In the West it is quite common to confront a speaker on the subject of Islam with the question: does Islam permit one to marry four times and keep four wives simultaneously? I have had vast experience in addressing many public and select gatherings of intellectuals in the Western world. Seldom do I remember an occasion when this question was not raised. More often than not a lady would stand up, and, of course, with due apologies, innocently enquire whether Islam permits four wives or not. Obviously, everybody knows the answer. But, perhaps, this is the only aspect of Islam which is so widely...

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