Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Muslim Father, Catholic Mother, who decides religion of baby?

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Hi there,

I would be grateful for any advice on the following.

If a baby is born to a Muslim father and catholic mother, and the parents are not married under UK  law (was 2nd marriage/wife), who has the legal (?) right to decide the baby's religion?

Parents are no longer together but fathers name is on the birth certificate.  Father does not have joint custody.

Baby has christian 1st name but last 3 names are muslim.

Parents relationship is very up and down, sometimes can talk other times argue.

I know the baby is Muslim by birth, but mother wants to get the baby christened.

Can the father do anything to stop this happening?  Would a priest/vicar even conduct the ceremony given the babys birth name?

I would be thankful for any help


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25 Responses »

  1. There's a reason why a Muslim man is allowed to marry a Jewish or Christian woman, while a Muslim woman is only allowed to marry a Muslim man. It's because the child goes after the father, if a Muslim man marries a christian/Jewish woman, the child is supposed to follow the fathers' religion and vice versa.

    In Islam, the child follow the fathers' footsteps when it comes to religion.

    And about the child's' name, what I know, the name don't have any affection in the religion.

    • Before I read any other comments, when it comes to nurturing the mother has the greatest influence. It could mean the nurturing of the soul as well as the physical needs of the child. Teaching them about God, and believing in God is the most important thing both parents can do the child. Ultimately, it will have to be a choice to become a true believer and the choice of religion to follow will be that of the child as an adult. Life will give you experiences, and we all must reflect what those experiences mean. As God has a plan for everyone, otherwise he would not have created us. Muslim father/Catholic mother, the question is why did you get married without talking about this first and having an agreement? Whatever the reason is, because you are not together, both of you are examples of what a true believer in God is, and you must set the example before they become non believers in God. It is all of our right to ask,seek, and knock. We are all responsible to what has happened to reglion by not asking, seeking, or knocking at the door of God. God will do right by what is wrong. Lets us all pray that he keeps us on the right path. After all we are all human and we will make mistakes.Pray that your children become believers, and leave it to God to take care of the rest. Catholics speak of God's love and loving your neighbor and Islams talks about peace. Look to what both of you can teach your children.

      • In the Jewish religion, the mother's religion determines the religion of the child. From experience, I'd say most priests would christen this child, no matter what the father's religion is. It depends which country you are in and whether you are willing to pursue the issue legally whether the father has a say.

  2. Salaam,

    It would be a lot easier if the parents taught each other about their religions, so they could agree on one religion. Because even if, for example, the child was raised a muslim, the mother wouldn't be a muslim and that would affect the child (or vice versa). So in the end, the child probably wouldn't be a very religious muslim or christian. But the thing that the user above me said makes sense.

    I realy don't think it's up to the mother to choose whether the child is christened or not. Since the child was born a muslim, he/she should be raised a muslim, and when he/she is old enough to decide he/she can chose whether or not to be christened.


    • Problem is mother is now Anti-muslim and father Anti-catholic.
      She won't agree to circumcision either.
      Dont think they can agree on anything. Mother is very opinionated since he divorced her during pregnancy. Think baby being used as weapon...

      Father is worried the baby will be christened...

      • As salamu alaykum private,

        This needs time to heal the wounds, and my only worry here is that is the baby the one that will pay all the differences between the parents as he is doing already.

        This kind of situation only can be healed by Love and Respect, and to bring this to both Hearts, it is God´s decision.

        Maybe both of them should think about the real needs of the baby, he needs a loving mother and father, no a enviroment full of hate, as adults they should think deep about what they are doing. I am sure he knew the risk of this happening marrying a catholic woman and she knew about his rights being a muslim man, then if both of them are so religious, they should be through their example someone to follow, insha´Allah.

        To bring a new Life to this world is such a blessing and an incredible Source of Light for everyone around, the new parents should put their differences on a side and honour and respect the new Life that they have helped to bring to this world, to grow up a healthy child is a must, and they should know that the health keeps included, mental, emotional and spiritual being not just physical.

        Babies are awake, they notice the good and not so good around and it will come out sooner or later in their lifes,... huge responsibility as parents.

        Everytime a mother looks at the face of a baby see the face of the father, and the same with the father, would you choose to hate the presence of the person you have reflected in your own child ? or would you choose to love unconditionally the person that once you loved enough to have a baby with him, her?

        May Allah(swt) softens the Heart of both parents related to their relationship as parents of the baby.

        Allah(swt) knows best.

        All my Unconditional Love and Respect,


      • I think father should have thought about this while going after the christian woman.

        I am sick and tired of those muslim men going after non-muslim women, while the muslim sisters are waiting for suitable matches. Frankly, the whole idea of muslim men marrying today's christian/jewsih women is not right in my understanding. The ayah which is mostly referred in favor of muslim men marrying non-muslim women is Surah Maida, Ayah 5,

        "This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter."

        But Quran also says this:

        Surah baqra, ayah 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."

        Please note the emphasis on chaste women. With today's Christians and Jews, believing in Jesus (pbuh) son of God and Uzayr as son of God, respectively and with other polytheistic beliefs. I think they fall in category of polytheism, therefore a muslim man should not marry a Christian or jewish woman. But I might be wrong here as i am no Aalim.

        Coming back to your point, it sees like that hatred between the two is not going to solve the problem. A mother is not going to give up the child just like that and no court can make her. Apart from making amends with the mother such that she allows the father to see her son. Father should keep his presence in the son's life instead of just leaving him in her mother's hand. And with persistence and 'sabr' he can hope to make difference in his son's life. I hope and pray that the mother becomes muslim and she also make her son muslim. But a muslim man mistreating her etc. is perhaps not going to get the results.

        My 2 cents.


  3. I'm not sure what to say directly to the question,but please don't undeestimate the power of dua'a. There is not a matter in this world that Allah swt does not have a say in. Please supplicate with your heart and soul and be patient. Try your hardest to steer your child to Islam, within Islam, but if that is not possible remember to be patient and continue to supplicate to Allah swt. Even children born in homes that are raised with Islam, there is no guarantee of them holding on to Islam, as with all of us. We must continue to always seek refuge in Allah swt from Shaytaan, and for Allah subhanhu wa tala to make us righteous and die on the deen of Al Islam (Ameen).

  4. i am a christian woman engaged to a muslim man.i love him ,everyone around us seem to think its a mistake to be together..i dont see myself living without this man,is there any advice

    • deedee

      What is your man's status? Does he have nationality of the country you live? If not be aware of sham marriage! We are a group of women who all have been dumped soon after those man got papers sorted. If thats not the case then go for it. But be aware they do not have same mentality as we do and you will encounter problems!

    • Please don’t make that mistake. I have made it and my life is full of suffering

  5. I am an Islamic revert, I reverted two years into my previous marriage to my ex husband. I eventually figured out that he was always going to be unreasonable and irresponsible, abusive and controlling, so I left him. I did not leave Islam, however, as I sincerely feel it is the Way. I am now married to a man who was raised Catholic. He is helping me raise the two children I had with my ex (whom he has also abandoned, so much for the role a husband and father is supposed to play according to Islamic law) and is all around wonderful, he is supportive, humble, intelligent, understanding and so much more. I know that according to Islamic law, I am supposed to only marry a Muslim man. My husband is not as well educated in Islam, we have an open dialogue regarding spirituality, but neither is he in Catholicism. I always tease him about how I am far more well versed in the understanding of Christian values and theological interpretations among the various denominations than he is (I went to a private Christian high school). What my husband and I have come to decide in regards to how my children, and any future children we have shall be raised is that we will always be open and honest with our kids, there is enough core similarity in regards to family values expressed in both religions (roles of mother/father, moral expectations, etc) that we can and have been raising the children with moral decency and also give them the opportunity to see how cohesively a cross-cultural relationship can function so long as there is understanding and clear communication. I express to my children that their stepfathers' family and I have different beliefs in regards to exactly who Jesus was and what his job is..basically whenever they have religious questions, we both answer them with the emphasis that what we are explaining reflects our personal beliefs. I have very strong faith that my influence is the one they will take after the most 😉 If the father of the child in question is not living up to his duty as a father is supposed to according to Islamic Law, then he has no right to judge the mothers' actions. Yes, I believe Christianity is one large misunderstanding of holy revelation, however, if it is a christian that is putting food in the mouth of the child and clothes on its back and waking up at 2 am to lull them back to sleep when they are scared, sick, etc, without the help of the Muslim parent, then it is to be expected that the child will take after the parent with the most influence. I also do not judge the mother, she obviously was not exposed to the ideal Muslim man. I can gurantee you, if any husband was as good a husband and father as Muhammad(PBUH) was, no woman would want to leave him and break her family.

    • Sister Anonymous, Asalaamualaykum,

      You seem to be highly confused to me. You admit that Islam does not permit a Muslim woman to marry a man of any other religion but Islam, yet you have 'married' a non Muslim man and are justifying your actions. Such a marriage is not valid in Islam and so your relationship with this man is haraam.

      If your ex-Muslim husband failed as a husband, that is unfortunate. But it is by no means a justification to then find a husband of any faith. Your relationship with the non Muslim man may appear to be 'going well', but that does not make it 'right'.

      Perhaps you should ask your non Muslim man to accept Islam as that is the only way you can have a halaal relationship with him and for him to be called your husband.

      SisterZ Editor

  6. My husband (Muslim) left me 3 weeks after he got his citizenship.
    I have a two year old daughter.
    I have just taken her to Christian church this Sunday for the first time.
    I wanted her to of a religion and I wouldn't mind if it Islam but mu husband couldn't care less.

    I am starting support group for european women who have been exploited by Muslim men and feel free to contact me ......
    (Email address deleted by Editor)

    • Katja,

      What about the other thousands of European women who have been exploited by 'men' for citizenship, men of any religion - not just Muslim men. Why do you not want to help them? That your husband used you to obtain citizenship was very bad of him and I am sorry that you have had to go through this. But your husband did not do this because he is 'Muslim'.

      This is a widespread issue amongst men/women from the Indian Subcontinent, parts of Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, because some of these regions of the world are suffering from poor social and economic growth, war, poverty etc. Their victims are usually women/men from the UK, EU, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand - the so called economically and socially safe countries.

      So this exploitation has nothing to do with Islam at all. But its strange that instead of focussing on all men who exploit women in Europe for citizenship, you are targetting just 'Muslim' men as though its a 'Muslim' problem; and then you also say you dont mind your daughter being Muslim.

      Allah(swt) says in the Quran in Surah Rum, Ayah 21: "And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect." A true/good Muslim will marry with this in mind, not with the intention of obtaining citizenship of any country.

      SisterZ Editor

      • well i am reading this and it reminds me of my thoughts this is our 1st anniversary and I am happy but at the same time I am having doubts in my marriage. I am an American woman and I have married an Algerian Muslim man..

        (Remainder of question has been deleted. Please log in and write your question as a separate post, thank you. - Editor)

  7. One of the many many reasons why you should reduce risking leading your children astray and marry only within the community.

  8. If the mother is Jewish, the son/ daughter is Jewish by Jewish Law. If the father is a Muslim and the mother is a Christian it's up to them to decide the religion of the child or to let the child decide for himself once he is an adult. What does it mean that the child is a Muslim by birth? Nobody is nothing by birth, only a Jew. However even a Jew can convert to another religion. I would advice the mother to seek legal advice. As far as I am concerned it depends on the law of the country you are living in. In the UK nobody has the right to impose their faith on a child if the other parent does not agree, including circumcision (mutilation justified by barbaric ancient laws that lots of people keep on doing to their poor little kids). If you are in Middle East (including Israel) best of luck!!!!

    • Assalaamualaikam

      There are a number of things a person may mean when they say "Muslim by birth".

      It can be used to refer to a person who was born to Muslim parents and raised in an Islamic home. It can also be used in the more general context to refer to the view that all people are born in a natural state of peace and innocence. The word Islam means peace and submission to Allah - God. So, an individual in this naturally innocent and pure state has these qualities in their heart... so, they can be described as being Muslim.

      A core principle of Islam is that a person should not be forced to accept it. A person coming to Islam should be doing so because they feel in their heart that they believe in the teachings and believe that there is no god but Allah, and that Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His Messenger. A Muslim parent has a duty to provide their children with an education about Islam, so that they can learn and inshaAllah accept it in their hearts.

      Midnightmoon editor

  9. I am a Christian women, in a relationship with a Mali Muslim man, I have two children with him a daughter of three years old and a son of a year, he has insisted that his children are brought up as Muslim, he has a friends wife who is a Muslim convert, she takes our daughter to the Mosque,and also discusses the Koran with me, I do not think I will change my religion, but a better understanding of the Koran, will be better for me.

  10. Susan, far more Americans (I assume you are American) are killed every year by non-Muslim Americans. Or have you forgotten the Washington Navy Yard rampage, the Newtown school shootings, the Aurora Colorado cinema massacre, last week's Planned Parenthood killings... the list goes on. Not to mention the fact that most serial killers are white men. Mother Jones magazine compiled a list here:

    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Perhaps it's America that needs to examine its core values?

    Wael Editor

  11. Assalaamualaikam

    I'm saddened to hear of anyone feeling threatened, and hope that through finding out more about Islam you may be able to feel less threatened by our faith. Islam and Christianity have a lot of similarities - for example, did you know that Jesus (pbuh) is greatly respected in Islam as one of the Prophets, and that both Islam and Christianity emphasise the importance of giving to charity and protecting the vulnerable?

    The things you watch on TV and read about in the newspapers aren't representative of Islam, any more than the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are representative of Christianity. It might help ease your concerns for you to find out more about Islam - if there's a mosque near where you live, or you know a Muslim woman at your work or in a social setting, ask them about Islam. You're also very welcome to read more on our site - we aren't scholars or experts, simply ordinary people from around the world, so by reading some of the posts here you might see that we have the same dilemmas and make the same mistakes as other people.

    Midnightmoon editor

  12. This is a difficult question. In Catholicism, the child is considered Catholic if either of the parents is Catholic. Every Catholic is required to marry in the church, or with a dispensation to marry elsewhere with the church's blessing. Catholics entering into interfaith marriage are also required to sign a paper affirming that they will continue practicing their faith and will raise their children in their faith. Likewise, Muslim men are expected to raise their children Muslim. I know this because I'm a Catholic (practicing) married to a man who was raised Muslim but is agnostic/irreligious, and we had to go through the interfaith marriage procedure at my church.

    The name of the child will be irrelevant. As the mother is Catholic, the Catholic faith already considers the child Catholic regardless of the father's faith (similar to how Islam considers the child of a Muslim man to be Muslim). A priest will have no problem baptizing the baby. Generally in the UK, both parents must agree to any surgical procedure, including circumcision. The father can petition a court, however such petitions are generally not successful.

    Quite frankly, I don't think a marriage between a practicing Muslim and a practicing Catholic can work because of the children, as one person will not be following their faith depending on the child's religion, and this could lead to guilt and the breakdown of the marriage. In this case, the parent with custody of the child will determine the child's religion. Even so, the other parent will have some influence as they will be spending weekends with the child.

  13. What happens if the opposite occurs? Meaning, if a Muslim woman marries a non muslim man, the parents get divorced and the baby is muslim since the father was never around for the entire pregnancy. He now wants to fight for the last name of the child to be his. the mother is agreeing to " father's last name hyphenated by mother's last name" in that order. This is because she is aware a muslim child must carry his father's last name, but since the child is muslim and she wants to ensure he feels a sense of belonging in the religion she would ike him to carry her muslim last name also. Any thoughts on this?

  14. My father is a muslim my mother is roman catholic. On their marriage certificate they booth were muslims. But my mother discovered she was a second nuptial and she got me baptized as catholic, raised me as a catholic and put me in a catholic school by nuns. I married a catholic man. What religion should i be using. Iam 35 and I want to be a muslim

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