A man proposed to me recently. I think he is moral and religious and known as righteous, but he is married and his wife is a family friend of my family. As for social status, he is from a simpler background than ours. I fear how the society will see this marriage. I also fear his wife’s look to me. All this in the stage of proposal and asking my brother for my hand, how about if this marriage takes place! I am from Egypt, and you know how the Egyptian society sees the second wife.
When I pray istikharah I feel comfortable and I feel like telling my brother to accept. But I become strained when I think of the society and people wondering why I had to accept who is of simpler social status than me, and how could I take a man from his wife and children. He did not propose to me due to greed, it is just his wish to help Muslim women in difficulties especially if known of being religious. He is also advising others to do the same thing in order to protect Muslim women’s chastity, and then the whole society’s virtuousness. My brother also witnesses this. He could have easily proposed to who is younger and more beautiful than me if he wanted.
Will I be sinful if I decline his proposal? What is your opinion sheikh? Shall I refuse and be patient, so that someone else may propose to me by the grace of Allah?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Undoubtedly the way in which many Muslim societies (including
Egyptian society) view plural marriage is as a betrayal of the first wife,
or as something for which the husband or second wife are to be blamed.
Undoubtedly this is a mistaken view that is contrary to the law of Allaah,
which permits a man to marry up to four wives. Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):
“…then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three,
or four …”
The Muslim cannot object to the rulings of Allaah, or think
that there is any injustice, transgression or error in the rulings of
Hence we do not agree with you when you say: “How can I take
the husband from his wife and children?”
You are not taking this husband away; rather he has come and
proposed to you of his own free will.
Moreover he is going to bear the burden of two families and
two households at the same time; he is not going to leave his first wife and
children for your sake, so how can that be taking him away?
As for the opinion of the first wife, this is part of the
human nature which is inherent in most women (jealousy), and she wants to
keep her husband for herself and not share him with anyone. The Mothers of
the Believers (may Allaah be pleased with them) who were the best women of
this ummah, had some problems because of jealousy, but the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forgave them and did not hold it
You can remedy that with a little wisdom and good attitude.
But it is also essential to put up with some of that which may come from her
because this is the nature of women.
The husband must also be wise in his dealing with such
attitudes so that he will not make the disputes and conflicts worse.
With regard to our advice to you, whether to accept this
husband or wait in the hope that Allaah might provide you with someone
The answer is that if you hope that there may come someone
who is better than him, then there is no reason why you should not refuse
him, but if you are afraid – as you are older – and because of your
situation that there will not be anyone else who is better than him, or even
like him, then we think – and Allaah knows best – that you should agree to
For a woman to agree to be a second wife and to put up with
some problems from the first wife or the society around her, is much easier
than staying without a husband.
We ask Allaah to make good easy for you wherever it is.
And Allaah knows best.