Islam gives woman the right to choose her own husband. Without her consent no marriage can take place; and should thus take place, such marriage is invalid. Narrated Abu Huraira: Prophet Muhammad said, "A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! How can we know her permission (Because a virgin feels shy)?" He said, "Her silence (indicates her permission)." Sahih Bukhari
How are we to understand the permission for polygamy in Islam?
Technically, Islam allows men to marry four women; however, there are certain conditions to be met. This is best understood from the following verse in Qur'an: "And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans; then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you -- [even] two, three, or four; but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one -- or [from among] those whom you righfully possess." (Chapter of Women, Verse 3)
The requirement of justice and identical treatment is therefor a condition closely tied up with polygamy. This, however, largely depends upon the personality of the man and the woman. It is possible for a man to grant a widow or a divorcee honourable maintenance by marrying her as a second wife. Moreover, from a woman's point of view a polygamous marriage, in which each wife has equal rights, is a choice preferable to that of a mistress who has no rights.
Islam did not outlaw polygamy, as did many other peoples and religious communities; rather, it regulated and restricted it. It is neither required nor encouraged, but simply permitted and did not outlaw. The only passage in the Qur'an (4:3) that explicitly addresses polygamy and restricts its practice, in terms of the number of wives permitted and the requirement of justice between them, was revealed after the Battle of Uhud, in which dozens of Muslims were martyred, leaving behind widows and orphans. This seems to indicate that the intent of its continued permissibility , at least in part, is to deal with individual and collective contingencies that may arise from time to time (e.g, imbalances between the number of males and females, created by war). This provides a moral, practical and humane solution to the problems of widows and orphans, who would otherwise surely be more vulnerable in the absence of a husband.
Does a woman have an option to face polygamy?
Absolutely, a prospective first wife may include in her marital contract a condition that her prospective husband shall practice monogamy. If this condition is mutually accepted, it becomes binding on the husband. Should he later violate this condition, his first wife will be entitled to seek divorce with all the financial rights connected with it. If such a condition was not included in the marital contract, and if the husband marries a second wife, the first wife may seek khul' (divestiture).
Is a Muslim man allowed to beat his wife?
This subject is burdened with a lot of prejudice. This question arise from the verse in the Qur'an which reads as follows: ".. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)." (Women Chapter, Verse 34). This verse makes it clear that the husband is required to apply three steps in any case: Admonition, Separation in bed, and only thirdly Beating. This means that beating in the heat of the moment is specifically forbidden. In the second place, according to the Muslim scholars, "beating" has more of a symbolic connotation rather than the meaning of physical injury or hurt. Prophet Muhammad did express quite clearly his misgivings about beating a woman by saying: "Is it really possible for you to beat your wife as if she were a servant and then go to her at night?" He himself never beat a woman and he is the best example for Muslims.
What did prophet Muhammad said about treating women as wives?
In his "farewell pilgrimage" address, he said in his famous "Farewell Sermon", that is really appreciated by all Muslims; "O People! It is true that you have certain rights in regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives, only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat you women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste."
-WOMAN IN ISLAM, by Discover Islam Center, Kingdom of Bahrain.
-GENDER EQUITY IN ISLAM (BASIC PRINCIPLES), by Jamal Badawi, Ph.D., American Trust Publications