Unfaithful Husband Working Overseas

Ustadh Farid Dingle untangles the difficulties a wife faces when her husband who works overseas decides to marry a second wife but wishes to divorce his first on no grounds.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am married for six years. I have two kids. My son is five years old and my daughter is three. My husband has been working in Dubai for four years. In the past four months he stopped talking to me properly and he asked divorce from me, because he met his first girlfriend on Facebook and he wants to marry her.

I agreed on his second marriage and told him that as we have kids he needs to take care of both the wives equally and should give equal rights. He says that his girlfriend can’t tolerate me. Now I made a deal that I will never interfere in his life but he should not divorce me as I don’t want to be called as divorcee. He agreed to this.

My questions are: Is it right to divorce the first wife just to marry another woman, when there is no reason for divorcing the first wife? And is it right to stay as a wife without interfering in husband’s matters and without getting any rights whether physically or emotionally?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

May Allah bring light, baraka, and change into your situation.

Being a man

The first thing your husband needs to understand is that being a man comes with responsibilities and rights. His duty before his wife and children is to provide material, emotional, and religious support and protection. This means that he cannot be ‘out of the picture’ and not communicate. “It is sufficiently wicked for a man to squander those he must support.” (Muslim and others)

The right of man to take a second wife is only on the proviso that he not squander the rights of the first. Allah says, “So do not incline completely [the other wife] such that you should leave her (the first wife) hanging.” (Sura al-Nisa 4: 129)

This is exactly what is proposed, and it is un-Islamic. Your husband should make this very clear to the second wife, and to you and the children.

Being a co-wife

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “It is not permissible for a woman to ask [her husband] to divorce her ‘sister’ so that she might take her place: that is what has been apportioned for her.” (Bukhari)

This is exactly what the other wife to-be is asking: that she be the wife, and you get out of the picture. This is not Islam.

If she wants to marry your husband, she has a right to, but she has no right to ruin someone else’s marriage.

He too should be man enough to be very clear and set the boundaries as laid down by the Sacred Law.

Divorce

It is very, very difficult for women from cultures that stigmatize divorce to become a divorcee. I pray that the matter doesn’t end up like that.

That said, if you husband stubbornly refuses to come to his wits and come back to you as a proper husband, divorce might be the only option.

I would advise you both to talk this matter out in a lot of depth. You should both be fully aware of the legal and emotional repercussions of divorce, and how it will affect the children, and their mother.

You should be willing to admit any faults from your part and express a strong will to change so that he feels that their might be a future between the two of you after all. Problems don’t solve themselves, and being away from your for such a long time is not a good way to solve the issues.

Repentance

You should encourage him, and yourself, to repent to Allah. Allah only sends us strive and difficulties to draw us closer to him. Allah Most High says on the tongue of Noah, upon whom be peace, “Seek your [cherishing] Lord’s forgiveness – indeed He ever is forgiving – and He will send down pouring rain, and [really] help you with money and children, and He will make [permanently] yours gardens and rivers.” (Sura Nuh 71: 12)

Allah the Omnipotent

Allah can do anything, and can make anything come out of anything. He can make you happy with your husband, and without your husband, and can open doors that you could never dream of. Keep up hope and always thank Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.