CII chief opposes laws against polygamy

Published: March 11, 2014
The current marriage law requires a male Muslim to seek a written approval from his existing wife. PHOTO: FILE

The current marriage law requires a male Muslim to seek a written approval from his existing wife. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The head of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declared on Monday that the current laws regarding multiple marriages are against the principles of Shariah law.

“There is no harm for a man to have more than one marriage according to Islam but the existing marriage laws have complicated this issue and need to be amended,” CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani told journalists after chairing a meeting that looked into the  Marriage Laws 1961.

The government must tweak the laws in order to make them compliant with Shariah ruling, he said. The issue was discussed during the CII’s two-day meeting following queries from across the country seeking the constitutional body’s advice, said Maulana Sheerani, who is also a JUI-F lawmaker.

The CII also discussed Shariah-related cases pending in the Supreme Court and resolved to write a letter to the apex court requesting updates on such cases.

The current marriage law requires a male Muslim to seek a written approval from his existing wife or wives in order to enter another marriage. Maulana Sheerani said such approval is not required as Shariah laws have defined provisions for more than one marriage ‘which are easy to understand and follow’.

Additionally, the CII said laws related to nikkah, divorce, adulthood and wills need to be formulated in accordance with Shariah laws. Sheerani said the CII has forwarded its recommendations from 1997 to 2009 and reports from 2010-11 and 2011-12 to parliament.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Lal Din
    Mar 11, 2014 - 3:20AM

    The current laws are not complicating the “personal/family laws” but it is the like you who are doing it.


  • Umar R.
    Mar 11, 2014 - 3:45AM

    He is absolutely telling the truth. You don’t have to have marriage certificate too in order to prove your marriage according to Islam.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Mar 11, 2014 - 6:28AM

    It is time our ladies have their fair chance of gender equality and demand the implementation of Polyandry!

    The thought of two mullahs married with one wife is as ridiculous or normal as the contrary!

    Interestingly the male-female ratio in the country is 100:90 ….and counting!


  • MAD
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:17AM

    It is very rare for me to agree with the CII chief but I agree in this case. Polygamy is permissible in Islam and the ways of doing it are clearly defined. Any law that restricts or prohibits it is UnIslamic and should rightly be opposed. And no I am not a polygamist, am happily married and have no plans to do it for a second time.


  • Shahid Aman
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:21AM

    In Pakistan there are more important issues than marriages. The CII should review major issues rather rather than wasting time and money on pity issues which has no important role in common man life. A common man cant marry single time how he will go for polygamy.


  • Balaji
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:23AM

    It is quite hypocritical in the West to have laws againt multiple marriages, but none against adultery/sleeping around. So while they acknowledge polygamous relationships, they are legal only if they are illegal! On another note, there is no law against polygamu in Pakistan. The headline is misleading. Btw, since ET has been promoting acceptance of homosexuality, it should br consistent and promote polygamy as that too is union of two consenting adults!


  • SocialJustice
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:40AM

    It is because of such people that women are exploited in the name of religion.


  • Aisha
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:42AM

    Current laws are not complicating rather they are safeguarding our family system. They secure the rights of females. These molvis only think for their own benefit regardless of foreseeing that their statements would cause various social issues. Tell your son-in-law that you are free to do second marriage without seeking permission from your own daughter.Recommend

  • Truth and Justice
    Mar 11, 2014 - 10:50AM

    Absolutely True. All laws must be according to Sharia, otherwise there was no need for Pakistan. Period.


  • Tahir
    Mar 11, 2014 - 11:11AM

    Who is this person? What and on whose authority does he act on? What are his qualifications beyond growing a beard?

    I’m damned if I’ll let him decide on any aspect of my life. Recommend

  • Mj
    Mar 11, 2014 - 11:28AM

    @Truth and Justice:
    “Absolutely True. All laws must be according to Sharia, otherwise there was no need for Pakistan. Period.”

    Let’s bring the legal age for marriage down to 9 for sharia-compliance, similar to the attempts being made in Iraq.


  • Mj
    Mar 11, 2014 - 11:32AM

    For the sake of equality, the esteemed Maulana should allow women to contract a second marriage without the consent of husband. I’m sure the husband would be thrilled in this situation.


  • AD
    Mar 11, 2014 - 11:33AM

    Its been 1000 yrs we are influenced by hinduism and their culture. The simultaneous reaction of ladies in our part is only a result of that culture where one lady have to die (SAtti) as his husband die. Before commenting on these types of issue we must consider opposing these things are going against Islam. Although, one should know that what are the conditions for having a second wife. If a man can manage both then what is the issue.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Mar 11, 2014 - 12:23PM

    {Tell your son-in-law that you are free to do second marriage without seeking permission from your own daughter}

    Absolutely brilliant. The proof of pudding lies in eating.


  • Yahudi Arabia
    Mar 11, 2014 - 12:34PM

    Can we have law against multiple mistresses, concubines and girlfriends as well?


  • Muhammad Usama Aziz
    Mar 11, 2014 - 1:44PM

    It would be great if you read themselves the Islamic Law. Without reading them and criticizing them just shows your illiteracy level towards you religion!


  • anoymous
    Mar 11, 2014 - 3:16PM

    Because marriage has the sanction of state while relationships do not have any state involvement. There are multiple impacts of marital status that are linked with taxation, alimony, medical confidentiality, child custody etc etc. which are non issues in relationships.

    Secondly acknowledgment is different from encouragement. Everyone acknowledges that there are incidents of corruption, violence, etc etc but that does not mean that there should not be a law against them.

    In west polygamous relationships do not also have a social approval. Adultery is frowned upon similar to any other place.Recommend

  • SQ
    Mar 11, 2014 - 3:44PM

    Quoting from the article

    “There is no harm for a man to have more than one marriage according to Islam”

    But has any body every tried to check if those who are interested in getting married second third or fourth time are actually doing justice to the rights of first wife n fulfulling all the requirements as per “sharia law”.

    Second marriage is permissible but, and its a big but here, it comes at a big price and with that many conditions as well.

    How about the council of islamic ideology starts exploring and promoting the duties and responsibilties of a husband towards his wife and family instead of starting off with how to make it easy to get into the hobby of marrying again and again.

    Plz educate the masses to be better human beings so they are more accepting of the differences. Plz promote the concept of being Godly by valuing and serving humanity.Recommend

  • ayesha.a
    Mar 11, 2014 - 4:25PM

    only this law seems to be easy to understand and follow! Desperation!!!Recommend

  • usman786
    Mar 11, 2014 - 4:45PM

    Marriage should be easier than adulteryRecommend

  • farooq
    Mar 11, 2014 - 6:28PM

    of course they don’t need any permission from the existing wives.


  • khan
    Mar 11, 2014 - 7:26PM

    wow.. another law benefiting men in men made world. speechless. Alter Islam to the point that female has no place left in it. Recommend

  • Akbar
    Mar 11, 2014 - 8:18PM

    In other news, this same group of semi literates has opposed a minimum age of marriage. How are these unelected custodians of morality any thing but pedophiles hiding behind a religious shieldRecommend

  • genesis
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:05PM

    No issue.if that is what the religion say follow it.Do not bring in Hinduism or west and say they are degraded or primitive.If the law of the land permits and the majority want go ahead!


  • ivehadit
    Mar 11, 2014 - 9:44PM

    The CII seems to be unnaturally predisposed to clarifying laws that justify legal cohabitation. We need a Wendy Koniger to explain this subconscious!

    Next they’ll be flying in planes to see the Ramazan moon. And we’ll all be celebrating Eid on different days.


  • Kamran
    Mar 11, 2014 - 11:23PM

    @Truth and Justice: Agreed. There was, and is no reason for a Pakistan if the intent is to have it ruled by stone-age ideologies.


  • unbelievable
    Mar 12, 2014 - 12:45AM


    It is quite hypocritical in the West
    to have laws againt multiple
    marriages, but none against
    adultery/sleeping around.

    Rubbish – comparing apples and oranges. A wife has legal standing including property rights, child support etc. Further – your comment implies that men/women only fool around in the West and that’s laughable.


  • Nobody
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:19AM

    It’s not hypocritical at all because the west doesn’t take it as their duty to police people’s personal morals. They do, however, take it as their duty to protect the rights of women and a man having multiple wives is an affront to a woman’s dignity and is in no way for the betterment of society. On a different note, if polygamy WERE legal in the west, I guarantee it’d be legal for both men and women. Eastern cultures, namely Muslim cultures would never grant women any sort of rights and simply use polygamy as another way to allow and promote inequality and sexism while allowing men to turn religion into a self serving joke.


  • Shameful
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:23PM

    @Truth and Justice:

    This is utterly crazy. We have people defending polygamy on the sole basis that its allowed in Islam. God did give us a brain to think if things make sense or not and what made sense 1000 years ago probably is a bit outdated now. If we want to live like people in the 7th century then we should throw away all our gadgets and still be travelling around in circles trying to find the edge of the earth. Also the main reason why Polygamy exists in Islam is because when islam spread and quite often through wars, to the conquerers went the spoils and as all the men from the losing side died in battle or became slaves, the women were now at the mercy of the men that killed their husbands and that is the brutal truth. People can try to make it as beautiful and make it sound like some sort of charity helping single women but in todays day and age legalizing Polygamy is just state sanctioned cheating. No wife would accept another women being with her man. (unless some physical condition that prevents her from having kids or only in special circumstances). In most circumstances the existing wife would be forced to accept the second wife. Why is it that its mostly been men in power that have had multiple wives ?

    Can any person really be pleased that his daughter is going to be one of many wives to her husband. Its shameful that such a practice that completely throws the very basic tenet of human equality out of the window is religiously mandated through antiquated dogma and even educated people still support it.

    Laws need to be made based on logic and reason and not cause Islam or some other religion mandates it. I can provide many instances of where Islam and all religions for the that matter contradict basic logic and reason. What was logical and reasonable in the 7th century where people lived in Tribes, had a completely different way of life cant be applied now. The human race has made huge strides socially, economically, scientifically in the last 1000 years thus following practices from 1000 years ago would be questionable to any rational mind.


  • Tani
    Mar 12, 2014 - 8:17PM

    @AD u can’t blame a custom of a tribe or community of specific region on whole religion dude.. Please educate yourself before u talk rubbish.. Moreover the custom for that particular community was outlawed and banned ages ago.which world are u living in? again read indian constitution before talking rubbish ”

    @usman @balaji
    My question irrespective of religion is if polygamy is allowed? Why not polyandry?where single woman can have 2,3,4husbands? By your logic it’s better than committing adultery by wife no? Legally marrying four men. no issue of adultery then problem solved!
    Shows the duplicity of fundamentalistic men they can’t even “tolerate imagining’ their woman with other men…but they themselves can travel with hordes of women trampling woman rights..disgusting
    And people justifying ” better then adultery and extra marital affair” grow up.. Not all men are cheaters and adulterers. .. In the garb of few cheaters don’t try to justify wrong doings.
    2 wrongs don’t make a right! Recommend

  • Tani
    Mar 12, 2014 - 8:30PM

    @shameful. “no woman would tolerate another wife unless she can’t have child” In today’s modern world even with such conditions you don’t need to marry one can easily get pregnant by artificial insemination or use of surrogacy by planning husbands and wife’s cells in third person… So even that logic should be shot down as means for using to marry another woman.Recommend

  • mohib khan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 8:51PM

    pl pl it is not proper to meddle in the affairs of the molvies. There is a system of ijma in which one decides what to do. Our system is good unless the molvies meddle in it.In our society a lady is married and only leaves the house of her husband upon her death. When such loyalty is demanded then the other party should also be loyal. We see that divorce cases linger on in the courts. If Islam gives the right of second marriage or even four true but so does it gives the lady the right of khula and getting married to another person. Besides it allows the lady to decide whether to marry a person or not. These molanas should refrain from such issues which may lead to further complications. Besides there is nothing new in the sharia and the people responsible for the constitution included molana mufti Mahmood. Who did not object to this law. knowing sharia being a mufti. Why does the molana try to raise fresh issues?
    True as Muslims we must follow the sharia as a duty and we should not meddle in the sharia.Some of the laws may not be to our liking but the word of God is supreme. The question is what stops us? The financial condition and the social fiber of the society.For this we must think before we comment on the religious values. Being permitted to marry does not give us a licence to marry again. What is to be done with the off springs and how the elder wife is to be treated is a serious issue and these considerations should be taken into account before commenting. My father in law was quiet young when his wife died but he did not marry again because he didn’t want to harm his children. Why can the male think on these terms instead of taking the excuse of shria for a second marriage..


  • TeenagersCommonSense
    Mar 14, 2014 - 8:09AM

    Firstly, The title of the article is misleading. Pakistan is a Islamic nation, polygamy was never illegal and probably wont be in the near future. What is illegal is Marrying a second wife without the firsts consent/permission. The Islamic council suggests that by the Sharia being too general on multiple wife the default interpretation should thus be the riskier option of without Women’s consent/permission which will give men the better choice (ee good for us guys). No one saw this as a gift by god to have many interpretations based on the needs and circumstance of the time period. Just to clarify a cause benefit analysis done by a child could figure out this would severely disadvantage women on-top of the already injustice’s on women in rural (and urban) areas in our society. If your a misogynistic or Taliban than you should support this interpretation.


  • TARIQ mahmud
    Mar 14, 2014 - 11:02AM

    By that analogy compliance implies that only oral evidence of Wedlock should be good enough . The CII may well then knock down the provision of registration of marriage and documented Nikha !


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