As a precursor to any explanation on this issue, we must first have a very clear understanding of the concept of marriage in Islam and most people in the world and find out why this question has arisen.
According to the Quran: "It is He [God] who created you from a single soul, and made from it its mate, that he might find comfort with her" (7:189)
Obviously, there are other requirements for a person to fulfill when they decide to get married but Quran names comfort before anything else; that is most probably because the fulfillment of all the other needs also leads to the ease of mind and inner peace.
More interestingly, however, it is not only the holy Quran that says getting married is for the purpose of comfort; having a quick search on the internet makes you realize how all people around the world marry mostly for this emotional purpose, as well:
“…there is an important but neglected positive aspect that explains why people voluntarily enter into commitments like marriage: it is a way of expressing your love and devotion to another person. Not the only way, of course, but a well-established and particularly declarative way…” .
To fulfill this emotional need of a person, the only acceptable form of marriage which is agreed upon by almost all psychologists, and is also recommended by Islam is monogamy. It is within the monogamous type of marriage that all the equal rights of men and women are preserved.
The feelings of love, commitment, loyalty, security, trust, honor, and respect as well as many other benefits  can be fully achieved when one has only one spouse.
The reason has been explained in a comprehensive article. Based on what is discussed there, nowhere in the Quran, you can find a verse that suggests or encourages polygamy among men to attain more pleasure or to satisfy their carnal desires; there are no positive or negative comments on this regular unlimited tradition of the Arab culture.
Instead, the holy Quran imposes restrictions upon it and introduces it as a remedy to a social problem, i.e., the excess number of women in need of marriage over marriageable men, like at the time of war, etc.
Having discussed the concept of marriage in Islam and the limited law of polygamy which is introduced as an exception in case of special social needs, and nothing against the equality of men and women, do you still find the above question unanswered?
If yes, here are some reasons why polyandry is forbidden for women:
It destroys the family which is the foundation of a healthy society. It is usually NOT easy for a woman to perform her duties as a wife and a mother despite having several husbands.
It is against the nature of women and also inconsistent with men's innate desire for exclusivity and love for his wife and children .
It adversely affects women’s health, since women with multiple husbands are more prone to STDs.
It increases sterility among women which will result in population problems.
It may cause identification problems for the conceived child.
It may cause identification problems for the conceived child, which will ultimately lead to legal troubles.
These reasons may clearly show why polyandry is uncommon and frowned upon among Muslims and most people in the world. The Islamic point of view on this issue, however, can be summarized as: “Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you” (2:185), and Allah knows best what is good for you.
A wealthy man went to Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) home to visit him. While they were speaking, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) sat his grandchild, Hussain (AS) on his lap and started kissing him. The man was looking at the Prophet’s behavior toward the child in wonder. He said sadly “I have some children, but I have never kissed them.”
The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) became upset and said, “What should I do when Allah has removed mercy from your heart”.
This short story explicitly reveals Islam’s emphasis on respectful and kind behavior toward children as the builders of society’s future. This short piece of writing is going to talk about kindness to children.
We are the ones who draw the picture of our children’s lives; it is our choice to draw a beautiful or an ugly one. A child, who lives in an integrated, peaceful, and kind family, undoubtedly enjoys a more lively spirit than his other peers who do not have the opportunity to live in such families.
Psychoanalytically speaking, you might have heard a lot about the role of kindness in upbringing children, as well as its impact on their future. Now let's take a look at what Islamic leaders have said about this issue.
If you have a child or know a child around you, you might find this saying of Imam Sadiq (AS) with regard to children interesting: “Love your children and be kind to them, and if you promise them, keep your promise, for they know nobody but you as their providers”. Imam Sadiq (AS), besides emphasizing kindness toward children, draws our attention to the importance of keeping our promise to children. As children, with their pure nature, are not yet aware of the concept of breaking promises, if the older ones commit this act, they will learn from them and copy their behavior. As a result, imitating this wrong deed will have damaging effects on the child’s spirit.
In another quote from Imam Sadiq (AS), he said: “The one who kisses his child, Allah will give him a reward in the hereafter, and the one who makes his child happy, Allah will make him happy in the resurrection day”. He also said: “Kiss your children a lot because each kiss will raise your statues in front of God”.
There are a lot of narrations and traditions about kind behavior toward children in reliable Islamic sources. In the end, it is noteworthy that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) has emphasized a lot on playing with children in a very childish way as if you are a child yourself; this point of view is a modern psychological approach which our Prophet (PBUH&HP) mentioned 1400 years ago.
The holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “be close and friendly to your children and hug them”.
A newborn baby who opens his/her eyes to this world is tiny and weak at first; like a rosebud that appears in spring. It is then a burden upon the parents in Islam to take care of this fragile gift, like a compassionate gardener, until the baby grows up and flourishes.
Knowing that our parents as a team have provided for all our needs till we grow up, we naturally respect them. But this becomes of paramount importance when we come to know that how strongly Islam emphasizes parents’ rights and respecting them.
Islam has placed such a strong emphasis on the parents’ rights and worth that showing gratitude and being grateful to them are commanded to, right after Monotheism (Tawhid) in several verses of the Quran [i].
In the nineteenth chapter of the Quran, Surah Maryam, where some moral virtues of Prophet Yahya (PBUH) are mentioned, it is said that he was “good to his parents” (19:14). We also read that Prophet Jesus (PBUH) introduces himself as the servant of Allah who: “[made me] be good to my mother” (19:32).
In a narration, Imam Sadiq (AS) is asked about the best deeds; Imam (AS) answers: “Prayer (Salat) in its stipulated hour, goodness towards parents and Jihad in the way of Allah” . Bringing respect for parents, after prayer (Salat) and before Jihad indicates the high-value Islam places on caring for parents.
In another narration from Imam Sadiq (AS), doing good to parents, whether they are among believers (Mu'min) or disbelievers (Kafir), is known as a duty that no one can be exempted from . He also said that: “Whoever satisfies the parents has satisfied God; and whoever annoys them, has annoyed God” .
Respecting the rights of parents in Islam, whether alive or dead, is highly advised. These rights include:
Obedience to parents as far as it is not against God’s orders or unjust; a situation that one is forbidden to obey his/her parents is: “if they urge you to ascribe to Me as a partner that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them”(31:15). But even in this case, one should treat them kindly: “Keep their company honorably in this world” (31:15). Another case where parents’ disobedience is allowed, is when they invite to something unfair: “Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of Allah, even if it should be against yourselves or [your] parents and near relatives” (4:135).
Respecting them deeply, looking at them with affection, being humble and talking to them with a gentle voice and kind words: “Keep their company honorably in this world” (31:15); “[He has enjoined] kindness to parents. Should any of them or both reach old age at your side, do not say to them, ‘Fie!’ And do not chide them, but speak to them noble words” (17:23); “And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy” (17:24). In a narration from Imam Reza (AS), saying “Fie” to parents is believed to be the last thing that bothers them; hence, anything greater than that must be definitely avoided. Of other narrations in this regard are: “If your parents upset you, do not react badly; if they hit you, do not react the same but tell them ‘May God forgive you’”; “… do not look at your parents except with a kind look, do not raise your voice on them, nor your hands over their hands, nor walk further than them ” ; “whoever looks at his parents with hatred, even if they oppress him, Allah will not accept a single prayer from him” ; “Insolence includes a man’s looking at his parents with a sharp gaze” .
Being humble regarding parents: “Lower the wing of humility to them, mercifully” (17:24). This humility must arise from deep in your heart and originate from your real affections.
Treat them well: "When We took a pledge from the Children of Israel: ‘Worship no one but Allah, do good to your parents” (2:83). This verse of the Quran reveals that everybody, whether Muslim or not, must treat the parents well.
Imam Hussain (AS) was asked about the meaning of treating well in this verse. The answer was briefly that it means to treat them with ultimate compassion, to show them great respect during their companionship, not to oblige them to ask for what they need but provide them before they mention it . One of the best deeds in Eid al-Adha is said to be doing good to parents .
Being beneficent to parents is a duty upon children when they are alive as well as after they pass away. Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “What prevents you from doing good to your parents? Pray [ii], donate, perform the holy pilgrimage (Hajj) and fast (Sawm) in their place because God awards you a lot in return for your good deeds” . It is also said that: "Whoever visits his parents' grave on Fridays, will be forgiven and will be among the virtuous" .
And be thankful to them: “Give thanks to Me and to your parents” (31:14).
Praying and asking mercy for them [iii]: “and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, just as they reared me when I was [a] small [child]’ ” (17:24).
Continue Reading: "What are the Rights of Parents in Islam? Part 2"