I'll be honest with you, i've just started studying this aspect the same time we read the article, it makes sense to me as of now, but obviously there are things i haven't thought about yet, let me try to share my thoughts regarding this, at least what i have thought of till now? Maybe we can help each other reach a better conclusion?
Okay, when i was discussing this with a few people, the first question they asked me, well it's not prohibited is it?? If it's not mentioned, then it isn't prohibited? And remembering some good advice on the thread, that you can't reach a right answer by asking a wrong question, i asked them where does it give you permission to?
Ayat 4:3 is where...which to me never seemed right, for two reasons...one that it made a sudden jump from if you fear for the orphans, marry 2 3 4 women of your choice? And secondly, since there is no mention of mother's in the arabic and is just an insert by the translators...
Secondly, let's look at the prophet's example, as he was supposed to be breaking preexisting customs with the right example, we'll take only the examples mentioned in the quran obviously,033.050
YUSUFALI: O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
PICKTHAL: O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
SHAKIR: O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her-- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
The phrase in italics is telling us something...could it be that polygamy was for the prophet specifically and not for the believers? And also note, very importantly, there is no limit to the prophet's wives...in that vein there is also no limit to polygamy if you really look at it from the traditional standpoint...where does it say the limit is four? Four wives married at a time to one person in a group wedding does not a limit make.
I say group because the article mentions the arabic used in the verse signifies groups at a time, not otherwise...which i asked people to help me with...
So once again, we are left with a question here, and we definitely have two sides to the story...one, if we are given permission for more than one wife, or if there is no mention but we are told to stay away from, like intoxicants not being prohibited but we have a very clear and strong warning to stay away from...let's see if we can find anymore verses dealing with this,Progressive
4:12 And you will not be able to be fair regarding the women even if you make every effort; so do not sway too greatly and leave her as one hanging in a void. And if you reconcile and do right, then God is Forgiving, Merciful.
YUSUFALI: Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practise self-restraint, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
PICKTHAL: Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
SHAKIR: And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, even though you may wish (it), but be not disinclined (from one) with total disinclination, so that you leave her as it were in suspense; and if you effect a reconciliation and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
The progressive once again makes sense unless between wives is specifically mentioned in the arabic, so the verse's context before is dealing with fear of desertion on the part of the man etc (probably because he want's to marry another woman or whatever), it is said, do not leave her hanging, which fits in perfectly with the verse from before, that if you can't stay with her then don't leave her hanging, but if you can then reconcile, let there be no limbo there...y'know can't live with them, can't live without them kinda thing...
Other than this, i find no mention of concurrent wives at any given time, even with all the prophets other than ahmad/mohammad who has special permission, all the prophets and messengers had mention of a wife only, no concurrent wives there, maybe i have overlooked something and would sincerely like to know...
I also checked some christian/jewish sources for polygamy and will give the clips below, they are interesting to say the least...http://www.polygamy.com/Jewish/Polygamy-in-Jewish-History.htm
The Bible, in tolerating polygamy, gives evidence that the practice had long been an accepted social
institution when these laws were written down. In the patriarchal age polygamy is regarded as an
unquestioned custom. While the Bible gives a reason for the action of Abraham in taking Hagar for an
additional wife and, in the case of Jacob, for having Rachel as a wife besides Leah, it only proves that
polygamy as well as concubinage, with which it was always associated, was among the mores of the
ancient Hebrew people (Gen. 16:1-4; 29:23-28). The same attitude is revealed in the episode of
Abimelech and Sarah (Gen. 20:1-l3).
Polygamy was such a well established part of the social system that Mosaic law is not even critical of it.
We find only certain regulations with respect to it; as, for example, if a man takes a second wife the
economic position of the first wife and of the children she bore must be secure; and, in the case of
inheritance, no child of a subsequent marriage is to be preferred over a child from the first wife. Other
regulations were that the high priest could have only one wife and that a king in Israel should not have too
many wives (Lev. 21:13; Deut. 17:17; Ex. 21:10). The last injunction, however, was of no effect. David
had seven wives before he began to reign in Jerusalem, and an extraordinary number of wives and
concubines has been attributed to Solomon (II Sam 3:2-5, 14; 5:13). In connection with David, the
prophet Nathan did not denounce the king for adding Uriah's wife to those he already had but for the
means he employed to secure her (II Sam. 12:7-15).
However, if polygamy was not forbidden it was not directly sanctioned. It was a heritage from the past
and it was left undisturbed. As the civilization of the people reached a higher form and, especially under
the teaching of the prophets, their moral and religious consciousness developed, the polygamous system
gradually declined. This is noticeable in Israel after the return from the Exile. In the Second
Commonwealth polygamy is far from general (cf. Tobit and Susanna). Yet it survived far into the
Christian era. In the New Testament Jesus neither condemns polygamous unions nor advocates a change
in the system. From this noninterference attitude Luther, as late as the 16th cent., arrived at the
conclusion that he could not forbid the taking of more than one wife.
According to the Talmud the right to a plurality of wives is conceded, but the number of legitimate wives,
as in the Koran, is limited to four. The taking of additional wives is held as sufficient ground for divorce
for a woman who had previously been the sole wife. Where a polygamous union exists, provision must be
made for adequate maintenance of each wife as well as a separate domicile. Throughout the Talmudic age
not one rabbi is known to have had more than one wife. Monogamy was held to be the only ideal legal
union; plurality of wives was a concession to time and condition.
At a later period Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah maintains, contrary to his personal opinion, that
polygamous unions from a strictly legal point of view are permissible. Eventually, however, they were
proscribed under the authority of Rabbi Gershom (about l000), although cases of polygamy were found in
Spain as late as the 14th cent. That such cases were not rare may be inferred from the fact that in the
Spanish communities the Kethubah, the document marking the betrothal, exacted that the man was not to
take a second wife. The Islamic influence on the Jews in Spain was more or less pronounced until the
expulsion at the end of the 15th cent.
In modern Europe polygamy disappeared from Jewish domestic life while among Christians it remained a
tolerated privilege of royalty until very late times. In the declaration against polygamy of the Sanhedrin
convoked by Napoleon in Paris, in 1805, there is no implication that modern Judaism tolerated plural
marriages. It was just an emphatic assertion that Jews had discarded the orientalism of the past and were
in full accord with the culture and civilization of Western Europe.
See by this,it could go either way, but in the quran, other than the prophet i don't see any permission, nor do i see any prohibition but the verse where marry the single among you, could it be a recommendation? We would have to see whether one side is heavier than the other...so the post is very long as is, would really like to hear your opinion..