How to Convince My First Wife to Have a Second Wife?
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Will a man be sinful for causing his first wife extreme emotional distress by marrying a second wife, even if it’s halal? While his first wife cannot divorce him because she has no one to rely upon for livelihood and is still attached to him?
I can understand how this lacks wisdom, but will the husband still be sinful and responsible for the harm he caused knowingly, even if it is halal for him to marry without his first wife’s permission?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
The Spirit of the Law
From Islamic etiquette, a husband discusses significant decisions, such as marrying a second wife. One should also decide with wisdom and consider the first wife’s feelings. So he should not do so behind her back. He should not entirely ignore her feelings.
Allah Most High says, “Live with them by what is fair and kind: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something in which God has put much good.” [Quran, 4:19]
Note that if one’s physical needs are taken care of with one wife, and she can bear children for him, it is Sunna for him to stick with one wife and not marry a second. [al-Mawsu’a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]
The Letter of the Law
However, it is permissible for the husband to marry without her approval, on the condition he can fulfill both wives’ rights as determined by the Sacred law. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
If he is not reasonably sure that he can deal with fairness between both spouses, it is impermissible for him to marry another wife. [Ibid.]
Allah Most High says, “But if you are afraid you will fail to maintain justice, then ˹content yourselves with˺ one….This way, you are less likely to commit injustice.” [Quran, 4:3]
If one’s husband does choose to marry again, it is upon the first wife to strive to continue to fulfill her responsibilities in the marriage solely for the sake of Allah Most High.
For a wife to fulfill her responsibilities in the marriage or the husband to fulfill his responsibilities is an act of worship by which one draws nearer to Allah Most High. Despite being displeased with their spouse’s decision, this should not stop them from doing or behaving in the manner pleasing to Allah Most High.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.