Polygamy is a practice in which a person is married to more than one person at the same time, most commonly a man to several wives. It is often based on traditional cultural practices or religious beliefs. Usually, polygamy is legally practiced in some Muslim countries and is restricted to men having Islamic faith. One may ask, how many countries is Polygamy fully legal in, 47 countries. Some of which being: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen all have legal polygamy.

Polygamy is a practice decreasing due to the economic and social conditions and here are the top five countries where polygamy is legal (2024). Here are five countries where polygamy is legal.

1. Afghanistan


The Afghan Constitution and Islamic Sharia law supports polygamy, which allows men to take up to four wives. Particular conditions apply to polygamous marriages, the equal treatment of all wives, but these are not always observed. A report by the Max Planck Institute reveals that the social prestige of divorced women is so low in Afghanistan that many divorcees will agree to be a second or third wife rather than remain single – despite any unfair treatment by the actual husband.”

2. Algeria


Polygamy is legal in Algeria, where a man can take up to four wives. But, the recent amendments to the Algerian Family Code have made it difficult to do such marriages. Therefore, the occurrence of polygamy has been rare. However, currently only 3 percent of the population practices polygamy.

3. Angola


Technically illegal, but still practiced in Angola — Polygamy is illegal in Angola, but it is greatly practiced and also socially acceptable. Due to the shortage of men most women live polygamously. Polygamy is common among the Mumuíla tribe, but only permissible when a man can support his wives from a financial standpoint. The eldest wife takes on the role of managing her husband’s wealth, which is evident through the number of adornments on her neck, legs, and feet.

4. Bahrain


Polygyny is legal for up to four wives in Bahrain, despite it being rare alike many other Muslim nations. Only a small percentage of Bahraini citizens practice polygamy.  To marry a second wife in Bahrain, citizens can apply to the Ministry of Justice.

5. Bangladesh


Polygamy is legal and recognized in Bangladesh, but the 1961 Muslim Family Law restricts the practice. Bangladeshi Muslim men can have up to four wives at one time but must have permission from his existing wives. The law does not specify a maximum number of wives, but Islamic scholars have said that a man can have up to four wives based on the Quran, Islam’s holy book.