Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Should I tell my first wife about my secret second wife?

second wifeSalam,

I am married and have been blessed with two sons from my first wife. I have recently taken a second wife. She is an orphan girl with no father or brothers to protect her. Allah has blessed me enough financial security to support my family and take a second wife. My first wife is unaware that I have remarried though--only my sons know.

My eldest son gave me his blessing to remarry. He says I am doing a good thing by protecting this girl and he sees how happy she makes me and he is happy for me. All he asked is that I never let my first wife, his mother, know about the existence of my second wife because it would make his mother jealous and he does not like to see her upset.

My youngest son, however, thinks this will hurt his mother as I am hiding the truth from her and he has told me to tell my first wife about my remarriage. My youngest son says that as a Muslim man, truth is incumbent upon me and I cannot lie to my first wife. I love both my sons and do not want to lose their respect but which son do I listen to? Which son's advice on whether I should tell my first wife or not about taking a second wife is following the guidance of Allah?


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11 Responses »

  1. Assalamu alaikum brother

    I know that in our deen it is allowed for a man to take a second wife but we all know that a lot of sisters struggle with this concept and for some it is too psychologically disturbing. Most men know this too and some brothers will like to pretend they are oblivious to this to either rubbish a selfish desire or perhaps for some genuine good reason as it may appear.

    When all is well between a man and his wife and she is loyal and obedient to him, if he still decides to take a second wife then I think it is only the very bare minimum requisite of decency that he inform his first wife that he is even contemplating marrying another woman while still having intimate relations with the first.

    It's really sad to see that a woman would love, have faith and be completely loyal to her husband while he will think it is OK for him to go behind her back and get married to a younger woman without informing his wife of however many years in which she spent giving her whole being to him and still does.

    So now after you have committed the act it hurts to think that after enjoying your time with another woman behind your first wife's back (yes I know she is your second wife but in this day and age communication has no barrier so you can pick up the phone and call your first wife to tell her before you get into another nikah).

    Brother please accept my apologies as I do not mean to preach or cause offense but women like us feel immense pain and why would we not?

    My advice as a woman would be to tell your first wife. Tell her exactly how it is. She has every right to feel betrayed, hurt and angry with you. She has the right to leave you if she so wishes or to stay withvyou if she feels like she is too old and beaten by the situation for her to seek a better life with another husband who probably may never do that to her Allah knows best but to lie in her presence while having intimate relations with another behind her back seems worse. So better to be a Muslim with honesty and integrity. Allow her time to digest the information and allow her to feel her world crumble while you stand by and try to support what you have caused. Because we, women, love with our whole existence, first Allah then our husbands. It would be worse if another child pops along then you decide to uncover the truth, she would feel betrayed twice over in that instance.

    I pray Allah makes it easier for your wife. I pray Allah saves your family. Financial security has ensured you have a young girl as a wife. I pray you do right by the girl you have married as all she would have seen is a successful man. May Allah make it easier for you brother and may Allah keep your sons guided. It pains me to think how torn your first wife will be but may Allah create ease in your lives. May Allah protect our sisters from having to face a situation where they have expended their youth on a husband then feel the pain of having to share him with another woman. Ameen

  2. Well said sister Shamima.

    You are living a lie. You did this behind your wife’s back because you know that she would not approve of it. You must inform her. She will be so mad at you and at her sons for keeping the secret. She will feel betrayed. Be ready. Relationship will not be same. As for your 2nd wife, did you lie to her that your 1st wife is aware of her.

  3. You did a good job.You don't need to tell anyone.

    • Good Job!?!?

      Does Islam allow secret marriages and not to tell anyone.

      • No, it does not. Secret marriage goes against the whole concept of marriage in Islam, which is that it should be open and known to the community. That's what distinguishes it from an illicit affair or zinaa, which is done secretly. And that's why nikah in Islam requires witnesses and a walimah.

        wael Editor

  4. Salam, Firstly i wiill give my statement on the basis of Commandments, (set aside your or anyone emotions completely)
    God Allowed 4 marriages but with the condition of dealing with justice (if u cant do justice among them, then marry only one), you are not obliged to attain approval or tell her about your 2nd wife...its simple that.
    If anyone got issues with my statement, please mention verse, or sahih Hadeeth, otherwise dont put my statement wrong.

    (Statement on the basis of emotions)
    It will be better if u have told her before ( as women are lead by their emotions more then men) she will feel betrayed, but now it would be better if u tell her even now...but makesure time and place is correct...(and remember she has no right to leave u or even knowing, claiming that woman has got a right to do that it simply addition in Quran and Hadeeth because our rights and duties are already been defined by Supreme Being and cant be altered, We must not be careless regarding Quran..) until it was mentioned in nikka nama conditions and u gave up your right to marry again without her consent).In our lives there are alot of things that we dont like, that does not constitute to haram or prohibited, its either men or women.... (if i am wrong in anyway then i will accept my mistake humbly please let me know)
    Stay blessed.

  5. Any man who believes he can have a secret marriage to one woman without his other wife's knowledge is mislead, unaware of his religion and not much of a man. Anyone who will tell a man that this is permissible is also ignorant, advocates deception and is a failure of a human being. To get to the point, there is no secret marriage in Islam. A man also has an obligation to treat each of his wives fairly and justly. If wife #1 is unaware her husband has married another woman, the marriage is a secret. If wife #1 does not know her husband is sexually active with another woman, she is placing her health in jeopardy. If wife #2 knows about wife #1. but wife #1 does not know about wife #2. there is blatant unfairness within the marriage. These issues are very basic problems when a man lies to his wife about other marriages. There is also the matter of inheritance in the event of death, knowledge of one's siblings as well as financial obligations the husband has towards the women he is married to. Some matters do not require extensive accreditation. Would a man want his daughter, sister or mother to be in such a marriage? How secret will a marriage be. One year? Two or three years? Another question to ask yourself is would you want your spouse doing the same thing to you if the shoe were on the other foot? A good attorney would advise your first wife to divorce you, sue you for support and make every attempt to financially secure her future. Involving your sons in such deceptive behavior has ensured their relationship with their own mother has been compromised. The first wife will realize she can not trust anyone in her own immediate family.

  6. Telling the first wife is not necessary.Espically if it's necessary for a peacuful life of the home.Off couse a women is going to react badly and not understand as women are emotional creatures,and she would never agree to a scenond marriage.But she does it eothout understanding the reason of second marriage,you can clearly see what happens if we don't allow second marriage by looking at the west.And moreover you sjould stop making hypothetical scenarios ehat if this happened etc.Its perfectly permissible to marry a second wife and keep it a secret from a first wife.

    • JAPM, do you know anything about Islam? Lying is HARAM! There are so many proofs of this, such as:

      Abdullah reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: "Truth leads one to Paradise and virtue leads one to Paradise and the person tells the truth until he is recorded as truthful, and lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell, and the person tells a lie until he is recorded as a liar."
      Sahih Muslim – Book 32 Hadith 6307


      Allah’s Apostle said, “The signs of a hypocrite are three: Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie; and whenever he promises, he breaks his promise; and whenever he is entrusted, he betrays (proves to be dishonest)”.
      Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 73 Hadith 117

      So how do you think a man can marry a second wife secretly without telling lies? What will he tell his first wife when she asks him where are you going, where have you been, why do you have the smell of perfume on your clothes, what are you spending money on, why didn't you come home last night? He will lie, and lie, and lie, and will lead himself to Hell.

      Marriage is NOT secret in Islam. It is open and known. That is what distinguishes it from zinaa. There is no such thing as marrying someone secretly and lying about it. That is totally haram.

      Wael Editor

      • Jezakum Allah Khayr for giving this most beautiful truth about marriages in Islam. May Allah SWT reward you for this truth, as it protects both women from harm. Unfortunately, many brothers are led to believe it is acceptable for them to lie to "protect" one of the wives and this ultimately leads to much heartache for the wife who is most vulnerable in this situation- I would argue both are most vulnerable, but especially the one whose marriage is not known in the community. Allah Alim... may Allah SWT lead us all to the best way and put our expectations in Allah SWT and not in mankind.

    • You must be from a South Asian background. They all say that woman are sensitive and weak, so it permissible to keep it a secret from first wife?!?!? If they find out they will ruin peace and what is allowed in Islam. Secret marriage is not allowed in Islam. Brother Wael explained it clearly it’s like a lie. When you lie about one thing you have to make up more lies to cover that one lie. Last year a a girl I know who can’t have babies and I’ll, been married for over 10 years, her husband (educated engineer) kept going back home during covid for so called business travel. Instead married secretly (2 years) and had a child with someone 25 years younger than him (a poor naive village girl). His dream is to make his son a hafiz. Having a child who is a hafiz isn’t a fast ticket to heaven. If you had a daughter and someone did that to her, how would you feel? So many relationships are being broken. I heard in Pakistan it happens a lot, now they require that the first wife to be informed first.

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