No Longer Sharing Marital Bed: Can I Take a Second Wife?

29 March, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I have been married for 8 years and for the last 4 years I have been suffering from severe problems with my marriage. For the last 3 years we have been living in separate bedrooms and not had any physical contact with each other. I want to move on and need to get married again. However, she would not let me divorce her and asking me to take a second wife. I need to know, if I do take a second wife, what are my duties and responsibility to the first wife? Please, help as I am really stressed about it and finding it hard to talk to anyone.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

You are highly recommended to reconsider the problem with your wife via consulting professional marriage counselors. If this doesn’t work, you can have a second marriage.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

If your wife cannot fulfill her spousal duties towards you, and she has given you a permission to marry another wife, then you can do so.

However, you still owe your first wife maintenance and support as long as she remains married to you.

However, my best advice for both of you is to seek professional marriage counseling; perhaps your wife may be suffering from some emotional issues because of which she is refusing to establish any physical contact.

If that is the case, you need to address it first. If you can get over the problem through counseling and therapy, then that would be the ideal solution than taking a second wife.

I pray to Allah to grant you relief.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.