Fatwa: # 18489
Category: Character & Morals
Country: United Kingdom
Date: 14th February 2010

Title

I have two wives, first is in UK who I am living with and second is in India who I visit once a year and live with her for 4 to 5 weeks. And both of them does not know that I am married twice.

Question

My question is about justice between two wives.
I have two wives, first is in UK who I am living with and second is in India who I visit once a year and live with her for 4 to 5 weeks. And both of them does not know that I am married twice. I am worried about rights of 2 wives and want to know how can I bring justice to both of them while im living with one because my job is in here and the other i visit once in a year because i dont have any job opportunity there and cannot maintain my family in India if I leave wife in UK and go back to India.
Looking forward to ur reply.

Answer

 

In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh

 

At the outset, it is incumbent upon a person to treat his wives equally if he has more than one wife.  Allah Ta’ala declares in the Holy Qur’an:

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَى فَانْكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَلَّا تَعُولُوا

If you fear that you will not do justice to the orphans, then, marry the women you like, in twos, in threes and in fours. However, if you fear that you will not maintain equity, then (keep to) one woman, or bondwomen you own. It will be closer to abstaining from injustice.

 

There are many aspects that need to be clarified, however we will suffice on the basic needs\rights every women is entitled to and where it is incumbent upon the man to be fair and just.

  1. Food.  The husband should ensure that the necessities for day-to-day living are easily available to the wife.
  2. Clothing.  It is the husband’s duty to clothe the wife.
  3. Spending the night. He must be equal in the time he spends with each wife and this only applies to the night.
  4. Shelter.

 

  ( يجب ) وظاهر الآية أنه فرض نهر ( أن يعدل ) أي أن لا يجور ( فيه ) أي في القسم بالتسوية في البيتوتة (... والمأكول) – (الدر المختار)

لا نعلم خلافا في أن العدل الواجب في البيتوتة ، والتأنيس في اليوم ، والليلة وليس المراد أن يضبط زمان النهار فبقدر ما عاشر فيه إحداهما يعاشر الأخرى بقدره بل ذلك في البيتوتة وأما النهار ففي الجملة ا هـ . (البحر الرائق)

 

(Al-Durr al-Mukhtar V-3, P-201 H.M. Saeed)

(Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq V-3, P-218 Maktaba Rashidiyya)

 

Equality is not compulsory in the following:

 

1.  Spending time in the day.  The husband does not have to spend the day equally with each wife.  Spending a portion of the day will suffice.

  2.  Being intimate, e.g. kissing, hugging and consummation.

3.  Love.  Love is a natural feeling that occurs in the hearts of people.  The husband cannot control his feelings for each wife and they cannot expect him to love them equally. 

 

لا نعلم خلافا في أن العدل الواجب في البيتوتة ، والتأنيس في اليوم ، والليلة وليس المراد أن يضبط زمان النهار فبقدر ما عاشر فيه إحداهما يعاشر الأخرى بقدره بل ذلك في البيتوتة وأما النهار ففي الجملة ا هـ . (البحر الرائق)

- والحاصل أن العدل في الكتاب مبهم يحتاج إلى البيان لأنه أوجبه وصرح به بأنه مطلقا لا يستطاع فعلم أن الواجب منه شيء معين ، وكذا السنة جاءت مجملة فيه فإن قوله المروي في السنن الأربعة { كان عليه السلام يقسم فيعدل ويقول اللهم هذا قسمي فيما أملك فلا تلمني فيما تملك ولا أملك } يعني القلب أي زيادة المحبة فظاهره أن ما عداه داخل تحت ملكه وقدرته في التسوية ، ومنه عدد الوطآت ، والقبلات ، والتسوية فيها غير لازمة بالإجماع – (البحر الرائق)

- والصحبة ( لا في المجامعة ) كالمحبة بل يستحب – (الدر المختار)

ففي الخانية : ومما يجب على الأزواج للنساء : العدل والتسوية بينهن فيما يملكه ، والبيتوتة عندهما للصحبة ، والمؤانسة لا فيما لا يملكه وهو الحب والجماع – (رد المحتار)

-  ومما يجب على الأزواج للنساء العدل والتسوية بينهن فيما يملكه والبيتوتة عندها للصحبة والمؤانسة لا فيما لا يملك وهو الحب والجماع كذا في فتاوى قاضي خان – (الفتاوى الهندية

 

(Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq V-3, P-218 Maktaba Rashidiyya)

(Al-Durr al-Mukhtar V-3, P-201 H.M. Saeed)

(Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya V-1, P-340 Maktaba Rashidiyya)

 

In your situation there are two issues which we will expound upon:

 

  1. The concern of two wives and their rights.
  2. The wives being in different places.

 

In principle, it is the right of each wife to demand an equal amount of time to be spent with the husband and this is binding on the husband from the side of Shariah. If one wife foregoes her rights then the husband may spend more time with the other wife. If the husband wishes to travel he may do so with whomsoever he wishes and there is no need to have turns for each wife. However, it is preferable to draw lots as this will be fair and just and this was the practice of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

 

Concerning your situation of one wife being in UK and the other in India, as long as both wives are happy with the food, clothing and shelter you have provided for them and there seems to be no pressure or demand for more, it will be permissible to continue in this manner.

As a husband you should consider discussing the issue with both the wives. Although it is not your obligation to inform them, one should discuss the matter beforehand and not keep a second marriage secret from the first wife, as the second marriage is likely to be exposed to her at some point in time. This may cause the first wife to be upset and lose trust. It is extremely important for a husband and wife to have full trust in each other.

And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best

Wassalāmu ῾alaykum 


Ml. Ebrahim Desai,
Student Dārul Iftā

Checked and Approved by:


Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā

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