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|Legal status of|
|Recognized under civil law|
|Recognized in some regions|
Nigeria (BA, BO, GO, JI, KD, KA, KT, KE, NI, SO, YO, ZA)
|Foreign marriages recognized|
|Recognized under customary law|
|Status in other jurisdictions|
|Nigeria (IM, KW, LA, NA, OY, PL)|
1Illegal in all forms; Muslims exempt
2Regions governed by Sharia
*In certain countries and regions, only Muslims may legally contract a polygamous marriage
As Mauritania is an Islamic republic (and Islamic state) Sharia law is strictly enforced in the nation and therefore polygamous unions are perfectly legal for Mauritanians.
Prevalence of polygamy in Mauritania
In Mali, many men, particularly of the merchant class, perceive having more than one wife as part of being a serious person. Similarly for the Sierre Leone, a predominately Muslim nation of about a million, having multiple wives, sometimes more than four, conveys prestige. One exception to the general rule is Mauritania. There the Maures, who are the elites of the country, are basically monogamous, while the rest of the population is frequently polygamous. At the time of the wedding, a woman can stipulate that the marriage is dissolved if the husband takes a second wife. Maure women use this provision regularly.