The relevance of the research question, “how and to what extent does Western-Muslim understanding of polygamy clash with the traditional Muslim understanding of polygamy in relation to extant literature on this topic” remains underpinned by the difference in the Western and Muslim world view connected to culturalism and Western misconceptions of Islam (Kincheloe, 2004; Esposito, 1992; Carens, 2000; Levy, 2000; Khan, 2013; Khan, 2003; Inglehart and Norris, 2009). It has been the tradition of Western viewpoints when writing about Islam to have represented them as fanatic, despotic, irrational, and sexually enticing. Further, the ongoing scholarly argument about this historical practice has been debated as having represented Western fears, anxieties as well as self-doubts when considering the nature of Islam and in this case about its connection to the practice of polygamy as has been explained by Kincheloe (2004).

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Therefore, on the clash between the Western-Muslim understanding of polygamy the fundamental difference is based on ideology as has been described by Carens (2000 p. 155), “Every Western liberal democratic state does forbid it (polygamy), of course, but it is not clear how that fits with the general principle that adults should normally be able to enter into whatever contracts or personal relationships they choose”. Nonetheless from an Islamic perspective there has been debate on the issue as well. This has stemmed from the directive of the Prophet on granting the (cultural practice) framed around the Qur’anic command each wife must be treated justly by the husband, and if this is not possible then he should only marry one  (Carens, 2000).
Islam in fact, has not been the purveyor of polygamy but rather its continued existence among the Muslim world has been a continuation of cultural norms among the many numbers of cultural groups who have embraced Islam as a way of life (Inglehart and Norris, 2009). Further, there has been the pragmatic approach to polygamy as a beneficial matter/solution to some societal problems including the male to female ratio as has been explained by The Religion of Islam (2017).

Islamic community obligations concerning both widows and orphans as understood via the Quran (4:3) has indicated that as a universal religion Islam has remained suitable for all times as well as places regarding such compelling social issues and obligations. The number of women in the world exceeds the male population for numbers of reasons that have included war, violent crimes as well as women outliving men, and the upsurge of male homosexuality (The Religion of Islam, 2017). Islamic-based polygamy has addressed other social issues as well.

Islam has allowed a man to marry more than one wife underpinned by the basic principal that Islamic men are accountable for their behavior towards women and vice versa. This has been based on the basic principal that where there are is an excess of women it has been by arithmetical necessity that men marry more than one wife so as not to deprive these women of having a sexual experience of the marriage bed, and thus, making polygamy a responsible and natural solution for such a social predicament (The Religion of Islam, 2017). There has been a Western influence on the underpinnings of Muslim perception of polygamy who have grown up in this adopted culture.

Useem (2017) has explained that Muslims living in America has been estimated at 2.35 million with as many as 20,000 practicing polygamy. Yet, this has remained an unpopular cultural and religious practice within the American Muslim communities themselves. This has been centered around the negative view historically and legally of America toward the practice. The American Muslim community has determined that consenting to their own theological accommodation against polygamy is a worthy price to belong in America.