Q&A (Fatwa)

#373: Ruling on getting married to a Kāfir


” Assalamu alaikum Is it permissible for a Muslim to marry a non believer n what is the ruling”


Wa alaykum salaam warahmatullaah wabarakaatuh.

Alhamdulillaah! There is no difference of opinion among the Ulamaa of Islam that it is not permissible in any situation for either a Muslim man or woman to marry a Mushrik who is not of the People of the Book.

The evidence for this is the verse in which Allaah – Ta’aala – said:

ﻭَﻟَﺎ ﺗَﻨْﻜِﺤُﻮﺍ ﺍﻟْﻤُﺸْﺮِﻛَﺎﺕِ ﺣَﺘَّﻰ ﻳُﺆْﻣِﻦَّ ﻭَﻟَﺄَﻣَﺔٌ ﻣُﺆْﻣِﻨَﺔٌ ﺧَﻴْﺮٌ ﻣِﻦْ ﻣُﺸْﺮِﻛَﺔٍ ﻭَﻟَﻮْ ﺃَﻋْﺠَﺒَﺘْﻜُﻢْ ﻭَﻟَﺎ ﺗُﻨْﻜِﺤُﻮﺍ ﺍﻟْﻤُﺸْﺮِﻛِﻴﻦَ ﺣَﺘَّﻰ ﻳُﺆْﻣِﻨُﻮﺍ ﻭَﻟَﻌَﺒْﺪٌ ﻣُﺆْﻣِﻦٌ ﺧَﻴْﺮٌ ﻣِﻦْ ﻣُﺸْﺮِﻙٍ ﻭَﻟَﻮْ ﺃَﻋْﺠَﺒَﻜُﻢْ ﺃُﻭﻟَﺌِﻚَ ﻳَﺪْﻋُﻮﻥَ ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﺍﻟﻨَّﺎﺭِ ﻭَﺍﻟﻠَّﻪُ ﻳَﺪْﻋُﻮ ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﺍﻟْﺠَﻨَّﺔِ ﻭَﺍﻟْﻤَﻐْﻔِﺮَﺓِ ﺑِﺈِﺫْﻧِﻪِ ﻭَﻳُﺒَﻴِّﻦُ ﺁَﻳَﺎﺗِﻪِ ﻟِﻠﻨَّﺎﺱِ ﻟَﻌَﻠَّﻬُﻢْ ﻳَﺘَﺬَﻛَّﺮُﻭﻥَ ﴾

” 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.”

Suratu Al-Baqara: (221)”

About this verse, Imaam Abu Ja’afar Ibn Jarir At-Tabari – rahimahullaah – transmitted from Qataadah that he said while interpreting this verse:

“What is meant are the women Mushriks from the Arabs who have no divine books to which they attribute themselves and read…”

Tafsir At-Tabari 4/363

He (At-Tabari) said:

“And what is more deserving of interpreting this verse is what Qataadah said that what Allah mentioned by the verse…. Is conditioned on the women not being of the People of the Book, and that the verse is generic in its appearance but specific in its essence, nothing of it is abrogated. And that the women of the People of the Book are not inclusive in this verse…

Tafsir At-Tabari 4/365

Al-Haafidh Ibn Kathir – rahimahullaah – said in his tafsir of the verse:

“This is an injunction from Allaah – azza wajal – forbiding the believing men from marrying the idol-worshiping mushriks. Then if the apparent meaning encompasses women from the People of the Book together with the idolatrous, then Allah has exempted the women among the People of the Book (from this ruling)…”

Thus the Muslims of the past and present are agreed in the injunction forbidding Muslim men marrying Mushrik idolatrous women, and Muslim women getting married to non-Muslim men whether idolatrous or not.

As for Muslim men marrying women from among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), the Ulamaa differ slightly about it.

Some of them hold that it is permissible but highly disliked. This is the verdict of Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab – radiyallaahu anhu – among others.

While others hold that it is permissible unrestrictedly.

About it, Allaah – ta’aala – said:

ﺍﻟْﻴَﻮْﻡَ ﺃُﺣِﻞَّ ﻟَﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟﻄَّﻴِّﺒَﺎﺕُ ۖ ﻭَﻃَﻌَﺎﻡُ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺃُﻭﺗُﻮﺍ ﺍﻟْﻜِﺘَﺎﺏَ ﺣِﻞٌّ ﻟَّﻜُﻢْ ﻭَﻃَﻌَﺎﻣُﻜُﻢْ ﺣِﻞٌّ ﻟَّﻬُﻢْ ۖ ﻭَﺍﻟْﻤُﺤْﺼَﻨَﺎﺕُ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍﻟْﻤُﺆْﻣِﻨَﺎﺕِ ﻭَﺍﻟْﻤُﺤْﺼَﻨَﺎﺕُ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺃُﻭﺗُﻮﺍ ﺍﻟْﻜِﺘَﺎﺏَ ﻣِﻦ ﻗَﺒْﻠِﻜُﻢْ ﺇِﺫَﺍ ﺁﺗَﻴْﺘُﻤُﻮﻫُﻦَّ ﺃُﺟُﻮﺭَﻫُﻦَّ ﻣُﺤْﺼِﻨِﻴﻦَ ﻏَﻴْﺮَ ﻣُﺴَﺎﻓِﺤِﻴﻦَ ﻭَﻟَﺎ ﻣُﺘَّﺨِﺬِﻱ ﺃَﺧْﺪَﺍﻥٍ ۗ ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﻳَﻜْﻔُﺮْ ﺑِﺎﻟْﺈِﻳﻤَﺎﻥِ ﻓَﻘَﺪْ ﺣَﺒِﻂَ ﻋَﻤَﻠُﻪُ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻟْﺂﺧِﺮَﺓِ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍﻟْﺨَﺎﺳِﺮِﻳﻦَ ﴿ ٥ ﴾

” This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. 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, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith – his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.”

Suratu Al-Maa’idah: (5)

On this, the Ulamaa formed a consensus on the permissibility of Muslim men marrying the free women from among the People of the Book. This is because some of the Ulamaa held that what is meant by ‘Al-Muhsanaat’ in the verse are Free women who are not slaves. In other words, this School deems it impermissible for Muslim men to marry bonds women from among the People of the Book.

Imaam Az-Zarkashi – rahimahullaah – said:

“And the free women from among the People of the Book and their slaughtering is permissible for the Muslims…”

Imaam Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisi Al-Hanbali – rahimahullaah – said:

“And there is not, all Praises are to Allaah, between the People of Knowledge any disagreements on the permissibility of the free women of the People of the Book. And if those from whom textual evidence is transmitted regarding that is Umar, Uthman, Talha, Hudhayfah, Salmon, Jaabir and others.
Ibn Al-Mundhir said: it is not authentially narrated from any of the people of the first generations that any of them sanctioned it. Al-Khallaal transmitted with a sound chain that Hudhayfah, Talhah, Al-Jaarud Ibn Mu’alla and Udhaynatu Al-Abdi, all got married to women of the People of the Book. And this is the position taken by all the other People of Knowledge.”

Al-Mughni 7/99

The strong position is that maintained by some other Ulamaa that what is meant by ‘Al-Muhsanaat’ in the verse are chaste women who are free of Zina.

Al-Haafidh Ibn Kathir – rahimahullaah – said:

“And this is the verdict of the vast majority in this regard, and it is the most probable; so as not to combine in her the fact that she is a Dhimmiyyah (non-Muslim living under Muslim protection) and add to that promiscuity and then her situation becomes entirely corrupted… So what is apparent from the verse is that what is meant by ‘Al-Muhsanaat’ are women who are chaste from adultery and fornication.”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir
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