Question 18: I married a woman fifteen years ago but she bore me no children, so I married another woman and had children, all praise be to Allaah. They both live in two separate apartments in the same house, and we eat together with no problems. However, my heart is inclined towards my first wife, just like the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) loved `Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) more. They are both jealous, although they rarely show it, but I cannot control their hearts. I cannot do what the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do with his wives, and mine are not like the Prophet’s. I believe equity is related to Nafaqah (obligatory financial support), housing and spending the nights with them; whereas the rest of the matters that are not part of Sharee`ah (Islaamic law) cannot be divided equally.
Please answer me concerning the following:
Firstly, am I considered a sinner for not being fair in other matters?
Secondly, if I am committing a sin, what are the criteria of treating wives equally?
Thirdly, when does inclination to one of the wives become permissible?
Fourthly, what is your advice to me and my wives? I had performed Hajj and `Umrah with my first wife this year with our money. Her share of this money was even greater than mine, and my second wife did not object, since she did not have enough money to travel with us. Is it obligatory to take my second wife to perform Hajj as well? Should I spend some nights with my second wife instead of those I spent with my first wife while traveling?
Answer: it is obligatory to treat wives equally in what is controllable, such as Nafaqah, housing, clothing and spending nights with them. However, you are not blamed for the uncontrollable things, such as feelings of love and inclination. Allaah (Exalted be He) says: You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much (to one of them by giving her more of your time and provision) so as to leave the other hanging (i.e. neither divorced nor married). The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to divide his time and provisions equally among his wives and invoke Allaah saying... read more here.