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I Found Out He Has Another Wife & a Child

Questioner

L

Reply Date

Aug 19, 2017

Question

Salam. Please forgive me first, because my question may be a little lengthy. I live in a small town and Christianity is the main religion. My husband introduced me to Islam and I converted to it some years ago. My family and friends are against my religion and do not understand Islam. This has caused distance in my relationship with them. I begin to cleave more to my husband for support and viewed him as my best friend. He started having an affair with a young lady a few years ago. He admitted the affair with her, and I told him that if he wanted to be with her, it was fine but just divorce me. He exclaimed his love for me and told me that I should trust him. I did not want to break up my marriage; I wanted to work on it. I prayed to Allah that things would get better between us and he would stop cheating on me. In the mean while, I got pregnant. Within one month of my baby being born, I found out that he has a baby on the way from a lady he cheated on me with and that he married her. His argument is that both of them repented to Allah, there is a blessing in having babies, and Allah granted him permission to have more than one wife. He feels that I should take all of this into consideration and not be upset about his decision because it is his right by Allah. Not to mention that he told me earlier in our relationship that he would never take on more than one wife. I no longer recognize him as the man I married. He is not my best friend anymore and I am extremely hurt by his decisions. When I try to express my pain to him he says that I am just bringing drama into the situation. I just had a new born baby in June and I have a 7 years old daughter that is not his, but we have been together since she was 2 years old, and he is a huge part of her life. I do not know what to do in this situation because financially I do not have the funds to support my daughters and myself at this time. I have a job, but my salary is not enough to support us. I feel so lost because I thought that he and I had a special bond and now I see that we do not. Please just give some advice. The Muslim community is very small in my area and I do not have another Muslim woman to turn to for comfort. My heart is so heavy because all I wanted to do was to be a great Muslimah, wife, and mother. His actions have caused me to not want to be married to him anymore, and I often pray that Allah blesses me with another husband who will care about my feelings. He tries to make me feel that I am doing wrong against Allah, because I am hurt by his actions and may want a divorce in the near future. Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


I Found Out He Has Another Wife & a Child

In this counseling answer:

“I would suggest getting marital counseling from a specialist. If you decide that you are able to deal with the situation, forgive him and respect his other relationship. If you think you won’t be able to forgive, your financial situation should not be the main reason to stay married.”


As-Salamu ’Alaikum sister,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. It is a lot to process, especially for a convert and a new mother.

I want to start by saying alhamdulillah you accepted Islam in your life, even though everybody and everything was against you. Unfortunately, your friends and family are not educated about Islam which left you in a fragile situation, draining all your energy, hopes and expectations, especially regarding your husband.

The first suggestion I have for you is trying to reconnect with your family and friends. Islam teaches us how to behave with our parents and family members; you really have to bring them close to your life again. The holy Quran teaches us to be gentle and kind to our parents. We should always treat them with respect and obey them in any reasonable request that does not go against the teachings of Allah. One argument that you can use is that our religion accepts all the others and guides us to respect people of other faiths. Following the prophetic example, when a Christian delegation from Ethiopian churches came to Medina, the Prophet (peace be upon him) opened up his mosque for them to stay in, hosted them generously, and personally served them meals.  He (peace be upon him) said:  “They were generous to our companions, so I wish to be generous to them in person…”

You can gradually try to re-establish a relationship with your friends and family by sharing with them something about Islam that is close to the teachings of Christianity. Talk to them in a non-confrontational way, always being patient and respectful. I advise you to bond with your family, because I believe they can provide you comfort and love in this time of hardship and future times. Even if everything was great in your marital life, your husband should not be the only source of care you have.

Regarding your husband’s second wife, first of all, I want to clarify the conditions that a man can look for a second wife and in which context it was revealed. The verse allowing men to marry up to 4 wives was revealed after the Battle of Uhud, where many Muslim men were killed.

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, 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].” (4:3) 

The social context behind the revelation is very important. In those days, a woman without a husband didn’t have means to survive, safety couldn’t be guaranteed and she could literally starve to death. In that society, it was also a common practice that man would travel and have intercourse with different women and have children without necessarily caring for them.  In this context, Allah in His infinite mercy revealed to humankind the possibility to marry 4 wives, which in those times was absurd, considering that the Quran limited the number of relationships a man could have. We must understand that this was a way to provide for women, especially widows and orphans, and to care for them – not to fulfill male’s sexual desires.

It is clear that your husband did not marry this woman out of compassion; instead, he did it to “fix” his sin. Babies are blessings and his child has nothing to do with the parent’s mistakes. However, the way he conducted this situation wasn’t honest. If he really repented from his mistake, why didn’t he tell you about the other woman’s pregnancy from the beginning? You have all the right to be upset and even seek a divorce, if it is what you desire. Don’t let him minimize your feelings sister, it is not drama; it is a very delicate situation involving 3 innocent children.

Now, with all that said, the question you have to ask yourself is whether you would be comfortable with him having a second wife, or do you want to move on? Unfortunately, he misunderstood the Quranic verse and is now trying to justify his great sin in the first place, but now the reality is that he is already married, and you have to think if you are able to forgive him and peacefully stay married.

You also have to take into consideration his ability to treat you and his second wife fairly. In the very same verse stated clearly that if a man cannot treat his wives with equity, he should not marry more than one woman. In any case, he is absolutely responsible for his child, no matter what his marital status with the child’s mother is.

I would suggest getting marital counseling from a specialist. If you decide that you are able to deal with the situation, forgive him and respect his other relationship. Your heart must be free of resentment, and you really must ask Allah for guidance and try your best to live happy with him. If you think you won’t be able to forgive, your financial situation should not be the main reason to stay married. The United States government offers many programs to help single mothers to stabilize after a divorce. Look into the social work division in your city, and, of course, the law to take care of the child you have together will enforce him to provide if you choose to separate. Unfortunately, it is a complicated decision, and I will pray to Allah to make it easier as possible on you.

Salam,

***

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About Karim Serageldin

Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: http://www.noorhumanconsulting.com or facebook.com/noorhumanconsulting


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