Marrying Ahl al-Kitab (Jews and Christians)


Question:

Can a man marry Jews or Christian girls without changing her religion?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

Marriage is an extremely important step in life. It is a time when both the husband and wife will rely and depend on each other, especially when starting a new family. Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Quran:

هن لباس لكم وأنتم لباس لهن

“They (wives) are clothing for you and you (husbands) are clothing for them.”
(2:187)

A person cannot keep away from clothing his body. Similarly, a man and woman are unable to forbear the lack of each other’s company brought about by marriage.

Keeping this in mind, the wife plays a crucial role in the life of the husband and the family, both as a spouse and as a mother to the children.

As a spouse, she is the one who usually runs the household systematically and it is extremely difficult for a working husband to do so without her. She is also the husband’s companion and the one who is there to comfort the husband in time of need. The wife should also be a protector of the husband’s deen. This is why in marrying a practicing Muslima, both the husband and wife will then respect the rights given over each other by Allah Ta’ala, making the marriage a lot easier and enjoyable.

As a mother, it is ever so important for the children to be nurtured and raised by a practicing Muslima. The mother is the one who has the greatest influence on the children, and it is the duty of the parents to raise their children properly while teaching them Islamic etiquette, conduct, how to pray salat, how to read the Holy Quran, etc. If the children are not brought up properly at an early age, it will greatly affect their future in terms of following shari’ah the way it should be followed. If the mother is a practicing Jew or Catholic, she will not raise the children in this manner, putting their futures in following the deen in jeopardy. In such a case, the children may possibly be raised without learning proper morals and akhlaaq which would lead to disrespect for their parents and Islam. If this were to occur, many problems would arise in the futures of the children.

This issue can be discussed from another dimension. It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a disbelieving man, even if he is from the people of the book. This is because the woman is the weaker of creation between the two. The husband is the one who is a more powerful and imposing figure. If this were to be permissible, the believing woman may become influenced by her disbelieving husband to leave the fold of Islam. Even if she does not become influenced, the children may likely follow their father’s footsteps and believe in his religion.

It is true that Islamic shari’ah has allowed Muslim males to marry a woman from the people of the book, but this is only where there is no danger that the husband or the children may come under her influence in religious matters. In the view of the majority of the Sahaba and Tabi’een, marriage with women from among the people of the book is lawful in itself, but marrying them is not free of the many consequential disorders for oneself and his children. This was the basis on which they considered marriage with women from among the people of the book as makruh (reprehensible). Umar (RadiyAllahu Anhu) himself became angry and ordered Hudhaifa ibn Yaman (RadiyAllahu Anhu) to divorce a Jewish woman he had married. This was because of his fear that immodesty and morals contrary to those in Islam would enter into his household.

Therefore, if even some of the companions of the messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) were advised not to do so, how can Muslim males with our limited knowledge of deen in our present day time have full confidence that he or his children will not be influenced at all by the disbelieving wife and mother? In non-Muslim countries, rules of guardianship and custody violate Islamic teachings. There have been many cases where Muslim males have lost custody of their children. Such children in the vast majority of these cases ultimately become the followers of other faiths. Marriage with a practicing Muslima will eliminate these problems and Allah Ta’ala will put His blessings and barakah in such a marriage.

(Ma’ariful Quran, Vol. 3, P. 62, Darul Kitab Deoband)
(Tafsir Al-Quran Al-Azeema, Vol. 2, P. 20, Darul Mafeed)
(Aap Ki Masaail, Vol. 5, P. 75, Maktaba Bayanat)
(Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba, Vol. 9, P. 85-86, Majlis Al-Ilmee)

And Allah knows best

Wassalam

Ml. Asif Umar,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah

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