Fatwa ID: 02517
Answered by: Mufti Muhammad Adnan
I've been married since February and reluctantly agreed to one day and a night per week minimum as my husband's first wife didn't know when we actually got married. I am a second wife and don't have children with my husband but his first wife has (who he married a year before me). He has always struggled to give me my time and has only fulfilled thirty days since marrying last February. He is very honest with trying to give me more time, but his life is very hectic and his first wife is not accepting our marriage (although she had previously met me and agreed for him to marry me) so it is difficult. When it isn't my day his first wife insists we don't speak with one another as they are her days so I'm not allowed to text/call unless an emergency, but he tries to call each day if he is out of the house. My husband cares about her well-being and giving her rights, while I'm not getting any emotional rights or time. He is wanting to keep her happy as she is 'sacrificing' by accepting polygamy, but it's putting such a strain on our marriage. How can I make him understand that he must be fair and not let her control our marriage? I need my days that have been missed made up to me and we also both want to increase our time to two nights together, but she is saying she will divorce him and understandably he doesn't want to displease Allah so he is confused. I'm happy for him to bring his kids sometimes from his previous marriage, but her kids are her responsibility not mine. Your help and wisdom would be greatly appreciated. For any further clarification i also leave my number as an option to contact me.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحي
Firstly, your husband's first wife does not have valid grounds for a faskh and she is not entitled to a khula’ without your husband's agreement so her threats to divorce will not have any effect as long as your husband does not comply. A court may issue her a divorce with paperwork saying she is divorced but in actual fact, as long as your husband does not comply with the court, she will remain in his nikah. If a woman re-marries after an invalid faskh, it is regarded as adultery as the nikaah with the first husband is intact.
Secondly, if a man cannot do justice he should NOT practice polygamy, equally if a man is unaware of the rights of women, he should not practice polygamy. In this day and age people only think about polygamy without thinking about the practicalities and eventualities. If you waive your right in a marriage temporarily when it comes to time spent equally between yourself and his first wife and then ask for your right back later, it is incumbent upon your husband to give you that equality in time. He chose to take 2 wives so if the first doesn’t accept equality in time but you want it then it is at your husband's discretion how he does that and if he doesn’t he is blame worthy.
Thirdly, these kinds of issues are best to deal with face to face with a non biased intermediary. It is better because the arbitrator will sit with the books of fiqh in front of him and he can read to all 3 of you what each of your rights are which are divinely designated. Look for a local sharia council or marriage arbitrator and seek help from them.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Muhammad Adnan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham