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A man may "marry" four wives, but have sex with his slave-girls, and the number of these latter is not limited.According to the timeless and universal Quran, therefore, Muslims today have the right to practice polygamy. For the historical and literary topical contexts of Sura 33, visit this webpage.The male Muslim scholar lists eight reasons, such as this one: There are some men who may have strong physical desires, for whom one wife is not enough.If the door is closed to such a man and he is told, you are not allowed more than one wife, this will cause great hardship to him, and his desire may find outlets in forbidden ways.Maududi paraphrases the meaning of the clause: "If you need more than one [wife] but are afraid that you might not be able to do justice to your wives from among the free people, you may turn to slave girls because in that case you will be burdened with less responsibilities" (note 6).This is not surprising, since the slave-girl was sexual property (see Sura ).In fact, early Islamic sources say that Muhammad caught a glimpse of his daughter-in-law in a state of undress, and he desired her.
However, in normal usage "polygyny" is worse than polygamy because it denotes sexual liasons without marriage.But is polygamy or polygyny or plural marriages the best path for all of humanity?What does New Testament Christianity say on the matter?Third, in pre-Islamic days, men could marry as many women as they wanted and "treat them cruelly and unjustly" with impunity. Also, the clause "marry those who have fallen in your possession" means slave-girls who were captured in a war.So the Quran limits the number to four, and only if the man could keep care of them all: "But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them." Maududi concludes that probably all three correctives were intended by this verse (vol. Men may "marry" them because slaves do not incur very much expense, not as much as free women do.
But her article seeks to protect the Quran on this issue without eliminating the practicehaving your cake and eating it too.