Men misinterpreting Quran to marry more than once, says Indian HC

Published: November 6, 2015


India’s Gujrat High Court on Thursday said Muslim men in the country were misinterpreting the Quran in order to marry more more than one woman for purely “selfish reasons”.

Muslim women in India reject ‘triple talaq’, polygamy: Survey

Jafar Abbas Merchant approached the high court following an FIR filed against him by his wife who claimed he got married to another woman without her consent.

According to section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), polygamy is a punishable act. However, Merchant in his plea said Islam allows men to have as many as four wives, thus the FIR against him is invalid.

During the hearing, the court, in reply to Merchant’s plea, said “The Quran is being misinterpreted by Muslim men for selfish reasons,” adding that the time had come for the country to embrace the uniform civil code.

Polygyny: Sunnah or desire?

“When the Quran allowed polygamy, it was for a fair reason. When men use that provision today, they do it for a selfish reason. Polygamy finds mention in the Quran only once, and it is about conditional polygamy,” the order said.

“Muslim Personal Law does not permit a Muslim man to treat his wife cruelly, drive her out of the matrimonial home and then get married for the second time. However, there is no law in this country which takes care of this situation. There is no uniform civil code in this country,” it added.

Further, stressing the need for a uniform civil code, the court directed the government to take necessary action.

When polygamy is allowed in Islam

“On the basis of modern, progressive thinking, India must shun the practice and establish uniform civil code,” the judgment stated.

And while the court observed that Muslim Personal Law violates India’s Constitutional provisions, it gave a verdict in Merchant’s favour, stating that it is allowed under the Muslim Personal Law but not the IPC.

“In view of the above, so far as the offence punishable under Section 494 of IPC is concerned, I am left with no other option but to accept the submission that Merchant cannot be prosecuted for the offence punishable under Section 494 of IPC. To this extent, the petition will have to be allowed and is, accordingly, allowed,” the judge said.

Preventing child marriages

Further, the court regardless of its verdict said, “There is no codification by the legislation of marriages amongst the Muslims, polygamy is not encouraged and is an exception and not a rule. It is not the fundamental right of a Muslim to have four wives.”

This article originally appeared on Hindustan Times

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Nil
    Nov 6, 2015 - 4:30PM

    Common Civil Code its the ultimate solution government should bring this law at earliest. No special privileges required for only particular religion.Recommend

  • Whiskey Khan
    Nov 6, 2015 - 4:52PM

    It’s not only Men but whoever could have manipulated religion and its Book through out History…Nothing New!!!!Recommend

  • waqas
    Nov 6, 2015 - 5:34PM

    Now Indian Hindus will decide whether more than one wife is allowed in Islam, the followers of the religion, which states that, wife should be burnt after her husband dies –ironic.Recommend

  • Pagal
    Nov 6, 2015 - 6:33PM

    Some books would never be “interpreted correctly”.Recommend

  • ahmed
    Nov 6, 2015 - 6:43PM

    To all readers of this article :

    Whether polygamy is permitted or not , a man who brings into the home another woman as a wife, does infinite damage to the first wife and all the kids of the family.

    It creates a life-long trauma. One is expected to respect one father [( and mother(s)] but such a situation creates ill-will in the entire family. It damages ones respect for religion in general.

    Ask me ; my dad , for reasons he alone knows , had a total of 3 wives.

    There was perpetual tension at home. As soon as i finished school & college, i left home in disgust, for good. Today i am totally out of contact with everyone of my family and comfortable about it. Recommend

  • Nov 6, 2015 - 6:46PM

    All religious texts are too old and contain errors. These errors either result due to communication gaps or are consciously distorted by Rulers and the Clergy to gain advantage. The practices of the olden times may not be suitable for modern times.. Poly gamy was for societies, wherin the male population always got dwindled in wars and Polyandry for poor societies practicing female infanticide to curtail their population growth. The punishments such as crucifixion, stoning, beheading in public etc. were to terrify the disorderly public to absolute subjection. All the religious texts contain scientific errors.
    Thus while deciding on law the modern conditions of life are to be taken into consideration. The Priest, The Mullah and the Guru are to deal with human faith in spiritual matters. The worldly matters are to be left to experts in Sciences, Humanities, Jurisprudence, Law and the Public Administration. Thus we have already banned child marriage, Sati, inequality due to caste, animal and human sacrifice and so on. Polygamy is only allowed to Muslims . They can also throw out a wife by oral divorce. These must be stopped as it goes against the welfare of our Muslim women citizens. Recommend

  • Another Indian
    Nov 6, 2015 - 7:03PM

    @waqas..If they ever wanted to do that, they would have and this article wouldn’t be here either. Get it?Recommend

  • ajeet
    Nov 6, 2015 - 7:20PM

    The women falling on their pyre of their husbands was started to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Arabic and Turkish barbarians who tried to bring in their evils in India.Recommend

  • Rashida
    Nov 6, 2015 - 8:02PM

    Good news Indian Muslim ladies! You are better off than us.Recommend

  • Fawad
    Nov 6, 2015 - 8:44PM


    This SATI thing started few hundred years back, where after war war-widows were molested by enemies, usually barbaric enemies etc. Check the details on net, so it was not Hindu custom, but to avoid torture, in Rajputs mainly. And it was abolished in India 100 years back. Now time to see and modify something different.Recommend

  • pk
    Nov 6, 2015 - 9:00PM

    There are thousands of religions in India, why to discuss only one religion. I never heard Jainism, Buddhism being discussed. This constant crying of victimhood of one particular religion has caused present day problem in India. Recommend

  • Peter
    Nov 6, 2015 - 9:52PM

    @ahmed: Sorry to say but you are highly selfish… Looking after only yourself. Two wrongs do not make it right. You still have responsibility of your father and mother. Return to them and at least try to inquire about their circumstances. Only a person with this attitude towards life can develop disrespect for religion. I pity you yet I pray for you.Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Nov 6, 2015 - 10:44PM

    @waqas: “… Now Indian Hindus will decide whether more than one wife is allowed in Islam, the followers of the religion, which states that, wife should be burnt after her husband dies –ironic. … ”

    Absolutely barbaric practice. But probably was the only way to escape from Muslim barbarians. It is only Muslims who think that foreign invaders brought the “gift of Islam” – for others, the invaders and whatever they brought along represent an unimaginable catastrophe.

    Anyway – try having two wives in the US. They will throw your book and you into prison.Recommend

  • Cyz
    Nov 6, 2015 - 11:02PM

    And you made a highly insensitive comment. Can you even try to imagine what it would be like to grow up in such an environment, how it would scar the psyche of a young kid growing up ?Recommend

  • Bewildered
    Nov 6, 2015 - 11:09PM


    “No special privileges required for only particular religion.”

    Agreed. Repeal the beef ban first and then talk anything else.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Nov 7, 2015 - 4:06AM


    Common Civil Code its the ultimate solution government should bring this law at earliest. No special privileges required for only particular religion.

    Right, and cows should be allowed to be eaten like all normal people do. All Hindu rituals at beginning and completion of projects need to be prohibited too.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Nov 7, 2015 - 4:22AM


    Now Indian Hindus will decide whether more than one wife is allowed in Islam,

    Don’t Muslims impose their Blasphemy law over Christians even though Christians do not even believe in Islam?Recommend

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