بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Q: Some (authentic) narrations with regards to polygyny have become problematic for us, like when the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- went to each wife’s house (and had sexual relations with each) and took (only) one bath. So is it permissible for a man to have relations with each of his wives, outside of their turn, and without permission from the other?
A: Allah bestowed upon the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- strength that He did not bestow upon anyone else from his nation. The proof for that is when Thabit asked Anas, “Is he able to do so?” or something similar in expression, and Anas replied, “He has been given the strength of 30 men.” This is the first point.
Second; From what I know of the sunnah of the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- he did this for a purpose, that being while departing for the farewell pilgrimage he spent the night at dhul-hulaifah, there he went to each wife, and Allah knows best with regards to the wisdom (for doing so), but I do not know this to be from his habitual routine in every time. Thus what is apparent to me is that a man is not prevented from doing this with his wives if he plans to travel (away from them) for a long duration, and he is able to do this. Subsequently I have found within the sunnah that he -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- did this many times as is clearly recorded of the narration in the annotation beneath it. This is one circumstance.
The second circumstance is if one is a resident (not on a journey) and he doesn’t have to travel unexpectedly, along with having the ability to be frequent (in having sex), he doesn’t abandon the wife with right to that night until she becomes tired (exhausted from repeated sex). So if she becomes exerted, afterwards he can go to another (wife). But as long as she is able, even if he wants to enjoy some of his other women outside of their night, he must seek her permission because she is the possessor of that night and the right belongs to her.
Thus as it pertains to these two circumstances the affair is not devoid (of being apart) of (one) of the following two situations:
The first being that the possessor of the night she is able, so he comes to her (repeatedly for relations) and she is not exerted, this circumstnace he cannot go to another without her permission.
The second being that she is exerted and worn out yet with him is energy and as a result he can suffer if he doesn’t do it, thus he can go to some of his women or all of them if he wills.
Questioner: Without permission?
Sheikh Ubayd: Yes, without permission, but the first circumstance necessitates her permission as she is not tired or worn out plus with her is the ability (to keep going), so he seeks her permission because the night belongs to her. However the second circumstance is that she is exerted and worn out.
Questioner: What if she has an excuse (not to have sex)?
Sheikh Ubayd: Meaning if her menstrual cycle comes or post natal bleeding? He likewise seeks her (the woman who has right to the night despite these circumstances) permission.
Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi
Source: التقرير المؤكد بالإجابة على ثلاثين سؤالاً في التعدد