Disclaimer: I’m not a Muslim
In the Islamic religion, it is permitted for a man to marry more than one wife. Though the Koran was written centuries ago when such practice was more sociable, the Holy Book is seen as timeless, so the idea has lived into the present era. However, a cursory look at how this idea is being practiced reveals that poor Muslim men are more likely to have more than one wife than rich Muslim men.
According to Islamic practitioners, a man is allowed to marry as many wives as he can as long as he can give equal love to all of them. This has been the basis for Muslim men to marry more than one wife..
But Check this out, President Muhammadu Buhari has one wife, Late Gen Murtala Muhammad had one wife, Late M.K.O. Abiola had one wife, Aliko Dangote has one wife. Former president Musa Yar’adua had one wife. And this is the trend among many rich Muslim men.
But why then do other Muslim men, particularly poor Muslims, marry more than one wife? Despite their poverty, you’ll still see a lot of poor men marrying many wives even though they know that their incomes can’t even take proper care of only them. You’ll find them struggling to feed their wives and their children. And to better their lot, they push their female children into early marriage. And this isn’t the olden days where one could say, “oh many children equals greater farm labour”. So what then causes this?
First, I believe poor people have less control over their sexual appetite than rich people. In Thomas Malthus’ theory of population, he states that population growth will be affected by the ability of poor people to control their sexual urge. He believes they can’t. So human population would grow geometrically while food production grows arithmetically.
Same thing applies here. Poor Muslim men cant control their sexual urge. And since Islam already condemns adultery, they have to marry more wives to contain their high libido.
Second, despite the evolutions that have taken place since the completion of the Koran thousands ago, a lot of Muslims are still conservative and still choose to observe the old ways of doing things. This affects their consciousness and socio-cultural routine.
And third, illiteracy is a major reason why this happens. Rich Muslims, to a large extent, are more enlightened than the poor ones. They know what is trending in the world, they understand the challenges of having more than one wife and so they are better able to make more informed decisions. The poor folks dong have this luxury. Their educational background is poor and thus leaves them susceptible to being influenced hardlined and sometimes false Islamic teachings.
The situation baffles me a lot, and it is one of those cases where I see a sharp division in how wealthy and poor people practice religion.