Countries Where Polygamy is Legal: Polygamy is the practice of a person marrying multiple people simultaneously, most typically a male to multiple women. Polygamy is frequently founded on religious beliefs or traditional cultural customs. It is usually lawful in various Muslim countries and restricted to men who follow the Islamic faith.
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Polygamy’s Legality and Acceptance All Over the World
The legality of the practice of polygamy differs by country, with each country prohibiting, allowing, or encouraging the practice. Polygyny is more prevalent in countries that recognize or encourage polygamy.De facto polygamy is common in countries where only monogamous marriage is legally legitimate. There is no legal recognition for extra spouses after the first in places like these, where polygamy is prohibited yet tolerated.
Due to economic and societal constraints, however, this tradition is dwindling. Polygamy is permitted in many countries of the world. Here are ten such countries.
Top 12 Countries Where Polygamy is Legal Around The World
1. Afghanistan: The Quran allows for men to have up to four wives in Afghanistan. All of a man’s wives are treated equally. As a result, polygamy is recognized in Afghanistan and widely practiced. However, the rules are rarely adhered to. Afghans are also permitted to have an unlimited number of spouses or concubines.
2. Algeria: In Algeria, polygamy is allowed, and a man can have up to four wives. However, recent changes to the Algerian Family Code have made such marriages more difficult. As a result, polygamy has been relatively uncommon. Polygamy is currently practiced by only 3% of the population.
3. Pakistan: Polygamy is legal in Pakistan, according to a 1961 statute. The law in this country permits Muslim men to marry up to four wives. However, he must first seek the legal agreement of his first wife before arranging for a second marriage.
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4. United Arab Emirates (UAE): According to UAE legislation, polygamy is legal in the United Arab Emirates, but only for men of the Islamic faith. A man can only have four wives if he can treat them all equally and provide for them.
5. Cameroon: For the men in Cameron, polygamy symbolizes riches and status. It is mostly used in rural settings. Unlike in other countries, Men in Cameroon do not have a limit on the number of spouses they can have. On the other hand, polygamy is on the decline due to economic and social factors.
6. Nigeria: Women in modern Nigeria can afford to share their spouses with other women. This is no longer news or surprising. However, the rate of growth of this practice in Nigeria is alarming.
Regardless of their degree of education, the average Nigerian man’s conscience, particularly among those nurtured in a cultural milieu, has not changed. When it comes to marriage, an average Nigerian guy retains his Nigerian identity regardless of his level of westernization in terms of academic qualifications, exposure, and wardrobe, among other things.
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7. Iran: Under current Iranian law, Muslim men are permitted to have up to four wives, but only after obtaining a court judgment confirming the first spouse’s consent and his ability to treat them all equally.
Sharing a husband’s income with a second, third, or fourth wife can be financially devastating for women who rely only on his income. According to Shi’a Islam, Iranian males can already take any number of “temporary spouses” without alerting their original wives.
A temporary marriage’s duration is predetermined and can range from hours to decades. Temporary wives sometimes endure social exclusion, and their children may have difficulty obtaining public services such as schooling because paternity might be difficult to verify if the marriage is unregistered.
8. Qatar: Compared to various other procedures in Qatar, getting married is a rather simple process. It may, however, necessitate a few trips to embassies, photocopying, locating certificates, and taking passport-sized images. In the past, a traditional Qatar marriage was tribal, with linked families encouraging their offspring to marry cousins or other family members to strengthen their tribe.
They were occasionally married into another tribe to reconcile family schisms. Such unions were popular since families were aware of the partner’s background. A Muslim man is at liberty to have as much as four wives under Sharia Law, as long as he can provide for them financially and treat them equally.
However, because few people can afford it, this practice is no longer practiced, and women are becoming more independent and outspoken, refusing to accept such rules. For the duration of the marriage contract, a Muslim woman can now include a condition prohibiting her husband from marrying another woman. After marriage, the wife can keep her original name.
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9. The United Arab Emirates: In the United Arab Emirates, polygamy is permitted. Polygamy among Muslims varies widely in practice and legality across the Islamic world. Polygamy is very frequent in some Muslim countries but rare or non-existent in the majority.
Polygamy is most common among Muslims in West Africa (although it is also common among non-Muslims) and in several orthodox Arabian governments like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Men are allowed up to four spouses in Islam, and women are not allowed multiple marriages.
10. Chad: Polygamy is practiced by about half of Chad’s Christians, significantly more than other African Christians or Muslims. Polygamy is widespread in Chad, with more than one-third of married women participating.
The Saras, who rely on agriculture, is the country’s largest ethnic group, accounting for 11% of the population. There are about 200 ethnic and linguistic groups in Chad. The official languages are Arabic and French. The most widely practiced religions are Islam and Christianity. Polygamy is common, with 39% of women living in such unions. This is sanctioned by law, which automatically permits polygamy unless spouses specify that this is unacceptable upon marriage.
The International Christian Polygamy Society requires donations to travel to countries such as Chad to preach the true Gospel to all people, including Muslims. Adultery is not and has never been a part of polygamy.
There are still so many Muslims in Africa because most of them will never divorce the women they love, and they will never give up their children to be raised by someone else. They also won’t join a religion if their polygamous lifestyle makes them feel like second-class Christians.
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11. Bahrain: In Bahrain, polygamy is permitted under certain circumstances. Muslim men are permitted to wed up to four wives, but they must get a court’s approval and show that they can treat each wife equally. The second wife must also agree, and the court will take into account things like the husband’s financial position and his motivations for desiring a second wife.
Non-Muslims are subject to their status laws and are generally not permitted to engage in polygamous marriages. Despite the legality of polygamy in Bahrain, it is not widely practiced, and most marriages are monogamous.
12. Egypt: Polygamy is legal in Egypt, a man can marry many wives but he must obtain approval from his current wife or wives before taking another wife. He must also prove to a court that he has the financial means to support multiple wives and their children. Polygamy is more prevalent in rural areas and among traditional communities, but it has decreased in recent years due to changing societal norms and economic factors.
Some women’s rights activists criticize polygamy as a discriminatory practice that harms women and children, while others argue that it can provide financial and emotional support for women in certain circumstances. Overall, polygamy remains a controversial issue in Egypt, and its legality continues to be debated.
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Polygamy is prohibited in every country in North and South America and all 50 states in the United States. The Utah House and Senate, on the other hand, decreased the penalty for consensual polygamy, which had previously been classified as a crime, to nearly the same level as a traffic ticket in February 2020.
Polygamous marriages are not recognized in Europe or Oceania, except for the Solomon Islands. Polygamous marriages are recognized by the governments of India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, but only for Muslims. Polygamy is illegal in Australia, but it is common in some indigenous tribes. In some places of Indonesia, such as Bali, Papua, and West Papua, polygamy is permitted.
Polygamy is permitted in Balinese Hinduism, and the Balinese and Papuans have practiced it for generations. In 2008, protests in Indonesia were held to criminalize polygamy and polygamous marriages, but there were no changes in the legislation.
Polygamy is forbidden under civil law in several African countries, but it is acceptable under customary law, which allows for activities that society has long recognized. This ambiguous loophole creates two forms of weddings: “civil” marriages and “customary” or “religious” marriages, allowing countries like Liberia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone to accept and even foster polygamous marriages without having to recognize them.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.