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©Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

Before seeking to practice polygyny, it is important for a man to assess himself thoroughly and be sure he is capable before going into it. 

In his book ‘Saidul Khātir’, Al-Imām Ibn Al-jawziy discussed what it means to be “a reasonable man” in this context. He said “a reasonable person will stick to one woman as long as she fulfills his needs”. 

I made a comment recently under a post made by our Sister, Amoo Ganiyat referring to this statement of the Imām as referenced in the book of Imam Abdurrahmān Yaki حفظه الله "Introduction to Islamic Marital Counseling". The view is exactly as expressed in the comment box and it was meant to caution men to make sure we know what we are doing when it comes to the practice of polygyny. The statement of the Sheikh can be found in page 441 of the book. I used it in my proposed book "Polygyny with Mercy".

However, it is important to clarify that the words of the Sheikh رحمه الله here should not be interpreted to be a condemnation or discouragement of polygyny. It is far from that. The Sheikh رحمه الله had encouraged polygyny earlier in another part of the same book (page 54).

Consequently, the Sheikh maintained the middle cause in his view on polygyny. On one hand, he encouraged polygyny as practiced by the Salaf. His view is that the practice of polygyny is desirable if a man has the capacity and he is able to fulfill the conditions attached. 

On the other hand, he warned against the practice of polygyny without having capacity or when one fears he might not be able to do justice. This simply means polygyny is not “’do or die” affair. If a man is content with one wife, it is reasonable for him to stick to her. 

The two parts of the book are to be read together to reveal the true position of the noble Imām in the book. One should not be read in isolation of the other.

Meanwhile, I want to use this opportunity to thank Sheikh Murtala Alade Adedokun حفظه الله for drawing my attention to the second part of the book that I never knew before. It was great learning from him virtually for days. He made sure I searched and located the second reference in my own nuskhah. He did justice to knowledge by affirming the fact that Al-Imām Ibn Al-jawziy رحمه الله actually made the statement I credited to him in the first place through the book of Imām Yaki. May Allāh preserve him upon goodness.

In the process of ensuring that justice is done to knowledge in this regard, Sheikh Adedokun suggested that I should contact the author of the book who is based in the US and I did. The author also defended his reference by even snapping from his personal hardcopy. I learnt so much from these two humble scholars. 

This is why we must all respect copyright and hate plagiarism with passion. The importance of referencing in any research that we are doing cannot be overemphasized. It is not just about a writer's right, it is to protect knowledge so that an author can be connected if there is any need for clarification. 

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