Praise be to Allaah.
Allaah has permitted us to marry Jewish and Christian woman,
on condition that they are chaste and avoid zina (unlawful sexual
relations), and that the wali (guardian) of that Christian woman is a
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.
And whosoever disbelieves in Faith, [i.e. in the Oneness of Allaah and in
all the other Articles of Faith i.e. His (Allaah’s) Angels, His Holy Books,
His Messengers, the Day of Resurrection and Al‑Qadar (Divine
Preordainments)], then fruitless is his work; and in the Hereafter he will
be among the losers”
What is meant by chaste is refraining from zina (unlawful
Ibn Katheer said:
This is the view of the majority, which the most correct
opinion, so as to avoid the combination of her being a non-Muslim with her
being unchaste, which would mean that she is totally corrupt and thus her
husband will get, as the Arabic proverb says, “Bad goods and cheated on the
weight.” The apparent meaning of the aayah is that what is meant is those
who are chaste and refrain from zina.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 3/55
The condition of the woman’s wali being a Muslim is indicated
by the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“And never will Allaah grant to the disbelievers a way (to
triumph) over the believers”
However, we do not advise you to marry a non-Muslim woman,
nor do we advise you to marry just any Muslim woman. For married life is not
based only on beauty and attraction, rather the wise Muslim must look with
insight at what is beyond that, because he needs to be sure that his house
will be looked after in his absence, and he needs to bring up his children,
and he will not be able to find that or other things which every wise
husband seeks, except with a religious Muslim woman. This is the advice of
our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A woman may be married
for four reasons: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her religious
commitment. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with
dust [i.e., may you prosper].”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4802; Muslim, 1466).
The correct meaning of this hadeeth is that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was describing what people
usually do, for they seek these four characteristics, the last of which in
their view is religious commitment, but you, the one who is seeking
guidance, should look for a wife who is religious. But this is not an
This hadeeth encourages keeping company with people who are
religiously committed in all things, because the one who keeps company with
them will benefit from their good attitude and morals, their blessing and
their good ways, and he will be safe from mischief at their hands.
Sharh Muslim, 10/52
But marriage to women of the People of the Book leads to a
great deal of mischief and trouble, such as:
He may have to be courteous to
this wife of his at the expense of his religion, especially if she is “very
committed” to her own religion. This may mean that she will hang up crosses
and go to the church, and the children will not be safe in this environment.
She is not going to wash
properly after finishing her period, or tell him not to have intercourse
with her when she is menstruating; she is going to make him do something
that is wrong according to sharee’ah and cause him physical harm.
He is going to be put in an
embarrassing situation because of her careless attitude concerning dress and
her mixing with men and speaking to them.
The states and governments of
these women of the Book will be on their side and will give them custody of
the children if differences arise and divorce takes place. This will cause
these children to be lost and to fall into kufr. Such cases are too well
known to need mentioning here and too many to count.
One of the poets said:
“Marriage to a Christian is an abhorrent action which leads
to the kufr of the children for sure.
Whoever accepts for a child of his to be a kaafir is himself
a kaafir, even if he claims to be a Muslim.
A man may become a kaafir, following his wife, and enter the
Fire of Hell forever.
You must look for one who is religiously committed, if you
want a sound marriage.
Forget about the people of kufr and beware of marrying them,
for that will lead to a lot of evil.
The children of such a marriage will not be guided; they will
swell the ranks of evildoers.
It is not permissible for you to force your Christian wife –
if you do marry her – to become Muslim. Allaah says (interpretation of the
“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right
Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in
Taaghoot [falsehood, false gods] and believes in Allaah, then he has grasped
the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allaah is
Ibn Katheer said:
Allaah says: “There is no compulsion
in religion” meaning: do not force anyone to enter
Islam, for it is obvious and clear, and its proof and evidence are apparent.
There is no need to force anyone to enter it, rather whomever Allaah guides
to Islam and opens his heart to it and illuminates his insight will enter it
with conviction; but whoever Allaah makes blind in his heart and seals his
hearing and insight will not benefit from being compelled to enter the
religion by force. They said that the reason for the revelation of this
verse was concerning some people among the Ansaar, even though this ruling
Tasfeer Ibn Katheer, 1/311
We advise you – once again – to leave this woman and to pray
to Allaah to guide your heart to that which is in the best interests of your
religion. So long as you give her up for the sake of Allaah, then you should
be certain that Allaah will replace her for you with someone better, for
whoever gives up something for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will compensate
him with something better.
And Allaah knows best.