Fatwa n°: 384
Category: fatwas about marriage
The ruling concerning the condition of the first wife’s knowledge about marrying a second woman
Is it permissible to marry a second woman without the knowledge of the first one, in such a way that the residence of the second wife be far from that of the first one?
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Allah عزَّ وجلَّ allowed to the man to marry more than one woman and to marry up to four women, He عزَّ وجلَّ said:
﴿فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلاَثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَلاَّ تَعُولُوا﴾ [النساء: 3].
The meaning of the verse:
﴾…then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.﴿ [An-Nissâ' (The Women): 3].
So, He عزَّ وجلَّ made justice a condition, and that the second wife be not to the detriment of the first as regards the expenses and other things. Moreover, it is of the good companionship that trust be between the husband and his wife; and that each one has trust in the other concerning his money, honor and all his affairs.
Thereupon, it is preferable for the husband to inform his wife about what he intends to do, whether she is in favor of it or not. However, the fact of not telling her is not a condition for the validity of the marriage, though it is better to let her know rather than marrying without her knowledge.
Anyway, if he gets married with a second woman, his marriage is valid and authorized by the Sharia and all the consequences linked to it will be effective.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers, Safar 23th, 1426 H.
Corresponding to: March 23rd, 2006