As-salamu `alaykum. Respected scholar, I read in the news that a Nigerian man is having 86 wives, claiming that the Qur'an doesn't place a limit to the number of wives. It is this true ? ( Question By : Ahmad - Malaysia )
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother, thank you for your important question that shows a keen desire to acquire Islamic knowledge and for the trust you place in us. May Almighty Allah guide all of us to what He wants and show us the right path.
In fact, the claim that the Qur'an doesn't limit the number of wives in the polygamous marriage is groundless and a grave mistake. There is a consensus among Muslim scholars that four is the maximum number of wives a man might have. This is based on the Qur'an itself and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Allah says in the Qur'an,[And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four] (An-Nisa' 4: 3).
All Muslim scholars say that this Qur'anic verse does clearly restrict the maximum number of wives to four.
In response to your question,the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh `Abdel Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, a renowned scholar and da`iyah, stated,
What this man is claiming is not based on any sound or acceptable source of Shari`ah.
Both the Qur'an the Sunnah are very clear that four is the maximum number of wives a man might have.
When Ghaylan Ath-Thaqafi accepted Islam, he had ten wives. The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) told him, "Choose four of them and divorce the rest." (Reported by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ad-Darqutni, and Al-Bayhaqi)
What this man is doing is in clear conflict with the Muslim scholar's agreement. His wrong understanding has no weight and is totally unacceptable.