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Salam alaykum. Please note that I myself am not in this position, rather I am in the position of knowing men who say they do "halal cheating"; namely marrying a second woman making the sexual activities with the second wife permissible in islam. I am not knowledgeable enough to do more than to advise them it is wrong to trick your first wife and not take her choice into account or her comfort. However, what I wonder is if someone may be able to cite islamic texts to show that in islam it is actually wrong to hide such a thing from your first wife. I am sure that many of these men would, in knowledge that it is haram or makruh to lie to your first wife, stop having these thoughts.

The entire "halal cheating" seems to be a form of self-validation for people who are no better in spirit than the fornicators who have extramarital sex, as they also give in to their compelling desire for lust.

I am very grateful for anyone who would be able to provide islamic citations!

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It is legal in Islam for a man to marry more than one woman.

فانكحوا ما طاب لكم من النساء مثنى وثلاث ورباع

Then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four.

Quran 4:3

If the marriage was proper, e.g. in the presence of two witnesses and the wali of the bride, with proper offer and acceptance etc. then it is a valid Nikah and is incomparable with fornication or extramarital sex. There is no blame for satisfying desire, provided that it is through legal means.

Neither is the consent of the first wife required nor is the husband obliged to inform her. What he is obliged to do however is to administer justice between his wives, e.g. in division of nights between them. And he is also advised to remain with a single spouse for that purpose.

فإن خفتم ألا تعدلوا فواحدة

But if you fear that you will not be just, then marry only one

Quran 4:3

It is not legally required to seek the approval of the first wife, however doing so may be recommended as part of courtesy and good treatment:

وعاشروهن بالمعروف

And live with them in kindness.

Quran 4:19

لتسكنوا إليها وجعل بينكم مودة ورحمة

That you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.

Quran 30:21

أكمل المؤمنين إيمانا أحسنهم خلقا، وخياركم خياركم لنسائهم خلقا

The most complete of the believers in faith is the one with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.

Jami at-Tirmidhi

  • thank you very much for your extended reply! It might be hard for me to accept, because it still feels so immoral to do this since as you quoted, most of these people I know do not live in kindness... they face a lot of drama upon their first wife finding out. That is why I was curious about this act, which is still considered "cheating" in the western sense of the word but religiously condemned as "fornication"... – Reuben Victoor Jul 27 '19 at 22:13
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    @ReubenVictoor Note that a woman can stipulate that the husband shall not enter polygamy during the marriage contract and the husband shall be bound to follow it. See this fatwa – Crimson Jul 28 '19 at 13:20
  • @Crimson I just wanted to mention that some argue that while most stipulations are acceptable that's actually not permissible. I actually no strong opinions about this. – Honey Jul 28 '19 at 14:45
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Mut'ah has the purpose of what you're saying. You might also want to see here. Marrying a second wife is a huge commitment. A woman may enjoy a single sex night. But no woman would want to be your your sex partner for an eternity. She would want commitment ie if you're marrying her then you give her your everything. Your heart and not just your body. Similar to what UmH has said.


Have you heard of a narration that a husband must inform his wife of such? I haven't.

Technically speaking in Islam a husband is not bound to his wife. So a wife has no right of such. Hence it's not cheating against her. Though in today's world, among non-Muslims, being with another woman is the very definition of cheating. From what I understand in Islam cheating is to not do justice.

And the definition of justice is not exactly what you think. I mean what would a man do if he has 3 wives? What is he do with the forth night?

Let's see what the hadith say:

تهذيب الأحکام , ج 7 , ص 420

عَنْ حَمَّادٍ عَنِ الْحَلَبِیِّ عَنْ أَبِی عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ سُئِلَ عَنِ الرَّجُلِ یَکُونُ عِنْدَهُ امْرَأَتَانِ إِحْدَاهُمَا أَحَبُّ إِلَیْهِ مِنَ الْأُخْرَى أَ لَهُ أَنْ یُفَضِّلَ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَى قَالَ نَعَمْ یُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهُنَّ عَلَى بَعْضٍ مَا لَمْ یَکُنَّ أَرْبَعاً

I asked Imam Saidqh about a man who has two wives and one is more favorable to him, can he favor one over the other? Imam said: Yes he can favor, til they are not 4 wives.

I also saw in another hadith, that if a husband marries a virgin woman, then that woman has the right of 7 consecutive nights. If she's not virgin then she has the right of 3 nights. It's kind of similar to honeymoon :). After that I guess things back go to normal.

Is this against the verses of Quran?

الکافی، کتاب النکاح، ‌باب فیما احلّه الله

عزوجل من النساء - قَالَ سَأَلَ ابْنُ أَبِی الْعَوْجَاءِ هِشَامَ بْنَ الْحَکَمِ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَ لَیْسَ اللَّهُ حَکِیماً قَالَ بَلَی وَ هُوَ أَحْکَمُ الْحَاکِمِینَ قَالَ فَأَخْبِرْنِی عَنْ قَوْلِهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَانْکِحُوا ما طابَ لَکُمْ مِنَ النِّساءِ مَثْنی وَ ثُلاثَ وَ رُباعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَواحِدَةً أَ لَیْسَ هَذَا فَرْضاً؟ قَالَ بَلَی قَالَ فَأَخْبِرْنِی عَنْ قَوْلِهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِیعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَیْنَ النِّساءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلا تَمِیلُوا کُلَّ الْمَیْلِ أَیُّ حَکِیمٍ یَتَکَلَّمُ بِهَذَا ؟ فَلَمْ یَکُنْ عِنْدَهُ جَوَابٌ فَرَحَلَ إِلَی الْمَدِینَةِ إِلَی أَبِی عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع فَقَالَ یَا هِشَامُ فِی غَیْرِ وَقْتِ حَجٍّ وَ لَا عُمْرَةٍ؟ قَالَ نَعَمْ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاکَ لِأَمْرٍ أَهَمَّنِی إِنَّ ابْنَ أَبِی الْعَوْجَاءِ سَأَلَنِی عَنْ مَسْأَلَةٍ لَمْ یَکُنْ عِنْدِی فِیهَا شَیْ ءٌ قَالَ وَ مَا هِیَ؟ قَالَ فَأَخْبَرَهُ بِالْقِصَّةِ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع أَمَّا قَوْلُهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَانْکِحُوا ما طابَ لَکُمْ مِنَ النِّساءِ مَثْنی وَ ثُلاثَ وَ رُباعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَواحِدَةً یَعْنِی فِی النَّفَقَةِ وَ أَمَّا قَوْلُهُ وَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِیعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَیْنَ النِّساءِ وَ لَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلا تَمِیلُوا کُلَّ الْمَیْلِ فَتَذَرُوها کَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ یَعْنِی فِی الْمَوَدَّةِ قَالَ فَلَمَّا قَدِمَ عَلَیْهِ هِشَامٌ بِهَذَا الْجَوَابِ وَ أَخْبَرَهُ قَالَ وَ اللَّهِ مَا هَذَا مِنْ عِنْدِکَ

Kafi, Book of Nikah, chapter women who marrying them is halal

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan says: Ibn abi al-awja asked Hisham ibn al-Hakam, Isn't Allah Wise?!

Hisham said: Allah is Hakim. He's the wisest of judges!

Ibn ib al-awja said so tell about the verse: “And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one”. Isn’t this mandatory/wajib?

He said: yes!

Ibn abi al-awja said: tell about this verse: “And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one].” Which hakim says such?!

Hisham ibn Hakam didn’t have an answer to this question. So he traveled to Medina and reached out to Imam Sadiq. Imam Sadiq said that you’ve came here at a time that isn’t for Hajj.

Hisham said: I’m here for something important. Ibn abi al-awja asked something I couldn’t answer.

Imam Sadiq said: What is the question?

Hisham told the whole story.

Imam Sadiq: The verse “And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one”. Is about giving nafaqa. But the verse “And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one].” Is about love (مودّه).

When Hisham returned and told the answer to Ibn abi al-awja, Ibn abi al-awja said: I swear! This answer is not from yourself, you got it from somewhere else.


Conclusion

It's allowed, but not recommended. Having a secret life is never worth it.

Justice doesn't mean a just number of nights in between women. Each woman deserves only one night in every 4 nights. If he has one wife, he can sleep 3 nights in a hotel (stupid idea) and one night with her. If he has two wives, he can sleep 3 nights with one and only one night with the other.

Justice is about giving the same amount of nafaqa. He can't say, this woman has PhD so I'll give her $500 a month, and that woman has no degree so I'll just give her $100 a month. Yet if her wife who has PhD has more expenses e.g. she need to buy clothes more frequently for her work, then that's a different thing. It's not nafaqa. It's just more cost. I would assume that equal nafaqa means equal housing, clothing, vacations, food, etc ie he can't say I'll get one a penthouse and a dungeon for the other.

  • Thank you very much for your very exhaustive reply! :D You answered many other questions I did not include in my base question too! – Reuben Victoor Jul 28 '19 at 13:33

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