Can Someone Have a Second Wife without Informing His First Wife and Children?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My father married a second wife and didn’t inform his children or my mother. Is this permitted in Islam?

Answer

Sister, what your father has done is hurtful and unwise, although the original ruling is that it is permissible. Many scholars of today deem it impermissible because of multiple reasons. See these in the following links:
Is Polygamy really Allowed?
Can a Husband Marry a Second Wife Without His First Wife’s Permission?

No person would want their mother, sister, or daughter treated this way. You should pray istikhara about revealing it or not. It might cause more pain than necessary, and people might start to blame you. It might be best to take it up with him and ask him to fess up.

It would help if you understood that not much can be done at this point because his current wife has rights over him, and they may have children too. Many people are involved, and usually, the truth manifests itself so that it won’t be a secret forever.

May Allah make it easy for you and give you the best situation out of this.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.