Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Conditions In Marriage Contracts

Assalamu Alaikum

Can a woman make a condition before marrying which states that the prospective husband is not allowed to take a second wife? Will such a condition be valid? Is it legally binding?

Wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

According to the Hanbali madhhab, such a condition is permissible and legally binding. The following translation from Zad al-Mustaqni` covers the subject of putting conditions in marriage contracts.

Conditions and Defects in the Marriage

Valid conditions

It is valid for her to stipulate:

  1. that he divorce another [existing] wife [dhariratiha];

  2. that he not take a concubine;

  3. that he not marry another wife;

  4. that he not remove her from her house or her land;

  5. a specific currency,

  6. or an addition to her mahr

If he violates it she has the right to cancel.

Conditions which invalidate the contract

(b: The second category, invalid [fasid], is types:)

All of the following are void:

  1. (b: Shighar:) If the guardian marries his female charge to [another] on (the condition) that the other marry him his female charge without any mahr, and they do it: both marriages are void; but if a marh is named for them both it is sound.

  2. (b: Muhallal:) If the guardian marries her [after receiving an three-fold divorce] with the condition that whenever he makes her lawful for the first [husband] he will divorce her, or he intends it without stipulating it.

  3. If the guardian says: "I marry (her to) you if the month begins" or "if her mother is pleased," or "if, when tomorrow comes, you divorce her" or he specifies a duration [such as with mut`a].

Section: Invalid conditions that do not invalidate the contract

The following stipulations are void, but the marriage is [still] valid:

  1. If he stipulates that she has no mahr or no upkeep,

  2. or stipulated that the [alloted] duration [the husband gives] for her is less or more than her co-wife [dharira],

  3. or stipulated the right to choose [to annul the marriage],

  4. or if he does not bring the mahr at a particular time time that there is no marriage between them.

Conditions allowing the right to cancel

When the following stipulations are violated he has the option to cancel:

  1. If he stipulated that she be a Muslim and she turns out to be from the People of the Book,

  2. or stipulated that she be a virgin,

  3. or pretty,

  4. or of good lineage,

  5. or free of a defect for which marriage is not canceled

If a slave woman is set free while married to a free man, she does not have a choice [of whether to annul the marriage], but [she does if she is set free if she was] married to a slave.

And Allah knows best.

Wa al-salamu `alaykum,