The Muslim acceptance of polygamy is illustrated by the fact that polygamy is more common in the Middle East and North and Central Africa, the regions of the world with the highest concentrations of Muslims, and illegal in most other regions. In addition, several countries recognize polygamous marriages between Muslims, but not between practitioners of other religions. In some African countries, polygamy is illegal under civil law, but still permitted under common law, where actions traditionally accepted by a particular culture are considered legal. This arguably confusing loophole leads to two types of marriages: “civil” marriages and “habitual” or “religious” marriages, and allows countries like Liberia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone to allow and even support polygamous marriages without formally recognizing them. Many prominent Jewish leaders, including Abraham, David, and Jacob, are described in the Torah as polygamous/plural marriages. However, like all but a few contemporary Christians (whose Old Testament mirrors the Torah), modern Jews have denied this practice. Polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. But Utah`s law is unique in that a person can be convicted of not only having two legal marriage licenses, but also of living with another adult in a marriage-like relationship if they are already legally married to someone else. Some countries that have banned polygamy may still recognize polygamous marriages from other countries. For example, Sweden recognizes polygamous marriages contracted abroad. Switzerland has banned polygamy, but polygamous marriages contracted in another country are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Australia recognizes polygamous marriages in other countries only in certain circumstances. After Joseph Smith`s death, polygamy continued in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), then led by Brigham Young.
In the area that became Utah and some surrounding areas, plural marriage was openly practiced by followers of the LDS Church. In 1852 Young felt safe enough at LDS Church in Utah to publicly announce his practice of polygamy. However, opposition from the U.S. government threatened the legal status of the LDS Church. Wilford Woodruff announced on September 25, 1890 that the LDS Church had officially abandoned the practice. Woodruff`s declaration was officially accepted at a general conference of the Church on October 6, 1890. The LDS Church`s position on the practice of polygamy was reaffirmed in 1904 by another official statement entitled “Second Manifesto”, reaffirming polygamy.  Most countries that accept any form of polygamy limit legal recognition to the practice of polygamy, but prohibit polyandry.
The cultural practice of polyandry can be observed in the cultures of Tibet, Nepal and northern India and is associated with systems of inheritance and land ownership. Polygamy is the general and neutral term for any marriage between three or more people. Polygyny is a specific term used to describe a marriage involving a husband and at least two wives. It is by far the most common (and commonly legal) form of polygamy. Polyandry is a specific term used to describe marriages between a woman and at least two husbands. However, this practice is decreasing due to economic and social conditions. Here are five countries where polygamy is legal. Islam is the only major religion whose sacred texts arguably advocate polygamy. Verse 3 of Sura 4 An-Nisa (women) explains that under certain (and disputed) circumstances, a man can marry up to four wives. According to this text, many Muslim countries allow a man to have up to four wives.
However, many also require the man to indicate whether he plans to be monogamous or polygamous under the marriage contract with his first wife, and if she does not allow it, he cannot marry another woman as long as he is married to her. In addition, polyandry, in which a wife has several husbands, is still strictly prohibited. Polygamy is rare in most parts of the world. In the United States, 1882 criminalized having conjugal relations with more than one person under one roof. Today, people in the United States are rarely prosecuted for living with multiple romantic partners, but every state has laws against marriage when you are already married to someone else.