14. Polygamy Part 1: I’m a second wife – not a home wrecker (with Layla)

Villain or heroine, friend or foe? We’ll let you decide as we speak to second-wife Layla who shares her story of how she became caught up in a love triangle.


From dealing with sharing her husband to revealing what goes on behind closed doors, we ask Layla all the difficult questions about her life with the ‘man who has it all’ … or does he? Tune in and let us know your thoughts!


This is the first part of two episodes covering stories of polygamy in Islam, hearing directly from the wives in question. Listener discretion is advised.


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Salaams and welcome to a much-anticipated episode of Not Another Mum Pod! Today we’re going to be talking about one of the most controversial and contentious topics in Islam – polygamy. Please be aware that this episode may be triggering. 

So Nafisa. How long has it been since we recorded together? WHY has it taken us so long to drop an episode?



Salaams everyone! From the outset I want to apologise for going awol, life has been super busy crazy but we have so many exciting episodes ahead that it will definitely be worth the wait. Just to also let our listeners know some exciting news! Not Another Mum Pod, or NAMPod as we call it is officially under the Muslim Mamas umbrella.

This means we can go even bigger iA.  MM was founded by Nargis Jahan in 2011 and I became cofounder in 2018 and we are marrying our platforms together under one umbrella iA.

And even more on the crazy news is that I got accepted onto the FB accelerator program, representing Muslim Mamas for 2021  in partnership with Founders Intelligence and Global Giving. After a three stage interview process I was selected to represent less than 1% of the selected leaders across the globe, 131 in total and we represent 1 out 10 from the UK.



Nafisa. I’m so proud of you. I can’t even believe that you had the courage to go forward with something like. And the fact that you got it just shows how amazing you are. And now inshallah the whole world will know, this is like the stamp of approval. This is like everybody, I know how awesome I am now. Like Facebook said it, it means it has to be true.




No, seriously. You know what? I really, really believe and feel that none of this is anything to do with me. I’m just a vehicle, but really. Put me in this position, given me this responsibility, and you know, Nargis mashallah, she obviously has also entrusted this kind of responsibility onto me when she asked me to be co-founder and I just hope I can do it justice. That’s all I can pray for but yeah, so that’s the reason why we’ve been AWOL and I hope that justifies it. 



It totally does. I forgive you!



Right. Let’s get on with our show today because it’s going to be super exciting. Super interesting. And I’m really excited about this one. 



Well, I don’t know why you’re so excited because anyone talks about second wives in your presence.

I swear, I see your face go red, you go red or you start shaking. So obsessive over your husband, like he’s the best thing since sliced bread. And I’m like, what’s the problem? What’s the problem. Why not have a tear and share garlic bread? You know what I mean? 




You’ve got the green-eyed envy when you hear about second wives that I’ve got the green-eyed monster when I hear about second wives, no offense to our beautiful Layla who we’re going to be speaking to about this. 



Of course, of course. Sorry, this is a serious topic. So we’re not actually joking about it at all. Just a little bit. 

[Nafisa and Tasneem joke around a bit more before continuing with…]

Remember our pilot episode? Where we said we wanted to discuss hot topics? Well we can’t get any hotter than this – what are your views on polygamy? How would you feel about hubs wanting to get married again?



Err I don’t think so! As halal as it is, as permissible as it is, it is also sunnah to be monogamous! I think men who use sunnah as an excuse to marry, it’s funny how they always jump to this sunnah and neglect all the many other recommended practices that our prophet pbuh did. Not to mention the hadith where Ali RA was told not to marry again whilst Fathimah RA was alive as it would hurt her so much. So, I have issues with my hubs having hoori’s in the Hereafter let alone polygamy!

What about you?



Gosh, I have so many thoughts on the topic. Firstly – it’s illegal in this country, but you can of course go around the law by performing only the Islamic marriage – and that worries me massively because, in the event that things go wrong, the second wife won’t be protected by law at all. Despite my own personal thoughts on it, to be completely honest, I do understand why it might appeal to some women.


Our culture places such a MASSIVE emphasis on getting married that women are often seen as inferior, or failures, if they don’t get married. But then as they get older, it gets harder to meet someone, women feel so pressured to get married,, that sometimes, they start to consider becoming second wives just to have kids. I have a friend in fact who’s in that situation right now, and it doesn’t help that most of the Muslim married men she comes across at work and so on, keep propositioning her! 



I don’t know how true that is as I have quite a few single friends in their late 30s and 40’s who wouldn’t. When I was at uni though, I did meet lots of practising young girls who were actually very interested in marrying their lecturers who were already married! Can you believe that?



I can believe that. I’m going to put that down to naivety and being attracted to their sexy lecturers and wanting them no matter the cost.

So just to give some context, the general Islamic ruling on polygamy is that it is permissible but with conditions. Historically speaking, Islam was the first religion to cap the number of partners you can have especially at the time where many religions allowed innumerous concubines so it was a culture shock to them probably that it was capped to four!



Also, For accuracy, the actual marrying of multiple wives is actually called polygyny but for the sake of common understanding, we will be using the word ‘polygamy’ instead.


The Quran says in chapter 4 named The Women, surah an-Nisaa verse 3: “If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one…” end quote.


So I was reading a Hanafi site, islamqa.org/hanafi/daruliftaa where some sister asked if it was allowed for this great scholar to approach her for marriage as a second wife (she hasnt been married before) and the scholar [Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam from Leciester UK actually gave such sound advice.


I’ll drop the link in the shownotes but he said something to the effect that as Muslims we either take it to two extremes. One extreme where men act as it is their god-given right and to hell with the consequences and the other extreme where people completely outrightly reject it. He actually said scholars nowadays think men should avoid it unless it is a necessity due to the impact it has on the wives and children. However, it is your choice and not to use that right lightly.  You have to be equal to them in time and money.



But you know what Nafisa? I think context is really important here as well. Yes, marrying up to four wives is permissible but I think it’s important to recognise that this was a ruling from over 1400 years ago, during a time where culture allowed men to have multiple women and concubines. These women were given no rights at all. This ruling put conditions on these relationships and ensured that the wives were given rights and respect. Also – it was a time where women were more dependent on men. This ruling helped women, like widows and divorcees, who were essentially alone and needed support. 


But let’s face it – how many men today want second wives in order to help divorced women and widows? 



That is so true, you could probably count the number of people who actually marry for sunnah and not their own desires. Most of these ladies are young and nubile! we do need to think about how if Islam is a way of life, then there will be a solution to any potential problems. Say a man does get married again due to physical needs or medical needs or whatever, the rights of all the wives are protected and the man is held accountable for any injustices. 



So that brings me to our guest today, we are going to be talking to sister Layla, who after being divorced twice, decided to accept a proposal to become a second wife. Yes – a second wife. This is the story we don’t often get to hear as there’s such a massive stigma around it. 



Welcome Layla! Thanks so much for coming on the pod tonight. 

Some questions that were asked and the ending


  • So Layla – start from the beginning – how did you come to be a second wife? How did you meet your husband?
  • Can you tell us what the reaction has been like from your family and friends?
  • Speaking of reactions – how did the first wife react? What’s your relationship like with her – assuming you have one?
  • Did you ever feel guilty about marrying a man who already had a wife? Generally, there is a stereotype that women like this are ‘homewreckers’.
  • Okay so you mentioned he stays over twice a week – sounds a bit like a part-time marriage and a good set-up if you need your own space. What’s it like in reality? Do you enjoy it or get lonely? 
  •  I need to know – do you get jealous of the first wife? I personally couldn’t imagine sharing my hubby with anyone! Tell the truth! 
  •  So you mentioned that you’ve been married before – twice. Having experienced being the only wife – how does being a second wife compare?
  • How do you trust him now knowing what he did while he was married before?




Thank you so much for this invaluable conversation. Your story has been really insightful and enlightening – and POSITIVE!



And thank you for speaking so candidly with us. Polygamy often has such a shroud of mystery around it, so we appreciate you sharing your own story and experience with us – and hopefully it will help other women out there who might be thinking about being a second wife and going in with eyes wide open. 



This episode was not done to feed into the already negative portrayal of poygamy but rather hear the other side of it. Second wives are always the first to be labelled as homewreckers, or the instigators. If you’re thinking about becoming a second wife –  think about the long-term impact and if you have the patience it takes.



Stayed tuned for our next episode where we will be talking to wife no.1, and the challenges she faced when her husband decided he wanted to take another wife.



Looking forward to that one! Stay tuned everyone and thank you so much for sticking with us this long! Salaams!





Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A man who has two wives and he does not deal justly with them will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment with half his body paralysed.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, no: 1141)




Qur’an chapter 4, An-Nisa, The Women: https://quran.com/4/3?translations=17,19,20,22,84,18,21,95,85,101 

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