Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My husband has done Nikah with another in secret – is it valid?


My husband has had his nikah read (has married a second wife) without my consent and without me having any knowledge of this at all.

Is his nikah to this other woman valid?

- Ash2010

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25 Responses »

  1. Asslam O Alaikum sister Asha 2010.

    Sister, sorry to see you going through this situation. Sister, I am not a scholar, so I will try to answer it from my limited knowledge. Any brother or sister can correct or add to what I say if they feel that I was wrong or there are more details to this. For a Nikkah to be valid, there should be two witnesses, with the consent of both guy and girl (not forced). There are other details to that as well. But before a guy intends to marry another women, he must take permission from his first wife, also if he can afford financially to take another wife. Most importantly, the guy must treat all the wives equally no matter what and I think that is the most difficult part. Be it love, his time, finances, and other things. And if he couldn't be just with any of his wife and didn't have a balance in his relationship with all his wives, then he surely will be committing a great sin and will be punished by Allah Almighty in this life and hereafter(unless that particular wife forgives him of his behaviour)
    Sister, he should never have done that because it's not just a matter of marrying more and more wives without any valid reason just for physical pleasures(I may be wrong here but most guys do that just because they are fed-up or don't get along with their current wife and find them boring after a few years of marriage).
    I think there may be some underlying issues in your relationship which you should discuss here sister, there has to be a reason which made him take another wife even without your consent.
    Any ways sister! pray to Allah Almighty and he will reward you for your patience and believe me sister he (SWT) is the best comforter of all. Be strong sister and don't loose hope. Insha Allah, I will pray for you (though I am not a very righteous person as I committed sins but I am not hopeless from Allah Almighty's blessings and forgiveness). May Allah end your sufferings and help you to deal with this situation in most efficient way which is best for both of you in short and long term. (Amin)

    • ASAK... on the point of permission I am pretty certain that a man DOES NOT NEED PERMISSION from his 1st wife to marry another.... again I am not a scholar but i think i have heard this precisely in the past...but do check. I am nearly 99% sure on that but you know never know ...

      the point being a man can marry 4 wives itself suggest its a man call. The points you made about how to handle the balance is fairly correct.. and YES the difficult part is NOT the nos but equality of treatment in all aspect ..among all wives... its NOT EASY ..its a big responsibility .....which is really tough...


      • But how can a person be fair and be just with their first wive if they marry another in secret without her consent?

        Lady, the person you married isnti being fair and just to you so ask for a khula/file for divorce/ask for talaaq as per the custom of your area.

  2. Assalamu Alaikum,
    JazakAllah khayr MKS1982 for your response and may Allah increase you in knowledge and nearness to him. As far as your response to the sisters situation with her husband i'm afraid to say but you have missed the mark a bit. The scholars have agreed from authentic textual evidences that gaining permission from the first wife to marry a second wife is not a condition for the second marriage to be valid. But, what I would advise the sister to do is, now demand ALL of your rights as the wife and see if he can still commit to both marriages equally. And if he cannot then the second marriage becomes invalid to him due to his inability to provide EQUALLY for both women. Wa Allahu alam. W.salaam.

  3. Ash, mks and Muawiya, sister Shazia Ahmad has addressed an important point in her article at titled, The Top Six Mistakes in Usul.

    She says,

    "Another example"... (of an act which may be legally valid but would not be loved by Allah, and might even be a sin) "would be a man who marries a second wife in a manner that includes deception, dishonesty, and that greatly grieves the first wife and breaks the ties of love and loyalty between them. While he may staunchly defend his second marriage as one that is valid in Islamic law, its validity does not negate the improper conduct by which it was accomplished and the consequences of it, for which he will be held accountable. The marital contract may have been in line with the letter of the law, but the real meaning and spirit of the law – the objectives and goals of marriage as a place of mutuality, love, tranquility, and support for one another, as described in the Quran and in the manner of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ – has been left by the wayside."

    "Making sure our actions are correct and valid from a legal perspective is certainly very important, and is the first critical and essential step towards drawing close to Allah and attaining His pleasure. However, one must not stop there. We should also make sure that the act is done with sincerity and in a principled and ethical manner, which we learn from studying the Qur’an and the Sunnah in a holistic and thematic way."

  4. Assalamu Alaikum Wael,
    The sister has missed the mark as well. In Islam we do not do what "feels right" like Christians do. We judge our actions in Islam with textual evidences. Those evidences being the Qur'an and Sunnah. In view of this fact, as the Qur'an allows multiple wifes NO WHERE does it legislate that the permission of the first wife is required for the legitemacy of the marriage to a second wife. Unless the sister and her husband in THEIR marriage contract agreed he should not take another wife. Then that, and that alone will be the nulifier of his second marriage. Wa Allahu 3lam.

    • Mu'awiyah, you are making exactly the mistake that Shazia described, speaking only of legality while ignoring morality.

      One of the great mistakes of the Jews was that they adhered only to the letter of the law, while ignoring the spirit or intent of the law. One of the ways this is accomplished is to look only at some textual evidence while ignoring the rest of the book.

      What is the intent of marriage? What does the Quran have to say about the purpose of marriage, and the love between the hearts of husband and wife? What does the Sunnah teach us about lying and deception, and hurting other Muslims? What does it teach us about compassion and mercy? Is it consistent with our Islamic teachings to deceive the first wife, and to hurt her emotionally?

      Don't you think all of these teachings should be factored into any decision?

      You say that in Islam we do not do what "feels right", and that we only care about legality, not morality. SubhanAllah, how wrong you are.

      On the authority of Wabisa bin Mabad, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah and he said: "You have come to ask about righteousness ?" I said:" Yes." He said: "Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and moves to and from in the breast even though people again and again have given you their legal opinion [in its favor]."

      A good hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmed bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi

      Wael Editor

      • I agree completely with Wael,

        The 'secret' nikah may be valid, but how immoral to take such a big step without even trying to mentally prepare the first wife for it. Just imagine the pain she must be going through and the heart break. What this man has done by being so insensitive could cause such a deep crack in his first marriage that it may never be mended. Would it have hurt him to have taken his first wife's feelings into consideration?

        If the husband's excuse for marrying his second wife in secret is to protect his first wife from being hurt, or because he does not have the ability, the energy or the heart to deal with the jealousy, the heated emotions, the pain etc, then he is not fit or capable of having more than one wife.

        I always shudder at the thought of having to share a man, but I think if my husband was truly God fearing, loving, kind and honest, it may make it slightly easier. I could only ever try to be a co-wife in a situation with a husband who is sincerely on the path of Allah, it's absolutely not worth it otherwise. (I hope I never have to be a co-wife, but I am Muslim, so if this situation ever rises, this is how I view it at the moment).

        SisterZ Editor

    • What if the first wife is a christian. And the husband wants her to accept islam but refused.he explained everything about islam. But still did not embraced. She dresses the way she wants and eats and cook food that is prohibited in islam. Is it enough reason for the husband to marry again and wants to marry a muslimah?

      • He should seek divorce based on those issues first as 2 of my uncles did. Do not forget that even though it is considered the worst permissible thing in Shari'ah; it is permissible exactly to allow mismatched marriages and unfair treatment by spouses to be stopped before it results in domestic abuse and violence.

  5. Assalam O Alaikum brother Mu'awiyah bin Abdullah:)-

    Brother Wael and Sister Z explained it very nicely and also in my reply "But before a guy intends to marry another women, he must take permission from his first wife" was purely based on the basis of love, trust, mutual respect and understanding, morality, confidence in each other, sincerity, faithfulness etc. otherwise he can take two more wives given that there are valid reason. As brother Wael mentioned that it simply reflects dishonesty, cheating, deception toward his first wife. And like sister Z pointed out if he didn't have the courage to take his first wife into confidence or discuss with her whatever the reasons were for second marriage then he doesn't deserve second wife at all be it for the reason that he didn't want to hurt or loose her or whatever. If he had told her before then whatever the outcome would have been, at least she would have appreciated that her husband trusted her on this very serious matter and was upfront.
    Another issue here which no one has pointed out yet is that, whether the second wife know about his first marriage. In most cases (may be I am wrong but at least in my observation), most women before marrying a married guy, think about his previous marriage like why is he marrying again, how was his treatment of his first wife, does his first wife and family know that he is going to take another wife, his financial conditions, also how her getting married to him will effect his first wife etc. Most importantly if he is marrying for no valid reason but just for pleasure then what is the guarantee that he won't marry another women without her(second wife) knowledge in secret. 99% women are against polygamy, no matter which society, religion, culture, background they come from because there has to a valid reason for all this. Also like Sister Z mentioned if he is practicing, caring, loving, honest etc then his first wife may give him permission. why? Because a truly practicing brother will think 10,000 times before taking this decision as it isn't fun but more responsibility and if he couldn't balance then he will be committing great sin of all.
    But honestly those women are an exception, and finding them is like finding a grain in a square mile area full of every thing besides there is no need for a second wife when you know that your life in this world is a test and no one in their right mind will make their test difficult themselves. I have seen a very very few women who are like that in my 28 years of life so far. And in some rare cases wives look out for second wife for their husband.
    May Allah help us all find pious spouse and make us all strong to work out all the challenges we face especially after marriage within marriage and outside.

    • Some of the comments regarding a man marrying a second wife in secret and in particular not telling his first wife are ludicrous. A chauvinist male’s view about what it is to be a Muslim. I am an English convert to Islam and it seems to me that many men who call themselves Muslims are ignorant of what the Prophet , peace and blessings be upon him, and Allah tells us. If a man marries a second wife without informing his first wife will not this necessarily lead the man to deceiving and lying to the first wife? Will this not lead to hypocrisy in the actions of the husband? Of course it must. Are not lying and hypocrisy two of the greatest sins in Islam? Stop all this nonsense about what is technically legal in our religion and tell the hypocrite and liar that the harm he causes his first wife and family when they find out through others will cause emotional pain and suffering. The liar knows this. He has no conscience. This man is not a man. Besides, why would he want to conceal the second marriage? Because of course his second marriage was based on lust and because he will not wish to treat both wives equally. Such a man is not a Muslim or at least does not follow the spirit of the rights given to us by Allah the Almighty which allow us to marry a second wife. My advice to any sister who has been lied to and deceived by such a man is to get real and divorce the liar and hypocrite. Muslim women should not listen to the manipulative words of a man who has lied to her for years. A hypocrite and liar who will surely not be allowed into Paradise.

  6. Assalamu Alaikum,

    Now I never said I thought it was right how the sisters husband went ahead and married his second wife. I was merely arguing the legality of it. Now I think we are all in agreement that the second marriage is legit. As far as how he morally conducted himself throughout the ordeal is another matter all together. I want to thank everyone who responded on the page, as I learned a great deal conversing with you all. May Allah increase all towards him.ameen

  7. I agree with all the responses that he should have told his first wife. I think most men don't want the headache or arguing from the fact that the husband has done this but the fact remains that it will eventually come out and they are willing to go that route rather than be upfront and tell their first wife. The second wife shouldn't marry unless he promises to tell the first wife. We would not want anyone to do us like this, so why would a second wife allow such a thing to happen to another muslimah. Allah says many times, to want for your brother what you want for yourself. We have to apply this to all our dealings with each other.

  8. Dear Ash2010,
    I am sorry for your troubles. Surely you must have had some inclination your marriage was suffering. I will be very surprised if you say no. You do have rights to be treated equally, but if he does not, I do not believe you can force a divorce of his second marriage. You can only decide if you are willing to tolerate the inequality, and if not, you will have full rights to request a divorce of your own marriage.
    I am considering marriage to an already married man. His wife & he do not have much in common except arguments and she is aware that he has been "looking." I have asked that she be informed, but he wants to wait until after. He knows she will not like it, but she also is not agreeable to counselling, mediation or divorce, so it is his way of taking back control of his life. I also believe it is a man's way of getting what they want while dealing with ramifications later. Someone once told me that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Perhaps that is true.
    God makes all things happen according to his plan. I pray you have strength to deal with this and wish the best for you.

  9. Hi,

    I guess it is not that simple problem you have why your husband married again. I have one friend also, his wife is very nice and he loves her. Only because his wife is cold and didnt enjoy their sexual relationship, my friend suffers a lot during their marriage. Husbands has need, sexually, emotionally, aside from the cares that we wives give to them. One day, my friend met this lady and they both fell in love with each other. He took this lady as his Temporary wife at first, but they are planning to get marriage license once they are ready for the responsibilities. My friend has 3 kids and they are happy. But because of the need of sexual gratification, my friend came to find one lady who loves and fulfills his need which the wife can't give. Now, can you blame my friend if he fell in love with the lady and planned of marrying her as his second wife?

    • Yes, greena, I can blame your friend. He should have tried to improve his sexual relationship with his wife, instead of giving up on her and having an affair with another woman.

      Wael Editor

  10. My sister and fell inlove with a man four years ago. She has converted to Muslim & was promised a life with her partner. His family apart from his brother & sister knows that he is inlove with my sister. But my sister found out that a year ago her partner got married to his cousin in Pakistan. He said he did not have the heart to tell my sister because he loves her , wants to marry her & didn't wanna lose her.He says he had to do it because of his family and his nan demanded. He says he just in the process of getting to know his wife back home and he likes her so far & he has to fulfil his duties. But he refuses to let my sister go & to be honest she can't let go of him either. She says she rather have him in her life and be loyal to him till death instead of trying to push him away. He has asked her to marry him so she knows he will always be there and will always love her. She is considering it as they are very inseparable . Any advice is welcome. Should they get married?

  11. So, to get this right, your sister reverted to Islam because this man promised to marry her. But he didn't, instead, they had a relationship for 3 years -without being married. Then he married a woman from Pakistan...BEFORE he married your sister. So another year goes by, and he is just now promising to marry your sister? Wow. That is more messed up than my situation entirely. Why would she revert and not insist on marriage right away? It sounds to me that he does not feel enough respect for your sister to claim her as his wife. She may be ok to satisfy his longings and desires, but he may feel she is somehow not worthy of being his wife or mother to his children. He may also fear she reverted only to marry him, which according to Islam, is not an acceptable reason to revert. If he fears a breakup, he could face losing custody of his children. I mean, there are any number of reasons why he did what he did, especially if his family insisted. He sounds respectful to his elders, as is customary, so he is doing what he needs to in order to remain a good son. We, in the Western world, do not follow that custom. We are used to our freedoms so it is difficult to understand. She needs to ask him directly where she stands with him and really take an objective look at her situation. At her young age, I would advise your sister to find a new man. She would have to cut off all contact with him and give herself time to grieve and renew. Of course the heart reacts differently than the head, so if she is still willing to be his second wife, that is her decision. It would be best for you to support what she decides no matter what.

    • Asalamu alaikum
      in the light of islamic point of view a man has a right to make 2nd nikah without permission of his first is only because of society that we muslims have no courage fr truth and fallow hinddu religoin that 2nd marriage is illegal

  12. Assalam walekum
    Plz plz and plz have sum patience Sister.
    This is the stigma of our society we are living in. Second marriage big deal so what crime is this to marry another woman. Allah subhanao tala has given us a permission to marry in 2's 3's and 4's but be just. If can't be just then marry only 1. Even if it's for any reason a man should seek another marriage we as a society shouldn't look down or down grade this couple. Only Allah subhanao tala knows what's in your heart.
    For the sister who asked a question my humble and very sincere advise is to have patience do fulfill your duties in terms of being a wife and fulfill your obligation towards Allah inshallah your rewards will be higher in Jannah. Help your husband be nice with him and his wife.
    Indeed there is a guaranteed Jannah a promise from Rasool e Pak sallalah o ahle he wassallam peace be upon him and his family ' people who give up their rights for the sake of Allah n his messenger peace be upon him, there is high rank in Jannah for them.
    I tell you my situation since you've disclosed yours. I've been married for over 8 yrs no kids yet we've done all we can been for Umrah n hajj, doctors hospital every where. We both are clear but no kids yet now is it un-just for me to go for another nikkah knowing that my Mrs will never allow me to do that.
    Is this not selfishness ? Is this haram to desire to see my own flashing blood ? What options do I have being responsible n settled ?
    Now I don't agree with an adoption. But because of the agro n confusion I can't even express let alone getting married.

  13. ASWRWB,

    Someone I know has gotten married secretly to his second wife without telling anyone from his family. He was planning to inform the parents but unfortunately he passed away recently. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajeun.

    What should his second wife do now? He kept the paperwork to himself on top of that. She does not want to go to his parents but I am suggesting that she should. Will wait for your suggestions.


    • I'm not sure what you mean, "he kept the paperwork to himself." Do you mean she has no proof that she married him? In that case I don't see what she can do. This is why secret marriage is prohibited in Islam. It goes against everything that marriage is supposed to stand for in Islam, which is to be open, above-board, and known to all.

      Wael Editor

      • The brother was a very well known member in the community.

        His wife will get a copy of the paper for herself, she confirmed. He was planning to announce to his family but it is now a very unfortunate situation for her. I agree what you keep reiterating in this post that marriage should not be hidden regardless of the situation.

  14. AoA my husband and i have been married for 16 years and we have 2 sons in the last 4 years he has married twice without my knowledge when i came to know i am torn apart i love him with all my heart left my birth country and staying with him in his country Pakistan

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