Q: What is
the ruling on having more than four wives at the same time?
Please quote the proofs for your answer for we are in dire need for your guidance in this regard.
It is permissible for a man to have up to four wives at the same time provided that he is sure that he will be able to do justice to all his wives and that he will not do injustice to any of them. However, it is Haram (prohibited) for a man to marry more than four wives at once. There are proofs for this from the Qur'an, Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) and Ijma` (consensus of scholars). Proof from the Qur'an is that Allah (Exalted be He) says,
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 (the slaves) that your right hands possess.
Thus, Allah (Exalted be He) permits whomever likes to marry more than one wife to marry two, three, or four wives as he wishes provided that he does not fear injustice. Allah (Exalted be He) does not permit a man to marry more than four wives. Since the original ruling regarding sexual relationships is that they are unlawful, they only become lawful within the limits that Allah states and permits. In other words, since Allah only permits a man to marry up to four wives at once; original unlawfulness (Part No. 18; Page No. 256) applies to whatever is more than this. To quote proofs from the Sunnah we may refer to a Hadith
that is related by
Abu Dawud and
on the authority of
Qays ibn Al-Harith who said,
When I embraced Islam, I was married to eight women. I went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and informed him about the matter, then he (peace be upon him) ordered me to choose only four of them.
Another proof from Sunnah is the Hadith that is related by
on the authority of
`Abdullah ibn `Umar who said,
When Ghaylan Al-Thaqafy embraced Islam, he was married to ten women. The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed him to choose only four women from among them.
(The foregoing Hadith is also related by
Ibn Hibban and
Al-Hakim who graded it as Sahih (authentic)).
Moreover, there is a verbal and practical Ijma` of the
Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), the Four Imams (Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al-Shafi`y, and Ahmad), and the rest of
Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim main body) to the effect that it is impermissible for a man other than the Prophet (peace be upon him) to marry more (Part No. 18; Page No. 257) than four wives at once. Whoever violates this opposes Qur'an and Sunnah. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.