Issues Around Second Wife

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Q: 1. A man is already married and his parents don't know. If they find out it will hurt them so to keep them happy he is getting married to another wife. Does he have to tell his second wife he is married and has a baby?
2. How does he have to treat both wives?
3. What right does the first wife have over him as she does not live with him? He lives with his second wife and family.

A.
1. It is not compulsory for the husband to inform his parents or first wife of his second marriage but in the interests of fairness and respect it was necessary for him to do so. However, in spite of not doing so, the Nikah to the second wife was valid.

The second wife and children born from her will be involved in inheritance from the husband. So it will be strongly advisable to inform the parents and first wife because they too are affected by the same issues.

2. He has to treat both wives with equality, justice and fairness, especially in time allocation. He will be liable in the Divine court for any unfairness in this regard.

If he genuinely cannot fulfil any right, he should explain to the wife and ask her to forego that certain right, on condition that she is not forced to do so or he should compensate her for that right in some other way.   

3. The rights of both the wives are equal upon him. He has to compulsorily share his time between the two homes. He cannot only stay by the second wife unless the first wife has waived her right in this regard and given him permission to stay with the second wife. If the first wife did not consent to this then he is guilty of depriving the first wife of her right, which is a major sin.

Moulana Yusuf Laher
Checked by: Mufti Siraj Desai