Praise be to Allaah.
If the first marriage contract fulfilled the conditions and
necessary parts, namely the consent of both parties, the presence of the
woman’s guardian and the testimony of two Muslim witnesses of good
character, then this is a valid marriage contract with all that results from
it. But if any of these conditions were not met, then it is an invalid
marriage contract and must be repeated.
It is no secret that the parents have great rights and should
be honoured and treated kindly. Hence it is essential to consult them with
regard to the matter of marriage and to strive to please them as much as
If no obvious negative consequences will result from telling
them about the previous marriage contract, then it is better to tell them
about that and strive to please them. It is more important to tell them if
the wife is pregnant, so as to ward off accusations and suspicion.
But if telling them will lead to obvious negative
consequences, such as the fear that they would sever ties with you and the
like, then you can pretend to do the marriage contract in their presence or
have it registered officially if it was not registered.
What is meant by pretending to do the marriage contract is
that the guardian of the woman should say: I give my daughter or sister So
and so to you in marriage, and you should say: I accept to marry So and so
-- in the presence of two witnesses of good character, but you should inform
the guardian that this new marriage contract does not really mean anything
and that what counts is the first one.
And Allah knows best.