic verses are forgotten and instead interpretation is derived from culture rather than the actual historical conditions and issues being addressed at the time of revelation. Because these conditions are actually outlined in the Qur’an, they are as important as the rest of the parts. The conditions are a part of the orders, and it is the inclusion of these in part of the whole, the recognition that certain actions are called for in certain conditions, that make the Qur’an timeless.