Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I am a Christian woman marrying a Muslim but I have no idea how to plan the wedding ceremony

September 2004

This question is answered by Wael Abdelgawad, the Editor and Administrator.


Dear Bilqis,

I am a 34 year old Christian woman with an 8 year old daughter. We have met the most beautiful soul that in my heart I have fallen in love with. He is a Muslim. We desire to marry and I have no idea on how to even get started being that I am not a Muslim. I do respect his wishes and they are to marry in the eyes of God but of the Islamic faith. Can you advise me on where to get started and how?

Please and thank you,

- T.W.


Dear T.W.,

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. May Allah make it happy, blessed and fruitful.

An Islamic wedding should be held either at the local mosque (many mosques have large rooms or halls for lectures, dinners, weddings and other events), or more commonly at another location such as a hotel, a park, etc. The ceremony should be officiated by the local Imam (the local Muslim religious leader). He will recite from the Qur'an and give a short talk about marriage, and then he will ask you both if you accept one another as husband and wife.

Ideally your parents, especially your father, should be there to assent also. The groom should pay you a marriage gift or dowry (what we call a mahr in Arabic). It can be money or anything of significant value, but should be an amount agreed on by both of you. The Imam might also present you with a religious marriage certificate to sign. Both of you will sign it, the Imam will sign it, and it will be signed by at least two Muslim witnesses.

If the family and guests are more conservative then guests should be grouped by gender, for example with women on one side of the room and men on the other. The bride's gown should be as modest as possible, and guests (particularly women) should be asked to dress modestly, i.e. no form-fitting dresses or open backs.

Of course the ceremony should be followed by a waleemah, which is the wedding reception or banquet. However, alcohol should not be served.

The entire marriage ceremony and banquet should be modest and within the couple's means. It is not the Islamic way to spend lavish sums of money or to go into debt to pay for the marriage.

Lastly, the couple should be sure to also get a civil marriage certificate at the local government office.

There are several few articles on our site that can give you more information. Please see's Articles page, and look at the section on Weddings in Islam.

In particular see's article, "Marriage Ceremony in Islam: the Basics", which is extracted from a handbook on marriage issued by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

As a final note, since you are a Christian I think it's important that you and your future husband discuss the issue of religious practices in the home. Your husband may expect the house to be maintained as an Islamic environment (for example, no alcohol, no pork, no un-Islamic symbols or images on the walls). Almost certainly he will expect that any children the two of you have together will be raised as Muslims. I think it's important to discuss these issues and even put them in writing so that there will be no misunderstandings or conflicts later on.

Best regards and best wishes on your marriage,

- Wael Hesham Abdelgawad, Editor

34 Responses »

  1. i found this post very helpful, as i am in the same predicament. i am a born again christian, and have been for 4 years, when i had a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. my fiance is a muslim by upbringing, but he doesnt follow his faith, appart from the areas he needs to such as the culture, and ramadan, and eid. when i met my fiance he was aware of my faith and how strong my beliefs are. we have come to an agreement that our children will learn of both christianity, and islam. to hear the response from "bilquis" that it is accepted that the household, and children should be bought up as muslims, makes me utterley upset. the question i bring, and bought to my fiance is "why should a person have to hide their beliefs under a bushell? how do you excpect a person to not share their beliefs with their own children?. i am sorry but (TW) has as much right to bring up her children in the way of Christianity, as her husband to be does in bringing them up as muslims.

    • dear lovely ladies

      All souls are muslims, and christian should know you are a part of muslim, you are from the people of the book in the Quran, Only when the soul meets with the body, at that time she will face a new challenge either to stay Christian or to look for her origin faith.

      Those is only God (Allah), allah is the god of all creation (animal,nature, jews, christian, muslims...) who command where will go the soul and into to who. My soul could be in a jew body and family or else, but god decided i ll be in a muslima shell and to rise muslim right away a privilege we have at first instance.

      Be certain of one thing dear lovely ladies, when you do shahada , you are so lucky you erase all sin , to you , you just born mean you start again a life with 0 sin.

      it is not necessary to go , to a mosque or city hall... you can have 2 witness , read the sourat Fatiha , with a sincere heart and you are married as simple as it is. But if you have kids that is another story. its why paper came , man was denying his kids and refusing responsibilities.

      anything that god made us not to do and to be saw as sin, it is only for the good of us, mentally, spiritually and financially. so we can stay in peace in our mind and soul.

      i wish you the best, happy life and god bless you with the heaven... kiss and hug

  2. Hello Virginnia,

    You ask, "Why should a person have to hide their beliefs?..."

    The answer is that you don't "have to" do anything. You have a choice. If your faith is very important to you, and if it's important to you to raise your children as Christians, then you can choose not to marry a Muslim, but instead marry a fellow Christian.

    As "utterly upset' as you are that your children would be raised as Muslims, a Muslim would be equally upset that his children would be raised as Christians. Isn't that logical?

    As Muslims we believe in the Oneness of God and that is the central tenet of our faith. We believe that our religion is true, and is the path to Paradise. Of course we want our children to be raised in our faith. In fact for many Muslims it is absolutely the most important thing.

    I don't think that you and your fiancé are compatible in the long term. Even if he is a non-practicing Muslim right now, he may grow stronger in his faith in the future. And it wouldn't surprise me if, even as a non-practicing Muslim, he experiences intense regret or dissatisfaction at seeing his children raised as Christians. And you obviously don't want them raised as Muslims.

    As for teaching them two religions at the same time that is confusing. It will end up being a competition to see who can influence the children more strongly.

    • Hello Wael,

      I just got to say you cannot make the statement that you don't think they are compatible in the long term. No one can base a relationship solely on religion. A person's religion is just one aspect of them, and should not make up the whole person. And also, you cannot make the assumption that this non-practicing muslim guy will start practicing again.... but anyways...

      My thoughts.. well im in a similar situation, my bf is a non-practicing muslim, and I am, well i was raised christian, but now i do not follow any religion. I am a spiritual person just as anyone else, my spirituality exists in the things i find meaningful in my life. We have been talking about marriage, and i believe it is all about compromise. I believe it should NOT be one way or the other. You gotta give a little and get a little. In addition, I like the idea of teaching two religions to children, like virginnia mentioned, and as long as you are general about it, it shouldnt be confusing. I think the best thing to get out of religion is the morals and values. Muslims and Christians beleive a lot of the same things. Why not take your own spin on it and teach the stuff that overlapse? And when your children get older, if the CHOOSE to take an interest in it, teach them more about the specifics. But anyways, great topic of discussion for sure!

      • "compromise", I understand that you mean well. But your relativistic, "it's all the same" attitude is typical of someone who does not believe strongly in anything, and so cannot understand why other people would base their actions and lifestyle on a belief system. Which really just underscores my point of why you (or anyone like you) would not be compatible with a practicing Muslim who really does care about his religion, who believes in it, knows it to be true, and wants to base his life on its teachings. I'm not speaking necessarily of the man in this post, but in a general sense.

        There are many areas of life that require compromise, but for believing Muslims our religion is not one of them. We believe that our lives are a gift and a trust from Allah (God), and that we owe Him a debt of gratitude, and the proper expression of gratitude is by following the commandments that He has given us. We don't "take our own spin on it" because we believe the Quran is the actual word of God, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It's not up to us to change it or compromise it.

        As for children, if I had the most precious gift in the universe in my hands, this great and true thing, and I withheld it from my children, or failed to teach it to them, what kind of parent would I be? Should I also wait until they get older and can decide if the world is round or square, or if vaccinations can actually prevent smallpox and polio? Obviously not. I have to look after their wellbeing, which means their spiritual wellbeing as much as their mental and physical wellbeing. For a Muslim, that means teaching them Islam and raising them as Muslims.

        Wael Editor

        • Salam Alaikum

          I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the guidance and response you have given to the christian woman by telling her that her and the man are not compatible! I find that as muslims we are not required to force anything on anyone. By setting the right example those around us may take example from us as we took example from our friends or our parents etc.

          I was offended to read the comment saying 'you do not have to do anything, but neither need she marry a muslim but marry a christian'. Well God tests our faith always and who are we as mere mortals to question what God sets out for us. I ask you Wael If you look inside do you think you gave the right advice to someone clearly searching for inner peace?

          I am a religious Ed teacher and my family are christian. However my brother reverted to islam a year ago and I am going through a similar journey. We can only follow our hearts. There are many different religions and only one kind of faith and a monotheistic belief is supported in the Qu'ran,

          I understand the point about raising the children to be protected. But remember even reverts upon uttering their Shahadah are given a clean slate and always with Allah our intentions are what matter the most. By intending to have a happy home full of love and support and tolerance surely that in a way goes some way toward what Allah wants for us.

          Thanks for your time
          Ayesha Jaan

      • to hide his belief is to stop certain judgment, and again your faith is between you and your creator. what is important that you behave well between human. Religion regards no one.

        its not everyone who like muslims, to prevet hate or bad words. say nothing , live in peace... no need that they will bring up religion and start saying bad words ... and to be also a target.. no need. A real muslim you will never know he is one. those a true muslims. faith is in the heart a sincere heart not by having a bear, or by the clothes.

        Islam is in your heart, and your behave...

        • Well said dear Gentle person.

          Our behaviour towards our loved ones and each other as humans and to all creatures. This we will be judged on.

          I went to a Christian sunday school for 2 yrs, but was raised by parents that didn't "believe in a God".
          They believed in kindness and helping everyone.

          I started my conversion to Islam at 21 yrs old, when i married a Muslim man (i was wife material, virgin, studied, money etc etc), he then chose to be with other woman. Disillusioned I chose to divorce him forget men and religion.
          I now am engaged to a very beautiful man, whom is Muslim. Not practising, but it is in his heart.
          Interesting journey's and tests we get.
          Kindess and treating each other how we ourselves like to be treated goes along way to allowing people to chose how to live their lives.

          Follow your heart.

      • I was just reading this post and I am not on anyones side here but just speaking from my own experience. Me and my sister were both raised learning two different religions it was difficult and frustrating for our parents who could not find a common ground on anything and like mentioned earlier in the conversation it did become a competition to them of who can influence us more. Me and my sister were small and did not have a say but as soon as we got older we became confused and did not follow anything. My father is still enforcing his religion as much as he can and so does my mum and almost making us feel guilty if we choose one or the other. I am now 23 and still confused about religion I am now thinking of marrying a muslim man but not sure if I will convert to muslim or which religion to choose. My younger sister had it more difficult she was much more confused and easily influenced by others (friends and boyfriends) and because she did not have a strong ground and belief in any direction who ever she was dating she was becoming. so now she is with a strong believing christian man and she is taking it to extreme.
        What i want to say is that you have to be really realistic about this it is the children who will suffer. I would prefer if my parents decided to teach me one or the other not both. but I do hope me and my sister will find the right direction.
        please feel free to ask me any questions because i would be more than happy to give you a view from a child perspective. and how this could affect them. (not saying it will be exactly the same)

  3. Dear Wael,

    I have a question which I hope you can provide me some insight on. I am a Christian currently married to a Muslim man. When our relationship began almost 9yrs ago, his family was not supportive, so when we married only my family came to the civil ceremony. Only recently I have formed a decent relationship with my husbands family, and the nikka ceremony was performed with only some of his family as witnesses.

    Anyway, we have decided that since the general relationship is improving between his family and myself, that we will have a full traditional wedding with all the traditions of the islamic culture, as well as the Christian culture. So far, I have been able to fuse both cultural traditions together in a way that keeps the wedding religious but also easy to follow for both sides while also not offending the islamic elders that are more traditional. The problem that I have is planning the Reception. I know my family and I wouldn't want or shouldn't have to tell them to change for the sake of on looking eyes as it relates to dancing. My family loves to dance but I realize that this is not openly accepted in the islamic religion unless it's only a husband and wife present. This situation is already going to be uncomfortable for both sides, do to the long history of tention. I really do not want to split the room men on one side women on the other as I feel that will add fuel to the fire and make everyone feel VERY uncomfortable.

    I do realize that there is going to be talk and I am willing to accept that. But I was hoping maybe you could provide some feedback or articles about how to plan a bicultural reception specifically Christian/Islamic that is both fun and respectful for both sides.

    Thank You,
    -April A

    • To Fusion Wedding Reception,

      I don't know much about Islam as Wael does, but in my [Afghan] culture, the guests dancing is a big thing, in wedding ceremonies. Also in my culture,we are generally not split into men on one side and women in the other side, during Wedding ceremonies I guess it could depend on the ethnicity/culture of your husband's side, and how strict or progressive they are. But I'm pretty confident the Qur'an doesn't say anything about dancing being prohibited in weddings, and in general, in other appropriate events.

      • I'm only 14, but I am educated enough in my religion to know that it is haraam. I am Palestinian, but the muslim religion doesn't just apply to one culture.

        It is haraam for men and women to dance in the same vincity. Period. It encourages the devil to cause trouble. I know you want to have your family dance, but it would be greatly disrespectful to the muslims, even the ones that aren't very strictly religious. They might even leave the room.

        Even though I am so young, I would leave the room if men and women were dancing in the same room.

        But if your husband doesn't really care about his religion, do as you please. Salaam =)

    • what ever your mother or father behave with you, be always the same to them, be even more good to them. you are the key to change their heart for better. that is the islam way. Goodess will always overcome a dark heart might take time but their is result.

      we have to understand them, for what they hear, brainwash ect ect. is up to you to show them, be muslim you are a better person.

      we pray god, so their heart will open and follow you in your path of life.

  4. Hi Wael,

    I respect everything you have said, it does make sense you cannot raise children in confusion with two religions it will only confuse them. Anyways I have a question I am a Christian I am marrying a Muslim man were both on love and we decided to raise our kids in the Muslim faith and I myself have been practicing the faith and I am open to see what it is all about. My wedding is next year and were having some conflicts planning the wedding. My question to you is aside from the ceremony t the mosque I would like to have the sheek at the wedding hall where I will have the celebration. I would like to have out family members sitting with us and for my father to give me away to my future husband. My question would be is this against the Muslim religion ? I don't find anything wrong with establishing a little of my culture. Pleas let me know your answer

    • dear Emely,

      even animals they are muslim, their is a contract between them and our creator... they day they stop praying they will die right away. It is not like us, god still forgive us to choose the right path.

      again all souls are created musllim, all prophets are muslims, to christian too was asked them to bow to god like we do.

      animals never changes their way of life, only us. only this will make you think how come ... they are still conservative but not us the human who are never satisfied.

      he have to see who deserve paradise or not. up to us to choose the right choice.
      take time and think... its why we have a conscience and brain to be able to see through question and aswers.

      one thing, if they follow islam, your kids wont be doing things that you hope they wont. you have to choose hell or heaven, up to you, its your life.

  5. Hello
    I have read your response regarding an Islam marriage to a Christian
    The person I wish to marry is a Muslim and is already married but his wife does not wish him to marry again (she is not a Muslim)
    I have no problem in marring but would not want to upset her
    I am wanting to go for lessons so that I can become a Muslim
    There is an age difference between us I am much older and cannot give him children
    Would we be allowed to marry under these circumstances
    If so would we have to do a civil wedding

  6. Thank you for this interesting blog. I am non Moslem and he is Moslem. We are a couple that has decided for each to stay in her/his religions. We come from the same area, country. We have so much in common, we deeply care for each other, but we would also like to do things right, acording to our religions. We wouldn't like to change each other, we feel mature enough to accept each other the way we are. I've always dreamed of a wedding in my church, and I understand he wants one in his mosque. My question is, is this allowed?

  7. I think they should have a double wedding one of Islamic wedding and another wedding accordace to a chirstian manner.I'm not to sure if one or the other reigion would have anything that would porhibit this for happening.Since a muslim man is requred to give a gift of dowry (what we call a mahr in Arabic) if the brided wishes to get married again in a chruch as for a dowry then I asume it will be done.
    I myself feel that a child being rasied by both parents in which in many cases might seem as confussing for the child due to religion.But in fact if a child thats being rasied with both religoins, also to be taken to mind and concideration.Wouldn't you say that the child would gain a sences of a deeper understanding and tolerances for both of them.

    Who wouldn't want their child to have a sence of tolerances and understanding for another religion being theirs own or anothers. Also regardless of what religion the child choosen shouldn't the love for the child be the same no matter what. Even if they are muslim or christian.I understand in this matter it's hard doing so without joinning both religions together but if both parents take the time to give and take when and how they are going to do this just may'be things might end up well.For it's problems like this that make relationship work and in fact last longer due to many compromises...

  8. I was born into a family that didn't force any religion on me. My family is origonally of Christian faith, but that is not the issue. I have found my soulmate but his family is Muslim and they live in Tunisia. I have never met them, but we wish to get married. The problem is that I have a daughter from a previous relationship, and we are afraid that they will that they will frown on me for not being a virgin. My Future husband kept his virginity, but accepts that the American ways are different of the Muslim faith. He has decided to goahead and marry me, so there is nothing they can say, but i want to go about things the right way. Is there a way to get them to accept me?

  9. Marriage in Islam is not a game , or a business.

    read this (chapter : Woman)

  10. Salaam,
    I have a question and would be happy for any suggestion and answers. I have recently reverted to islam. Now my fiance and i want to get married ... i mean islamic marriage which is the nikah. We both are resident in sharjah uae. My question is that we dont know who can conduct the nikah for us.
    Does anybody have any idea where we can get our nikah done.
    Thank you

    • Walaykumsalaam Lara,

      Congratulations on accepting Islam. I am surprised that your fiance being Muslim and living in a Muslim country does not know where to conduct your marriage contract. For me, that raises doubts about his suitability to be good husband material. I would suggest you visit your local Imam or Muslim Leader for advice.

      If you want specific advice, please log in and submit your question as a separate post.


      SisterZ Senior Editor

      • im christian merried to muslim with civil ceremony.did my husband can merry another woman either muslim or christian?

  11. Hi,

    I have almost same situation with the lady, i am Christian and i been married to Christian Man, sadly my marriage doesnt work well. Now, I also found a good soul that I believe God sent and we are planning to marry in islam way. But How can I be married if im not yer divorced from my previous marriage, as everybody knows that there's no divorce in Christian marriages? Is it not prohibited or against the law of God?

    What I most do?

    I truly needed your advice.

    Your's in God.

    • As salamu alaykum sister Maria,

      A religious weeding implies a legal paper that stablishes you are legally married , then go to a lawyer and apply for divorce and then marry again, insha´Allah. Related to the religious marriage you can apply to get the nulity of your christian marriage, go to your bishopric and ask for the conditions.

      You have to divorce from your previous marriage to marry again, you can be accused of bigamy if you don´t.

      María Editor

  12. I'm a 22 Christian woman, My boyfriend is Muslim, He was born Muslim. He prays daily on a daily basis, no pork...ect...yes a REAL muslim (no distrspect to anyone). We been together since i was 15 & I love him to death & wouldnt put no one above him! I would change my beliefs if I had to just to be with him. (just to let you know how serious I am) We seriously been talking about marriage and kids! I know for a fact I want to spend the rest of my life with him & he feels the same but in the back of my head I was kinda thinking some of the samethings like a few of the ladies. He TOLD me our kids would be Muslim which is not the problem. Its when it comes down to the ceremony I wouldn't know what to do so he told me that he loves me & when he ask me to be his wife WE WILL MAKE THIS WORK & thats all that matters. So i thank ALL of you because reading this getting all this advice & information was very helpful. You rarely see situations like this. I wish you ladies the best!

  13. Are you willing to renounce Jesus Christ, the One who died for you? This is what you have to do to marry a muslim. In other words you're saying that you're willing to spend eternity in hell?
    Think very, very hard. No man is worth being cut off from God, the very Source of your existence.

    • Jeru,

      The idea that Jesus Peace be upon him died for our sins is false. It is oppression in itself. Why would anyone be punished for others' sins?

      God (Allah) Says in the Quran:

      That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another. (53:38)

      Allah Revealed the Gospel to Jesus Peace be upon him when we required it. But the time of the Gospel ended with the Revelation of the Quran. Now, Quran is the Final Revelation which is the ONLY Revelation in it's pure state. The Quran is as it was Revealed to Muhammad Peace be upon him.

      Jesus was one of the mightiest Messengers of God (Allah - The One you call: Father in Heaven). The only major difference between us is that you call him Allah's son, while Allah Himself Says that He Never Begets, nor was He Begotten:


      1. Say (O Muhammad ()): "He is Allah, (the) One.
      2. "Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks).
      3. "He begets not, nor was He begotten;
      4. "And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him."

      This Is The Perfect Lord, Who, even you Worship. But you call Jesus His son, which is not true.

      "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son (nor an offspring), and Who has no partner in (His) Dominion, nor He is low to have a Wali (helper, protector or supporter). And magnify Him with all the magnificence, [Allahu-Akbar (Allah is the Most Great)]."


      Islam is the Religion of this time. The law given to Jesus Peace be upon him was limited to his time. A Muslim loves Jesus Peace be upon him more than anyone can ever imagine. One would not be renouncing Jesus Peace be upon him by being a Muslim or marrying a Muslim. Infact, by calling him a son of Allah, one would be renouncing him and his God - Allah.

      During the Prophethood of Jesus Peace be upon him, he was the guide to the way to salvation, now, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is.

      I invite you to research on Islam, the Quran and the laws of Islam. You'll surely find the truth therein which shall enlighten you. I Invite you to accept Islam.

      Allah Says (3:84-86):

      84. Say (O Muhammad ): "We believe in Allah and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya'qub (Jacob)] and what was given to Musa (Moses), 'Iesa (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allah) we have submitted (in Islam)."
      85. And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
      86. How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and after they bore witness that the Messenger (Muhammad ) is true and after clear proofs had come unto them? And Allah guides not the people who are Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).

      Muhammad Waseem Editor

  14. I have a question.. Not to offend Muslim religion, is it a legal marriage that the girl don't want to be a Muslim but she want to be married with a Muslim guy?

  15. i am a christen a muslim lady came to me asked me pls if Jesus is the son of God who is the wife of God? I laughed excessively cos the question was funny to me. I explained to her the sonship of Jesus is spiritual not biological or naturally. 3 months later she became a christen her senior brother and father came a said I should stay away from her sister which I obeyed. later the brother came wit many books written by imams against Christianity and the authesity of the bible I answered all his questions HE too became a christain now I want to marry his sister the father said no. what do I do

    • Assalaamualaikam

      I think it's quite reasonable for the girl's father to be concerned about the idea of you marrying her. Consider it from his perspective - he's raised his daughter as a Muslim, to heed Allah's guidance and the teachings of His prophets and messengers... but then a stranger comes into her life, she turns away from Islam, and now this man wants to marry her. Add to this that this stranger has also influenced the girl's brother, and it's quite understandable that he wouldn't be thrilled about you marrying his daughter.

      I wonder how much you and this girl know about Islam and the respect afforded to Isa (peace be upon him) (Jesus) in Islam. You might find it interesting to read more about this, and to learn about The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

      Midnightmoon editor

    • Greetings Br. Samuel,

      In response to your comment regarding the sprititual relationship that you claim Jesus has with the Creator, please note that in the translation of the Bible (King James Bible Exodus [33:20]), God says:

      And he (God) said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

      So, if we can't see God, and we could see Jesus, then how could Jesus be God?

      Furthermore, the Bible never once mentions the Christian or Christianity--Jesus never called people to become Christians. Jesus would never have wore a cross which is often depicted in pictures in Churches. And the list goes on and on. The Bible of today has not only been translated, but also altered from its original form.

      I would highly recommend that you search Dr. Zakir Naik and listen to his lectures on the Bible and Christianity.

      Good luck to you on your journey.

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