Four Wives – One Man (2007)

Four Wives - One Man (Polygamy in Iran) Documentary

Four Wives – One Man is a documentary film by Nahid Persson. In this film the producer has made an effort to bring awareness to the problems caused by polygamy. Polygamy means having more than one wife, and this is a common practice in rural areas where there is lesser extent of literacy. Thus people are not aware of the economic and emotional problems that are caused by polygamy.

This documentary film takes into account on one such unhappy family, that of sheep farmer Heda. Heda is shown to be a poor man with little financial prospects to his credit, but he still married four women and has twenty children to support. While the functional problems of a polygamous family are more than evident in this film, we also see the emotional stresses that his wives and children go through every day.

Islam permits a man to have more than one wife at a time, but there are certain conditions that must be met before the husband is allowed to do that. In the very beginning of the documentary film, a verse from the Qur’an is shown which says that a man may marry more than one woman if and ONLY if he has the resources to support them, and he is able to give emotional justice to each of them. Much of this criterion cannot be fulfilled easily, and on top of all this a man cannot marry another woman if his first wife does not permit it.

But this is not the case in rural Iran, Heda forcefully married three more times, each time bringing a new wife into his already small home. With a verbally abusive mother, and husband that only prefers the new wife, life is very hard for his other spouses. They continuously have to put up with each other and other’s children.

Four Wives – One Man: Towards the end of the documentary film we can see that Heda’s fourth wife is infertile, and he is planning to marry a fifth time. Nothing that his mother and wives say manages to convince him otherwise, which is a pity because having another wife would mean increased hardships for every family member.

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