How Can I Convince My Wife To Take in My Children From a Previous Marriage?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I have three kids prior to my current wife. My current wife is pregnant with our second child. The three kids with my ex-wife live with her sister in another country. She is abusing them mentally and at times physically. My kids are ages, 11, 9, and 7. They want to live with me but my current wife would not care for kids whose mother is alive. This is why I want to marry another wife. My ex-wife doesn’t want to take care of our kids and the kids prefer me over her. I’ve talked to a woman whom I hope to make my second wife and she’s okay with taking care of my kids, plus she has one kid from a previous marriage. What do I do as I’m afraid of losing my current wife if I marry again?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I have a hard time understanding why your current wife is deciding your children’s fate. It is obligatory for you to take your abused children away from their aunt and take care of them. Your current wife is irrelevant, and you must not fear her, but fear Allah.

Current Wife

Losing your current wife is not a reason to keep your children away. In doing so, you are committing a sin because it is in their best interest to grow up with you. They must come under your care immediately, and you must find a way to make it happen. Your wife has no right to tell you that your children cannot come into your home. They are the priority.

Bring your children into the home, and have their needs taken care of by a nanny, a babysitter, a cook, or by yourself. Don’t ask your wife to help because she doesn’t have to, and has already said that she won’t. She is correct that it is not obligatory for her to do so. However, if she deals with the situation with mercy, wisdom, and kindness, she will find a world of goodness open up for her, by the grace of Allah.

Second Wife

If you want a second wife to help you, this is permissible, but you should be careful if it’s illegal in your country, and be cautious as it might lead to bigger problems. You should also explain this dilemma to your wife and tell her that she can’t have her cake and eat it too. Your wife is a grown woman who can speak up for herself, your children cannot. Some compassion is called for.

Raising Children

Please see these links about your children’s rights over you. I suggest that you and your wife take these free courses on raising children, and read through the links below. May Allah facilitate this matter for you.
Keys to Raising Righteous Children: Eight Lessons on Successful Parenting
Traditional Methods of Raising Children
Parenting in Islam: How to Raise Righteous Children
40 Hadiths on Parenting: A Prophetic Guide to Raising Righteous Muslim Children
Raising Children with Deen and Dunya

Your Charge

Please remember this prophetic hadith, “Beware. Every one of you is a shepherd and everyone is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shall be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” [Muslim]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.