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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preacher with 86 wives

The standard joke among men is that 'Why would somebody want to marry more than 1 wife ? Handling one itself can be a big task.' In earlier times, before laws and morality settled on marriage being between one husband and one wife, both polygamy and polyandry were permissible. In fact, in the United States, Mormons were initially allowed polygamy, and it was only about a century back that the Mormon Church outlawed polygamy. Islamic practices the world over however allow a man 4 wives at a time, with the injunction that he has to treat them equally, and not more than 4. This is allowed for Muslims in a huge number of countries in the world, even though this may be disliked in many of the Western countries. However, a preacher in Nigeria has thrown this limit to the sky, having 86 wives and is opposing local efforts to get this number down to 4:

A Nigerian court has granted temporary reprieve to an 84-year-old Muslim preacher with 86 wives after local leaders threatened to force him to leave the area unless he divorced all but four of them. Mohammed Bello launched a legal challenge after local chiefs and Muslim leaders in Bida, a town in central Niger state where he lives with his wives and some 170 children, gave him until Sept 7 to comply with Islamic sharia law, which allows a man to have no more than four wives at a time.
The ruling gives Bello temporary protection from banishment while the court decides whether his rights have indeed been violated. The judge adjourned the case to September 18.

This is a tricky case. Even though the Sharia allows 4 wives, the word of the Sharia is treated as the word of god by devout Muslims, and having more than 4 wives would be going against the word of God. In addition, 86 wives would mean that neither can be discharge his proper husband duties to them, and may not even remember the names of all of them.

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