Category: Marriage
Fatwa#: 24000
Asked Country: United States

Answered Date: Jan 18,2013

Title: Is it still permissible to marry women from the People of the Book even if they are committing Shirk?

Question

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

 

My question is regarding marriage of Muslim men to women of People of the Book. While I know it is allowed, does this pertain to the believers of Christianity and Judaism in their "original forms"? 

For example, many Christians today believe that Jesus is the son of God. While a woman might be a good, believing Christian who does not smoke/drink, dresses moderately, and abstains from everything we as Muslims are meant to abstain from, she is still committing shirk - shirk in the Islamic sense, not hers. Does this still make it okay to marry a woman from the People of the Book? Modern day Christianity and Judaism are, of course, not exactly the same as they were 1400 years ago. 

My understanding is that it IS okay to still marry a Christian or Jewish woman - is this correct? Are there certain conditions the woman must meet before being eleigible for a Muslim man to marry her?

 

Jazakallah Khair

Answer

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

 

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 

Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala says in the Quran :

 

{حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ} [المائدة: 5] 

Lawful for you in matrimony are chaste women from among the Believers and chaste women from among those who have been given the Scripture before you.[1]

 

The phrase Those who have been given the Scripture before you refers to the Christians and the Jews.

 

The incorrect belief of the Christians and the Jews are stated in the Quran.

 

The Christians say:

{يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِنْهُ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ انْتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَكُمْ} [النساء: 171]

 

 

O people of the Book be not excessive in your Faith and do not say about Allah anything but the truth. Verily Masih Isa the son of Maryam is only a messenger of Allah. And His word He delivered to Maryam and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. And do not say Three. Stop it. That is best for you. [2]

 

Allah warns the Christians to desist from such a belief.

 { لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ} [النساء: 171]

 (……Do not speak  of Allah except the truth).

 

The Christians elevate the status of Isa Alaihi Salam and say that he is the son of Allah.

 

{أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا} [النساء: 171]

(That He (Allah) has a son (Isa Alaihi Salam) for Him (Allah) is all that is in the Heavens and the earth).

 

Allah clearly states in the Quran that Isa Alaihi Salam is a prophet of Allah.[3]

 

The Jews say:

{قَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ} [التوبة: 30]

(The Jews say  that Uzair is the son of Allah.}[4] 

 

In addition the Jews say:

{وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ} [النساء: 157]

(They (the Jew) say we have killed Isa the son of Maryam).

 

Inspite of  the incorrect beliefs of the Christians and the Jews  Allah Ta’ala still declares it permissible for Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish women. The reason is best known to Allah Himself.

 

The basic requirements is that the woman must not be just a Christian or a Jew by name. She must live her life according to the confines of her religion.

 

With the rapid growth of Islam in the Western world  it is now becoming very common to see  Christian women being attracted to Muslim men. Many such women are indicating their desire to make Nikah with Muslim men. The onus, therefore, is upon the Muslim men to give dawah to these women and educate them Islamically. The fact that they are willing to leave men of their religion and desirous of marrying Muslim men is  indicative of their appreciation for the religion of Islam.  Care should therefore, be taken in nurturing them so that they may Inshallah accept our beautiful Deen.

 

Attached is our standard answer pertaining to marrying a Christian or a Jewish woman:

 

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

 

 

Saeed Ahmed Golaub

Jamaica

Student Darul Iftaa

 

Checked and Approved

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

daruliftaa.net 

 

STANDARD ANSWER

 

It is permissible for a Muslim male to marry a Muslim, or a Christian or a Jewish woman.[5] It is not a condition that the Christian or a Jewish woman to revert to Islam before marrying to a Muslim male. However, the Christian or Jewish woman should not only be a Christian or a Jew by name.

 

Marriage is a very big step and you should be very careful. Marriage is an indication that you are prepared to share the rest of your life with another person.  Careful thoughts must be invested in choosing the right partner. This is a great responsibility, especially for the children that may be the result of this marriage.

 

Nowadays we are faced with a lot of challenges. Although it is permissible to marry Christian or Jewish women, Shariah only allows this where there is no likelihood that the husband or the children may be influenced into accepting the religion of the wife. This is likely to occur if the wife is more knowledgeable and strong in her faith and the Muslim man is ignorant and weak in his faith. Marrying such women is not free from the many consequential disorders in one’s personal life, his Deen and his children. For this reason many of the Sahabah Radiallahu Anhum were against marrying People of the Book. They consider these marriages as Makhruh (reprehensible).

 

Shaqiq ibn Salmah, al-Jassas reports in Ahkam al-Qur’an:

When Sayyidna Hudhayfah ibn Yaman الله عنه رضى came to Mada’in he married a Jewish woman. When Sayyidna Umar الله عنه رضى found out about it, he wrote a letter to him asking him to divorce the woman. When Sayyidna Hudhayfah ibn Yaman الله عنه رضى wrote back : Is she unlawful for me? Then, in a reply, Sayyidna Umar الله عنه رضى wrote: “I am not saying that she is unlawful, but women from these people do not have chastity, therefore I apprehend lest immodesty finds its way into your homes through this channel.

It is reported from Imam  Muhammad ibn Hasan Radiallahu Anhu, in Kitab al-Athar reports from Imam Abu Hanifah that  when Sayyidna Umar رضى الله عنه wrote another letter to Sayyidna Hudhayfah الله عنه رضى his words were:

“I hereby put you on oath that you would, before you put down this letter from your hands divorce and release her, because I fear other Musl;ims start following you and begin choosing women from among the People of the Book because of their beauty  (bypassing Muslim women in the process). What greater trial could there be for Muslim women? – (Kitab al-Athar p156) (Maariful Quran Page 80-81)

 

Another challenge that we are faced with is in the upbringing and the education of the children. It is the responsibility of both the parents to properly educate the child. However, this role is generally more entrusted to the mother of the child. A non-Muslim mother who does not possess knowledge of Quran and Sunnah will be unable to Islamically educate the child.  In fact the effect of the mother will rub onto the children. She may read the Bible or go to Church. The children will get a touch of Christianity if not influenced.

 

Having a Christian wife means having Christian in-laws. They will be the grandparents who will come into the children’s lives with their own influences.

 

Consider the points raised by us and think carefully before deciding.

 

It is also impermissible for you to have interaction with her before nikah has taken place. Free mixing of members of the opposite sex is prohibited in Islam except where it is absolutely necessary.

 



[1] {حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ} [المائدة: 5] 

 

[2] {وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ انْتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا} [النساء: 171]

[3] {يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِنْهُ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ} [النساء: 171] 

 

[4] {وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ} [التوبة: 30]

[5] {حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ} [المائدة: 5]

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