Polygamy and Islam

In Polygamy and Islam Maulana Wahiduddin Khan explains that permission for polygamy was given in extreme circumstance when women outnumber men in society. If you fear that you cannot treat orphans with fairness, then you may marry such women (widowed) as seem good to you: two, three or four of them. But if you fear that you cannot do justice, marry one only. (Qur’an, 4:3) This verse was revealed after the Battle of Uhud (Shawwal 3 A.H.) in which seventy Muslims were martyred. Suddenly, seventy homes in Medina were bereft of all male members. This verse took care of the social problem of widows and orphans. Based on this explanation this polygamy in Islam is only temporary in effect. It can be applied only to a state of emergency when, due to loss of men in battle, the number of women exceeded the number of available men.