Living in Canada, If I find myself in a situation where Sharia law and Canadian law are incompatible, which should I follow?

For example, I would like to practice polygyny. I would like 3 more wives, but Canada permits me to only have 1.

  • your question is very broad. The answer will vary widely depending on the specifics. Please detail the current issue (masa'ala) at hand to get even some right pointers.
    – kmonsoor
    Mar 20, 2017 at 2:19
  • kmonsoor I have updated my question with a more specific question, thank you. Mar 20, 2017 at 4:14
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    You would have to live in a Muslim country because most other countries won't let polygamy. Mar 20, 2017 at 8:08
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    Islam does not require anyone to practice polygyny. It only permits it if certain conditions are met. Mar 21, 2017 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


You example isn't very good in terms of incompatibility. Polygyny is permitted in Islam and not obligatory, indeed it is not permitted if one can't dispense equality and justice between his wives ... and it is not permitted if one has made an Oath to the contrary or accepted a condition contrary to it in one's marriage contract. Obeying a ruler, on the other hand, is obligatory in Islam(src) (as long as their obedience does not lead to disobedience to Allah), as is fulfilling contracts. So, according to Islamic point of view you would have to refrain from polygyny or migrate to a land where it is allowed. Other options could be to campaign\vote for a change in legislation that would make an exception for Muslims etc.

In general terms, where there is prohibition on performance of religious duties such as prayer, Muslims are required to emigrate to a land where they can practice their religion freely.

  • "and it is not permitted if one has made an Oath to the contrary or accepted a condition contrary to it in one's marriage contract" I thought making something haram for oneself that Islam deems halal is itself haram, and the only effect a marriage contract can have is to give the wife a unilateral right of divorce?
    – G. Bach
    Mar 20, 2017 at 11:33
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    @G.Bach Its a whole other discussion about what forbidding the permissible is ... anyways this is not a case of forbidding the lawful but rather restricting how much you take of what is lawful. For example I can put a condition in some contract that I will eat 1 sandwich and not more. It is permissible for me to do so even though God has made it halal for me to eat as many sandwiches as I like. Related QA: islamqa.info/en/143120
    – UmH
    Mar 20, 2017 at 13:30
  • Also see this: islamqa.info/en/108806
    – UmH
    Mar 20, 2017 at 13:39
  • I was referring to the oath about making something permissible forbidden with the first half of the sentence, and about the effects of the marriage contract in the second half. As the references you give point out, it does seem to be at least discouraged and probably impermissible for the husband to violate the condition of not taking another wife. I'll post another question on this since I can't wrap my head around it just yet, thank you.
    – G. Bach
    Mar 20, 2017 at 14:01
  • I posted a question here that asks about this distinction.
    – G. Bach
    Mar 20, 2017 at 14:17

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