Polygamy and Second Marriage under Muslim Family Law in Pakistan

Regulation and Impact

  • Muhammad Zubair Abbasi Associate Professor, Shaikh Ahmed Hassan School of Law, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Shahbaz Ahmad Cheema Professor, University Law College, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.
Keywords: polygamy, state regulation, ground for divorce, custody of children.


Under classical Islamic family law, a husband has the right to enter into a maximum of four marriages at a time. State regulation under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (MFLO), however, has restricted such privilege of husbands by requiring them to get permission for their polygamous marriages from the Union Council based on valid reason. Failure to do so is a criminal offence liable to punishment including imprisonment and fine. In addition to surveying the statutes and case law on the regulation of polygamy, this paper analyzes the impact of second marriage of parents on their right to the custody of children. Based on this analysis, we argue that the official Muslim family law in Pakistan prefers monogamy not only by regulating polygamous marriages, but also by denying the right of custody of children to polygamous husbands.

How to Cite
Zubair Abbasi, M., & Cheema, S. A. (2020). Polygamy and Second Marriage under Muslim Family Law in Pakistan: Regulation and Impact. ISLAMIC STUDIES, 59(1), 29-50. Retrieved from http://irigs.iiu.edu.pk:64447/ojs/index.php/islamicstudies/article/view/1168