Q. May I please ask what the ruling is in regards to taking a fifth wife in Islam. My cousin is widowed. Her iddat is over & a man who already has five wives is interested in making nikaah. However one of his wives has left him & he has four. He is still in nikaah with the wife that has left him. What are my cousins options here?
A. In principle, a man cannot have more than four wives at one time in his Nikaah.
Hence, in the enquired situation, the Nikah of the man in reference to his ‘fifth wife’ is invalid. Furthermore, if he wishes to marry your cousin, he may only do so if he issues a divorce to his fourth wife and the Nikah to the fourth wife terminates. (Hidaayah 1/189-190)
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.