Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Marriage Certificate – is this Fair?

islam nikah

I am a 28 year old man. I own half a major export company together with my father and am well off. I am preparing to get married to a wonderful woman. She has a great character and religion and is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She is working on her medical degree. I have only ever met her together with her father who is one of my father's best friends. Their family is well respected in the community and have high status and her father is partner in a well renowned law firm. I love my fiancée very much and am so fortunate to marry somebody as mild, smart and beautiful. We agree on everything, how to raize a family, religion, modesty and our dreams. I believe she can also be my best friend and my love.

She asked me a while ago about polygamy and asked if I would sign in the marriage contract that I will not be polygamous. I said I have never thought of polygamy for me and have no intention to be polygamous but that I can not know what Allah has in store for me and that we should both submit to Allah's plans, not our own. She did not argue the point.

But now, I have received from her father a proposal for the marriage contract. In the contract it says that I have opted to keep the possibility to be polygamous, but that in doing so I give her the right to be granted talaq unconditionally if I choose to take a second wife, and by doing so I agree to the entire Mahr being paid to her immidiately. And the mu'akhaar is defined as half my part of the company and all other property belonging to me at the time of talaq, and also the house is to be kept by her. The contract says that the mu'akhaar of this size will only be owed if I choose polygamy, otherwise it will be considerably smaller.

Now I wonder what to do. Should I sign this contract? I have asked a couple of imams and they say it is legal. But still it is somehow hurtful to me. It seems to infringe a right that is mine, and also maybe it shows a lack of trust. Or am I being unjust in feeling negative about this? If this is within her legal rights to add to the contract maybe I am wrong to hesitate? I would be very grateful to get advice from both brothers and sisters.


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13 Responses »

  1. Assalam alaikum,

    The girl and her father are being upfront with you and have let you know clearly what she can or cannot bear. You don't need to be offended--since no contract has been breached. It would be much worse to deal with such a situation AFTER marriage.

    If you feel that you cannot fulfill the marriage contract, then simply say no. I'm sure there are other people that you would be compatible with and perhaps another girl wouldn't have the problem that this one has. However, if you decide to go ahead with it, at least you have the peace of mind that you and her are compatible.

    We can't have everything we want in life--so in this dilemma, decide which thing you can or can't live with or without. May Allah help you to make a decision, Ameen.

  2. Asalaam alaikum,

    You mention that her father is a lawyer and it seems that he is exercising that type of legality on her behalf. Having said that, when Allah (swt) has made something halal, such as divorce and multiple marriages for men, it should not be unbearable to do so. This contract would not allow you to provide the second wife a good life of provision and so, it would infringe on your right to be financially stable. For that reason, you should revisit the terms of the contract and see if a reasonable clause can be renegotiated as these consequences are way too much and seem punishable as if a person committed adultery.

    Your feelings are trying to tell you something. While you cannot be arrogant in how you feel, you should know that Islam is a religion of reason and never goes to one extreme or the other. This clause seem to be quite extreme, though.

    Considering the full mahr: it is always immediately payable once the marriage is consummated unless the wife agrees to defer payment, take payments or forgives the mahr. You didn't mention the amount, but it is always recommended that the mahr never be exorbitant, bring hardship or shame to the religion.

    It should also be mentioned that the clause of forbidding a second and subsequent marriage can never be found in a nikkah, as the contract cannot violate the laws of Allah (swt).

    Again, revisit the issue and negotiate the contract in polite terms. Simply state that you cannot agree to this on the face of exercising reasonable Islamic ground. Show restraint in your reactions, be kind and make dua to Allah (swt) for the best outcome.

    • From:

      a) Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbaliy (RA) ? If the wife puts conditions in the Nikah, the husband must fulfil them, otherwise the wife has a right to divorce herself if the husband goes against those conditions. (Dars Taqreer Tirmidhi vol.3 pg.412)

      b) Imaam Maalik (RA) ? the conditions will not be effective and it is Makrooh to make such a conditions. (Ibid)

      c) Imaam Shaafi?ee (RA) ? The Nikah will be valid but the condition will be invalid. (Fiqh alaa Madhaahib arbaa vol.4 pg.85)

      d) Imaam Abu Hanifa (RA) ? it is compulsory upon the husband to fulfil the conditions.

      and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

      • Both A and D fail to stipulate what the content of those conditions are pertaining to the marriage contract and whether those clauses are the same of this discussion. In fact, it couldn't, because the hadith that those two schools of thought use when applied to this case, didn't exist in that case. If you know the hadith in which this pertains, then you'll know that such a clause was not in effect and could not result in divorce.

  3. She has a right to ask for this contract to protect her in case you decide you want another wife. She is asking for the right to be divorced if this happens and it is a very wise thing for her and her family to do. It protects her and she has a right in Islam to protect herself in this day and age where many men think women have no right to say anything to a husband and he can do whatever he wants. But this is not true and women have a right to ask for preconditions like this in the marriage contract. If your uncomfortable with this then you can say no to the nikah but she has the right to ask for this condition and it is good it is all upfront in the beginning. Trust is not just give n but takes time to earn and wise women know not to just give there trust immediately but through time in knowing you and whether you are trustworthy.

  4. I wish I had done the same! I think your fiance and Her father are being reasonable, I personally don't see any problems with what they are asking for. Its clear that your current fiance does not want to tolerate a second wife if this is something you choose to do in the future, and it's completely understandable. If in your mind your open to polygamy which it seems you probably are judging by what you have said then I guess be upfront about the contract. if you don't agree with it then just be honest. I am defintly going to be using this tactic in my next marriage! Hope things work out for you InshaAllah.

  5. I get it that the girl is not interested in being in a polyganous mariage, but I think the financial demands are a little excessive.

    If the father doesn't trust you maybe he shoudn't be marrying his daughter to you, rather than forcing compliance from you in a legal-financial way.

    • Lalli: I get it that the girl is not interested in being in a polygamous marriage, but I think the financial demands are a little excessive......If the father doesn't trust you maybe he shouldn't be marrying his daughter to you, rather than forcing compliance from you in a legal-financial way.

      Demands only apply if he brings a second wife. This guy should find a desperate spinster who will agree to any thing.

  6. Her father is a lawyer and must have seen many cases of rich business men take on 2nd wife (for muslim) and mistress (for non muslim). You fit in the profile of marrying than one even though you haven't thought of it yet. Imagine, for whatever reason(s), when you take on a 2nd wife, his daughter will be a divorcees and possibly in her old age. Even she is in her mid 30s, it is very hard for a divorcee to remarry in muslim culture, this is a fact that no one can deny that.

    The father is just being so honest and open with you and he wants to protect her daughter from being into a situation that she will not want into it. In fact, I appreciate his honesty and transparency with you.

    Question: Why he didn't mention if you commit adultery, all the terms mentioned will also be applied? He knows you will get punishment by Allah but he cannot take away your right of marrying 4. Looking into this aspect, I do not think he is into your money at all.

    If you have a daughter, will you do the same or similar for your daughter?

    If you think the terms are too harsh but agree with the principle, you may try to negotiate a better terms with him. Inshallah, do not generate hard feeling towards this marriage, it is just something that both parties want to be clear and discuss. May Allah remove any doubt or mistrust between both families.

  7. Salam,

    Islam has given her the right to have reasonable conditions in the Nikah. You can also make a list of conditions that you are insecure about and ask her to sign it before the marriage take place.

    As Proffesor X Mentioned above Allah (swt) has made something halal, such as divorce and multiple marriages for men, it should not be unbearable to do so. This contract would not allow you to provide the second wife a good life of provision and so, it would infringe on your right to be financially stable. For that reason, you should revisit the terms of the contract and see if a reasonable clause can be renegotiated as these consequences are way too much and seem punishable as if a person committed adultery.

    For example If your Wife cannot get pregnant or if there is any other justified reason where you have to get married again you will not be able to do so, because of these terms and conditions that's why Islam have given you the option to get married again. Islam is the solution to all the problems if we live our lives according to it.

    You Should Also draft a prenuptial agreement and specify that all conflicts in marriage should be resolved Islamically and in the case of divorce, this process, if it happens, is also handled in a manner in line with Islamic guidelines.

    Please Listen to Dr Zakir Naik talks on Marriages, i am sure that will help. Women now a days are quite insecure so are men if the women feels the need to have a marriage contract signed before the Nikah, a man has the right to ask his fiance to do the same.

    Divorce is something that is very much discouraged in Islam
    "according to one of the Hadith of the Prophet Sal Allahu alayhi wa Sallam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 'the most hateful thing that is permissible.'"

    Regarding Mahr

    some guardians (walis) put obstacles in the way of marriage, which prevented those under their care from getting married in many cases.

    That is because they exaggerate concerning the mahr, and demand huge dowries which a young man who wants to get married cannot afford, until marriage becomes something extremely difficult for many of those who want to get married.

    The mahr is a right that is given to the woman, as enjoined by Islamic sharee’ah, as an expression of the man’s desire to marry her. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart”
    [al-Nisa’ 4:4]

    This does not mean that the woman is a product to be sold, rather it is a symbol of honour and respect, and a sign that the husband is willing to shoulder his responsibilities and fulfil his duties.

    Sharee’ah does not stipulate a certain limit for the mahr that should not be overstepped, but it does encourage reducing the mahr and keeping it simple.

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of marriage is that which is made easiest.” Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3300.

    And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of mahrs is the simplest (or most affordable).” Narrated by al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3279.

    Abu Dawood (2125) and al-Nasaa’i (3375) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that ‘Ali said: “I married Faatimah (may Allaah be pleased with her) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, let me go ahead with the marriage.’ He said: ‘Give her something.’ I said: ‘I do not have anything.’ He said: ‘Where is your Hutami shield?’ I said, ‘I have it with me.’ He said, ‘Give it to her.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 3160.

    This was the mahr of Faatimah, the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the leader of the women of Paradise.

    This reinforces the fact that in Islam, the mahr is not something that is sought for its own sake.

    Ibn Maajah (1887) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Do not go to extremes with regard to the dowries of women, for if that were a sign of honour and dignity in this world or a sign of piety before Allaah, then Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have done that before you. But he did not give any of his wives, and none of his daughters were given, more than twelve uqiyah. A man may increase the dowry until he feels resentment against her and says, ‘You cost me everything I own, and caused me a great deal of hardship’.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 1532.

    The wisdom behind reducing the mahr and not increasing it is quote clear:

    This makes it easier for people to get married, so that they will not be diverted from it, which will result in all kinds of moral and social corruption.

  8. Thank you brother Usman

    I agree with you on many points and I argued some of them when I met my fiancée's father. I said we are not meant to put undue burden on each other and that marriage is supposed to be easy. I said I understand her hesitation about polygyny and that I do not intend it as things are but that it is halal. In short her father answered that I should not try to make the halal haram by refusing her the right to stipulate legal conditions in the marriage contract and that it is true that we should not put undue burdens on each other but to her polygyny is not a burden she wants to carry . He asked do I not consider it as big a burden to have to part with half your marriage, husband and father of your children or maybe even 75% than to have to part with half your money? And he said if I wanted marriage to be easy I should want marriage to be easy also for my wife to be...

    I must say he made me feel like a hypocrite for not wanting for her what I want for myself. I had decided not to sign the contract as it was but I ended up signing it and now all is in the hands of Allah, as it should be. Thank you for all your advice.

  9. I think the bottom line is that his fiance is not tolerable towards polygamy, and she will make it difficukt for him to do so. Now he needs to decide whether he can make this promise to her or not. Prenup is Defintly a good idea .

  10. What is a woman just a machine to create babies and the man can just take another wife if she can not have a baby. Is that all marriage is in Islam? What about partnership,love and living a life together? A couple can adopt children or give in another way if the woman can not have a baby. How cold for her just to be left and the man can go on to another wife and have a family with her. I agree that the wife has a right to want a husband to just be with her. Otherwise it seems there is oppression of women in Islam if the men have the rights to divorce and have 4 wives. It almost seems like the women are just chattel when this is how marriage is described. Where is the feeling and emotion in marriage or is it just about making babies and economics and the man getting all the sex he wants which sounds like there is no love in that but complete selfishness.

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