The Shocking Truth About Mixed Marriages In Islam

The Shocking Truth About Mixed Marriages In Islam

Mixed Marriages In Islam

Any Muslim living in the West has surely come across many examples of mixed marriages in Islam. By this I don’t mean a black person marrying a white person, or an Arab marrying a Pakistani. There’s nothing wrong with interracial marriages.

The kind of mixed marriages I’m talking about are when a Muslim marries a non-Muslim. The most common case is when a Muslim man marries a non-Muslim woman. However, there are several (albeit a much smaller percentage) cases of Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men.

I’ve talked to hundreds of people about Islam throughout my lifetime and inevitably, the conversation always leads to marriage. One of the biggest problems non-Muslims have with Islamic marriage laws (besides polygamy) is the fact that Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women, but not the opposite.

Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men.

Often I get looks of shock and disbelief when I explain this to non-Muslims. They always exclaim why does Islam allow that? How can we believe that is fair? Isn’t that discriminating against women?

First of all, marrying non-Muslim women is not a privilege. This is not something Muslim men should be proud of.

Secondly, there are all sorts of reasons why this has been allowed for men but not women:

  • It brings fairness for both Muslim and non-Muslim women. If a Muslim man tells his non-Muslim wife he doesn’t want pork in his house, it doesn’t violate her religion to obey his wishes. But if a non-Muslim man tells his Muslim wife he wants to eat pork, he is forcing her to violate her religion.
  • It helps to ensure the survival of Islam. In traditional societies, the children usually adopt the ways of the father. So a children from a mixed marriage will usually follow the father’s religion. As Muslims, it is important that the next generation is raised as Muslim.
  • There’s a better chance of the woman converting to her husband’s faith. Even in modern societies, the husband is usually the dominant partner in a marriage. A strong husband is more likely to convince his wife to accept his faith.

But this article is not about the benefits of mixed marriages. In fact, I would rather talk to you about the dangers and pitfalls of mixed marriages in Islam. I would hope that any Muslim considering marrying a non-Muslim will abandon that idea immediately and instead focus on marrying chaste, believing Muslim women.

Two Types Of Mixed Marriages

There are basically two types of mixed marriages: Halal (permissible), and Haraam (forbidden).

Halal mixed marriages occur when a Muslim men marry chaste, Christian or Jewish women.

All other types of mixed marriages are forbidden and are not considered marriages at all in Islam. In fact, they are actually zina (fornication), and sinful.

Too often, Muslim men are quick to jump into a marriage with a non-Muslim woman and ignores these rules. This usually happens when a Muslim man gets involved in a sexual relationship with a Christian woman they are going to school or working with.

And these relationships often start off on the wrong foot also. Most of the time, the Muslim man is dating a non-Muslim woman. Then he decides to marry her and try to make things right with Allah.

The only way to make this “right” with Allah is to truly repent and leave the situation completely, or accept the Islamically prescribed punishment (100 lashes and banishment from the Muslim community for one year).

Allah’s Apostle ordered that an unmarried man who committed illegal sexual intercourse be scourged one hundred lashes and sent into exile for one year.


I cannot say that something is forbidden after Allah has made it permissible. So I will never say that mixed marriages are not allowed. But I am very much against them, especially when it occurs in Western countries where Islamic laws are meaningless.

As I mentioned, most of these marriages start off incorrectly. The next issue is that Muslim men are only allowed to marry chaste non-Muslim women.

It seems people forget this little prerequisite.

And (lawful for you 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.

Quran: Chapter 5, verse 5

Therefore mixed marriages in Islam are only allowed when non-Muslim women meet all of the following criteria:

  1. They are belong to either the Christian or Jewish faith. This means we are not allowed to marry Hindus, Buddhists or Atheists.
  2. They are chaste, meaning they have never had sex outside of marriage. They may either be virgins, or divorced or widowed.

Now how likely is it we’re going to find a woman meeting these qualifications in this world? Especially considering the information from this report stating that the average American women loses her virginity at age 17 Prom night anyone?

Many scholars have also passed rulings stating that it is not permissible to marry a non-Muslim while living in a non-Muslim nation. The reason for this is because of the children.

The concern for the children comes up in the case of divorce. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve met in my lifetime who told me their father was Muslim but their mother was not. And then their parents divorced, and the child was raised by the non-Muslim mother.

So by the time that child grows up, they are no longer Muslim. Islam is now lost beyond the father’s generation.

These marriages should be discouraged in the United States and other non-Muslim nations because when the parents divorce, the mother usually gets custody of the children. In a Muslim country, even the corrupt, despotic Muslim countries of today, more often than not, the courts will make sure the children are raised by the father or the father’s family.

This is not to say that this will happen in all mixed marriages. Certainly there are some exceptions. I am personally aware of a few of them:

  • I know a Pakistani Muslim man who married a Catholic woman. Both of their sons are practicing Muslims and the mother eventually converted to Islam.
  • I know an African-American Muslim man who married a Christian woman. She converted to Islam before they divorced and is currently a practicing Muslim. She is raising their children as Muslims.
  • I know an Arab Muslim who married a Christian woman. After several years of marriage she accepted Islam.

Of course there are more examples, but these are the only three that I can think of off the top of my head, that I’ve known personally. This is not a sign of hope; this is actually a sad reality.

Unfortunately, I know many, many more cases where the parents divorced and the children were raised as non-Muslim.

There is another form of mixed marriage which is forbidden: When a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim man.

This is forbidden and it doesn’t matter if the man is Christian, Jewish, or whatever. This form of marriage is not marriage at all in Islam, and is actually fornication.

O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is most knowing as to their faith. And if you know them to be believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers; they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them.

Do you remember the New York politician Anthony Weiner?

I had never heard of this guy until he got caught sending suggestive Tweets to a teenage girl. This was all over the news and eventually he had to resign from his job.

But this story is relevant to this discussion because he is legally married to a Muslim woman. When the story broke, the media glorified her as being a “practicing Muslim.”

The truth is, regardless of how much she prays and fasts, she is sinning every single day by living with a non-Muslim man.

The Worst-Case Scenario For Mixed Marriages

Weinergate notwithstanding, the most common mixed marriage is when a Muslim man marries a Christian woman. As I pointed out earlier, it takes place across the board by Muslims from all backgrounds.

And the absolute worst thing that can happen is that they divorce and the children are raised as Christian.

Very often, the divorce was not amicable so the mother has no inclination towards Islam. In fact, since she knows this would hurt her ex-husband, she might even deliberately keep her kids away from Islam.

And if the husband is not from America and has to go back to his native country, that pretty much seals the deal. The kids will never know anything about their father’s faith.

In my opinion, this is the absolute worst outcome of mixed marriages.

And in my experience, this is the most common outcome of mixed marriages.

And let’s not forget about those Muslims who marry for a green card.

This is a despicable act that happens all too often.

We’ve all heard of these situations when some Muslim man marries a non-Muslim woman just so he can stay in the U.S. That is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, it’s a form of deception. That’s bad enough. But add to that all the hurt and pain these Muslim men are going to cause their wives.

How would they feel if someone used their sister’s like that? As if she was just a tool; or a means to an end.

When (not “if”) they divorce, this will contribute to society’s already negative attitude towards Muslims and Islam. I just don’t see how anyone can use another person in such a heartless manner.

The Sad Truth

And now, I’m going to say something that really hurts to say.

A lot of these mixed marriages are the result of an inferiority complex.

I’m not at all against interracial marriages.

But let’s face it. Many people (Muslims included) still hold Europeans to higher caliber than everyone else on the planet.

A lot of Arab and Pakistani (and yes, many Africans and African-Americans also) are just itching to get their hands on a blonde-haired woman of European descent. In their mind, this is the ultimate standard of beauty. And they’re willing to put Islam on the back burner to reach that standard.

In fact, I’d bet the families of these men would be happier to see them marry a non-Muslim woman of European descent, than a Muslim woman of African descent. That shows just how messed up many Muslims are today.

To reiterate, I am not at all against Muslims marrying other Muslims of any ethnicity. We can’t control who we fall in love with.

But I am against Muslims marrying anyone because they think that race or ethnicity is superior.

Final Advice About Mixed Marriages

I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s feelings with this article. I sincerely do mean it when I say I am not against interracial marriages. If it is done to please Allah, then by all means, go for it.

However, I would not encourage a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman. The vast majority of these relationships (as I have seen them) begin and end badly.

There is only one situation where I would advocate or encourage a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman.

Sometimes, a non-Muslim man has a non-Muslim girlfriend and he accepts Islam. Now he has a relationship with this woman and rather than continue having illegal sex with her, he decides to marry her and hope that she’ll accept Islam eventually.

I would encourage this marriage because there is already a connection between the two people and it would be presumptive to ask the man to suddenly leave her.

Obviously, this is even more so for a married man who converts to Islam. There is no reason for him to break up his family and it would be best if he stayed with his non-Muslim wife.

And Allah knows best.

Thinking about getting married? Then you need to read this.

18 Responses to The Shocking Truth About Mixed Marriages In Islam

  1. I agree with almost everything you said. There is only one thing I don’t like, and it’s that rule about Muslim women that aren’t allowed to marry or develop a relationship with a non Muslim. It’s completely bias, because I feel this isn’t fair for men who aren’t Muslim. That rule is clearly meant to prevent Muslim women from abandoning Islam or converting to other religions. Isn’t it funny how it’s okay for a Muslim man to marry a non Muslim woman. I feel that the only reason it’s allow for men to do this is, because there is hope that that the non Muslim women will convert to Islam. Therefore these are completely bias rules especially for Christian men.

    • I understand why you think it’s a biased rule. But you must try to understand this rule from our perspective.

      The wife must obey her husband in Islam. If a Muslim woman marries a Christian man, and the husband wants his children raised as Christian, then the wife must obey him.

      If that happens, then Islam dies in that family branch. So, from a self-preservation standpoint, it is important that Muslim women only marry Muslim men because that almost guarantees the children will be raised as Muslim.

      If a Muslim man marries a Christian woman, then traditionally, the man should be the leader of the family. Therefore, he can insist his children be raised as Muslim.

      Quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women either. Allah has allowed it, but with certain exceptions.

      And many Muslim scholars say Muslim men should not marry non-Muslim women in non-Islamic countries (such as the US where I live) because if there’s a divorce, then the children will almost always be raised by the mother. Such a circumstance will also kill off Islam in that family branch.

      Once again, the point of the rule is to preserve Islam. That is more important than anything else.

  2. I have to agree with you, I am an European and married to Muslim man It does not work believe me. 8 years into marriage.

  3. I was married to a Muslim man and I actually agree with a lot of what you say. It’s quite an interesting article. The only really good one on the subject I can find on line. However, most middle class educated women would never allow a Muslim man to tell her she can not have pork in their home as if they are married in the West it’s their home not the husband’s home and if he’s not eating pork then what’s the problem. Also why would a Muslim woman care if her husband has pork in the house? She doesn’t have to eat it and the Muslim individuals already knew the non-Muslim ate pork if they did while getting to know them. I like your article, but I am glad I divorced my Muslim husband. I am happy and living my life in peace. In 2014 I am not sure why any woman would accept the man as the leader of the house or obey her husband. That sounds of a dysfunctional father/daughter relationship gone wrong. No one I know commits to unequal marriages. That fact that you say men must be the leader of the house and a woman must obey her husband is a recipe for disaster.

    I still think this is a good article for non Muslims and Muslims to read for obvious reasons though. It would definitely discourage marriages among the two from both sides. I think this is a must read for anyone involved or considering getting involved in these mixed relationships. The non-Muslim women should be aware of the Muslim mindset and the Muslim men should be educated on the reality of marrying and divorcing in a western country. I know my ex husband was in for the shock of his life since everything was done just the opposite of a Muslim country when we divorced. Your article would save many heartbreak and sadness especially the Muslim man who divorces a non Muslim in a Muslim country as our systems fully support the non-Muslim mom and wife in these divorces. I personally think non-Muslim women should be free to marry non-Muslims though because they too deserve like everyone to have an equal relationship.

    I agree with Olga. I personally wasted years being miserable and married to a Muslim man. I no longer have to have someone try to tell me what to do. I am happy now, but unfortunately can’t get back those eight years. Good luck Olga. Again an honest read that leaves no stone uncovered. A must read even if I don’t agree with everything the author says. I still respect what he says because to be honest it’s for the most part very true.

    • Thank you for your candor and honesty Jessica. I truly do respect your opinion.

      It would take too long to discuss the benefits of the Islamic role of marriage, but I’m certainly glad you outlined what both sides should expect in these “mixed marriages.”

      It is a shame your marriage didn’t work out, but if you weren’t happy with him, even though I’m Muslim, I agree you should have moved on to something better.

      May Allah give you peace in whatever path you choose.

  4. I am happily married with my arabic/muslim husband. I love every second of it, I wouldn’t change things for anything in this world! He is a great person a loving and devoted husband! When it comes to religion, I respect Islam and he respects my religion. When I married him I accepted him and his religion. I understand the way things have to be with our kids, being raised Muslim. I accept that along with all the other things that come in to question with islam. My husband does none of the things talked about in this article. On the other hand, he never demanded anything from me. I have the liberty and the space that I need as a women. He never questions with who or where I’m. He never stops me from doing what I want, including school and work. I dont agree with some of the things stated on this article and I am thankful for the way things are between my husband and I. Maybe I just got lucky.. either way I thank god for him and the love and harmony we have in our marriage. I am sure I am not the only non muslim woman married to a muslim man and is happy…. :) may Allah bless you!

    • That’s great! I’m glad you and your husband have a great marriage.

      BTW, where did I say women shouldn’t go to school or work?

  5. With all due respect, you may need to clarify that it is YOUR take on Islam and Hadeeth. Being born and raised as an Muslim Arab in an Arabic country with purely Arab Muslim parents, I find most of what you have listed to be foreign and quite frankly bizarre. Not two Muslims are alike! You are making Muslims sound like a different specie!!
    Might be that inferiority complex you speak of coming to the surface.
    Please do not appoint yourself as the spokesperson for Muslims. You clearly have biases and very narrow understanding of what Islam is all about. To make it short; it is not about who decides the dinner menu!
    Oh and by the way “having sex with someone you are not married to is considered “Zinaa” ONLY if the individual ( man OR woman) was never married! Basically because it means you have had the chance to be with someone in marriage and you CHOSE to do commit Zinaa. Marriage is a contract that articulates roles and responsibilities, and details financial obligations of both parties. You are talking about building a family NOT marriage! Two entirely different things!
    Please, spend sometime outside your self-righteous delusions to try understand Islam not memorize verses and repeat Hadeeth you do not comprehend.

    • So…because you’re Arab you think you know Islam better than I do?

      You seem to use that as a qualification of your position.

      Zinnaa is sex outside of marriage. Period.

      The Prophet had people executed for committing Zinna and they were married.

      I’ve brought proof and quoted hadiths and Quran.

      You’ve only brought your opinions on a computer screen.

  6. This article is pointless. In 21st century, we should be talking about equality of genders. Even in developing countries, women and men are pursuing advanced degrees that should make them equal in every respect, and particularly as individuals of faith. Why should a non-muslim woman have to be assumed to play second fiddle to her muslim husband? And why should a muslim woman be forced to avoid love outside the boundaries of religion when a muslim man can do as he pleases?

    Also biology is not religion. If I am muslim by birth but find Buddhism makes more sense to me, why should it matter that I follow my father’s religion?

    • You’re speaking from emotion and changing the faith to fit your desires. And if you equate Buddhism with Islam, then you’re definitely misguided.

  7. I am a Muslim woman and I honestly don’t agree with obeying your husband in everything and anything. I believe that there should be mutual respect on both sides. One spouse is not the master while the other is the slave.

    My question about mixed marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men is, “What if they don’t have children and the wife practices her religion without any interference from her husband?” All men do not necessarily desire to control their wives and expect complete obedience. In a case where a Muslim woman married a non-Muslim man and there were no children involved and the Muslim woman wasn’t expected to “obey” all of her non-Muslim husband’s wishes (such as cooking pork, drinking, etc.) what would be the issue?

    • You should not obey your husband an anything that is forbidden or dangerous or bad or evil. That’s obvious.

      Otherwise, Allah says women should be devoutly obedient to their husbands. So it’s not about obeying your husband; it’s about obeying Allah.

      As to your next question, even if all of those things were in place (which is very rare), Allah has given us these guidelines to live by.

      We are forbidden from adultery and one of the reasons is that it breaks down the family.

      But what if one spouse was okay with the other spouse having sexual relations outside their marriage? What if neither party wanted children so there would never be any paternal issues? What if all parties used protection so there was no threat of STD’s?

      The rules are still there to maintain morality and social structure and perhaps for even greater reasons than we understand.

      And Allah knows best.

  8. An interesting article for both Muslim and non-Muslims men and women..
    To Jonathan Torres
    Rules are rules…
    Men are not equal to women and women are not equal to men …. (but their rights are honored equally)
    Article is not only targeting that Muslim women cannot have relationship with non-Muslim but it is more focused on Muslim men.
    In Islam, both Muslim men and women should NOT be indulged in per-marital relationship no matter who the other partner is. Marriages between Muslim and non-Muslim are invalid except for Muslim men who can marry only chaste Christian and Jewish women.
    You are forgetting the word chaste – that means who are good in character, believe in one God,etc…
    I am sure, even these days, chaste Christian and Jewish women marry only Christian and Jewish men.
    It is same for Muslims.

    To Jessica and Olga – probably you can save your friends /family from making the mistakes you did.

    This world is a paradise for disbelievers and prison for believers.

  9. Very well written article, I must say. Although I would appreciate your opinion on my own situation. Since I was young, my grandmother would always educate myself on her experience on living in Saudi, as a non-muslim woman. I was always fascinated on her expedition to the middle east, and why she was drawn to it. Well I have since become more open to converting to Islam. In my own opinion, as well as you stated, I don’t feel as if a Muslim man would accept me and love me because I have had a promiscuous past. Although that’s in the past, its something I struggle with. Fear of judgement from anyone other than God. What’s your opinion?

    • Most Muslim men wouldn’t be concerned about your past if you live good now and if they’re in love with you. We’re human too and understand that people make mistakes and change.