Question: Assalamu alaikum. My husband became polygamous 3 years ago. He is providing for both families, but I work and contribute to our expenses. He has always shared his earnings equally between his families. Now he tells me my co-wife has cancer and will need treatment and medicines. We live in the US and this will be very expensive. He says he will have to cancel our children’s collegefunds and use them to pay for her treatment, and we will have to cut back on our spending, maybe even move to a smaller house so that he can afford her medicines. I have my own insurance and will never need his money if I get sick. She is only his islamic wife, and has no right to his insurance so he will have to pay cash for everything. Now I am asking, does he have a right to take the money from our children’s collegefunds to pay for her treatment? We have afforded to put money away because of my earnings. Can he give more money to her because she is sick and keep doing it while she needs medicine and treatment? I have tried to study but all I find is that he MUST share his money equally, he can not give her more? I have never found anything else. I would need to be able to tell him that he has no right to take my children’s money and give to her and that he can’t force us to cut back to give money to her. It also is not just, since I have my own insurance and he will never have to spend on me the same way. He also spends more time with her than with me now, because she is ill. Does he have a right to do that? Must he make up for the nights he takes from me? Thank you for answering my question.
Answer: Hello! First of all – I am not muslim. I am not an expert on islamic jurisprudence. I can not pretend to be able to give you an islamically correct answer to your question. I am sorry. I am putting it out here, hoping maybe somebody knowledgable will be kind enough to answer your question from an islamic point of view.
As a woman in polygamy, I’d say he has no right to steal money from your children to pay for his new woman. He must share his money equally. He decided to get another woman, he pay for her. That you have contributed to these funds makes it even more sickening that he would even consider taking the money! Since you live in the US you can simply threaten to take him to court if he takes the money! If you can supply proof of his being a bigamist, there’s no way the court will let him take this money! Also, cutting back is out of the question as I see it. In islam, it is an absolute prerequisite that the husband must afford to provide for all his wives. So let him pay! He must share his money equally. If he can’t afford to keep her, he must divorce her. Simple. The same goes for the time he spends with her. If she is acutely ill, he must stay with her until somebody else can care for her, but he must make up for the nights he takes from you. If she is in hospital she will be taken care of by others, and he can make up for any time he stole from you. When she comes home, he can’t keep taking your nights but must employ somebody to be with her if that is necessary, because he is obliged to share his nights equally. I hope this is of help. And remember: It’s not your job or duty to care for her, help her, feel sorry for her or provide for her. It’s his.