Islamic polygyny has nothing to do with STDs
Fatwa No: 183395


Asslamoalikum In Islam it is permissible to have up to four wives. My question is how can you have four wives and prevent sexually transmited diseases (STD)? I know Allah has more wisdom then anyone, so how does it work. Jazakullah


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

If by your statement “how does it work?”, you mean how can a person be completely safe from being inflicted with this matter, then the answer is that this is not possible even if one has never had sex in his life because these diseases can be transmitted in ways other than sex. If Allaah wills to inflict a person with the disease, then inevitably he will get it either by having sex or through other ways.

However, if by “how does it work?”, you mean how to avoid it as much as possible, then the answer is that among the Sharee’ah rules established by the jurists is that the harm should be removed. Their evidence for this is the Hadeeth narrated by Maalik  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in Al-Muwatta' and by Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in Al-Musnad that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "There should be no harm nor reciprocal harm." This means that it is not permissible for a person to do something by which he could harm himself or harm others.

It is for this reason, that some jurists  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them considered some infectious diseases such as leprosy, as diseases that give a person the right to invalidate the marriage. Some scholars added to these diseases any repulsive disease.

Also, the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them made it obligatory upon each spouse to inform the other of any defects or repulsive diseases he/she might have. This applies whether a person has more than wife or only one wife as a way of preventing harm.

Therefore, it is not permissible for the husband if he is inflicted with a contagious disease to be a cause for transmitting it to his wife, or be a cause for transmitting it from his sick wife to another healthy wife.

Quarantine is a principle that is practiced in Islam, as the Sharee’ah ordered us to be cautious against infectious diseases. So, it ordered healthy people to avoid having contacts with people who are inflicted with such diseases. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Run away from the leper as you run away from the lion." [Al-Bukhari]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) also forbade mixing the sick with the healthy, as he said: "The owner of cattle (sheep, cows or camels) suffering from a disease should not mix them with the healthy ones of another owner." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

On this occasion, it should be mentioned that marriage and Zina (fornication or adultery) are not the same. What Allaah has made lawful cannot be the same as what He has forbidden. Allaah has not made something lawful except that it is absolutely beneficial or that its benefit is preponderant. Likewise, Allaah did not forbid anything except that it is absolutely harmful or that its harm is preponderant. For instance, Allaah says about wine and gambling (what means): {They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.}[Quran 2: 219]

Finally, it is worth saying that being the cause of some diseases is not the only wisdom for the prohibition of Zina; rather, the main wisdom for the prohibition is that it is the legislation of Allaah The All-Knower, The All-Wise, and then there are many other reasons for the prohibition, which are summarized in the saying of Allaah (which means): {And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.}[Quran 17: 32] Among them are infringing upon the honor of other people and mixing up and spoiling the lineages, in addition to many other evils that are evident to everybody.

Allaah Knows best.

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