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:
- They are belong to either the Christian or Jewish faith. This means we are not allowed to marry Hindus, Buddhists or Atheists.
- 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.