Shaykh Yusuf Badat is the main Imam and ‘Director of Religious Affairs’ at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto. Shaykh Yusuf Badat also serves as a teacher for Arabic, Islamic Studies, Quranic Studies and World Religions at the Islamic Foundation School.
Shaykh Yusuf Badat has served as Imam since 1999 at Masjid Anwarul Islam of Malton (Masjid Saliheen) in Mississauga, Canada. He has also been an instructor at the Toronto Shariah Program and the Uloom Program. Shaykh Yusuf Badat is the founder and director of Mathabah Foundation. He is an active executive member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians CCMT. He also served as the Vice Chair of the Canadian Council of Imams.
On January 17, 2019 Mathabah Institute published an Islamic ruling by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt on polygamy. (archive)
I am one of two wives for my husband here in Alberta. I just read on the CBC news website that the Canadian Council of Imams has issued a verdict since polygamy is illegal in Canada, my religious marriage would not be valid. Please let me know if I am sinning or committing zina (adultery) or not according to Islam?
Answer [by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt]
In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind
Thank you/ Jazak Allāh Khayr for contacting us for your question.
From a religious, islamic point of view, once the conditions of an islamic marriage are fulfilled, the marriage is valid according to Islamic law. In order for an Islamic marriage to be valid, the following conditions are required:
Consent of both parties marrying (offer and acceptance of two persons who are permitted to marry)
At least two Muslim witnesses
Bridal gift (mahr) from the groom to the bride
Approval/ blessing for the bride from her guardian (if this is her first marriage).
Since Canada does not recognize nor permit polygamous marriages, in the eyes of the law, you would be deemed breaking the law and could be criminally charged. I believe the Canadian Council of Imams is referring to the invalidity of the marriage from a legal perspective, not necessarily a religious perspective.
We suggest you speak to a Canadian family law expert along with family and friends to determine the best course of action.
And Allāh Knows Best