Mohammad Bin Hosni Al Shimrani, a 78-year-old retired army officer, said he married 16 women and fathered 37 children. Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: A Saudi who proudly spoke about how he married 16 women and had 37 children with them has been criticised as 'insensitive'.

Mohammad Bin Hosni Al Shimrani, a 78-year-old retired army officer, said he was married for the first time at age 14.

“Our marriage lasted two years and I divorced her to take another wife,” he told Saudi news site Sabq on Tuesday.

“It was the beginning of a series of marriages until they reached 16. I had 21 sons and 16 daughters, and more than 50 grandchildren."

The man, who was living in Bishah in the southwestern province of Asir, said he never had more than four wives at a time, keeping with the rules governing marriages in Islam. The former wives either died or were divorced, he added.

“I made sure I married women from several areas of the kingdom and I have always been keen on being just and fair with them," he said.

Islam requires the husband who has more than one wife to treat his wives equally and justly in terms of time spent together, spending, gifts and all other matters.

“At one time when I had to move to a town in the south of the kingdom, I was given a house that had three rooms,” Al Shimrani said. “I gave one room to each wife and drafted a schedule so that each of them had to take care of the whole house, including the shared kitchen, for 24 hours, and then rest for 48 hours.

"It worked perfectly and we lived together for one year without any problem until we moved to my own house which was much larger and each wife had her own quarters."

Reacting to the report, most online viewers criticised Al Shimrani for his serial marriages, saying that he was focused more on his own satisfaction than on taking care of his wives.

“That was not fair of you,” a user writing under the moniker of Crisscross said. “You cannot marry and divorce at will. After all, these women were not toys you could play with. What wrong did they do to marry you only to end up divorced so that you go on and marry 16 women? That was not fair at all.”

Abu Raad said that there was total unfairness.

“I hope there are no other men like you because it is totally unfair to divorce women just to marry other women,” he said. “By divorcing these mothers, you have deprived them of their rights and of their children. It is not fair and you should always remember that God will not forgive you when you abuse others.”

Nasao said that men who thought only about getting married in such a manner usually depended on others to take care of their children.

However, some online viewers suggested that Al Shimrani could be a successful and virile man who could reconcile between all aspects of life.