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Can Muslim Women Marry a Non-Muslim

I am a Hindu and legally married a Muslim girl under the provisions of Indian Special Marriage Act. However, my wife’s family says that Islam doesn’t allow a Muslim girl to marry a non-Muslim. My question is:

1) Does the Quran specifically prohibit the marriage between a non-Muslim man and a Muslim woman?

2) What are the verses in Quran which suggests this prohibition? How do you interpret them?

3) If Allah is One and it is He who he has created the entire mankind, how can He prohibit two persons to live ever in peace and love?

Looking forward to hearing from you.


I am copying below the relevant portion from Javed Ahmad Ghamidi’s treatise: Islam – A Comprehensive Introduction as an answer to all your questions:

The second requisite of marriage stated in the verse is chastity. No adulterer has the right to marry a chaste woman and no adulteress has the right to marry a chaste man, except if the matter has not gone to court and the two purify themselves of this sin by sincere repentance. The words “muhsineen ghayr musafiheen” point to this pre-requisite. At another place, the Quran says:

The man guilty of fornication may only marry a woman similarly guilty or an idolatress and the woman guilty of fornication may only marry such a man or an idolater. The believers are forbidden such marriages.[1] (24:3)

It is obvious from this verse and also evident from divine scriptures that fornication and polytheism are exactly similar to one another. Just as it cannot be acceptable in any way that a husband or wife commit marital unfaithfulness, similarly, it is totally unacceptable for a Muslim that someone else besides the Almighty be worshiped in his house. In fact, this is more detestable a sin than sleeping with some other woman. This similarity between fornication and polytheism could have been deduced; however, the following Quranic verse explicitly states it:

And wed not idolatrous women, unless they embrace faith, and [remember] a believing slave-girl is better than an idolatrous woman, although you may fancy her. And wed not your women to the Idolaters, unless they embrace faith. And [remember] a believing slave is better than an idolater, although you may fancy him.[2] (2:221)

The Jews and Christians of the Prophet’s times were also deeply incriminated with the filth of polytheism both in their beliefs and in their deeds. However, since they were basically monotheists, the Almighty was lenient enough to Muslims to allow marriage with their chaste women:

And [lawful to you in marriage] are also chaste women from among these People of the Book before you when you give them their dowers with the condition that you desire chastity not lewdness nor becoming secret paramours. (5:5)

It is evident from the context of the above verse that this permission was granted when no confusion remained regarding tawhīd (monotheism) and it prevailed over the polytheistic Arab society in every manner. It should be kept in mind that the verse quoted above begins with the word اَلْيَوْم (this day). This word shows that the permission given was also very much dependent on the circumstances of those times: It was expected that if Muslim men would marry among the People of the Book these women would be positively influenced by Islam. In this way, not only would there be no clash between monotheism and polytheism, but also there was a great chance that most of them would accept Islam.

Consequently, Muslims today must necessarily take this aspect into consideration if they want to benefit from this permission.

[1]. CertainAhādīthalso clearly mention this aspect. See for example:Abū Dā’ūd, Sunan, vol. 2, 227, (nos. 2051-2052).

[2]. In 60:10, Muslims have been prohibited to marry the disbelievers (kuffār) because of their polytheism. It is evident from the verse that the kuffār it mentions signify the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophet’s times.

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