Islam made it permissible for the man to marry more than one wife. This right was not given to be used as a king of pressure against the first wife but there are certain condition that need to be met before taking another wife. Though, the first wife’s approval is not a condition for polygamous marriage, it is among the good manners and kind treatment to approach the issue in such a way as to reduce the pain which women naturally feel in such cases. A husband should be careful regarding this issue and handle it in a way that suits the good relationship between the husband and his wife.

If a husband takes a second wife, he has to treat his wives equally. If he does not treat them equally then he is exposing himself to a stern warning, for it was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever has two wives and inclines more towards one of them than the other, will come on the Day of Resurrection with half of his body leaning.

Of course, this right does not mean to diminish the first wife or do injustice to her. On the contrary, part of the conditions to make the polygamous marriage permissible is to deal fairy with the wives. Other than that, the husband is accountable sinful.

In Islam, marriage is a solemn contract for which the Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability. Though Islam permits man to have more than a wife, it stipulates that certain conditions are to be met in this regard, for Islam’s main focus is on building a stable marital life.
In this regard, Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states:
“If a man is able to take a second wife, physically and financially, and he can treat both wives in a just manner, and he wants to, then he is allowed to do so according to Islam. Allah says, “Then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four.” (An-Nisa’: 3)
It is well known that women are by nature jealous and reluctant to share their husband with other women. Women are not to be condemned for this jealousy, for it existed in the best of righteous women, the wives of the Companions, and even in the Mothers of the Believers. But women should not let jealousy make them object to that which Allah has permitted, and they should not try to prevent it; a wife should allow her husband to marry another woman for this is a kind of cooperating in righteousness and piety.
the first wife’s consent is not a prerequisite for a man to take another wife. The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked about this and replied as follows:
It is not obligatory for the husband, if he wants to take a second wife, to have the consent of his first wife, but it is good manners and kindness to deal with her in such a manner that will minimize the hurt feelings such thing might produce. So, it’s incumbent on the husband to be kind to his wife, discuss the matter with her in a gentle and pleasant manner, and this should be coupled with spending whatever money may be necessary in order to gain her acceptance of the situation.”
So, in the light of the above, it’s clear that the matter is not just having a right to do so, it’s how you use that right. As we have said in many fatwas how Islam caters for the rights of women, men should not tamper with rights that Islam made in alienable to women, part of which is to respect their humanity. They are not property that can be done with at any time without any consideration; women are life partners.