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:
1- Sister, you committed a big mistake, and so did the man you first married. You have to correct the situation.
2- The marriage held at the Islamic center is not valid as you were the wife of another person.
In response to your question, the European Council for Fatwa and Research issued the following fatwa,
he question in point reflects the misconduct and misunderstanding of some Muslims living in non-Muslim societies.
It is not acceptable at all to violate the laws under any pretext. Muslims should be honest, truthful, and loyal.
Muslims should not marry for the sake of obtaining papers. Muslims should respect marriage and its Shari`ah-based objectives.
What you did is not permissible and you and your first husband have committed a sin, even though the marriage could be valid.
Permissible relations based on this marriage should be ceased until the marriage registered in the registrar’s office is terminated by divorce, which should be officially registered.
Then you are entitled to marry the person you love. The marriage held at the Islamic center is not valid as you were the wife of another person, even though you have no relations with this person except the marriage certificate. Allah says, “Also (forbidden are) women already married.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:24)
The officials of the center should observe their duty towards Allah and not make a marriage contract until they make sure that the woman is not married in the registrar’s office or elsewhere.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.