Marriage between Muslim Women and Non-Muslim Men
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I am a Christian, actually a Roman Catholic. One day, for some reason I picked up the Qur’ān, began reading it and felt as if I must know more. My readings brought great sorrow. Sorrow, for the years I have lived with the terrible misconceptions about Islam. Also, in my readings I found many web pages dedicated to the comparison of Christianity and Islam. Of course, with the new wealth of information comes the questioning of my own beliefs. But I’ll be honest; this is scary. But the question... before I get deep into this quest is that I am married, and my husband is not a religious man. He allows me the greatest possible freedom in my religious expression, and we talked about this. He was happy to see me looking into Islam, happy because he believes everyone should not choose a religion blindly, that I should educate myself, yet at the same time I doubt if he will convert to Islam. I fear I know the answer already... but can a married women and her children convert with the consent of but without her husband converting ?? From what I have read marriages between Muslim women and a non-Muslim men are forbidden due to the fact that the man is the head of the household and he might not allow his wife to practice her faith completely. This is not the case in my house; my husband has the utmost respect for my religious practice; he encourages me to be non-hypocritical and devout in my religion. I am a very active Catholic. I pray the divine office 3 times a day, go to mass at least twice a week, and often take pilgrimages, all of which my husband supports. He believes that one should be educated, not blind, non-hypocritical, and devout in one’s religion: no Saturday-sinners, Sunday-repenters. Please advise.


The prohibition of Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men obviously pertains to a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man who intend to get married. However, your case is entirely different. You are not going to get married to a non-Muslim. You are already married to him. The Sharī‘ah is silent on this issue and this silence is very meaningful too. It shows that the matter has been left to circumstances and choice.

An example would perhaps illustrate this point: Muslims are required to circumcise their offspring right after birth. However, if for example, an adult Christian converts to Islam, there is no explicit directive which says that he should necessarily be circumcised. The matter, it seems, has been left to the new-Muslim. Consequently, in my opinion, once you convert to Islam, you do not have to necessarily separate from your husband. However, you should try to present Islam through your character and conduct to your husband. Who knows, he might in fact, contrary to your expectations, convert to Islam himself.

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