Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My friends got married overseas with the blessings of the bride’s family, but not the groom’s family who was not informed. Now they have a small child, but his family has arranged a marriage to his relative in Pakistan. My friend’s wife said she will divorce him if he takes on a second wife. What should they do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.
The public nature of marriage is a protection. Because your friend has not informed his family that he is already married and has a child, then this situation has dragged on for far too long.
Please suggest these strategies to your friend:
1) Urge your friend to come clean with his family. He must tell them the truth, and bear the consequences of his actions. This is part of being an adult. Realistically, how long did he plan to keep his wife and son a secret from his family? Although it will devastate them, he will finally have the opportunity to build an authentic relationship with his family, and offer his son and wife the same. If it is too difficult to
2) Mend ties. It is a major sin for him to your parents’ heart. However, it is also sinful to deceive them.
3) Advise your friend not to cave into family pressure to marry his relative from Pakistan. Your friend is already married, and has a child. They are his primary obligation. It is better for him to have wasted three years of her life, instead of oppressing his first wife and child through a second marriage.
4) Get educated. Enrol in classes such as Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. Encourage his wife to do the same.
Your friend would benefit from learning how to assert himself better with his family. It sounds like he fears confrontation with his family, and his default mode of coping has been avoidance.
Many families have extremely painful and dysfunctional patterns which can lead to terrible communication breakdowns. The solution is not to “keep the peace” by living a secret life and outwardly appeasing them. The solution is honest self-representation, empowering oneself, living a life that is pleasing to oneself, and oriented to one’s own values.
It sounds like there has been a huge communication breakdown between your friend and his parents. Communication is a skill that can be learned.
I pray that Allah grants clarity and courage to your friends.
[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.