Polyandry

Polyandry is a rare practice found among the Shoshone of Nevada, the Todas in India, the Bashile of the Congo, and the Yanomanis in Venezuela. It recommends a woman to have more than one husband.

Montesquieu, in "Esprit des lois" writes that the Arab traveller, Abu Dhahir al-Hassan, had discovered the existence of polyandry in lXth century India and China, during his journey to these countries: "The Nair tribe live along the coast of Malabar, where a man does not have the right to marry more than one woman, while a woman may marry more than one man"

In the celebrated Sahih tradition, Al-Bukkari reminds us that there were different kinds of conjugal relationships among Arabs of the pre-Islamic period. There was a union called "Istibdha", in which a man who wished to improve his descendant race, chose another man and asked his wife to have sexual intercourse with him for a determined period of time during which the husband absented himself until the woman became pregnant. According to another custom, a group of men (not more than 9) had sexual relations with one woman. After giving birth, the mother summoned all the men and chose from them the official, legal father of the child.


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