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Unfaithful Husband Working Overseas

Ustadh Farid Dingle untangles the difficulties a wife faces when her husband who works overseas decides to marry a second wife but wishes to divorce his first on no grounds.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am married for six years. I have two kids. My son is five years old and my daughter is three. My husband has been working in Dubai for four years. In the past four months he stopped talking to me properly and he asked divorce from me, because he met his first girlfriend on Facebook and he wants to marry her.

I agreed on his second marriage and told him that as we have kids he needs to take care of both the wives equally and should give equal rights. He says that his girlfriend can’t tolerate me. Now I made a deal that I will never interfere in his life but he should not divorce me as I don’t want to be called as divorcee. He agreed to this.

My questions are: Is it right to divorce the first wife just to marry another woman, when there is no reason for divorcing the first wife? And is it right to stay as a wife without interfering in husband’s matters and without getting any rights whether physically or emotionally?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

May Allah bring light, baraka, and change into your situation.

Being a man

The first thing your husband needs to understand is that being a man comes with responsibilities and rights. His duty before his wife and children is to provide material, emotional, and religious support and protection. This means that he cannot be ‘out of the picture’ and not communicate. “It is sufficiently wicked for a man to squander those he must support.” (Muslim and others)

The right of man to take a second wife is only on the proviso that he not squander the rights of the first. Allah says, “So do not incline completely [the other wife] such that you should leave her (the first wife) hanging.” (Sura al-Nisa 4: 129)

This is exactly what is proposed, and it is un-Islamic. Your husband should make this very clear to the second wife, and to you and the children.

Being a co-wife

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “It is not permissible for a woman to ask [her husband] to divorce her ‘sister’ so that she might take her place: that is what has been apportioned for her.” (Bukhari)

This is exactly what the other wife to-be is asking: that she be the wife, and you get out of the picture. This is not Islam.

If she wants to marry your husband, she has a right to, but she has no right to ruin someone else’s marriage.

He too should be man enough to be very clear and set the boundaries as laid down by the Sacred Law.

Divorce

It is very, very difficult for women from cultures that stigmatize divorce to become a divorcee. I pray that the matter doesn’t end up like that.

That said, if you husband stubbornly refuses to come to his wits and come back to you as a proper husband, divorce might be the only option.

I would advise you both to talk this matter out in a lot of depth. You should both be fully aware of the legal and emotional repercussions of divorce, and how it will affect the children, and their mother.

You should be willing to admit any faults from your part and express a strong will to change so that he feels that their might be a future between the two of you after all. Problems don’t solve themselves, and being away from your for such a long time is not a good way to solve the issues.

Repentance

You should encourage him, and yourself, to repent to Allah. Allah only sends us strive and difficulties to draw us closer to him. Allah Most High says on the tongue of Noah, upon whom be peace, “Seek your [cherishing] Lord’s forgiveness – indeed He ever is forgiving – and He will send down pouring rain, and [really] help you with money and children, and He will make [permanently] yours gardens and rivers.” (Sura Nuh 71: 12)

Allah the Omnipotent

Allah can do anything, and can make anything come out of anything. He can make you happy with your husband, and without your husband, and can open doors that you could never dream of. Keep up hope and always thank Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


My Wife Will Divorce Me If I Take a Second Wife. What Should I Do?

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.

Marriage

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.

Solutions

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.

Counselling

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.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Can a Husband Marry a Second Wife Without His First Wife’s Permission?

[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.

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

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.

Reflection

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.

Consultation

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

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can a Husband Marry a Second Wife Without His First Wife’s Permission?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Can a husband marry a second wife without his first wife’s permission?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The fatwa of major Arab and Indo-Pak scholars is that it is generally wrong and unwise in our times to marry a second wife, without consulting wise and knowledgeable scholars (even though it is in itself permitted), because of the harm and mess that inevitably results:

a) the harm to the first wife;

b) the troubles with the second wife when the first is upset;

c) the harm of not giving both their legal, emotional, and material rights;

d) the harm to family relations;

e) and, also vitally, the harm to one’s children…

Marrying another woman is not just a question of providing for both…

Faraz Rabbani

Wassalam