Can a Husband Threaten His Wife with a Second Marriage?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


My husband and I have been married, Alhamdulillah, for almost ten years, with three beautiful kids. We’ve had some problems for the past two years, coupled with anger and resentment. An example of this is remarriage. My husband won’t let go of the idea that he will always keep the option of getting remarried. I’ve repeatedly told him that it makes me very uncomfortable and that I could not stay with someone who did that to me, but he says we never know what could happen in the future.

I might become distant and need space from him, resulting in this “second marriage.” I feel hurt and angry. Is this really what Islam condones? Allowing the husband power to say whatever he likes and the wife must agree as long as it’s “Halal”?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

It is permissible for a man to marry up to four wives in Islam, but only if he can afford to do so and can practice justice. Using the possibility of marrying a second wife as a threat to his current wife is tantamount to emotional and psychological abuse. This is a sign that he is probably not suitably qualified to marry more than one wife, and Allah knows best.

Allah says: “If you fear you might fail to give orphan women their (due) rights (if you were to marry them), then marry other women of your choice—two, three, or four. But if you are afraid you will fail to maintain justice, then (content yourselves with) one or those (bondwomen) in your possession. This way, you are less likely to commit injustice.” [Quran, 4:3]

In most cases, it is excruciating for the wife, children, and family members when a man takes a second wife. The pain may genuinely be too much for some to handle. Therefore, such a decision shouldn’t be taken lightly and should not be used as a threat.

Given the considerations in such cases, we ask that you please consult reliable local scholars or counselors about the specifics of the situation. May Allah facilitate all ease and good for you.

Please refer to this answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Reader on Polygamy in Islam

I pray that this benefits.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.