My Daughter Married a Non-Muslim Man: What Should I Do?
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My Daughter Married a Non-Muslim Man: What Should I Do?

Questioner

Jameela

Reply Date

Apr 23, 2017

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. What should a Muslim father living in a Western country do when his daughter marries a non-Muslim man against his will?

Mufti

Answer


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- The problem of Muslim women going with non-Muslim men in the West and marrying them is really a serious problem that needs cautious handling. 2- 2- Unwise handling will only further complicate the matter.

3- Parents should pay due care to raising their children as Muslims, instructing them in the teachings of Islam, and bringing them up in an Islamic environment.

4- This will help them avoid such things, for they will understand that a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man.

5- When a father is faced with his daughter coming with a non-Muslim man and saying “Hey, dad! This is my husband!’ he has to be very cautious and never lose his temper.


The prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Hulail, Imam of Tariq ibn Ziad Mosque in Frankfort, Germany, tries to offer us some advice in this regard:

In fact, the point raised in the question is one of the serious problems that many Muslim fathers do face in the Western countries. This problem should be tackled seriously from all sides. One of the main reasons behind this problem is the parents neglecting to bring up their children to be true Muslims.

It is against Islamic law for a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim man. However, some Muslim women, unfortunately, do breach this Islamic principle and marry non-Muslim men.

If a Muslim father faces a problem of such kind with his daughter, he should not resort to violence with her. The European law would guarantee her and her husband protection and might even prevent the father from seeing his daughter for a long time. Prudence is the most appropriate way to follow in treating this problem; the father is to wisely try to convince his daughter of the wrongness of her action in the Islamic point of view and show her his concern for her sake in that regard.

Then, he is to try to take some further steps to solve such a problem. For example, he can attempt to convince his daughter’s husband to accept Islam. Allah Almighty might will that the husband embrace Islam, in which case, the marriage would be lawful under the Islamic law.

The father then would be pleased, first, for attracting a new person to Islam, and second, for guaranteeing that his daughter would lead a life according to the Islamic Law.

If the husband does not accept Islam, the father should not severe the relationship with his daughter on the pretext that the marriage is against Islamic Law. He should remain on good terms with her and keep exerting his utmost so as to persuade her to return to the right path of Islam. If he is already sincere in his attempts to do so, Almighty Allah will help him and may guide the man his daughter married to the right path.

Focusing more on this issue, the prominent Muslim scholar Dr. Jamal Badawi, Professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, also states:

The first thing a father is to do in that regard is to make it clear that he and his wife do not agree with the marriage, as this is something that is decisive and clear in Shar`iah. A Muslim woman should marry only a Muslim man.

Second, the father should not sever all relationship with his daughter because, given the setting in the Western world, it might even increase her intransigence, and a girl or woman who marries a non-Muslim obviously seems to have some problem with her understanding of and commitment to Islam. So, by severing all relationship, actually, it might push her towards intransigence. As a father—God forbid it that happens—of course, I could not justify to myself being a part of the wedding, for example.

That might be hard on the parents, but they should do so [i.e., refuse to attend], for attending the wedding may appear as sanction and acceptance of the marriage. Rather, the parents are to make it clear that marriage is not acceptable and that it this is something that would hurt them. But, meanwhile, they are to indicate that their love for and relationship with their daughter is something that will continue, that the father’s home would be open for her, and that should anything happen in the future to her, he would be there to help. In other words, the parents should have a balanced and careful relationship with their daughter.

They should express their disapproval and displeasure, but they should also continue the relationship and the show of concern and love, because that may, it is hoped, soften her heart. She may by herself realize what she did and become more committed and want to have some changes in her life.

It is quite possible she married the person because she has had a strong emotional attraction to him, but she may then realize that things do not work as she had expected and the marriage may break down. In which case, there should be always a welcoming home for her to come back to. But more importantly, of course, is what led to that situation. It may be, in part, a lack of understanding why Islam does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, while it allows Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women, and whether this is depriving a woman of any privilege.

One has to understand that there are specific reasons why it is permitted for Muslim men, but not Muslim women, to marry non-Muslims [but only Christians or Jews]. By the way, this is not recommended; it has been allowed by way of exception. This is not discrimination; there are good reasons for it. The Muslim woman should, after all, have the right to practice her faith and to raise her children without pressure from a husband who does not believe in her religion. A non-Muslim husband does not believe in Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), does not believe in the Qur’an, does not believe even in Islam as a legitimate religion.

On the other hand, when a Muslim man marries a woman of the Book, he guarantees her freedom to practice her religion, for he principally believes in the Heavenly Book she believes in, that is, in its original form. His religion teaches him that he is obligated not to oppress her. So, she can practice her religion freely, in the whole, not just in individual cases.

Furthermore, there is a very good reason why this permission was given to men from the early days of Islam. The early Muslims were the ones who carried the message of Islam to many places in the world and even resided there for good. If they had not been allowed to marry People of the Book, it would have been very difficult to them to maintain their chastity.

As a result of marrying from these countries, their wives, actually, accepted Islam and their children were raised as Muslims, and that was how Islam spread in the world.

So there were specific situations why that exception did serve the purpose for men. In the case of women, they need to have full protection in respect of their religious rights, and that can only be guaranteed by marrying not only a Muslim, but a good Allah-fearing Muslim who would not mistreat them or interfere in their religious practice.

Here, we’d like also to cite the words of Sheikh Ounis Guergah, Head of the Fatwa House, Paris, France:

The Muslim father should not agree to that kind of marriage. He should try to persuade his daughter not to marry a non-Muslim man, for it is unlawful for the Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man. Such a relationship between the Muslim woman and the non-Muslim man is regarded in Islam as a kind of fornication. However, the parents should remain on good terms with their daughter, so that she may not turn away from Islam altogether.

The parents also should be wise in dealing with their daughter’s partner, so that he may one day accept Islam. If he embraced Islam, the contract of marriage would be rewritten, then, to be lawful in Islam.

Allah Almighty knows best.




About Jamal Badawi

Dr. Jamal Badawi is a professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Canada, where he currently teaches in the areas of management and religious studies. He is the author of several works on various aspects of Islam.

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