Q) I am a man who is married to 2 wives, and I have children aged 20 and above from my first wife, but I married the second wife on the basis that I have no relationship with the first wife. Since I married the second one and before I married her, I had no relationship with the first wife. What I mean is that I did not stay overnight with her because I did not get along with her, but I did not divorce her. That was in accordance with my children's wishes, because they asked me not to divorce their mother out of concern for their reputation for their friends, and I respected these wishes. I want to know whether I have committed any sin thereby, and what is the solution? Can I keep her as a wife even though I do not have any intimacy with her, or do I have to divorce her?
A) Praise be to Allaah.
The wife has the right to have her husband stay overnight with her, and she is entitled to kind treatment and intimacy. She has the right to ask for divorce if her husband fails to give her these rights. But if she agrees to stay and give up her rights, then she may do that and you do not have to divorce her in that case.
Muslim narrated (1463) from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when Sawdah bint Zam’ah grew old, she said: O Messenger of Allaah, I have given my day with you to ‘Aa’ishah. The Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) used to give ‘Aa’ishah two days: her day and Sawdah’s.
This indicates that it is permissible for a woman to give up her right to a share of her husband's time, and to give her night to her co-wife.
But if the wife does not accept this situation, and she also does not want divorce, then you have to review your case and try to resolve the problem, give her her rights, treat her kindly and show her some appreciation, because she is the mother of your children and she has lived with you all this time.
We ask Allaah to set all our affairs straight.
And Allaah knows best.