Shaykh Bin Baaz on Polygamy and Losing the Balance between Wives
Host of the Program: The next letter has come to the program (the radio program, Nurun 'alad-Darb) from Iraq. The woman who sent it is named Hafsah Yoonus Muhammad. Our sister asks a group of questions, and among them is a question about her uncle who married a new wife and he has no concern for anything but her and her children, while he has neglected the children of his first wife. What do you think (about this), if you would be so kind, O eminent Shaykh?
Ash-Shaikh Bin Baaz: It is obligatory that his brothers and friends advise him so that he will treat the mother of his children - his first wife - well, and so that he recognizes her right and her honor, and that he not forget her, turn away from her and belittle her right. If this is the case, and there is no way of stopping it, and he has no desire for her, then he should give her the option - if she wishes she may be patient with whatever Allaah makes easy in regards to him, and if she wishes she may request a divorce. If she requests a divorce, it is obligatory upon him to divorce her or be fair between her and the new wife. He has no right to keep her imprisoned while not being fair. Rather, he must be fair with her or agree to her request for divorce. In this (the latter) case, he pronounces only one divorce on her. He should not pronounce three divorces on her at once. Also, he must spend on her for the maintenance of the waiting period ('Iddah) and he should recognize her honor (i.e. treat her with respect). Allaah says: "And do not forget the Fadhl (honor, respect, favor, generosity, etc.) between you." Therefore, he must not forget her first condition (i.e. how she was when he first married her), and that she is the mother of his children. He must honor her, give her attention and show concern for her situation with whatever is easy for him of assistance. This is what is required from the good men who have noble character and honorable, good souls. However, he is not obligated to keep her in his reins. If he wishes to divorce her, he may do so. And if she is patient and does not request the divorce, hoping that he will return to her or because she does not need the divorce because she has no desire to marry anyone other than him, then if she is patient, there is no harm in that. In reference to him, he must be good to her and remember her previous state (i.e. how she was when they were newlyweds). He must be generous in giving to her according to whatever Allaah makes easy for him, and he must not forget her. This is what is legislated for him. And it is obligatory upon her good relatives to advise him so that he will be fair or divorce her if she requests divorce.
And Allaah is the Giver of success.
Source: the radio program, Nurun 'alad-Darb from Iraq