Polygamous with a Marriage License

polygamous with a marriage license

Sometimes a husband is polygamous with a marriage license or certificate, also known as a marriage decree. The legal marriage license gives the one wife privileges and rights to the husband’s property or their joint property that the other wife doesn’t have. The woman who marries the married man knows it or should have known it before she agreed to marry the man.

When a woman marries a man who is already married, she may try to figure out the details later. Sometimes it’s a little late in the game for her to do it then. She needs to know right away where she stands when her husband is polygamous with a marriage license with his other wife. What happens when he dies, for instance? Where does it leave the one without the legal document?

She may not like that her husband is polygamous with a marriage license with his first wife and she doesn’t have one

It may seem wrong to many. We sometimes make emotional decisions, which are not good. We all need to keep in mind that we are to honor contracts. In the Holy Quran Allah instructs us to do so.

In particular, in the Holy Quran there is an account of an incident that deals with contracts. I made an emotional decision when I first read it in which I was wrong. The incident involved Prophet David (PBUH). I’ll sum the story up in a nutshell:

Two disputants climbed over the wall of Prophet David’s palace and wanted him to decide who was right in their dispute. The one disputant had 99 female sheep. The other disputant had only one. The man with the 99 sheep wanted the other man’s one sheep.

Prophet David  ruled in favor of the man who had one sheep. He ruled wrongly in saying that the man with the one sheep should keep it. The two men had a contract and it was the right of the man with the 99 sheep to take the other man’s sheep. Prophet David repented and sought Allah’s forgiveness.

I thought the man with the 99 sheep was selfish to want to take the other man’s sheep. It goes to show that we are to honored contracts and shouldn’t act on emotions.

It’s a serious situation when a man is polygamous with a Marriage License with one wife, but doesn’t have one with the other

The marriage license is a legal and binding contract. Especially it is so when the man had only one wife when he entered the contract. He may not have thought he would become polygamous. After all, no one knows the future.

When a woman marries a man who is polygamous with a marriage license, she should know that the wife who married first will receive things she won’t get. A pension, social security, and medical benefits will go to the wife who is the legal wife. One should know that a legal marriage license is a contract. The parties to it should honor it.

The woman who married the married man knew that he was legally married or should have known. If she saw it as unfair, she should have turned down the marriage proposal. She shouldn’t marry him and then begin to complain about how unfair it is.

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  • ummof4

    September 19, 2017

    As-salaamu alaikum and hello to all,
    Ntswaki it would depend on the country you are living in. There are some countries, like Tanzania, where a man can register up to 4 marriages with the government. On their marriage certificate, they have a box to check for polygamy.
    If you are in a country where polygyny is not registered with the government, you might be able to get a certificate from the masjid or some Islamic religious authority.
    I’m assuming that you would like certificates, so the marriage would be considered legal and the children would be considered legitimate.
    In some countries, like the US, nobody bothers you if you are in a polygynous marriage. However, only one wife can be registered with the state. Some Muslims do not register any of their marriages with the state, the husband just provides food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for each of his wives. He has a will that is Islamic, so when he dies, each wife and child would get their fair share of the inheritance.

  • Ntswaki Masalesa

    September 19, 2017

    Me and my husbsnd like to marry polygamy and like the second wife to have a marriage certificate so what procedure to follow?

  • ummof4

    March 1, 2017

    As-salaamu Alaikum and hello to all,

    Nabia, the answer to the question is yes he can. A more pertinent question is why would he? And even more pertinent than that why would 2 women agree to such an arrangement? Islam is not just about the letter of the law. There is also the spirit of the law and just plain old common sense.
    I pray that this was just a general question, not something that you are planning to do.

    Everyone have a day full of remembrance of Allah.

  • anabellah

    February 28, 2017


    It doesn’t make sense unless they all plan to live together and do a threesome.

  • Nabia

    February 28, 2017

    Is the man allowed to marry two women at the same to me
    on the same day

  • anabellah

    March 4, 2015

    A person asked me whether the condition for a man to become polygamous depends on whether he can handle it? The link to the post that addresses the question is below:


  • anabellah

    February 16, 2015


    I enjoyed reading about your grandma and your family 🙂 It’s so important that women take an active role in their lives and advancement, and not rely on others to do it for them. I understand things are different and easier in more advanced developed countries. In the 21st century, I don’t think there is any excuse for women living, for instance, in the UK or the US not to be proactive about their personal affairs.

  • mari2

    February 16, 2015

    What my point is and yours too Ana is that there are different ways to approach marriage financially. My grandmother grew up in an Italian/Irish working class neighborhood in the Bronx. She witnessed time and again the dire financial straits of neighbors and relatives when their husbands either died at the work place and those who just left their wives and children. As my grandmother would tell: oh those poor women forced to live on the dole. No education, no opportunity for a job. So early in my grandmothers life she was compelled to educate herself which she did. She married late (25) by her own choice, and she worked through out her entire marriage while raising numerous children. Then she raised her children while insisting not a single daughter should marry prior to getting a college degree. Not only did she insist her daughters have degrees, she made sure she and my grandfather paid for them. My grandmother officially retired when she was 73 years old. At that point she had 3 daughters with degrees and I wish she was here today to see the 13 grandchildren with advanced degrees whose own children are headed down the path of education, advancement, and just being really a part of her desire for education.

    This differs quite readily for M and his family very much.

  • anabellah

    February 14, 2015


    What you said is beautiful. I love the way you think with regard to the children and polygamy. The only way children will have a healthy view of polygamy and accept polygamy as a good, wholesome way of life is with education and to see the parents accepting it wholeheartedly. Children must be taught at an early age that polygamy is an acceptable, beautiful way of life that they shouldn’t be ashamed of. I love the way you are approaching it

  • Gail

    February 14, 2015

    I am thinking about the children of Polygamy more than the adults.The children grow up in a bubble and have to hide their family situation feeling like they r different from others.Although I no longer live in Polygamy it is still part of our family.My children know their father had 2 wives and we all lived together.They know they come from a Polygamous marriage.It’s just a fact that we live with.I am bringing my children up with Polygamy as an option if they feel they must for the boys and for my daughter I am teaching her to try to accept Polygamy if it ever becomes an issue in her life.It’s the future generation I worry about.They have a right to live unashamed of their origins.

  • Mari2

    February 13, 2015

    Certainly polygamy could be a huge conundrum for the courts in the US. I have absolutely NO problem with being married religiously only with regards to polygamy. In fact, even if there was no polygamy involved, I STILL would have no problem being married religiously only. The reason is because I want and have stipulated that my children from my first marriage (as I have none from my second) are the benefactors of all that I possess. Any inheritance I get from my parents will also pass to my children via the terms of my parents’ trust. Also, due to the terms of my divorce from butt head first husband, as long that I remain unmarried for 10 years past our divorce, I will get 50 percent of his pension if he dies before me. And it doesn’t matter if he marries again. The 50 percent comes to me, not the second wife if he dies. So, why on earth would I legally marry again to anyone, from any country? Being “legally married” may benefit some, but as for me, my benefit is to not ever again have a legal/recognized marriage. Under the radar is my motto.

  • anabellah

    February 13, 2015


    You mention something that u2Sentinel who used to speak here about the legalization of polygamy spoke about. There are hardly any voices from people who support polygamy. No one STANDS UP for the lifestyle. Nothing will change, if no one is actively involved in making a change. Gay and Lesbians got out there and fought for their rights and what they believed. They fought together tirelessly and they have made progress.

    You said, “hopefully people will wake up and see it as an option instead of the husband cheating and the wife divorcing him more times than not”. There is no one fighting for polygamy and putting it out there that it’s a good way of life. It has many benefits. Unless people get out there and fight for it the way the Gays and Lesbians did there will be no change.

    How can Muslims fight for polygamy when a large percentage of Muslims don’t believe in polygamy and they fight against polygamy tooth and nail? Muslim women include in marriage contract that the husband won’t be permitted to engage in polygamy. Many Muslims who live the lifestyle are ashamed of it, hiding the fact, and keeping secrets. Nothing changes unless people make a change.

    Frankly, I don’t care enough about the legalization of polygamy to fight for it. Allah has allowed us all to live polygamy without have the government or country or lawmakers say yay or nay. Polygamy is easy to live in the United States. It’s just as easy as people having multiple girlfriends or boyfriends. No one is stopping those type of relationships – girlfriends, boyfriend, casual relationships etc. No one cares about anyone living polygamy unless someone puts it in others faces. One could live polygamy quite easily and nicely in the United States.

  • anabellah

    February 13, 2015

    @Khadijah, As Salaam Alaikum,

    Thank you much dear sister for sharing with us your views on the legalization of polygamy. I appreciate it much. It’s always nice to hear other views.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of the U.S. having the technology or not to implement laws for polygamy. It’s more about keeping the status quo. As you indicated as well – “change”.

    In the other countries you referred to, Islam is the predominant religion and the countries have large population of Muslim, which would make it beneficial to implement Islamic laws. The United States is about the separation of church and state. So we’re dealing with a totally different concept. The United States want to keep it as nice, easy and simple as possible for everyone.

    The United States may not recognize certain ways of life such as polygamy, but they don’t interfere in it either. People can live polygamy without interference as long as they don’t have more than one legally recognized marriage license, and don’t violate other laws.

    It would be nice to have you join us more in the discussions 🙂

  • Khadijah

    February 13, 2015

    Yes a women should do her homework. sadly many do not think of what will happen if her husband passes away and she is not legally married to her husband in the US. Personally Polygamy should be allowed as it would actually protect all the women in the marriage not just the one. if everything thing else Illegal and against Allah
    Why not allow the legal and what Allah allows as long as it is set up correctly.

    The rules are all in the Quran and Sunna. More than anything People I feel, fear the change and the unknown. If Polygamy can be done in third world governments and that do things by hand in most cases.. Is one saying that the US that has such technology someone could not keep up with it. My other personal thought is the government should not get involved what so ever unless there truly is a problem.. Today’s government is getting to much involved now as it is.

    The US Government doesn’t have a problem with spit up on pensions etc. due to the fact it is all computerized now in the first place. Believe me I know single men that had at least 7 wives in his life time of course only one at a time married and divorced,but all of them won court cases against his pension, retirement etc. and they all get a part of it. The rules just have to be laid down and the man will have to prove he can afford to take on more then one wife. Believe me I know some women happily married in other countries as 3rd and 4th wives that are American married for many many years that would love to bring their whole family for a visit even if it is just once to the US.
    Men have a more sexual drive than women most of the time this is why polygamy was allowed by Allah in the first place. So why not make things legal and protect the women more.

  • Gail

    February 13, 2015

    I agree it would be a hot mess for the government to split pensions,etc.. to allow polygamy but on the flip side if people don’t stand up for change Polygamy will always be seen as some kind of nasty perverted sex thing.I don’t really see polygamy getting legalized anytime soon for the reasons u stated but hopefully people will wake up and see it as an option instead of the husband cheating and the wife divorcing him more times than not.

  • anabellah

    February 12, 2015

    I think polygamy isn’t legalized in the United States because it would be too problematic for the courts, agencies and companies to manage. It has always been about spouses who are a couple. Gays and Lesbians are easy because they are still a couple. It’s difficult enough for courts to deal with matters concerning married couples. Court are backlogged with cases. Add a husband with four wives to the mix and it’s a chaotic hot mess.

    In the United States, no one bothers people who do their own thing (polygamy, polymory etc). Whatever they work out between them is fine and good. People who want polygamy legalized are talking about changing an entire system of operating. It’s too much work. They rather people do what they need to do, but don’t involve the courts and other agencies in it. I totally understand it having worked professionally and closely with the courts and legal system and the like.

  • anabellah

    February 12, 2015

    Note: This is a duplicate post, I posted under the February 2015 thread.

    As Salaamu Alaikum & Hello Everyone,

    What one needs to know and understand is inheritance deals with what the husband leaves behind that belonged to him.

    What the wife who has a legal marriage contract receives from the government and companies upon the husband’s death is not part of the husband’s estate, and never was. It was never his possession.

    Those monies from a pension, social security, medical etc are for the legal wife and are paid to the legal wife by those agencies. They were never part of the husband’s estate. It’s obvious that another wife cannot lay claim to those benefits because the government didn’t set it up that way.