Marrying someone who does not follows Islam?
Could someone from amongst your group (Please) put together a reply that gives the reasons why our young women may not marry outside Islam and send it to the gentleman (also covering his question). Please keep me in copy as I am interested in forwarding it to a young Muslim friend who is ‘marrying’ an Irish Catholic man who refuses to convert to Islam.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Inter-marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is something that has been clearly prohibited in the Quran and Sunnah, thus not permissible in any way. The only exception to this general rule is the marriage of Muslim men with Christian and Jewish girls, and that also with certain conditions.
Allah Most High says:
Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe. A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though if she attracts you. And not marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe. A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though if he attracts you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire but Allah beckons by His grace to the garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His signs clear to mankind; that they may receive admonition. (al-Baqarah, 221).
The above verse of the Holy Quran along with many other statements of the Quran and Sunnah clearly mention the impermissibility of Muslims marrying non-Muslims. Therefore, a marriage between a Muslim and someone from another religion will not be lawful or even valid according to Islam. The exception, however, is mentioned in the following verse:
(Lawful unto you in marriage are chaste women who are believers and chaste women among the people of the book. (al-Maidah, 5).
Thus, it would be permissible, in principle, for Muslim men to marry women from the people of the book (ahl al-Kitab) namely Christian and Jewish girls. However, this is also subjected to certain conditions, as will be mentioned later.
The reason behind this is that, marital relationships demand mutual love, affection and intimacy and without this, the purpose of marriage is left unfulfilled. If such close relationship of love and intimacy is established with a non-Muslim, it may emotionally incline a Muslim towards disbelief (kufr) or, at least, the abhorrence of Kufr and Shirk may not remain in the heart. Consequently, it may lead one to disbelief and eventually the fire of Hell. This is why Allah Almighty said towards the end of the verse of Surah al-Baqarah quoted above:
�Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire but Allah beckons by His grace to the garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His signs clear to mankind; that they may receive admonition�. ( 221). (See: Ma�arif al-Qur�an, 1/ 540).
Therefore, the fear that a Muslim man or woman may well be affected with his/her partner�s religion, thus go on to a path that leads to the fire of hell, is the main cause for this prohibition. Hence, a Muslim woman will not be allowed whatsoever to marry anyone besides a Muslim man, and even if she did, the marriage will not be valid in Islam. Similarly, a Muslim man will not be allowed to marry any non-Muslim girl, such as a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or any other non-Muslim woman. However, it will be permissible for him to marry a Christian or a Jewish girl. This is explained in the following section.
Marrying Christian and Jewish girls
As stated previously, Islam has allowed Muslim men to marry women from the people of the book (ahl al-Kitab). This permission is explicitly mentioned in the verse of the Qur�an already quoted:
�(Lawful unto you in marriage are chaste women who are believers and chaste women among the people of the book�. (al-Ma�idah, 5).
However, there are certain points that need to be taken into consideration here:
Firstly, the exception of Christian and Jewish girls is because the difference in belief between the people of the book and Muslims is relatively lesser and lighter as compared with other non-Muslims. They are all monotheistic religions and known as the Abrahamic faiths. The basic difference between Islam and the other two religions is the belief in the last Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). Therefore, the fear and danger of corruptibility is less as compared to marrying with women from other faiths, thus Islam gave this permission for Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish girls.
A question may arise here, that if the difference between Muslims and people of the book is considered to be lighter as compared to other faiths, then why is it unlawful for Muslim girls to marry Christian and Jewish men?
The answer to this question is that, women are somewhat weak and emotional by nature. Then the husband has been given a caretaking and controlling role over the wife. As such, it is very likely that the Muslim wife may fall prey and become impressed with her husband�s faith. The chances of the husband becoming affected by his wife�s faith are remote, thus the difference between the two situations is clear.
Moreover, by marrying a Christian or a Jewish man, the status of the Muslim wife would be affected, for the wife normally takes the nationality and status given by her husband�s law. A Christian or a Jewish woman marrying a Muslim man would be expected eventually to accept Islam, while the possibility of a Muslim woman changing her faith to that of her husband is very likely. Therefore, only Muslim men were given this permission of marrying with women from the people of the book.
Secondly, women who are Christians and Jews merely by name, and do not really believe in any religion, like a large number of people in the west, cannot be termed as people of the book (ahl al-Kitab). They are atheist in reality and it will not be permissible for Muslim men to marry them.
Therefore, one must first make sure that the woman is truly a believing Christian or Jew, and then consider contracting marriage with them.
Thirdly, it should be remembered that the meaning of the permission of marrying Christian and Jewish women is simply that, if a marriage contract was performed with them, it would be valid according to Islam and the children born out of this wedlock will be considered legitimate.
However, there are various narrations that establish its undesirability. A Muslim man is advised in the Hadith to select a life partner who fully observes the injunctions of Islam, so that she becomes a means of attaining piety. If that is the case, then marrying Christian and Jewish girls would be disliked.
This is the reason why Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) prevented many such marriages in his lifetime because of what he had seen of the corruption that resulted in Iraq and Syria. (See: Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, Kitab al-Athar).
Finally, this permission is only when one is confident that he himself or his children will not be affected by this marriage. In the early days, Muslims were duly equipped with adequate Islamic knowledge and an unshaken commitment towards their religion. As such, there was no risk of the husband being affected by his wife�s religion. Rather, the wife would see the glory of Islam, thus enter into the fold of Islam.
Therefore, if a Muslim male is confident that marriage with a Christian or Jewish girl will have no affect on his and his children�s Islamic identity and commitment, then there is no bar against such marriages. However, if he is not so confident, he must avoid entering into such marriages.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
Is it permissible for someone who follows Islam to marry someone who does not follows Islam without that person converting to Islam after marriage?.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman if she is Christian or Jewish, but it is not permissible for him to marry a non-Muslim woman who follows any religion other than these two. The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Made lawful to you this day are At‑Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (lawful) foods, which Allaah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends”
Imam al-Tabari said in his commentary on this verse:
“chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture” means, free woman among those whom have been given the Scripture, namely the Jews and Christians who believe in what is in the Tawraat (Torah) and Injeel (Gospel) from among the people who came before you, O believers in Muhammad, whether from among the Arabs or other people; you are permitted to marry them “when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage)” which means, if you give to those whom you marry of your (Muslims’) chaste women and their (Jews’ and Christians’) chaste women their mahrs or dowries.”
(Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 6/104)
But it is not permissible for a Muslim man to marry a Magian (Zoroastrian) woman or a communist woman or an idol-worshipping woman, etc.
The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And do not marry Al-Mushrikaat (idolatresses) till they believe (worship Allaah Alone). And indeed a slave woman who believes is better than a (free) Mushrikah (idolatress), even though she pleases you”
A mushrikah is an idol-worshipping woman who worships stones, whether from among the Arabs or others.
It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim from any other religion, whether from among the Jews or Christians, or any other kaafir religion. It is not permissible for her to marry a Jew, a Christian, a Magian, a communist, an idol-worshipper, etc.
The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al‑Mushrikoon till they believe (in Allaah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you. Those (Al-Mushrikoon) invite you to the Fire, but Allaah invites (you) to Paradise and forgiveness by His Leave, and makes His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to mankind that they may remember”
Imam al-Tabari said:
What is said concerning the interpretation of the words “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al‑Mushrikoon till they believe (in Allaah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you” is that what Allaah meant by that is that Allaah has forbidden the believing women to give birth to a mushrik, no matter what kind of shirk he believes in. So, O believers, do not give your daughters in marriage to them, for that is forbidden to you. For you to give them in marriage to a believing slave who believes in Allaah and His Messenger and that which he brought from Allaah is better for you than to give them in marriage to a free mushrik even if he is of noble descent and honourable origins, even if you like his descent and background…
It was narrated that Qutaadah and al-Zuhri said, concerning the phrase “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al‑Mushrikoon”, It is not permissible for you to give them in marriage to a Jew or a Christian or a mushrik who is not a follower of your religion. (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 2/379).
Why a Muslim Woman Is Not Allowed to Marry a Non-Muslim Man?
First of all, it is to be stressed that Islam does not encourage the interfaith marriages. The general rule of Islam is that Muslims should marry Muslims. A Muslim male or female should not marry a non-Muslim male or female. The only exception is given to Muslim men who are allowed to marry the chaste girls from among the People of the Book.
However, a Muslim woman is better suited to a Muslim man than a woman of Christian or Jewish faith, regardless of her merits. This is because marriage is not based on fulfilling one’s sexual desires; rather, it is an institution. It aims to establish a home on the bases of tranquility, faith and Islamic morals. To fulfil this task, the whole family must apply Allah’s course and try to convey His message.
It is obvious that Islam made it impermissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim with aim of keeping her away from things that may jeopardize her faith. In fact, Islam aims at protecting religion. To achieve this goal, it prohibits a Muslim from being involved in something that represents a threat to his religion. A Muslim woman will not feel that her religion is secure while being with a Jewish or a Christian husband especially as the majority of the People of the Book do not show due respect to our Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Allah Almighty says: “And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! The guidance of Allah (Himself) is Guidance. And if thou shouldst follow their desires after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, then wouldst thou have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper.” (Al-Baqarah: 120)
Given the fact that the husband is generally the head of the household, it’s not far-fetched for a non-Muslim husband to prevent his Muslim wife from performing some Islamic rituals which may seem a nuisance to him, for example fasting, or even refraining from marital relations during the fast. As a result, he might force her to change her religion, and if she refuses, the situation may culminate in divorce.
As for why Islam allows a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish woman, it’s clear that every Muslim believes in Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) and he holds all the Prophets of Allah in high esteem. Thus a Muslim finds no harm in his wife’s being a Christian or a Jew, for the spirit of tolerance Islam holds for other religions is ingrained in him.
In his response to the question you raised, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, states:
“If Allah is the one who prohibits a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim, then we as Muslims are supposed to believe it and to take it. As a matter of faith, you cannot become a Muslim unless you accept everything when it is ordained by Allah or carried out by his Messenger. The Qur’an says, “O Ye who believe! Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger…” (Al-Hujurat: )
If you ask about the benefits of not marrying a non-Muslim, we can count you many reasons. A man is the manager of his household. He will persecute his Muslim wife in many dos and don’ts. She can hardly guarantee that kind of operation. Moreover, marriage is an institution for elevating our levels of having a good Islamic life. Pleasing Allah is our number one goal. If a woman is married to a non-Muslim, maybe the only thing she will accomplish in her marital life is what is good for livestock.”
Shedding more light on the question, we’d like to cite the words of the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, in his well-known book, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam:
“It is haram for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, regardless of whether he is of the People of the Book or not. We have already mentioned the saying of Allah, “…and do not marry (your girls) to idolaters until they believe…” (Al-Baqarah: 221)
And He said concerning the immigrant Muslim women: “Then if you know them to be Believers, do not send them back to the unbelievers. They are not lawful for them (as wives), nor are they lawful for them (as husbands).” (Al-Mumtahanah: 10)
No text exists which makes exceptions for the People of the Book. Hence, on the basis of the above verses, there is a consensus among Muslims concerning this prohibition.
Thus, while a Muslim man is permitted to marry a Christian or Jewish woman, a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a Christian or Jewish man. There are many sound reasons for this difference. First, the man is the head of the household, the one who maintains the family, and he is responsible for his wife. And while Islam guarantees freedom of belief and practice to the Christian or Jewish wife of a Muslim, safeguarding her rights according to her own faith, other religions, such as Judaism and Christianity, do not guarantee the wife of a different faith freedom of belief and practice, nor do they safeguard her rights. Since this is the case, how can Islam take chances on the future of its daughters by giving them into the hands of people who neither honor their religion nor are concerned to protect their rights?
A marriage between a man and woman of different faiths can be based only on the husband’s respect for his wife’s beliefs; otherwise a good relationship can never develop. Now, the Muslim believes that both Judaism and Christianity originated in divine revelation, although later distortions were introduced into them. He also believes that God revealed the Tawrah to Moses and the Injeel to Jesus, and that both Moses and Jesus (peace be on them) were among the Messengers of Allah who were distinguished by their steadfast determination. Accordingly, the Christian or Jewish wife of a Muslim lives under the protection of a man who respects the basic tenets of her faith, her Scripture, and her Prophets, while in contrast to this the Jew or Christian recognizes neither the Divine origin of Islam, its Book, or its Prophet (peace be on him). How then could a Muslim woman live with such a man, while her religion requires of her the observance of certain worships, duties, and obligations, as well as certain prohibitions. It would be impossible for the Muslim woman to retain her respect for her beliefs as well as to practice her religion properly if she were opposed in this regard by the master of the house at every step.
It will be realized from this that Islam is consistent with itself in prohibiting the Muslim man to marry a mushrik (polytheist) woman, for since Islam is absolutely opposed to shirk (polytheism), it would obviously be impossible for two such people to live together in harmony and love.”