Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

A man wants to marry me and keep it a secret from his first wife. He already married the woman of his mother’s choosing, and she lives with his mother back in his home country. I’m in bad financial straits and really need to get married quickly. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Secret Marriage

Dear sister, I strongly discourage you from pursuing this marriage.

It is far wiser for you to marry a man who will introduce you to his family and honour you as you deserve to be honoured. If you were to marry him and fall pregnant, what would happen to your child? Would he keep your child secret too, from his first wife and his family?

Please think about the long-term consequences. If you marry this man and he dies while he is with his first wife, then you and your children may not see your portion of the inheritance.

First wife

You are right to be concerned for this man’s first wife. It is deeply unjust for her to only see her husband once a year. How is he able to fulfil her physical and emotional needs? It is also unjust and cowardly of him to go behind her back and propose to you.

It sounds like he is unsatisfied with his first marriage. Instead of making the commitment to work things out with his wife, he has looked outside of his marriage for solace, and started an affair with you. What does this tell you about his character?

I urge you to perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times about what to do. Please heed the signs that Allah sends you, as hard as it can be for you to remain objective.

When registration reopens, please enrol in and complete the course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. In the meantime, please download the free lesson set Getting Married.

Please see:

The fatwa of major Arab and Indo-Pak scholars is that it is generally wrong and unwise in our times to marry a second wife, without consulting wise and knowledgeable scholars (even though it is in itself permitted), because of the harm and mess that inevitably results:

a) the harm to the first wife;

b) the troubles with the second wife when the first is upset;

c) the harm of not giving both their legal, emotional, and material rights;

d) the harm to family relations;

e) and, also vitally, the harm to one’s children…

Marrying another woman is not just a question of providing for both.

(Excerpt from Can a Husband Marry a Second Wife Without His First Wife’s Permission? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani)

Finances

Dear sister, if you are in bad financial straits, please do not believe that marriage is your only way out. Where is your family? Are they able to help you?

If not, please strive to get a job. You are strong and capable. Do not fool yourself into thinking that only a man can help you get your life in order. A poorly chosen husband can make your life tremendously worse.

Please read Surah Al-Waqi’ah every day to increase your provision, and perform the Prayer of Need. If possible, please consult with a life coach or counsellor to help you sort out your finances.

I pray that Allah grants you the courage to trust in Him, and choose the path that is most pleasing to Him.

Please see:

A Married Man Wants to Marry Me. What Do I Do?
Can the Man I Love Take Me as a Second Wife Despite His Mother’s Disapproval?
My Family Is Shia – Should I Be a Second Wife to a Sunni Brother?
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

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