Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Why can’t a Muslim woman marry a Non-Muslim man?


The question that I am asking is one that has bothered me for quite some time now. I would like to know why it is alright for a Muslim man to marry a chaste woman who belongs to the 'people of the book', but not alright for a woman to marry a chaste man who belongs to the 'people of the book'. Usually I am met with the answer that men are dominant, and women are compromising which is why a marriage such as this would be harmful for them, but I find that this is hardly true in marriages where both partners respect each other and work together to have a successful family.

I have also found verses quoted from the Qur'an that make women of the book legal for men to marry, but I would like to know why this verse applies only to men and not women? Whereas other verses from the Qur'an (although addressed to men like many verses in the book) apply to both women and men? When we forbid acts for both sexes based on a verse that mentions only men, why don't we permit acts for both sexes that mention only men? Please clarify this issue for me.

Jazakillah Khair,


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17 Responses »

  1. Truthseeker, wa alaykum as-salam,

    Regarding your first question, we have dealt with this question in detail in past posts. See this one for example:

    Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim man if she controls the family?

    Regarding the question in your second paragraph, the reason the allowance to marry from People of the Book is understood to apply only to men, is because in other places the Quran has specifically prohibited the marriage of Muslim women to non-Muslims.

    For example:

    "And do not marry (your girls) to idolaters until they believe...." - (2:221)

    And Allah said concerning the immigrant Muslim women:

    "Then if you know them to be Believers, do not send them back to the unbelievers. They are not halal for them (as wives), nor are they halal for them (as husbands)." - (60:10)

    No text exists which makes exceptions for the People of the Book, hence, on the basis of the above verses, there is a consensus among Muslims concerning this prohibition.


    Wael Editor

    • Dear Wael,

      Thank you for your response. If I am not mistaken, the verse you have quoted also states:

      "Do not marry idolatresses until they believe..." (2:221)

      This is stated before the part that says not to marry your girls to idolaters. If the same command is given to men in this same verse, why does this verse not overrule their permission to marry women of the book like it does for women to marry men of the book?

      I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. I am trying my best to understand the matters of my religion of which I do not have enough knowledge yet, and I thank you for assisting me in this aim.

      Jazakillah Khair

      • There is a general prohibition in Islam against marrying non-believers, whether male or female. However, Allah has made a specific exception for men only to marry women from the People of the Book. So when Allah says, "Do not marry idolatresses" the word in Arabic is "mushrikeen" and it's a reference to the people who worship idols, statues, multiple gods, etc. It's not referring to the Christians and Jews. The term "mushrikeen" or idolaters have never been used to refer to the People of the Book.

        There are other conditions for marrying women from the People of the Book; for example they should be chaste. This is a condition that is commonly violated among Muslim men who marry these women.

        Wael Editor

  2. i would just like to inform you to stop your fitnah making because wallaahi you seem to be a person who seeks fitnah and doubts and making halal what Allaah and his messenger made haraam.

    dont destroy yourself.


    • agreed

    • @ Brother Wael,

      Good reply, but please quote the full verse of Surah Baqarah.

      Where as Allah has said clearly for Muslim men to be able to marry women from Ahle Kitaab, the same has not been said for Muslim women. So we obey what Allah says and understand from other verses that Muslim women are for Muslim men only.

      They are the one who keep the family together, they are the ones raising up children and giving them more time at home, so if they are non Muslims, the children may incline to non Muslim way of life. If wives are Muslimas, they would encourage kids towards Islam and point out their straying and would give them good teaching Insha Allah.

      This and many more reasons beyond human capacity to understand. Allah's wisdom is infinite not ours.

      @ Umm Az Zubayr,

      Fear Allah. Your words reflect such an angry and agressive person inside you, be calm and call people to the Qur'an. The Prophet did this, you should also deliver the verses of Qur'an to the people, that is the biggest Sunnah and most authentic as well.

      I would like to remind you of a verse of Surah Al Israa:

      53. Tell My bondmen to speak that which is kindlier. Lo! the devil soweth discord among them. Lo! the devil is for man an open foe.

      Your brother.

  3. I disagree with Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women of ahl al Kitab. Muslims are only suppose to marry Muslims. The verses quoted above were for when the Muslim community was still in transition, just as wine was once allowed and later made haram, it was because Allah SWT realized such a decision could adversely affect the transition of non-Muslim Arabs to Islam, it was temporary relief until a transition point was made to allow its prohibition.

    With Muslim men marrying ahl al Kitab, the problem is the vast majority of Christians don't believe in Tawheed and the vast majority of Jews have bida in their faith. Hence it is not recommended for Muslim man or female to marry outside their religion. I have seen countless attempts, but I have never seen it work for the benefit of Muslim children.

    • Brother MA Khan,

      "Allah SWT realized such a decision could adversely affect the transition of non-Muslim Arabs to Islam"

      By saying that Allah realized something is saying that He did not know it before, Astaghfiruallah. Allah has always knew and always will know everything in this world and everything beyond it. So what you have said in that sentence is incorrect. May Allah forgive you, me and all of us from our sins and mistakes. Ameen.


      • I'm sure he just meant, "Allah knew".

        Wael Editor

        • Please forgive me if he that is what he meant. I get very scared when I say things like this, I am very afraid of saying something wrong without knowing. Like how I started to feel guilty after saying "Good luck" because it is not up to luck, it is upto Allah's decision. If this is an irrational fear please tell me because I feel very guilty afterwards.

          • WS Good pick up strawberryfields. No, I agree it is important to clarify the tense and the mood. What I was trying to say rather is because of the needed transition out of Jahiliyah in early Islamic society, somethings that were initially allowed, were not later allowed. I think this is one of those things, but I'm curious to know of other readers and their opinion on marrying Christians and Jews who don't believe in Tawheed and have a large amount of innovation in their religion? I don't think a Muslim man can really find a spouse like that these days.

  4. Salam

    I believe that the reason muslim women arent allowed to marry men from other religion than islam is because the man usually changes the religion of the women. An example would be my uncle and aunt, both my uncle and aunt were muslim at first when they got married, but my uncle had doubts in his mind so he started to research and now he became an athiest, during there few years of marriage. My aunt was a very religious person who followed her religion and never missed praying and loved god. My uncle was very violent and use to beat her up. When she used to pray, my uncle would grab the praying mat of her feet and make her stop to pray. She was very stressed and depressed, so she stop praying. After a while, my uncle and aunt became very close and the violent had stop few years back between them. And my uncle use to show my aunt books and he tried to prove to her that islam is wrong (forgive me for saying this) and now my aunt has lots of doubt in her mind and is following what my uncle is following. She is confused, she half believes islam and half believe atheism. They have 4 children now two boys and two girls. The eldest son is very religious and follows his religion, even though my uncle and aunt never taught there him about islam as much, but the second son is following his fathers way and is also in doubt, and the two daugthers are still young.

    So I think that the man usually changes the womens and the childrens perspectives. Whereas if (im not being gender discriminative) it were a women in the situation i explained the man would of not of changed his religion unless allah had willed.
    Hopefully this may help and i havent done anything to offend anyone
    Salams to everyone

  5. I am not sure, I am not a muslim and I am seeing a muslim girl recently she is a good girl and follows everything according to her beliefs. I have never forced her to change or pressurise to be with me as I know one day we won't even be together as friends. I am doing fasting as well to pray to her god to keep her safe and strong when I am not there in her life as she has learnt the life hard way. She is a crazy person and eventhough she wouldn't do anything wrong, I just get scared that she would self distruct. I can't do anything for it and I am just trying to be there for her untill I can.

    I would have let allah show me the light and I fasting in Ramadan is making me realize my inner strength. But my religion background has always tought me humanity should be my belief and because if which I get remembered about my family and parents. I know you all might be thinking I can and all but I am a sikh and our background teaches us that we evolved during the mughal ages and fought against the evil mughals to not forcefully convert anyone to muslim. I don't mind to convert if I find my answers and converty but will it right according my belief as my parents and sikh believers and follows sikhism very seriously.

    I know many people here won't even understand me or think that it is worst thing me or her are in. But we haven't broken any rules and are not looking to. We just love each other a lot but are even scared to be open about it.

    I don't know if this offends anyone but what would you do in this situation. I have decided to just let it go but I know somewhere it won't be fair, as i might not marry to anyone untill i am over this. But for her she might need to make a decision very soon and she will have to give in. I just don't know where things are going. I have just closed my eyes and left all this on the almight god. Whatever he chooses will be for best.

    • Unknown, your question is not offensive. If you would like to log in and write your question as a separate post, we can share our thoughts with you Insha'Allah.

      Wael Editor

  6. I have read numerous posts, blogs and articles about this topic and as well as the Quran and Hadith. It seems matters relating to the heart are particularly hard to change. I would say 'Lakum Dinukum Waliyadin' to anyone who insists this type of marriage is allowed despite the weight of evidence prohibiting it. As a practicing Muslim man I wonder about the hearts of the Muslim women who want to marry non-muslim men. Marriage is a very big part of life, and how you made the major decisions in life will be what Allah will ask of you on the day of judgment. I wonder how a Muslim can ever risk his/her offspring being raised in an environment in any way Un-Islamic. The essence of any Muslim is his/her Imaan, and if you have sufficient Imaan you should be able to suppress any feeling for something Allah has not allowed you, including love. I think we must all try to make ourselves better Muslims and teach the same to our little boys and girls before its too late.

  7. Hello all,

    I am a catholic boy (20) who has been conversing and talking with a muslim girl for a very long time now.

    (I deleted the rest of your comment. Please log in and write your question as a separate post. - Editor)

    • Hi there 'Catholic Guy',

      You are right, there are no loop holes. The only way you can be married to this woman is if you accept Islam. That must sound really over whelming but if you are open minded, then take yourself down to a local Mosque or Muslim Community Centre and speak to some of the guys there just to aquire knowledge. Tell them you are interested in Islam and want to learn about it. If you are genuine in your quest, albeit initally because of your love for this girl, this will help you. Hopefully you'll find a Mosque that teaches Islam correctly. Alternately, you can find alot of info about Islam on the net. If you want we can point you towards some good websites.

      In the meantime, I urge you to break your relationship with this woman, as there is no place in Islam for intimate relations between man and woman unless they are married.

      If you have any further questions, please log in and submit them separately.

      Thank you,

      SisterZ Editor

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