Living with non-Muslim Wives

Fatwa ID: 02223

Answered by Ustadha Mahdiyah Siddique

Question:

Ya sheikh, I have lived a life of disobedience. I wish to make Taubah, repent and change my life. I have read that half of Imaan is to get married and I am in dire need of guidance.
I live with a non-Muslim woman who wishes to convert to Islam and get married. Firstly what is the bare minimum to get married? How do I do so? Also we have 2 children together. We currently live off benefits in the UK, I have a part-time job but it is not much. Is it haraam to get married Islamically and not declare it to the government, and to carry on receiving aid?

I wish not to declare it to the government not because of the money but I also have another 2nd partner who is not Muslim. However she would also like to convert and get married. Is it permissible even though the state does not allow this? Also is it permissible to marry both without them knowing of each other? I don’t believe it is in the Sunna or Quran that a man must ask his 1st wife for permission or must tell her that he has married a 2nd? If I am doing good by converting both women to Islam and marrying them however both cannot be married legally in the UK so do I have to declare marriage? Or can I marry both Islamically and provide and spend time with both as I see best? My 2nd partner, I do not have children with, she works herself and is self-sufficient and is in no need of money, in fact is very rich she simply wants my companionship and is very busy and has different needs to my first partner if I fulfil both their needs and treat them justly and convert both and only declare marriage with one, as that is all I can do in the UK or with none is this permissible?

Thank you

Answer:

Bismillah

In response to your question; 

There are four main issues that need addressing here,

Firstly, in order to get married, you need to be in possession of such that you can provide for your wife; this includes her Mahr (which can be deferred to be paid at a later date), her food, accommodation, clothing, and her expenditure. She is not obliged to pay for herself from her own money, if she does so it will be out of her good will.

It has been narrated by Ibn Mas‘ood, who said: We were with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), young men, who had nothing of wealth. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to us: “O young men, whoever among you can bear the burden (a family, meaning he can afford it), let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith no. 5066, p438, Al-Kutub Al-Sitta: Darussalam)

We can see from the aforementioned Hadith that ‘whoever can bear the burden/afford it’ — should get married; there has been no mention of a minimum or maximum amount of money that they should be in possession of. However the matter of expenditure is drawn on further in a Quranic verse “It is the obligation of the one to whom the child belongs that he provides food and clothing for them (the mothers) with fairness.” (Surah al-Baqarah: Verse 233)

Fairness mentioned here, is in the meaning of what is seen to be reasonable, not merely completing the obligation yet causing her to look inferior. The manner in which she was living before the marriage should try to be replicated.

In addition to financial rights, other rights include fair division between co-wives (which will be discussed again in section two), the right to be treated in a just and kind manner and not to be subjected to harm; be it emotionally, mentally or physically, by her husband.

Furthermore, it is an obligation upon the father to pay for all expenses of his children too, the mother will not be expected to make any contribution.

Secondly, despite there not being any solid source or evidence that you must make aware your first wife that you are looking to marry another, while signing the marriage contract you have taken up the responsibility of her well being; which involves emotional and mental well being, if you are to inform your wife after having married another time, it could be detrimental to her health and could also create problems within your household and marriage with her. It will be viewed as an act of goodness towards her, if she is to be informed beforehand.

Please note that getting married more than once means doing justice between the co-wives in terms of overnight stays, spending etc, if one does not think they will be able to do this then he should not marry more than the once.

In regards to the female whom you wish to take as a second wife, despite you having mentioned her being financially independent and only in need of you as a companion, she  still has rights that she is entitled to, these can only be waived if she agrees.

Entering into two marriages where you are keeping your wives secret from the other could ultimately cause more problems.

Thirdly, under the UK law, you would not be able to register both your marriages, all marriages taking place in the United Kingdom must be monogamous. In terms of Islamic Law, it would be permissible for you to marry and register one marriage or not register any at all.

Finally, in regards to continuing receiving aid from the government without declaring your marital status, this could be viewed as fraud and result in further action being taken against you. To prevent this you should consult relevant departments to help you with any financial difficulties you are facing.

It would be advised that you proceed to a marriage as it is unacceptable to remain in your current situation of being involved with both women and having children out of wedlock. Marriage should not only be the intention for someone to convert, if Iman (faith) has not been brought on by that individual, so do not only look to the factor of converting the women in question rather the lifelong commitment you will be making to them and how you will do so in a good manner while being just, as even if they do convert to Islam, your relationship and dealing with them will be the firsthand experience of Islam that they will get and it should be one full of goodness so that they are brought closer to the faith rather than pushed away from it.

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Ustadha Mahdiyah Siddique

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

 

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