Qur’ānic Verdict regarding Marriages with Non-Muslims
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Jhangeer Hanif

Can you please tell me the verse that states that Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men, but it is permissible for Muslim men to marry the Christian or the Jewish women?


The Holy Qur’ān reads:

This day are [all] good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you [lawful for you] when you give them their marriage portions and live with them in honor, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whosoever denies the faith, his work is in vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. (5:5)

The expression of ‘this day’ is very meaningful in this verse and this is why I have quoted the complete verse. It shows that, after revelation of this verse, Muslims were allowed to marry the Christian or the Jewish ladies. As far as the matter of Muslim ladies marrying the Christians or the Jews is concerned, the Holy Qur’ān remains silent, which shows that Muslims ladies were not allowed to solemnize such marriages even on ‘that day’.

Our experience also guides us in this regard. A lady, be a westerner or an easterner, lives under the protection of her husband, which definitely gives him an edge over her. He may affect her religious practices and beliefs also over time. It is therefore maintained that Muslim ladies should not marry men from among the People of Book. Muslim men should also exercise prudence as regards what impact their marriage will have on their faith and practices. In a country dominated by Christianity, they should refrain from marrying any Christian lady or when it is clear that their children will be given a Christian upbringing instead of Islamic. 

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