Secret marriages, spiritual abuse, and our Scholars: An introduction to “Not all Marriages are Equal”

Note: This piece is an introduction to Dr. Mohammad Fadel’s scholarly article on Islamic marriage, temporary marriage, secret marriage and polygamous marriage.

 

Sometimes even holy men have their wicked schemes. Over the past few months, my colleagues and I have learned from multiple sources about a set of Muslim celebrity-scholars and their peers who have been pursuing secret second, third, and fourth marriages. The exact details, protected here for the privacy of the individuals affected most – the women involved — are both disturbing and delicate.

In examining these cases, a pattern emerges: a highly esteemed man with spiritual influence or worldly power preys on vulnerable women – new converts, eager students, or isolated individuals with little social clout within the community. He tells her she is special. He tells her this marriage is their right as Muslim man and woman. He tells her not to tell his first wife. Then, he disappears. He leaves her with little remedy, a devastating secret, and a horrible mess to clean up.

After wrestling with these stories for some time, I’m still not sure what is most alarming about them. Is it the idea that a first wife was left in the dark for the sake of a man’s ego and inability to control his sexual urges, or that a second wife was told to keep her marriage secret or risk losing this same man’s love, his particularly special love? Perhaps the most nauseating element of these stories is that they involve men who seem well versed in our religious tradition, men who have always given the appearance of living exemplary lives, yet here their actions have risked the faith of many. Losing one’s religion is no small thing. The impact these intentional manipulations have had should leave all of us sleepless.

Even worse, who else knew and did nothing about it? Here, some of our leaders who were informed about these particular incidences have disappointed us. By privileging the reputations of individual men over the health of entire communities, they have left their flocks vulnerable and exposed. In some instances, the women who were approached by their teachers for these secret marriages – women who were often young, newly converted, or vulnerable from previous abuses –  have been blamed instead. Have those with influence who were informed proactively called to remove these men from their positions, publicly informed communities about these dangers, and implemented transparent policy changes? Or, have institutional leaders, board members, fellow scholars, and leading activists simply looked the other way?

Con men come in different stripes but the effects of their choices are often similar. As a woman who has had to live with the consequences of a former husband’s immoral secrets, I know firsthand the destruction that results. Secrets born out of manipulation and self-aggrandizement have the power to irreparably damage lives and religious identities.

It is not for any of us to ascertain what is best for these women – the first wives, the subsequent wives, and their children. Learning your marriage is a lie is an incredibly painful experience. These women’s decisions and choices are theirs to make. As for those of us who live in the same community as these men or who are their students – we must hold our scholars and leaders to higher standards. We cannot look away for fear of tarnishing these men’s reputations when we see their wives and children humiliated and broken.

We as a community must ask questions rooted in common sense and coupled with our religious tradition. What is moral? What is permissible? How do we respond to secret marriages as individuals? What should our institutional responses be when things go deeply awry? What does community accountability look like here?

On that quest for answers, there will likely be many thoughts and opinions. Here is one, intelligently written and well researched. Please read it, share it, and think deeply about what must be done. People’s lives and their faith depend on our responses to this darkness within our communities. Silence is not an option.

 

Samar Kaukab is an altM columnist and Advisory Board member.

40 Comments

  • Muslima says:

    One of the issues with posting an article like this that is no one is willing to let women know who these men are. Men can continue to perpetrate against women because their behavior is a secret. This has to change or they will continue to spread this behavior like a disease. I am certain there are arguments about the covering of our brothers flaws, but at what level are we held accountable for something we could have prevented?!?

    • SDM says:

      It’s obvious that the writers are being careful and deliberate. It also obvious that the goal is not to cover the flaws of the brothers. They are obviously talking about changing the culture.

  • Mariam says:

    Polygyny is permissive in Islam. We hear several examples of scholars who abuse their powers, plenty of people are willing to speak about them. Who are they? If you write an accusatory article against a group, at least name the specifics so that all scholars are not viewed in this manner. I know if several well known scholars who have second wives WITH their first wives permission. Let’s try to stay balanced when we are targeting a group. It is as if the Trump is saying all Muslims are ISIS. Most scholars lead pious lives according to the teachings of our Prophet (PBUH). The FEW that set these bad examples need to be named in articles as such so people are not questioning every scholar and praise those scholars who practice polygyny in an admirable way according to our Prophet (PBUH) example.

  • Mariam says:

    If the Dr. Is to write a balanced article, he needs to examine scholars who live in polygyny with success as to examine e what makes polygyny successful versus unsuccessful. He also needs to address the practice as it relates to none scholars and the abuse rate as well as success rates amongst that population as well. My guess? The Dr.will not include positive examples as his views are one sides and he is unable to provide a balanced approach (after examining his upcoming”scholarly articles”. Please do some real scholarly research and present both sides rather than your opinion or that of which you feel the general public wants to hear.

  • alif lam says:

    Salam, as a man, traveling around the countries, I had see this problem in the western society because the married woman is proud and not able to handle her jealousy and will divorce her husband just because she is “the only one”, when on other countries, where women knows that they can be married to a married man they, the women are the ones who harass the man, and constantly tell them that Allah allowed in the Qur’an

  • yasmin says:

    how strange is it when we (potentially) continue to invite so-called scholars to our events and listen to their speeches if they’re engaging in this kind of behavior? and of course, it’s no one’s place to inflict trauma on women who have already gone through so much, but i implore those women to come forward and tell us who these awful figures are. we cannot allow men like that to lead our communities.

  • Sally S. says:

    This really troubles me. I am hearing more and more people whisper about these big-shot celebrity scholars (particularly in the Bay Area in the US) who have secret multiple wives.

    Let me be clear – I honestly could not care less if a man has more than one wife. Really. What I DO care about are men who abuse their position of spiritual authority to take advantage of often vulnerable women, men who take second, third etc wives and don’t tell their first wife, men who have second, third etc wives but keep them a secret and thus they, and any children they have, cannot claim full rights. And let’s not even start on men who keep it secret so their wives can claim benefits as “single mothers”; that is just beyond belief.

    This isn’t cool and it isn’t acceptable.

    And all those people who think it’s better to shield these men than it be known, because making it known “will cause people to doubt the deen”? Well guess what – these things ALWAYS come out, and now we’ll have people doubting the deen anyway, plus however many damaged women and children in their wake. These women are not the understandable collateral damage of the predatory behaviour of these imams – they are souls to be honoured and who have rights.

    Haven’t we learned anything from the Catholic Church and what happens when people think it’s better to protect predators than damage the name of a religious institution?

  • ali abbas q says:

    The issue of secret marriage is propelled by the husbands understanding that the first Wife will not give permission for the second Marriage. If God had deemed it that the Husband can take a second Wife, the first Wife’s permission not with-standing should stand in the way of a Gods servant in fulfilling the Quranic precept. Maybe this way the Husband saves the first Wife from sin, preventing him to marry which the Quran stipulates.

    • asmauddin says:

      Ali, did you read the legal article by Dr Fadel? This piece is simply an Introduction to that more legal piece. There, Dr Fadel writes:

      “The position blaming the first wife for the secrecy surrounding the second marriage also erroneously assumes that a Muslim woman is under a moral duty to accede compliantly to a second wife. This is contrary to Islamic law and historical Muslim practice. The Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) himself prevented ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib from taking a second wife while married to Faṭima because she was strongly opposed to it. [14] As a matter of legal practice among post-Prophetic generation Muslims, Muslim marriage contracts routinely included stipulations in favor of the wife that gave her the right to divorce. [15] While Imām Mālik considered such stipulations to be disfavored, they were not ḥarām, and they were judicially enforceable. Accordingly, a Muslim woman is not acting sinfully for refusing to accept a second wife. Because her objection to being in a polygamous relationship is not wrongful, it can hardly serve as an excuse to hide from her the husband’s second marriage.”

  • ali abbas q says:

    Also another issue that hasnt been touched at all in this academic discourse, and this is where the learned scholars own legal background doesnt do him any well, is that if he was involved with Family Court, if the first Wife found out about the second Wife, she can take him to Court under the pretext of adultry (many muslim Woman, infact majority will accuse their Husband of adultery knowing fully well that the Quran allows it yet they might dis-agree with it, like God’s Will and the first Wife’s Will)

    The divorce in this case will yield a severe financial and emotional blow on the husband, if the Wife was stay home and with Children. The legal system that I deal with, practically makes poverty a guarantee if the Husband isnt making more than 75,000.

    Citing Maliki or other opinions is really anachronistic. Infact the glistening citation of one school and silent on the other schools is selective manipulation.

    What is needed a deep introspective look at marriage and her role, and healthy discourses between Spouses of interest subsides. Again the article takes no mention of such amenities available to us. Trying to solve this from the legalistic aspect is only going to go so far, and that is where the ethical and cognitive comes into play

  • Sana says:

    I will no longer be reading this publication. The ambiguity of this piece makes it sound like something out of Gossip Girl.

    • asmauddin says:

      Sana, this piece was merely an Introduction to the legal piece by Dr. Fadel – a brief explanation of why that more legal article is so needed today. For various reasons, the names of the scholars cannot (yet) be revealed.

  • Yahya says:

    Can someone give an explicit verse from Quran or sunnah expressing the need for the man to ask his wife permission to marry a second wife or a third etc.When you have the layman muslims attempting interpret the Quran or sunnah base his or her opinions this is more harmful than have a second wife.

    • keep calm says:

      i find this kind of question so odd. I really wonder why Muslims take everything from a legalistic perspective. Even if a man had a “right” to do this without consulting his wife, what kind of scenario does one imagine? so he goes out, pursues another woman, marries her and somewhere along the line announces the fact to his first wife? or does she find out through the wedding invite? what does htat say about the first marriage and its very atmosphere. I mean, I don’t think most men would go out and buy a car and then let their wife know after the fact. Or plan to move the whole famliy to a new country, and then go let the wife know after making all the plans. And both of those two things are much lesser than getting married to another woman. And in both cases, the husband has a “right” to do those things. Using the word “permission” of course raises men’s rankles – they hate the idea of thinking they’d need to ask their wife permission – but just as letting her know about the plan to buy a new car or move the famliy, it’s not about “permission” – it’s about communication and being open with the one you have committed to look after in this life.

  • Paper Lady says:

    I wish the author would name the culprits here. After all, there is no such thing as “secret marriage” in Sunni Islam so by definition, there is nothing to hide. Gents like Suhaib Webb, Yasir Qadhi and other “celebrity scholars” are well known but others should be identified so our poor fellow sisters can be shielded.

    Celebrity Scholars are as much scholars as Donald Trump is a conservative. Names should be posted, that is the truth but they won’t be because we will dust it under the rug and let other women suffer; so long as it’s not in our home, it doesn’t bother us, that’s the reality.

    • Fatima Mujahid says:

      And this comment is exactly why these types of articles are extremely dangerous. Two scholars that most of American Muslims know and respect have been suggested, when they most likely have nothing to do this situation at all. If you wish to bring these types of situations to light, please be blunt and open – name the parties you are referring to. Otherwise you are not doing anyone any favors by creating an umma that distrusts all of its leadership.

      I have total sympathy and regard for the women who are being preyed on. But in order to really help them and serve justice start naming the predators AND pursuing legal action. Otherwise this is just a gossip fest.

  • Ali says:

    Maybe the scholars wife should look at more than one man, if it is okay for man to do this theen why not the woman

  • Alt M is part of the cover up. Name them or stop beating around the beard!

  • European says:

    Sister Asma T Uddin: I am a male Muslim writing this from Europe. I think the article raises crucially important points. However I think the website policy of not naming the scholars is a shame, because now this article is leading to rumors and creating suspicions about almost every famous scholar. This is not good media policy, please rethink this as you are defaming many scholars because of not mentioning names.

  • Hasan says:

    I personally know many celebrity scholars in the US with multiple wives and their marriages are neither temporary or secret. They seem happy. Their wives seem happy. It is not some mystery. Their friends, students and congregants from their mosques know this.

  • keep calm says:

    okay, so the scholarly article to which this is an intro is very helpful and useful. but this intro needs to go. i happen to know that one of the people being referred to is not even a scholar – just someone working in the field of daawah. So that is a really important point.
    the other person did not hide his second marriage from his wife, just kept it on the quiet in terms of his larger following. I don’t think that is abusive in any way.
    Plenty of discussion def. needs to be had about whether polygamy is appropriate in our context and whether for some people it tends to function as a way out of dealing with problems in their first marriage, or is an escape route after someone has already started to enter into haram and so functions as a sort of affair to all intents and purposes.
    I’m sorry but we need to be clear about these things. but please, don’t get taken in by the dramatic sound of this intro. It’s not as widespread as it makes you think.

  • Tareq M says:

    It is also the position of the Shafii and Hanbali schools of Islamic thought that it is best and also sunnah to restrict oneself to only one wife. In Maliki School, the first wife has the right to not live in that situation, so she has the immediate right to dissolve her marriage to her husband if he wishes to marry a second woman.

    The reasoning their scholars provided for that is that injustice between two wives is haram, therefore it is better to avoid the risk of committing injustice in polygamy by avoiding polygamy altogether, even if one believes that he can be equitable between two women.

    Here are some of the quotes from classical works of these scholars.

    ”Ash-Shaafi’i is of the view that it is desirable to confine oneself to marrying only one although it is permissible for him to marry more than one. This is to avoid being unfair by being more inclined to some of them than others, or being unable to financially support them. [al-Hawi al-Kabir 11/417]

    Ash-Shirbeeni from the Shaafi’i School of jurisprudence, said in Mughni al-Muhtaj 4/207: “It is a Sunnah not to marry more than one wife if there is no apparent need.” [End of quote]

    Moreover, Al-Maawardi, from the Shaafi’i School of jurisprudence, said: “Allaah has permitted a man to marry up to four wives, saying: {…two or three or four…}, but Allaah advised that it is desirable for man to marry only one wife, saying: {…But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one} [al-Hawi al-Kabir 11/417]

    Ibn Qudaamah may Allaah have mercy upon him from the Hanbali School of jurisprudence, said in Ash-Sharh Al-Kabeer: [B]“It is more appropriate to marry only one wife. The author of Al-Muharrar [i.e. Abul Barakaat Al-Majd ibn Taymiyyah] said this, based on the saying of Allaah (which means) {…But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one}.” [End of quote from Ash-Sharh Al-Kabeer authored by Shams-ud-deen Ibn Qudaamah]

    Imam Ahmed ibn Naqib al Masri said ‘’It is fitter to confine oneself to just one’’ [Umdatu Salik]

    Imam Ghazali said in his kitab al nikah: “It does not call for two wives, [since] plurality may render life miserable and disrupt the affairs of the home.”

  • KM- Amsterdam says:

    some want to argue that polygamy can be a successful manner in which to channel the sexual fires that our current context constantly stokes in us, and to halalify an attraction that a man develops for a woman he mixes with freely (why is that even happening? well, hmm, I guess it’s cuz we all hated on “segregation” and got rid of it – and made mixing the de facto way of doing “islamic” stuff becuase we refused to believe that men and women might get attracted to one another).

    But we need to ask: is it okay if polygamy today is used in a way it was never used in the original contexts – where marriage was to build family ties, alliances, and to support widowed and divorced women? EVen if you want to argue those are not absolute stipulations, they are what made polygamy present in those older societies (remember, Islam did not invent polygamy. Polygamy is NOT Islamic, anymore than slavery is. when it came to slavery and polygamy, Islam did not do away with them but it placed upon them a limiting framework that INSISTED on ihsaan and not harming the parties involved – as shown in the stipulation of equality between the two wives.)

    So is polygamy today the same as it was then? Is it just a form that can have any purpose we attach to it? Or does the intention matter?

    Just like we have to ask: is hijab just a form? Ie is hijab still hijab if women wear it to attract men? or has it lost its meaning?
    likewise, is polygamy still “Islamically acceptable” if it is being used as a channel to express what society is teaching us about sexuality – that we need variety, that we should concentrate on sexual gratification to the degree that one woman is not enough for us, that having multiple partners can be fun, that it’s okay to scope out women besides one’s wife and start up relationships here and there – if so, it is a thin veil for a truly unIslamic type of behavior…
    if actions are but by intention, then what is our intention – for God or our passions/hawa nafs?? what is pleasing to God? does this action bring me closer to Him or farther? and is it worth the risk of coming to God with a face that is not able to look straight forward at Him (the punishment of a man who does not treat his wives equally). This comment is not for scholars, but for the average man reading this who may think polygamy is a walk in the park. We should never manipulate sharia to fulfil our own lower desires. The harm of such behavior is not befitting of a Muslim. and just think: how many a non-Muslim would accept this as being the behavior of a spiritual person – really, they would say: oh, just like having an affair. We have to make sure we are not using polygamy to have what is basically an affair: something brought on not by a conscious decision to go and marry again, but resulting out of looking at a woman not our mahram, talking to her, getting attracted to her, and then finally deciding: oh, to take this further, we better marry. That just does not sound like the action of an upright individual. Too any steps leading to it were already haram.

    • asmauddin says:

      Excellent points – I agree with all of them! Most essentially: taking mindful action and doing only that which is pleasing to God.

  • M.Tabla says:

    I’d like to respond to a comment on your facebook page: “Last point…we also do need to consider what leads to these kinds of relationships in our communities. The fact that we make healthy relationships with the opposite gender so difficult, make it impossible for people to meet and get to know eachother, and fail to look at the nuances of every situation rather than judging everything according to the same narrow (often “back home”) blueprint. Every situation is different.”
    okay, how do you define “healthy relationships”? you realize that in most situations where men and women are “friends” or even “colleagues,” extra-marital stuff goes on?
    “Making it impossible for people to meet and get to know each other” is the problem here? Really? so you think these people who did this were not able to meet and get to know each other? What? It’s more like they WERE able to meet and get to know each other too well. Perhaps within the framework of “doing daawah” together, or working on projects for the community, together, or whatever. And that is where you cannot control the desires that are in human beings. Islam actually recognizes people’s sexuality, and that is why those getting to know you type of situations between men and women who are not related to one another are restricted. Exactly to AVOID the type of situation we see here. And yet people still think that the issue is segregation? That segregation cause this kind of mess? That’s really odd.
    The second point that must be made: what if these people being spoken of made a mistake and are repentant. What is the point of calling them frauds as many are doing? Or acting like they used their position to prey on people? and not just that they fell into sin, like many of us do?

  • Hadia Sharief says:

    ” A believer does not lie “

  • Halima says:

    Two questions: what’s the diff. between this kind of secret marriage and cheating? if you look up polygamy vs. cheating, you will see all the arguments go along the lines of: polygamy is not cheating because all the parties know about it and are in agreement to it.
    https://bilnigma.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/polygamy-and-cheating-a-thin-line/
    next question:
    the old argument about why women can’t be polygamous is that we don’t have a way to know who the father is, out of all the husbands. But today we do. You can do dna testing. So why not let women engage in this too. If it’s about fulfiling desires, having fun, legitimizing a situation when you are attracted to someone other than your spouse, then newsflash: women are just as needy of this as a solution. WHy not let a married women halal-ize their attraction to a man she is attracted to other than her spouse, from interacting with him at work/the maasjid, etc.? Cuz it happens. Every argument you can give me for men being only human and how polygamy prevents them from doing zina with that other woman they are attracted to holds just as well for a married woman. Don’t you want to save her from zina too by letting her marry that other man?

  • Halima says:

    Anything that causes someone harm is not allowed in Islam. If you believe in polygamy, let’s also bring back slavery. Just practice it Islamically and it will be good. Are you better than the Sahabah some of whom continued having slaves – but treated them well? So why not also introduce that practice into our western communities? are we embarassed?
    I’m going to repeat myself: anything that causes someone harm, is de facto not allowed in Islam. Islam is never about finding loopholes in the law that make it sound like “technically” you are okay with the thing you are doing that will have hurtful consequences for someone else. It’s really simple: if your first wife wil be hurt – no, i’m not talking about the jealousy experienced from only time to time and only by some of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) – i’m talking about HURT—like feel betrayed, neglected, unstable, insecure – then sorry brother, you are not on the right path.
    It’s basically not a part of the “URF” (cultural norm) for most women in the world today, and sharia has always respected and adopted urf where that urf does not go directly against sharia. And sharia did not insist on bringing in practices that are not fard, and not in keeping with urf.
    Women have too long been oppressed by not getting to know these things. WHy should any woman have to live in fear and insecurity that one day her spouse could basically do what FEELS like betrayal to her, and present it under the acceptable guise of being polygamy – ie. force her to not be able to resist it, or insisting she is a bad muslim if she does. That’s totally not ok. In her urf, it is not a normal thing to do, therefore he should not be doing it. We respect the customs of the society and each other. JUst like you wouldn’t burp at the table in a wester muslim setting, evne though that is totally normal in other settings. do you have a RIGHT to burp. ANd just like you shouldn’t pick your nose in public. Do you have a right? yes you do. But should you? that’s another topic.

  • Farah says:

    why my father’s secret second marriage almost cost me my faith.

    It said to me:
    – it’s okay to lie
    – it’s okay to live a double life – being religious and worshipping but also deceiving your loved ones on a daily basis and keeping vital information from them
    – that I can never trust what I see: that loved ones will betray me; that I cannot trust men; that all that I was taught about Islam being just and beautiful falls apart when it comes to this particular action – because he said it was sanctioned by God
    – that somehow it’s okay for a woman (my Mom) to cry every night due to this situation, because Islam says she should just suck it up and get over it.

    This is real. Scholars at the time, who I asked about it, could only say that technically my Dad did nothing wrong. I soon lost hope in scholars too. How, how, how could something SO clearly devastating and wrong be called right?
    It boggles the mind.
    Thank God I didn’t lose my faith from that. Credit goes to God and to other scholars who clearly stated that what had happened WAS wrong.
    I sure was traumatised for a long time.

  • Farah says:

    tbh – this article should have a trigger alert. Because it triggers in me all that trauma and all that pain. God. Y’all, make dua for me and everyone else who has been hurt by this thing.

  • Aisha says:

    Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about. [Muslim]
    Why would a person dislike people finding out about that marriage? either it’s wrong, or it’s not acceptable in the norm of the society. Either way, both issues should stop a person from going forth. If it’s morally wrong (that is, you know your wife would be heartbroken if she knew) then you need to stop. If it’s not accepted in the society, you also need to stop because we are not here to cause fitna to people by doing stuff they find totally weird and not okay. We have a responsibility here to keep peace.

    Anyway, if men want to be more pious, get more reward, do some Sunnah – then let them exert themselves not in taking a second wife, but in becoming this: ‘the best of you are those who are best to their wives, and I am the best to my wives.’
    ie. start by being the BEST man possible to the wife you have. That means working hard everyday to be better and better to her. Fulfilling her hopes and dreams. I ain’t met one man like that….how about you become the first?

    I don’t have any proof about the scholars or whoever talked about. So I’m really just talking about the cases of regular men I’ve come across here. I want to make that clear as I don’t like mudslinging.

    Also, isn’t high time to start warning girls about these things, teaching them to ask the necessary questions. Where was this woman’s Wali? it’s like the beginning of the internet when no one knew that girls could be duped by people on the other side of a screen – and then education campaigns started up. I think every parent should talk to her daughter about what she should be looking for in a man. Nice words and attractiveness should not be the factors – of course any girl can get sucked in by her own hormones going wild. That’s not a valid decisionmaking tool. She should have had someone – if not her parent than some older woman in her life – whose advice she could have sought. But I guess all the secrecy kept out anyone who could have spoken guidance into the situation.

    I became Muslim to get away from the total anarchy of men-women sexual antics in western society. It deeply saddens me that Muslims are driven by the same urges – (again, I am not talking about scholars – I got no knoweldge of those cases or not cases, what I know is cases of regular men in my community). It saddens me that Muslim men would ALLOW themselves to be driven by the lowest desires, even though our religion is not like that and gives us so many ways to fight those urges.
    Men let themselves go and don’t have restraint, and then they find a nice way to gloss it over by calling it Sharia compliant. It sounds like they never have to face consequences, but I’ll say this: every case I’ve known, it’s been a bitter end result for the man himself. God is Real. He doesn’t let these things go.
    He doesn’t tolerate injustice in His Name. So let us turn to Him and ask for Towba and guidance for our whole entire world.

  • Alia H says:

    HOLD ON: ALERT: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT SCHOLARS. it clearly states “In examining these cases, a pattern emerges: a highly esteemed man with spiritual influence or worldly power preys on vulnerable women”
    So it could be spiritual influence OR worldly power – which means it’s not necessarily religious leaders at all.

    The article refers to “peers” of scholars.

    We need to be careful before we assume this is shuyukh….It’s not okay to start doubting all religious authorities thanks to this article.

    Furthermore, the authors need to come clear to us: have the parties they are referring to been dealt with and have the situations been resolved? Why share ANY of this with the reading public if it only creates mistrust and alarm? what do you want people to now do with this information you have given us? doubt every shaykh we meet? How does it help anything for the reading public to know any of this? Is this not airing of dirty laundry – ie. fitna? I like teaching people what is halal and haram in these situations and offering suggestions of how to avoid them, but just spewing the emotional over the top wording that this particular article does, is irresponsible and has no actual value.

  • May Allah give the precious gift of forgiveness to the “celebrity-scholars” guilty of this deliberate exploitation that has probably sent some women pinwheeling into a void. May the women who suffer be liberated from the emotional chaos born out of false love, false fronts, stages and lecterns and cameras that will eventually fade to black like the last reel of an old movie.

  • Hannah says:

    The only way a man can be just toward more than one woman is if the women agrees to a polygamous lifestyle. And I don’t mean you spiritually blackmail her into it. Women who do not wish a life like this, especially in cultures where monogamy is the norm, should not be made to feel less pious or faithful because of it. The feelings of betrayal (not irrational jealousy, btw) are real and hurtful. Allah does not prioritize the sexual gratification of men over the emotional and spiritual well being of a woman. The “allowance” in the Quran is not a recommendation. In fact, monogamy is recommended as a guard against injustice. Where do men get this notion that polygamy is designed to satisfy their sexual desires anyways? It’s presented in the context of caring for orphans…

  • nelly says:

    Here are the issues I grapple with. Polygamy is illegal in this country. I thought it was an Islamic injunction to follow the law of the land . I was also taught that even if you did not seek permission from your first or subsequent wives that it was an Islamic requirement that they at least be informed . Also temporary marriages are imperssible. Am I wrong about all of the above?

  • qasim rashad says:

    The issue of secret marriages in Islam is it’s wrong and unlawful whether it’s the first or second, third or fourth. If you are an Imam, Amir or a board member or whatever it’s not correct. This article however is dangerous because it is vague and nondiscript as to whom is being accused and creates speculation and suspicion which may cause greater harm. I know the authors intent was not to slander directly but in doing this way they indicted the whole community of scholars and Imams as if they were rogue and diviant Preist.

  • Salma says:

    The men from sahabah and the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam were married to women widows, divorced, old aged , women who were weak to PROTECT THEM, TO FEED THEM , TO CLOTHE THEM, TO LOOK AFTER THEIR CHILDREN, THEY WERE TO SPEND ON THEM FOR THE ONLY PLEASURE OF ALLAH OPENLY !
    The men today marry second , third and 4 for the pleasure of their private parts SECRETLY ABUSING WOMEN EMOTIONALLY , FINANCIALLY , PHYSICALLY , SPIRITUALLY sometimes all those kinds of abuse all together.
    THE GUYS WHO ALLOW SECRET MARRIAGES WANT TO ASK THEM ONLY ONE QUESTION , TO POINT TO ME ONE AYA AND HADITH THAT ALLOWS SECRET MARRIAGE THEN I WILL ACCEPT THIS IMMORAL CONCEPT.
    FEW OULAMAH AGREED UPON THIS IDEA IN THE PAST THAT IT IS ALLOWED BUT AFTER THEY SAW THE RESULT IN THE SOCIETY THEY REFUTED THIS IDEA. However , THOSE GUYS WHO KEEP MARRYING SECRETLY STILL TAKE ONE FATWAH AND CHEW IT AS A CHEWING GUM TO THE NEXT VICTIM TO ….ABUSE.
    THIS PRACRICE IS NOT ALLOWED IT IS NOT HALLAL AND IT IS IMMORAL.

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