Question about marriage

Q:

Salami had a question. Can men have secret wives + not provide equal time nor money for them?

I’m asking this question because I’m a convert and an Islamic activist/ imam told me I don’t know that I’m just a convert and he studied Islam and his teacher also told him its true. Anyways now his wife divorced him because I asked her and I never married him because he never wanted to give me kids and no money or equal time saying in Islam it’s allowed to do this. He is on the news often and a very important Muslim person I think you guys should make it clear if this is allowed or not because he has done this to many many women. Also not just him but many men do this it made my iman go very low.

A:

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.

Congratulations, sister. May Allah keep you steadfast on His religion. Islam is the true religion of Allah. I do not think that you have taken the decision to revert before finding out this fact.

The question you posed includes two issues: Secrecy of marriage and the wife’s right to nafaqah (sustenance) and equal time as other wives.

Secrecy of marriage could mean concluding a marriage contract in secret without even the presence of two witnesses. This is unanimously an invalid contract.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “No marriage [is valid] without a wali (woman’s guardian) and two just witnesses.” [Al-Bayhaqi]

Witnesses usually announce the event. Sometimes witnesses attend the marriage contact, but they are asked to keep it secret. Scholars have different opinions concerning the validity of the marriage contract in this case.

A true Muslim should, thus, refrain from getting involved in such a dubious contract.

With regard to wife’s rights, Islam has made it obligatory upon a husband to sustain his wife financially, according to his means, and to give her equal time as other wives.

Basically, a wife should hold to her rights and a husband may not force her to give them up. A question may arise, however, as to whether a wife may give these rights up based on a condition made by the husband to that effect when concluding their marriage contract.

In their response to this question, Muslim scholars gave different answers. From one perspective, such a condition is invalid as it contradicts the objectives of marriage. The upholders of this perspective have divided with regard to the validity of the marriage contract in this case. The majority of them maintain that the contract itself is valid and only the condition is to be overruled. From another perspective, this condition is valid as long as the wife agrees to it and willingly gives up her rights. The condition thus is to be fulfilled as the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Muslims are to [abide by] their conditions.” [Abu Dawud]

According to this perspective the issue should be left to the mutual agreement between the two spouses.

As you can see now, sister, there are various details and perspectives to the issues you raised; but neither of these opinions or perspectives accepts a marriage contract that is only concluded between a man and a woman in secrecy or forces a wife to give up her rights, unless she willingly gives them up.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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