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Question: I am a 37 year old male married with 4 kids. I live in Canada but I want to be polygamous. Doesn't God's law over-rule Canadian law? Also doesn't my wife have to accept this as part of me?

Marrying more than one wife is not a permission granted to everyone, for Allah says:"If you cannot be just then only one." So you should ask yourself the question: am I being just to my wife by taking a second wife? Justice has many dimensions. One of the most important one is to be able to fulfil your responsibilities as a husband and as a father. Based on my decades long experience in marital counseling in Canada, I don't think even a man who has one wife and 4 kids (by the way, I am a father of four) can do justice to them in this society, given the nature of work and stress one has to go through life here. Before you claim your rights, you need to ask yourself whether you have fulfilled your duties towards your existing wife and children. If you take time to think this issue carefully, you will realize that marrying more than one wife in a milieu and culture like ours in Canada is indeed a challenge that most people cannot handle.

Secondly, Islam teaches us that we have to be true to the terms of our marriage contract. And the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'there is nothing more worthy of observance than the terms of one's marriage". It is known that by terms he did not mean simply written contracts; they also include those conditions or terms that are simply assumed or taken granted in a particular culture or milieu. Now if, prior to marrying your wife, you had told her that you will be exercising the option of marrying a second wife, would she have agreed to marry you? If she wouldn't have, then you are bound by that tacit agreement. You cannot marry a second one now without her permission.

Finally, Islam does not say marrying more than one wife is a religious requirement; rather it is simply an exception. So practicing polygamy is not a religious duty in Islam. In other words, you can still be a Muslim without taking a second wife. Furthermore, as Muslims, we are also bound to obey the laws of the land as long as they are not opposed to our religious requirements.



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