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The Quran => Q&As with Joseph Islam - Information Only => : Reader Questions March 23, 2013, 05:11:27 AM

: Taking Another Wife Without Permission of Existing Wives and in Secret
: Reader Questions March 23, 2013, 05:11:27 AM
Salaamun Alaikum Dear Brother Joseph,

Does the Qur'an allow men to marry without seeking permission from his wife/wives?  There is a muslim convert here who has two wives, he had three but one just died few month prior.

Now he got married again and without getting permission from his current wives. In-fact, he did not even tell any of his wives and got married with third one secretly.

Note, this converted man appears very "Islamic" and is involved giving "Islamic" lectures in Mosques and Islamic centres. Please let me know what do you think about this situation. Was he right not to inform or getting permission from his current wives? Does Islam allows him to do that?

Please advice. Thank you so much.

P.S. Apparently he has no issues with his current wives and has kids from all of his wives. Reason for another wife, as he explained, is due to the death of his middle wife, and he is used to sleep with three wives so he needs another one. Note, the 3rd wife is the youngest and is at least 20 years junior to him.

May Allah (SWT) continue to bless you with knowledge, wisdom, happiness, and health, IA.

Was'slam
: Re: Taking Another Wife Without Permission of Existing Wives and in Secret
: Joseph Islam March 23, 2013, 05:19:20 AM
May peace be with you.

If 'a secret' proposal of marriage during a widow's 'iddat' is discouraged by the Quran (2:235), one would beg the question, how could then 'a secret' marriage (without those directly affected - i.e. other wives and existing children) ever be considered within the spirit of the Quran's guidance?

Marriage (nikaah) is a public proclamation [1] so there is no secrecy involved, least with arguably those spouses that will be directly affected by the new arrangement.

Another marriage and family can have implications on existing inheritance rights [2], affect the redistribution of existing wealth of the husband between the new families and create ties of kinship (half brother / sister) which must be acknowledged.

Furthermore, the Quran explicitly commands believers to proclaim true parentage of offspring (33:5). Therefore, it is impossible for the husband to keep any new relationship 'a secret' which may potentially introduce new children into the society from the new marriage. Their parentage must be proclaimed and hence the matter of kinship can never remain concealed.

The Quran also instructs husbands to deal with their wives with kindness and instructs mutual consultation in marital affairs [3].

004.019 (part)
"...And consort / live with them in kindness (Arabic: bil-mar'rufi). But if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing in which God has placed much good"

065:006 (part)
"...and consult (Arabic: watamiru) together in kindness..."

002:233 (part)
"...by mutual consent (Arabic: taradin), and after due consultation (Arabic: Tashawurin)..."

The Quran does not part with any explicit statements conferring rights to the husband to marry other women without seeking consent of the existing spouse(s). So exercising such a right is at best 'implied' and arguably questionable in light of the Quran's overarching guidance.

Furthermore, if an existing 'nikaah' (contract of marriage) already has a provision protecting the rights of an existing wife to seek redress regarding her marriage if the husband takes another wife, then her terms must be honoured. 

Alas, many contracts of marriage (nikaah) are not deliberated nor agreed upon prior to wedlock but rather standard terms are often blindly cited and imposed by the local ‘imam’.

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.



REFERENCES:

[1] NIKAAH - THE CONTRACT OF MARRIAGE
http://quransmessage.com/articles/nikaah%20FM3.htm
[2] INHERITANCE LAWS IN THE QURAN
http://quransmessage.com/articles/inheritance%20FM3.htm
[3] CONSULTATION
http://quransmessage.com/articles/consultation%20FM3.htm