In Islam, a man can marry more than one woman and equality is exaggerated amongst the wives. But can a man love more than one wife? Most people say he cannot love more than one woman. Please explain how you should deal with this matter if a man has two wives but does not love them equally.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
It is true that equality between ones wives is compulsory according to the teaching of the Quran. However, since love is related to the inclination of the heart -- and that is beyond ones control – the Shariah does not impose upon a person to be equal in love among his wives.
في الدر المختار: ( يجب ) وظاهر الآية أنه فرض نهر ( أن يعدل ) أي أن لا يجور ( فيه ) أي في القسم بالتسوية في البيتوتة ( وفي الملبوس والمأكول ) والصحبة ( لا في المجامعة ) كالمحبة إلخ ؛ وقال ابن عابدين رحمه الله: أما المحبة فهي ميل القلب وهو لا يملك ( رد المحتار: ج 4 ص 376 ط دار المعرفة )
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ
“You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire” (Quran 4:129)
The justice mentioned in the verse above refers to love. Ibn Abi Shayba and Ibn Jareer relate on the authority of Abu Mulaika that the verse was revealed concerning Aisha (Radiyallaahu anha), as Rasulullah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) loved her more than his other wives. Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmizi and others relate on the authority of Aisha (Radiyallaahu anha): “Rasulullah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) used to distribute (things, nights etc.) equally and evenly between his wives. Then he would say ‘O Allah this is my distribution in what I have control over; therefore, do not reprimand me concerning what You have control over and I do not.’” By ‘what You have control over’ Rasulullah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) meant love and the inclination of the heart that is beyond ones control. (Roohul Ma’aani vol. 3 pg. 157 pub. Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah)
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Faizal Riza
Darul Ifta Australia
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