Polygamy in U.S.A

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org


A man is not happy with his 30 yr marriage & wants to marry a 2nd wife. As polygamy is a crime in USA, he wants the wife to sign divorce papers in an attorney’s office & then get married to another lady & register that marriage in USA.

The first wife is ok with this as she can support herself & the children are grown up, but has questions about the status of her nikaah with him 30 yrs ago. Islamically will she stay the 1st wife or when she signs the divorce papers her islamic marriage is dissolved too?

Is this equal to Talaq as far as the first wife is concerned? Does he become Non mahram for the first wife? The first wife is practising & hijabi even though he is not. Will she have to wear a hijab in front of him?

Do they need to inform the families about this? 


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh.

It should be understood that the Islamic matrimonial system is not like the civil marriage system. According to Shari’a, polygamy is permissible and a marriage can be concluded simply by the offer and acceptance taking place in front of two males or one male and two female witnesses. This is what is termed as Nikah.

Therefore, instead of going through divorce procedures, the above procedure should be considered. The first wife will be a wife in terms of Shari’a and legally. The second wife will be a wife only according to Shari’a.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Ismaeel Bassa

Student Darul Iftaa

Durban South Africa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.