Why Can’t a Muslim Woman Marry a Non-Muslim?
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Why Can’t a Muslim Woman Marry a Non-Muslim?

Questioner

Zenab

Reply Date

Aug 21, 2019

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. I would like to know why a woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man while a Muslim man can marry a Jewish or Christian lady? What is the wisdom of that?

Mufti

Answer


Why Can’t a Muslim Woman Marry a Non-Muslim?

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- 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.

2- 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).

 


In his response to the question you raised, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, states,

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 (Christians or Jews).

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 fulfill this task, the whole family must apply Allah’s course and try to convey His message.

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 Quran says, “O Ye who believe! Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger…} (Al-Hujurat 49:1)

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 poses 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 you should follow their desires after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, then wouldst thou have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper.} (Al-Baqarah 2:120)

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.

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.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.




About Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti

The late member of the North American Fiqh Council

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