Taking second wife while unable to support first wife
Fatwa No: 363034

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuhu. Brother, I hope you are in good health. May Allah bless you and your family. Sheikh, I want to ask you a question related to my situation. My husband and I got married one and a half year ago. My husband is a student of knowledge in Madinah university. He is a revert Muslim since 7 years now. I live in Kuwait, and he lives in Madinah. Due to circumstances, I still have not gotten my visa to live in Madinah with my husband. I also cannot have children right now because I live in Kuwait and I am still on my father's permit of residence in Kuwait being an expatriate. This is the rule here, like in Saudi Arabia. My husband does not have any responsibility of me until now. He does not have to pay any monthly expenses for me, not even housing, my father have been providing everything after the marriage also. He cannot take this burden as he is not working because of being a student at the university. He visits me during his vacation. He is planning to apply for my visa after first saving a little, Allah willing. May Allah make it easy for us. Sheikh, in these circumstances, my husband is seeking a second wife. I told him that he does not have the experience of family life yet. He does not have any responsibility of me yet, which would be the first experience of what practical life after marriage brings to him. Is a second marriage permissible in our situation? Sheikh, I told my husband that he will not be able to bring two wives to Saudi Arabia on a student visa. He has not taken responsibility of me yet. Is it wise to go ahead with a second marriage? Also, please note that my husband suffers from Waswaas (devilish whisperings/obsessive doubts). He is being treated with Ruqyah (healing through Quranic recitation and supplications) and some shaykhs have said that he may be suffering from possession. I have also seen him react to the Ruqyah. Please advise me as to what should be done in our situation. The second marriage is not obligatory. I tell him that he is a student of knowledge and that he can focus on more important things. May Allah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

First of all, we ask Allah to facilitate your affairs and reunite you with your husband.

One of the most important things that we recommend you to do is to supplicate Allah as much as possible, because all goodness is in His Hands, and He is Omnipotent. He ordered us to supplicate Him and He promised to answer our supplication. Allah says (what means): {And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you." Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.} [Quran 40:60]

Your husband is obliged to spend on you according to his ability. Allah says (what means): {Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted - let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.} [Quran 65:7]

Also, you have the right upon him that he provides you with housing (accommodation), even by renting it. So we recommend that you and your husband have a mutual understanding and cooperation until the matter of bringing you to reside where he resides is made easy.

The second marriage is permissible in principle on the condition of being just between the two wives. Allah says (what means): {…then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].} [Quran 4:3]

However, someone like your husband, suffering need and poverty, should not marry a second wife. The Shariah conditioned the marriage upon financial ability and ordered the one who is unable to marry to be patient and to keep himself chaste until Allah makes the matter easy for him. Allah says (what means): {But let them who finds not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty.} [Quran 24:33]

Also, it is proven that Ibn Mas'ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "O young people, whoever is able to marry should marry…" [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) conditioned the matter of marriage upon the ability. The ability here means the ability to have sexual intercourse and the expenses of marriage, as stated by Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

If this is the case for someone who does not have a wife, so what about someone who already has a wife and wants to marry a second wife? For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 139731.

There is no doubt that it is not wise for your husband to take this course of action (marry a second wife). So we advise you to discuss the matter with him in light of what we mentioned or that you appoint someone who would try to convince him.

Finally, it should be noted that some scholars are of the view that it is better to marry only one wife unless there is a need (for marrying more than one wife).

Ash-Shirbeeni, from the Shaafi'i School of jurisprudence, said in Mughni Al-Muhtaaj, "It is a Sunnah that a man does not exceed one wife unless there is an apparent need." Besides, Al-Mardaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "It is also desirable not to exceed one wife if a man keeps himself chaste with her, according to the correct opinion of the School." For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 257272.

Allah knows best.

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