I understand that islam gave men and women different responsibilities due to their nature. And that polygamy is only allowed for men because of their nature. But my question is since islam allows men to practice polygamy and have multiple wives , does this mean that the position of the husband is superior to the wife? So in the family unit I understand the husband is leader and is allowed to have more than one wife, does that make him have an overall superior position to the wife and gives the wife an overall inferior position compared to him?
As you have mentioned Allah Almighty has given men and women different roles and responsibilities. There are certain things which men have been tasked with that women are not, but at the same time there are also certain things which women have been tasked with that men have not. For this reason, one cannot compare a man to a woman in superiority as their roles and responsibilities are different.
Yes, in specific cases one maybe seen as more superior than the other. For example, we learn from the famous hadith that a mother has three times more superiority over a father. Therefore, when comparing in this particular regard, women can be considered superior to men. However, on the other hand a man has been tasked with being responsible for his household and therefore has been given the role of being the head of is household. Hence, in this regard men are more superior. However, this does not mean that one is more superior than the other in a general sense.
Also, if one gender is permitted to do something and another gender is not, that does not mean that one of them is more superior or of a higher value than the other. Therefore, being able to practice polygamy does not make men more superior than women. For example, just because only women can give birth, we would not consider that women have an overall superior position than men, even though giving birth is in of itself a great virtue of a woman.
In fact, a person’s value and overall superiority is based on their relationship with Allah the Almighty. If a man has multiple wives but is an open sinner, whereas his wife is righteous and God-fearing then she will be of higher value in the view of Allah.
Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an:
Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.
Ifta Research Fellow
Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel