A pious woman has been married to a particular practicing Muslim brother for 20 years, having three children in this time. Their relationship was perfect as both are observing Muslims. Two years ago, a neighbouring couple had a household dispute which encouraged the pious woman to let herself and her husband to reconcile the neighbouring couple’s problems.
The pious woman’s husband began to become close with the neighbouring lady who had a conflict with her husband. Eventually, the neighbouring couple broke up and the neighbouring now-divorced lady secretly married the pious woman’s husband (his second marriage). Several months later, he revealed his marriage to his original wife (the pious woman). She was shocked and heartbroken as she had always trusted her husband and her husband swore on the Qur’an when community members began informing her that her husband was becoming intimate with the neighbouring lady. (Note: The husband said he paid his kaffara.)
Today, the husband fulfils the rights of both wives in regards visitation rights and good behaviour. However, since the first wife has been betrayed after two-decades of marriage and has tried to tolerate this situation for 2 years now, the pious lady cannot give her husband the same respect as before, cannot maintain the smooth relationship as in the past, and often cannot control her temper. She fears that she will violate the rights of her husband and will earn Allah’s displeasure (due to the fitna) because her psychological state is unstable. The pious woman is mentally depressed now.
Can she independently file for divorce? Living in the United States, she needs the Fiqh depending on this specific situation.ANSWER:
Due to the fact that the husband fulfils the rights of the first wife filing for divorce would not be appropriate. It is possible that if the wife files for divorce she might not find another good husband, thus she might suffer from certain difficulties. The wife should adorn and beautify herself observing the Sharee’ principles, so that she becomes more attractive to her husband in which he would develop more love for her.
And Allah Ta’aala knows best
Mufti Muhammed Ashraf
20 January 2010 / 15 Safar 1432