Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Can a Muslim man marry a Catholic?

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Hi All

I'm a Roman Catholic girl and my boyfriend is a Muslim . We would like to get married. We visited our local Imam and was told we could get married , we just have one more question that I hope someone could help us with.
My boyfriend is a very good man and follows the Quran and all it teaching so I don’t want to do anything that may affect his beliefs.

I am a Roman Catholic and I beleive in one God but we also have the holy trinity(father,son and holy ghost) does this make me shirk ?

shirk is the only sin Allah doesn't forgive ? Correct me if I'm wrong please.

Can a muslim marry a shirk as it is the biggest sin in the islamic faith ?

In chapter 2:221

"And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember."

Is there a rational for saying Muslim men can marry a Catholic?

I love my boyfriend very much and would like to marry him but I don’t want to do anything that may hurt him in the long term.

Thank you for all your help.


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9 Responses »

  1. Sister, i think the answer lies in the Quran look up chapter (sura) 5, verse (ayah) 5. Muslim men may marry women who belong to people of the Book (believers of Judaism and Christianity). The message monotheism from God was given to 4 messengers, of which Muhammad was the last. Jesus and Moses were also among them. You do not need to convert.

    A polytheist is somebody who believes in multiple deities. Not one God. The holy trinity is not considered polytheism.

    So islamically you may marry him. However I think you should discuss with him how you intend to raise the children and in what faith. Do it now to avoid any complications later. I also advise you to read the Quran as it may include more information you find relevant. Or just interesting. Hope this helps. I wish both of you the best. Congratulations.

  2. sister,

    you can marry a muslim man... but before marrying him.. you need to convert to Islam... You Know that Islam is the true religion which teach us the good things and behaviors how to behave in the society.. when you convert to Islam (there is the cleanliness)

    yeah jesus will come out.. actually his actual name Prophet Isa (alai) and he is not a god.. he is a slave of Allah
    Most Christianity people will convert to Islam inshaAllah. When he arrives and say don't beleive as a God.. Im not a god... Please Beleive only Allah.... There is Peace only in Islam....Our Quran has no change (the age Quran is >1400 years) See the miracle.. Allah is Protecting the Quran... The true religion is Islam... See the bible.... there is Old testament and New Testament.. See there is no god to protect the bible...there are more fake changements on bible to worship on jesus..... Please Say the Kalima (If you say this recitation.. you can convert to Islam)... la ilaha illallah muhammadur rasulullah (THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH AND PROHPET MUHAMMADH (SAL) IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH).... Allah (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer) has no partner and childen or family.
    Allah (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer) has no gender (even in the Name (ALLAH) you can IDENTIFY ***Nor mention of gender (male) or (female)...
    Allah (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer) he is Eternal and he have no parents and nor Born..

    Just think **** Jesus (peace be upon him) has a mother... so he have borned in this world.. how he can be a god...You beleive that jesus (peace be upon him) went Up to the skies.. OH Yeah its true.. even in Quran have mentioned that ALLAH (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer) have took him to heaven against the jews people at that Time... He havent Died yet.... He will returned back.... On Day Final day.. it's near...

    He will Be back like this **** He will Coming with 2 angels.. Grabing the wings of the Angels and he will be living for 40 years.. and the then will die and there world will be end.... and all the people in the world will buried..... all the things in the world like (mountains, sea, trees, rock and animals ) will vanish like dust when the Angel in the sky trumps the first trumpet...and then after 40,000 years...Allah (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer) will wake up all the people from ADAM (ALAI) to LAST MANKIND in the World... Allah (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer) Will be Questioned all the people in the world by the Allah (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer)....

    For those Who say Kalima (If you say this recitation.. you can convert to Islam)... la ilaha illallah muhammadur rasulullah (THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH AND PROHPET MUHAMMADH (SAL).... will enter Paradise... But there will be punishment for muslims too (the people who do bad deeds that PROHPET MUHAMMADH (SAL) has said not to do)... those muslim people will go to Hell and will be returned to heaven after their punishment....because he have beleived ALLAH and His messenger PROHPET MUHAMMADH (SAL).... PROHPET MUHAMMADH (SAL) is a Slave of ALLAH ****not a partner*****.... THERE IS NOR PARTNER OF ALLAH (Lord of the Whole Universe, the sustainer)

    • Muhammad,

      With all due respect,I think you have misunderstood something. When a Muslim man marries a woman who is either, Jewish or Christian, then that woman does NOT have to convert. She retains her faith. This is both supported by general consensus among scholars. But it's also in the Quran. That's why when Allah speaks of marrying polytheists, they must convert. But no conversion for people of the book is mentioned under people of the book.

      You are welcome to confirm this through either a random search onlines for fatwas, Islamic rulings etc. There is no doubt about this.

    • Muhammad,

      With regards to the rest of your comment on Christianity vs. islam in which you say the bible is not the true religion/scripture or protected by Allah, then you are not correct. In fact, the Quran quite clearly says the opposite. It says the Quran confirms the previous scriptures sent by Allah (namely, the old (Torah) and new (bible) testaments).

      It's ok to have opinions but when it comes to religion it's best we let Allahs message talk for itself. I recommend you read suras 2,3,4,5,7,10,29 in detail to inform yourself on what Islam and Allah says about Christianity and Judaism. Also remember our messenger Muhammad, married both Christians (Mariyah) and Jews (Safiyah) without converting them. Only polytheists/idolators need to convert. Not people of the book.

      Most important, however, is that when a sister asks for our advice, we must give her that without frowning upon/judging her faith, asking her to convert or speak badly about her religion. It will do more harm than good.

      I don't know what you mean by Kalima (?) among a few other things, but you mean Shahadah presumably? Anyways conversion is not relevant in this case, as she is a Christian. People of the book. A conversion must be voluntarily and by force or to please somebody.

      • momina,

        Islamic marriage rules between Muslim men and non-Muslim women are regulated by Islamic principles. There are restrictions to whom a Muslim man can marry. Muslim men are forbidden from marrying polytheist women. A polytheist woman would have to convert to Islam if she would want to get married to a Muslim man, according to Islamic principles.

        O ye who believe! When there come to you believing women refugees, examine (and test) them: Allah knows best as to their Faith: if ye ascertain that they are Believers, then send them not back to the Unbelievers. They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the Unbelievers what they have spent (on their dower), and there will be no blame on you if ye marry them on payment of their dower to them. But hold not to the guardianship of unbelieving women: ask for what ye have spent on their dowers, and let the (Unbelievers) ask for what they have spent (on the dowers of women who come over to you). Such is the command of Allah. He judges (with justice) between you. And Allah is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom. {Surah 60:10}

        if prophet mhammadh (sal) married Christians (Mariyah) and Jews (Safiyah) without them into converting into islam means (asthafirullah).. the entire muslim's in the world would marry other religion people and then slowly slowly some people will go to different religion (as a murthad).. some muslim people would convert them to islam after marrying or before marrying.. so

        prophet mhammadh(sal) married Mariyah (raliallahu anha) and Safiyah ((raliallahu anha)) after converting to Islam.. so sister please study well about prophet mhammadh(sal) livelyhood and reply to me...

        • Muhammad,

          I already studied it, that's why I wrote you. I am concerned, however, that you did not and you seem reluctant to examine the issue. Your personal views of interfaith (Abrahamic) marriage between a Muslim man and a Christian or Jewish woman is not what Islam says. Kindly examine this topic and contact scholars who will confirm that muslim men may marry Christian/Jewish women without converting them. Our Messenger Muhammad did it as its part of the Quran.

          Yes, Polytheistic women may not marry Muslim men "until they believe". Thus they must convert.

          But, Christians and Jews, however, are NOT polytheists. They are fellow believers and referred to as 'People of the Book' in the Quran.

          So Polytheists and People of the Book are two different categories but you don't seem to know that. Do you know what polytheism means? As opposed to monotheism?

          Surah Al Maa'idah, verse 5, clearly says: "(...) And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity (...).

          Now, there is another verse which prohibits marriage between polytheists and muslims. Do you know it or what it says?

          Because the verse you quote is not really relevant in this context..

          I urge you to strongly examine this topic and look at existing scholarly consensus. This will confirm that there is no need to for a sister to convert when she is Christian. Perhaps you have inadvertently mixed up islam with your cultural or personal views, but right now you are in the wrong. Until you do research this, its best you show caution when commenting, as it will confuse readers and the Christian sister, who seeks our guidance.

  3. It goes without saying that the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man is one of the main taboo issues in debates on Islam.

    According to a broad consensus religiously sterile, a Muslim woman is formally forbidden to marry a non-Muslim man regardless of his religion, while a Muslim man is allowed to get married to a non Muslim woman, mainly a Christian or a Jew, considered by the Islamic schools as “People of the Book”[1].

    What does the Qur’an say about this issue and how does it deal with the marriage of Muslim men and women to non-Muslims?

    In the Qur’an, there is only one verse that clearly tackles this issue. It is absolutely the main verse that states a provision on marriage with a category of non-Muslims.

    Allah says: “Do not marry idolatresses (al mushrikāt) till they believe; and certainly a believing maid is better than an idolatress even though she would please you; and do not marry idolaters (al Mushrikīn) till they believe (hata yūminū), and certainly a believing slave is better than an idolater, even though he would please you. These invite to the Fire, and Allah invites to the Garden and to forgiveness by His grace, and makes clear His revelations to mankind so that they may remember.”Qur’an 2:221.

    Through this Qur’anic order, the verse clearly forbids the marriage of the believing men and women to polytheists, called at the time “mushrikīn”.

    We should be aware of the fact that this order made sense because it was revealed at the time when polytheists (al-mushrikīn) were engaged in a merciless war against the believing Muslims. It is also worth reminding that polytheists were belonging to an aristocratic class of obscene wealth and indecent conduct, and whose lifestyle was reconsidered by the new social values of fairness and equity of Islam.

    While the Qur’an acknowledges the possibility of a mutual attraction between a believer, man or woman, and a polytheist, it strongly recommends against such alliance. The verse seems to urge Muslim men and women to choose the modest believing slaves over the rich arrogant polytheists even if the latter would look more attractive than the poor slaves.

    This allusion to “slaves” (men and women) is quite indicative of the moral values that the Qur’anic Revelation tended to inculcate in people. On the one hand, the Qur’an showed “Tolerance” towards the fact of slavery that was universally common at the time; on the other hand, it sought to break the first chains of social hierarchy by preferring these “poor” believing slaves to those wealthy people who formed the elite then.

    By getting married to slaves regardless of their social hardship, Islam encouraged Muslims to value people on other basis than their social class, and henceforth; find a balance between the differences established by the ethnic-tribal system at that time.

    Furthermore, the new believers needed to be protected from polytheists’ abuse who considered this new religion of Islam as a threat to their own interests. The Qur’an urges Muslim men and women to get married to believers who had, like them, such faith awareness and were conscious of justice on earth. The purpose was to absolutely avoid the marriage of Muslims to polytheists who made every effort to stand against a religion that was defending the most vulnerable people on earth.

    Muslim men and women were, therefore, encouraged to get married to those who believe, like them, in one God symbolizing a monotheism purified from all other divinities and injustice.

    Thus, the said verse stipulates that Muslim men and women are allowed to contract marriage with believers (mu’minīn) and prohibited to marry polytheists (mushrikīn). It is worth mentioning that the the Qur’anic verse clearly stresses the totally egalitarian approach in favor of both men and women and which is not confusing at all. The Qur’anic order is addressed to both men and women on an equal footing.

    Nevertheless, the concept of the believing man and woman to whom Muslim men and women are allowed to get married is still a matter of debate and is not clearly defined in the Qur’anic verse.

    What kinds of “believers” are referred to? Does it refer only to people who have just embraced Islam? Or does it imply the act of believing in its broad meaning, believing in One God and a monotheistic Revelation, which includes obviously believers of other monotheistic religions?

    Obviously, the said verse is open to interpretation. However, irrespective of any interpretation, it is clear that this Qur’anic order applies to Muslim men and women equally. Yet, none of the different Islamic exegeses allude to this.

    In fact, by perusing the different classical interpretations, you get astonished to discover that this concept of the “believing men and women” is unanimously perceived differently depending on whether we refer to Muslim men or Muslim women.

    Besides, all of the classical interpretations focused on the first part of the verse which is addressed to Muslim men. And the different debates shed light on the concepts of the “believing woman” and “polytheist woman” whom a Muslim man is legally allowed to marry[2].

    The exegete Ibn Kathir begins his interpretation of the said verse by defining “polytheists” as people who worship idols (‘abadatu al assnām)[3].

    Most of the classical and contemporary exegetes carried out an in-depth analysis of the first part of this verse addressed to Muslim men, while they gave less importance to the second part that concerns Muslim women on the same issue.

    The commentators, henceforth, stipulate that Muslim men are allowed to marry women belonging to “People of the Book” (ahl al kitāb), i.e. Christian or Jewish women who are considered by the majority of the same commentators as believers. Most of the exegetes defend their opinion by referring to another verse that legitimates the first verse and proves that Muslim men are allowed to marry Christian or Jewish women who are not included in the concept of disbelief or Kufr[4] as stated by other scholars.

    Indeed, this Qur’anic verse that many commentators allude to says: “As to marriage, you are allowed to marry the chaste from among the believing women and the chaste from among those who have been given the Book before you (are lawful for you); provided that you have given them their dowries, and live with them in honor, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines.”Qur’an (5:5).

    For the majority of the exegetes, this verse closed the debate on “the disbelief” of Christians or Jews concluding that they are neither disbelievers nor polytheists (Mushrikīn).

    As to the exegete Ibn Achour, he went further in his interpretation by assuming that the verse absolutely prohibits the marriage of Muslim men or women to polytheists (al mushrikīn) while people belonging to other monotheistic religions are not explicitly mentioned. He added that the concept of polytheist is not clearly defined though he agrees with other scholars in giving authorization to Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish women[5].

    For the second part of the said verse that seems to be addressed to both Muslim men and women and to grant both of them the same authorization, we can affirm that Muslim scholars and jurists unanimously agree on the fact that marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man, whether he is polytheist, Christian or Jew, is strongly prohibited.

    Ibn Achour assumed the inexistence of a religious text that allows or forbids the marriage of Muslim women to Christian or Jewish men. He added that scholars agreed to forbid such marriage for several reasons related to the analogy (al quiyāss) and consensus (Ijmā’), while they confess that there exist no specific reasons of this prohibition in the religious texts[6]. As far as this scholar is concerned, forbidding the marriage of a Muslim woman to a Christian or a Jewish man is not based on any Qur’anic text or saying of the Prophet, but rather on a mutual agreement of scholars of all eras[7].

    The majority of scholars do not give enough explanation as to this prohibition that seems to contradict the general meaning of gender equality implied in this Qur’anic verse.

    Yet, other commentators tried to justify this prohibition by providing another verse that assumes the following: “O you who believe! When believing women come to you as fugitives (Muhājirāt), examine them (famtahinūhuna). Allah is best aware of their faith. Then, if you find them to be believing women, do not send them back to the disbelievers (kuffār). They are not lawful for them (the disbelievers), nor are they (the disbelievers) lawful for them.” Qur’an 60:10.

    The revelation context and the general meaning of this verse are not, however, associated with the case of marriage to non-Muslims. The classical interpretation states that this verse was actually revealed when two polytheist men from Quraish asked for their sisters to be back, Oum Kelthoum and Bint Aqabah, after they had converted to Islam and migrated to Medina in order to join the Muslim community[8].

    It is worth reminding that the Prophet signed at that time an agreement called Al-Hudaybya Treaty with the opposing tribe of Quraish to stop the war for ten years. This agreement stipulated, among others, that any Quraychit woman who would join the Prophet in Medina without the permission of her legal tutor should be sent back to Mecca.

    Oum Kelthoum, who was the only one to convert to Islam in her family, and who escaped from one of the most hostile environments, begged the Prophet not to repatriate her to her tribe so as not to be exposed once more to their unfair treatment[9].

    The verse above mentioned was then revealed to prevent the extradition of women who converted to Islam and avoid the vengeance of their respective families. For this reason, the Prophet refused to send back the exiled women to the enemies, while the agreement was maintained for men.

    The explanation of the verse above mentioned shows that it does not tackle in any way the marriage to non-Muslims, but was rather revealed to meet some strategic requirements of protecting women who converted to Islam against the will of their family and who voluntarily asked for the Prophet’s protection.

    The contradiction that we highlight in these classical interpretations concerns the fact that according to these scholars, Muslim women are not allowed to marry “disbelievers” including Christian and Jewish men, while for the case of Muslim men, Christian and Jewish women are considered as believers. How can we consider, in the same Christian or Jewish community, that men are disbelievers while women of the same communities are believers?

    In the absence of any proof that justifies the prohibition of the marriage of Muslim women to the followers of other monotheistic religions, the contemporary scholars justify their attitudes by “the natural weakness” of Muslim women who may go astray under the “bad” influence of their Christian or Jewish husbands. They added that it will adversely affect the children’s education. But the Muslim man is able to dominate his Christian or Jewish wife and protect his children’s and own faith. This generalized idea is not always true and the “strength” or the “weakness” of the religious belief is not associated with the gender but rather with the person’s personality and character.

    In fact, the argument is not convincing because if the said verse forbids the marriage between a Muslim woman and a Christian or Jewish man as it is unanimously interpreted today, so such marriage is also forbidden for the Muslim man. Nevertheless, according to various Qur’anic verses and the Islamic ethics, Christians and Jews are considered unanimously as believers belonging to religions revealed by Allah regardless of the existing differences in terms of the dogma and the theological philosophy.

    As a result, the analysis of this verse shows that the Qur’an prohibits the marriage of both Muslim men and women to polytheists.

    The Qur’anic verse, tackling the marriage of Muslim men or women to believers of other religions, set some rules using an egalitarian language. But it is worth mentioning that scholars agree unanimously on the prohibition of the marriage of a Muslim woman to a Jewish or Christian, while no part of the Qur’an provides for such prohibition that justifies this discrimination.

    The question raised in this regard is how can we today, in the current conceptual, cultural and globalized situation, categorize people according to their faith, religious or cultural backgrounds? How can we recognize a person to be Muslim, believer, Christian, Jew or polytheist? What can we say about those people who do belong to a religious culture, many of whom are Muslims, yet still admit to be atheist or agnostic?

    What can we say about people from the same Muslim culture who are married together but who, religiously speaking, inherit no more than the family name and some cultural customs? While a non-Muslim man who wants to get married to a Muslim woman should often prove his Islam “in appearance” in order to “save his face”, while the rest is just lies and outward show.

    It is true that marriages called “mixed” can be more exposed to misunderstanding due to the cultural or religious differences that may, at any moment, lead to marriage instability. However, this concerns all marriages, but the most important is to have a common interest at the intellectual and spiritual levels strengthened mainly by mutual respect.

    Despite all the differences and the problems that may arise during a marital life, it is fundamentally the mutual respect which will spread shared serenity and the harmony of love whose strength lies once again in the respect that one shows to the other’s beliefs and traditions.

    This article is not meant to encourage young Muslim women, who wisely would like to preserve their family spiritual inheritance, to disregard traditions, but rather to overcome the taboos and the hypocritical social practices that turn out to be sometimes unfair.

    It is high time to have the intellectual courage to tackle such topics while debating Islam to avoid the moral suffering and the feeling of guilt experienced today by many young Muslims, mainly, those who live in the West and are more likely to meet non-Muslim partners in their personal life.

    At the moment of choosing a partner, young Muslim men and women have to do it under their full responsibility with serenity, clarity and wisdom.

    Such debate is missing in our contemporary Muslim societies where unfamiliar ideas and the social conformism replaced the intellectual and spiritual honesty. Therefore, we should no more hide behind an unconvincing bastion of identity, but rather face the reality and admit that the world has deeply changed. We should also know that to preserve the spirituality of the heart, it would be necessary to override the hypocrisies and the social duplicity that eroded our current way of life.

    We should go back to the meaning, the purposes and the moral of the Qur’anic verse that talks about the interreligious marriage through a dispassionate debate that goes beyond emotions. We should review the real and deep meaning of some concepts in our globalized and multicultural societies such as “the believing men and women” and “People of the Book” … We should stress the main value and the initial spiritual trend that underlie this verse that calls for honesty, decency and the mutual respect as the pillars of any marriage.

    Allah is the Best Knower.

    • Brother you seem to be a little confused...
      In the above statement you are refering to Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men, while this is indeed true the same doesn't apply for Muslim men as they are allowed to marry people from the book (Jews & Christians) provided they are chaste and the children must be brought up Muslim.

      For the sister asking this question
      You do not have to convert to Islam to marry your bf as you are a Christian, but you do have to be chaste and your children have to be Muslim.
      ‘… (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…’ [al-Maa’idah 5:5]

  4. Muhammad,

    1) You copy pasted and presented as your own work, an entire essay taken from a website (written by a Syarif Hidayat). It would have been more honest and practical to link to it. So I am not going to read it through. I did skim it through. It only confirms what I said. Did you even bother to read it yourself? Clearly not.

    2) I am worried that you have either not read what I wrote you or not understood it. There is a difference between 'Polytheists' and 'People of the Book'. 'People of the Book' denote Christians and Jews. The rest has already been explained above.

    3) There is scholarly consensus on this issue. Christian and Jewish women need NOT convert to marry a Muslim man. This is also evident in many muslim countries ruled by Sharia law. I challenge you to look up the Islamic jurisprudance and not just some random website.

    4) There is NO taboo regarding marriages between Non-Muslims and Muslim. The law is clear and no man (or woman) can change, what Allah has made lawful or unlawful.

    I can only assume that you either belong to a country, where such marriages are rare or that you do not understand the difference between the words Mushrikeen and Kitabiyah. Just because you don't respect Christianity/Judaism, or don't understand how Islam views them, or because your culture dictates that it is a taboo, does not change Islam. Your opinion on this matter without doubt is opposite that of Allah.

    That said, nobody is forcing you to marry a Christian woman. But your persistance to keep calling people of the book mushrikeen is insulting. That you are absolutely wrong is one thing but to keep asserting this error and further misguiding a Christian sister, who needs an honest answer, is just unacceptable.

    Again, I urge you to stop commenting until you have understood this topic and understood that women of the book (Jews and Christians) do not have to convert to marry a Muslim man. This is lawful. There are many such marriages in both Muslim countries and the West and it is nothing new.

    In the meantime, I ask the sister, Little_miss_sunshine to disregard your replies as these are not in accordance with Islam.

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