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Marrying a Non-Muslim Orphan: Can It Work?



Reply Date

Feb 17, 2018


As-Salamu Aleikom. I have a non-Muslim girlfriend from the UK. We know each other through chatting and telephone calls. We agreed to get married as she is coming to India. As I know Islam allows interfaith marriage between a Muslim man and a Christian/Jewish woman. My questions are: can long distance interfaith marriage work? She is an orphan and I wish to take care of her as it has been asked by our prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Also, should we spend more time to know each other without any haram activities? If we will marry in front of the court, is it necessary to have a wedding in the mosque as well to make our marriage lawful Islamically? Do you have any suggestion before I enter this marriage? Thank you.



Marrying a Non-Muslim Orphan: Can It Work?


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum brother,

The concept of online long distance relationship wasn’t part of human society until the last 10 years. This form of getting to know someone, like any other form, has good and bad. Ultimately, the question is: are you learning enough about the other person through online communication that will substantiate your decision to marry her?

Regarding her being an orphan, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used to care for orphans and he used to ask his companions to protect them and to treat them well. He also showed the merits that come from that.

Ibn Majah narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “The best Muslim house is a house in which an orphan is well treated; and the worst Muslim house is a house in which an orphan is badly treated.” (Ibn Majah)

You can care for an orphan and practice your good deeds in many ways. Alhamdulillah, you have good intention and want to marry this sister, but be aware of that marrying her because she is an orphan and you want to be her care taker is not necessarily enough for some people. It is very important that you get to know her better so you grow sincere feelings for her beyond her being an orphan, and of course you must feel attracted to her and have compatibilities.

Do you know with whom she lives with? Who is her closest family? It is important to talk to people close to her. You can also try compatibility tests online; most of the time they are a fun activity and some are pretty precise.

Before she gets to India, you should have a clear conversation about having a halal relationship. Be aware that she will be alone in India, and you are probably the only one she knows. Establish bounders and avoid temptations. I am not sure what your living situation is, but make sure she has a safe place to stay.

Once she is in India, I assume you will see her in person for the first time. Have meetings in groups; let your family and friends get to know her. I also think you should reflect on the following hadith:

“A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be unsuccessful.” (Bukhari)

In your case, you don’t share the same faith, which is all right if you both are aware of each other’s beliefs and respect it. Ultimately, you both must believe in one God, the hereafter, divine guidance and doing good deeds.

You are more likely to succeed in a marriage where there is more compatibility between both parts beyond just sharing a similar theology. Make sure you both share interests; talk about the future and always be honest. That is the time to ask everything. You will know if it feels right; trust in Allah and pray for guidance.

A few points to reflect on:

  • Never ever marry someone you don’t feel right about out of any pressure. You need compatibility, and if it does not feels right, don’t do it. You might suffer a little bit now, but it is better than suffer a lot later when you are already a family.
  • Islam teaches us to admire diversity. If we always married people from the same socio-economic status, race, or ethnic group, for example, this would hinder a more colorful, multicultural ummah (community).
  • Get to know the person and their family more deeply.
  • Take your time. If you do not feel you are given enough time to get to know someone, do not get married to avoid cultural stigmas.

Pray Istikharah and ask Allah to guide you toward making the best decision.

May Allah guide you to what is best as marriage is a sacred communion, thus marry for the right reasons.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

About Karim Serageldin

Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: or

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