My Family Is Shia – Should I Be a Second Wife to a Sunni Brother?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I grew up in a Shia family, but I have embraced Sunni Islam. I was introduced to Sunni Islam by a male friend. I intended to marry him. But I know my family would never accept a Sunni proposal for me. Now he’s getting married to someone else.

I wanted to move on, but he asked me to wait for him as he would take me as a second wife. Should I wait?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah grant you clarity and ease.

Becoming a second wife

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to grant you the gift of a happy and loving marriage to a righteous Sunni brother. Please perform the Prayer of Guidance too, up to seven times for clarity. The answer does not need to come in a dream. Rather, it will manifest in what unfolds most easily in your life. If Allah throws many obstacles in your way, then that is a sign that marriage to this brother is not khayr for you. If Allah makes it easy, then it is khayr.

My main concern for you, as for all second wives, is the fallout on you, should you choose to marry this brother. Does first wife knows about you? Or are you a secret? If you do go ahead and marry this brother, what will happen to your children? Both the first and second wife have equal rights to their husband’s time, wealth etc, but this very rarely plays out in the real world. With your family out of the picture, who will you turn to for support?

Fear of the unknown

It is part of human nature to fear the unknown. I can see why you feel you need to settle with this brother’s proposal – you fear that if any other Sunni brother comes along, your family will either say no or it will take a long time for them to be persuaded. Please don’t settle. Trust in the Generosity of Allah, who looks after you from moment to moment. Read Surah Al-Waqiah and ask Allah to increase your provision, especially in the form of a righteous husband.

As a general rule, I would dissuade you from being a second wife, particularly because your family is Shia, and you are Sunni. How would your family feel, knowing that you are the second wife of a Sunni man? All parents want good for their children, and they have every right to be concerned and unhappy with the thought of their daughter being in your situation. They would be a lot more likely to accept your marriage to a Sunni brother under the normal circumstance of being the first wife.


It is natural to have a strong affinity with the person who helped to bring you into Sunni Islam. Love is one thing, but deciding what to do with it is another. It takes more than love to make a marriage work. Please complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to give you a better understanding of marriage.

Take a break from your relationship with this brother. Go somewhere you can sit down and reflect, with a clear mind. Would you want this for your sister? Your daughter? Marriage already has so many challenges when it’s just one husband and one wife. Imagine the complications that can arise when you are a second wife.


Please consult a local scholar and ask for his/her advice on your situation. Please ensure that you are sufficiently supported in whatever choice you decide to make.

I pray that Allah guides you to the decision which will bring about the most good in both worlds.

Please refer to the following links:

Can a Husband Marry a Second Wife Without His First Wife’s Permission?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani