Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Love My Ummah


Friday was a good day, since I skipped out of work two days early I had it off so I could go to Jummah. Woot! And then while in the khutbah lo and behold in comes Rahma! She of the Masjid An-Nur miraculously had the same day off as me and attended the Jummah at the masjid closest to our houses (she and I live quite close to each other.) It was fate. Afterwards we were chatting and I mentioned that I wanted to speak with Br. Samir Saikali who gave the khutbah (MashAllah wonderful brother if you ever get a chance to know him, his story is amazing) to ask him about the legality of amending my marriage contract to include a clause on second wives.

Many sisters do not know this but we can put clauses in our marriage contracts, it is perfectly legal according to shari'ah. The sister would write that in the cases of:

- the brother abandons her for 1 month (or more/less depending on desire)
- the brother marries a second wife

then she reserves the right to divorce herself one finalized divorce.

When I got married I was not given the opportunity to put any clauses in our marriage contract, also the marriage contract was in Arabic and I was not able to read it over before signing it. Alhumdulillah my husband is a trustworthy and God-fearing man and so I was not taken advantage of, but this is a very good example of why converts need to find trustworthy Islamic Guardians. I'll repeat myself: CONVERTS MUST FIND TRUSTWORTHY GUARDIANS to protect her interests. I do have a trustworthy walee (guardian) however I got married in Egypt and he is in Minnesota. Also the marriage was put together in four days and I was too busy trying to remember to breathe to remember that I could amend the contract and that I should get it translated before signing it. It was not the fault of my husband either because he was even busier than I during this period and cannot be blamed for forgetting to ask me if I wanted anything amended in it. Also I just don't think it ever occurred to him, SO many sisters (born Muslim and convert alike) do not know their rights! and justly he may have never known a woman to put such clauses in her contract.

But we can, and what I wanted to ask Br Samir was how I should word the amendment I wanted to add to my marriage contract, unfortunately soon after the khutbah and prayer the brother left and I missed my chance. Instead Rahma offered to have me over at her apartment so we could look over a couple of VERY good Islamic books about marriage and marriage contracts so we did, I wrote an amendment which her husband offered to translate into Arabic for me and translate my marriage contract into English as well for me. MashAllah, they are an awesome couple.

Then Rahma and I rolled wara 3einab (stuffed grape leaves) and ate dinner. I had a wonderful evening with her.

Halaqa and Cookie Kisses

After leaving Rahma's house I headed over to Dar Al Farooq for the friday night halaqa to spend some more time with my sister-friends there before I leave for Egypt *sniffle*. One thing I love about the friday nights at DAF is that so many converts and sisters married to converts are there. And most of them have babies that I get to play with and small gorgeous children to love to cuddle. One such little girl is my favorite. The last time I was at halaqa her mom told her they were leaving so she should say salaam and hug the sisters before they left to which the little girl proceeded to circle the entire women's section giving every single person a hug. MashAllah it was the most adorable thing. This most recent Friday I was playing with some other babies and once I had given them back to their moms I was dive bombed from out of nowhere by this cuddle-bug. She crawled onto my lap and smothered me with hugs and kisses. It was delightful but then the most amazing thing happened: while in the midst of being smothered by the little girl a little boy I had never really interacted with before came up and wrapped his arms around me as well. I quite literally found myself myself draped in cuddly children. It was one of those supremely happy moments of life that I am sure I will remember when I am 80 and still smile. As the night went on the little girl ate cookies and gave me so many kisses that I was covered in cookie bits and never happier.

Alhumdulillah for life and for good friends.

And alhumdulillah for cuddly babies.


ammena said...

salam, I thought about this too... but I think letting my husband know my desires about a second wife is enough. Can we really put something in a contract that is halal? it would be like him putting in a contract that if you decide to work then he is entitled to a divorce.. well not totally comparable, but u see where im coming from. Can you imagine if Aisha (ra) but this in her marriage contract :) Allahu alim. By the way did you see my blog 'da list' would appreciate some feedback insha'allah. take care, fi amenallah

Molly said...

Ammena- this is completely within shari'ah to have this, and Fatima (raa) the daughter of the Prophet (saas) had this clause in her contract with Ali (raa). And Aisha (raa)did not put it in her contract, but she could have had she chosen to.

So yes, it is halal, it is not haraam, and this is exactly why I said converts need to have RELIABLE, KNOWLEDGEABLE, AND TRUSTWORTHY walees to teach them what their rights are.

So you let your husband know you don't want him to marry a second wife, great and I hope to Allah he is a good guy and respects your wishes.

IF, and Allah forbid, he does not and he is tempted by shaytaan to do something that while not haraam would certainly ruin his marriage - and that is the biggest goal of shaytaan - then where will you be?

It is not haraam, it is our right. Just as men's right is to marry up to four wives. And having the clause does NOT mean he cannot marry a second wife if he so chooses, HOWEVER it gives YOU the right to divorce yourself and have maintenance from him because of it.

And Allah knows best.

Amie said...

Yeah I don't even have a marriage contract. That's one of the many "cool" things that happened surrounding our marriage. Oh yeah, and my wali was the owner of an Arabi restaurant in which I used to waitress.
So yeah, no contract, random wali. Alhamdulillah my husband is a good kid, but we're still trying to work out this contract business.

ammena said...

salam sis.. just wondered, where did you get the reference that Fatima (ra) did this? just interested in researching insha'allah

Umm Yehiya said...

Awww mashaAllah, so sweet! I'm sorry I missed it. Are you gonna go to DAF again before you leave inshaAllah?

Umm Yehiya said...

yes, I'm interested in that Fatima reference too inshaAllah. Would love to learn more about that. :)

I also don't have a marriage contract; like Amie mentioned, it all just happened so fast and I didn't really know what up with any contract business, and peeps forgot to mention the existence of such a thing to me. Yup. I was a newbie. Walhamdulileh.

Safiyyah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum:

The nikaah itself is a marriage contract. Those of you who have no written copy may want to ask the imam/judge who married you to provide you with one.

Also, yes it is permissible to have the right to divorce "in your hand". You are not denying your husband the right to do something halal, you are just saying that if he does, you have the automatic right to divorce yourself.

Otherwise, as many of us know, it can be a difficult process to get the imam to sanction your divorce.

Safiyyah said...

Oh PS - wanted to say "awww" about the cuddling kids. My little librarian assistant at our masjid school is very affectionate like that, Masha Allah.

umarah said...

that is so cute.love kids who hug and kiss.

Purple Tulips said...


Actually, this is not a comment for this post :D I just wanted you to know that I love reading your posts and have provided a link for your blog on my page. I hope you don't mind.

I wish you Allah's blessings.

Oum said...

Alla convert should hava a "wali" before getting married, its better for us. Take care all sisters!!

Safiyyah said...

All Muslim women should have a wali - convert or not. It is a requirement of the nikaah. The nikaah is not valid with no wali.

rahma said...

Last I heard, the husband was waiting for some lawyers to comment on what he had written. I'll check tonight on the progress and let you know :)

rahma said...

Sr. Safiyyah, that is true in most madhabs. However, there is an opinion in the hanafi school that a female convert does not need a wali.


Safiyyah said...

Salaams Sis Rahma:

Thanks for that, and I know that some dispute the need for a wali. Some will even insist that a non-virgin has no need for a wali. However, the Prophet (saw) said that there is no marriage without a wali.

As we all know, many Muslims sisters are really experiencing problems due to the absence of someone to look out for their rights and for someone to protect them. The convert sister is especially vulnerable! Besides, the Prophet (saw) said that there is no marriage without a wali. And weren't most of the sahaba (ra) converts?!

I do not with to argue or disrespect anyone's mathab, but I follow the Prophet (saw) and not the opinion of others. Someone needs to show me daleel that this hadith was abrogated. I am open to learning if this is the case.

UmmAbdurRahman said...

I wanted to say this:

Having a verbal agreement with your husband and having a written contract, in essence, are the exact same thing.

If the agreement is verbal, he would be going against his oath by getting a second wife. Haraam but nothing to stop him if he really wants to.

If the agreement is written and at a later date your husband decides he wants another wife all he has to do is divorce you. Contract null and void. This is why some scholars advise againts such things in a written contract becaus it will lead some to divorce.

I know this will ruffle some feathers, but imagine a man who is used to having some halal loving for a good many years. Wife decides he wants to go study arabic in yemen. Husband says I cant live without a wife, but wife really wants to go. But wait...it's in the contract that he can't get a second wife. A few choices...wife stays put, husband divorces her and finds new wife, or she lets him out of his contract to have a halal outlet while wife studies arabic.

I dont want to hear any of this...what about sacrifice for the greater good. Men rarely sacrifice anything.

My husband and I have a verbal agreement and I trust that it is enough. If he chooses to break his oath, as he could do with a written agreemen, he knows that I would be on my way. He is free to choose.

Mama Kalila said...

This post reminded me of why I enjoy reading your blog. I like learning new things and I did tonight.

Oh and the kids thing sounds so cute! I love babies and little kids...

Umm Yusuf said...

I think this is something a lot of sisters overlook or dont bother to look deeper into- is the fact that they can put certain things in their marriage contract. I think a lot of sisters are just blinded when they become engaged and start have fantacies of the perfect husband and nother ever going wrong. Of oourse this is what we pray for, but Allahu alim, people can change in a second. We don't want to think our spouse may get involved in this or that or ask of us to do something we never expected him to, but we should be prepared for anything. This is the beauty of Islam subhanAllah!

Molly said...

Ammena and Umm Yehiya- working on the links for you guys, just haven't had much time for research.

Saffiyah- thanks for the clarification, just want to warn the sisters though that some countries *cough*Saudia*cough* might cause trouble to a couple if there is no written contract, likewise no written Shehada papers (I had to get mine done at Al Azhar and quite literally take Shehada AGAIN in front of the Imam there.)

Never hurts to have things in writing, but Islamically it is unnecessary.

And Saffiyah brings up a good point! Yes we have the right to seek khula in ANY circumstance and should be allowed the right to have it but there are a LOT of Imams with personal agendas and cultural blindspots. Legally within the shari'ah it is perfectly reasonable for a woman to reserve the right to divorce IF SHE CHOOSES in certain circumstances. No "khula" needed, straight talaq.

This is the point we are looking at and Ummabdurrahman you said:
"If the agreement is written and at a later date your husband decides he wants another wife all he has to do is divorce you. Contract null and void. This is why some scholars advise againts such things in a written contract becaus it will lead some to divorce."

The fact of the matter is that any husband can wake up in the morning and decide to divorce his wife without any reason whatsoever.

The clause is there to give the WOMAN the chance to get herself out of a hurtful and unhappy situation.

The clause in the contract can be worded one of two ways:

1- In the case of [the brother] taking a second wife [the sister] reserves the right to divorce herself one finalized divorce.

2- In the case of [the brother] taking a second wife the contract will be null and void and [the sister] will be divorced one finalized divorce.

Or worded in similar ways. But the difference is that in number 1 the sister reserves the RIGHT to divorce herself but also can choose to stay in the marriage, and if after a trial period decides she can't take it then she can divorce herself even if that is a period of years or even decades.

In number 2 once the brother married a second wife he has nullified his contract with his first and she is no longer lawful for him. This is a much more severe way of wording it and does not give the sister the opportunity to stay in the marriage if she chooses.

Neither of these clauses take away the brother's right to marry a second, but it does give the sister more say in her future at that point.

Lets look at your case of the sister choosing to study Arabic in Yemen. You say: "But wait...it's in the contract that he can't get a second wife."

Not true, it states in the contract that IF the husband marries a second wife the first has the RIGHT to divorce herself. To state in a contract that the husband cannot marry a second wife would be unlawful per the shari'ah because God gave men that right and no contract can take it away.

Considering what the clause really does say lets consider that the first wife does go to yemen and her husband does marry a second wife, what then? In this case the sister in Yemen could divorce herself if she so chose, or she could stay in the marriage, let him do his thing, learn arabic and then return home to a poly marriage because unless you are shi'a then fixed-term marriages are haraam. She finds that living in a p-marriage is too hard for her, even though it may have been years of living in Yemen with a p-marriage, she still retains the right to divorce herself.

Now considering your verbal agreement with your husband, thats fine and stands as true before Allah as a written one does, but you are forgetting that you and I and most other western women are much freer in our ability than many, many women in Muslim countries. Imams with agendas and blindspots. It is EASY for us to seek marriage and would probably not have much trouble finding an Imam/Sheikh who would grant us a khula. However one thing that sisters don't know is that in the case of a khula a woman is obligated to repay her mahr to her former husband. In the case of talaq she is not. Something to consider. Also, why would you even risk not being able to find someone to grant you a khula when all it would have taken is a simple clause in your marriage contract that gave you the right to divorce in certain situations?

Now to each their own, and your choice is your choice. I'm just here to educate sisters on things they probably didn't know.

Molly said...


It is EASY for us to seek divorce and would probably not have much trouble finding an Imam/Sheikh who would grant us a khula.

Jewaira said...

It's good to set things clear at the very beginning just in case.

And you seem to be such a wonderfully lovable person to attract the children like that. It's a lovely feeling

UmmAbdurRahman said...

Molly I understand that the contract is a means to aid women in getting their right to divorce in so-called muslim countries.

The thing I think many people don't understand is that it will not stop your husband from marrying another. Some thing it is a clause that prevents him from being able to practice polygamy. The only thing it can truly prevent is a woman's rights being trampled on in case he goes against it.

I think that I am currently have the upperhand in my marriage alhamdulillah. I have to walk a thin line when making myself heard and allowing my husband to still feel like a man. He does know that I will not take crap for the sake of being able to eat. Allah has blessed me in a way that allows me to be self sufficient alhamdulillah, and my husband knows that. It's very easy(practically not emotionally) to walk away if i had to. As I come up on my 6 year wedding anniversary, I hope I never need any of this.

rahma said...

I'm unsure of the hanafi reasoning, beyond the fact that they believe that a marriage contract is like any other contract, and that a nonvirgin can enter into those without a wali.

Another possible clause/provision that might be useful in a marriage contract is the right to fast whenever you want. My husband gave his blanket permission for that, but if it's something to think about putting down officially.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

Blahh...too many typos in my last comment...I'm too distracted to be typing LOL. But, what I said was:

Wouldn't we as women have the right to divorce our husbands over something REGARDLESS of if being in the marriage contract or not? I don't see the point of putting it in a contract...if Yasir ever married a 2nd wife I'd divorce him right away whether or not it's in our contract. Is it haram to do something that way? I've never even really discussed the 2nd wife thing with Yasir seriously before...he just knows me I guess, he knows I would not appreciate that one bit.

Molly said...

you don't have the right to divorce your husband unless it is stated in the marriage contract. You have the right to seek a khula but it is up to the sheikh/imam to give you a khula or not, and in the case of a khula you have to repay your husband the mahr he paid you.

With the clause in the contract you have the right to divorce yourself.

Talaq= divorce= the right of the man unless stated in the contract.

Khula= petitioning an Imam to release you from the marriage but not always granted and you have to repay the mahr.

If you put the clause in the contract then you have the right to talaq.

HijabIsOverrated said...

I'm trying to figure out how can you have a nikka with out a contract since that in essence is what a nikka is? How can the marriage even valid without a contract and a dowry presented at the time of signing. The contract which should be done on the day of the wedding? Sisters sisters pleaseeeeeee get some contracts ASAP and signed by at least 3 witnesses. Try to get 1 woman to sign too, this is very important.

Its good to know that your husband was ok with amending the nikka agreement. some guys act real funny about it and it just shows where his heart is. Alhamdulliah, he fears Allah SWT and his day to be judged. You would be surprised how many sisters don't have contracts or if they do it's very vague with just mushy stuff in it like; you will love me and I will love you.

If any of you would like a copy of a nikka contract I will give you a copy of mine (with out some of the persoanl details).

just hit me up on my blog and email me.

take care