Is the First Wife’s Permission Required for a Second Marriage?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat


Does a man need to have permission from the first wife to marry a second time? And if she doesn’t provide permission, will he be allowed to perform a second marriage?


I pray you are well.

A husband does not require his wife’s permission to marry again. He does, however, require the permission of the Shari’a. If the man does not treat his first wife well – let alone being abusive or violent – then it will not be permissible for him to marry a second wife.

There is also the issue of fairness. If a man cannot be fair with both wives in terms of the time he spends with them, the accommodation, and the other financial obligations he is expected to provide, the second marriage will also be haram. (Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar)

One should be careful when taking this step as its implications on the first marriage, one’s children, one’s relationship with the In-Laws, etc can suffer significantly – let alone his relationship with Allah, if he is unfair in his dealings with them.

Also, secret marriages just lead to broken hearts, suspicions, and more problems later. If you can be fair, upright, and display the good character of Islam without the other marriage harming your children or other loved ones, then the Shari’a permits the matter.

Don’t hide it from your loved ones and do your best to make them not feel abandoned. If there are complications in the first marriage, trying to fix it or parting amicably is better than a secret second marriage – which is a very common scenario. If there are complications, consider the above and consult a reliable local scholar.

May Allah facilitate what is best for all the parties involved.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.