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Is marriage with Unbeliever allowed In Islam?

The repetition and emphasis on prohibition of relationship between the Believer female and Unbeliever male in the abovementioned verse: “They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them.”[3] as well as the order that the Unbeliever husband is paid what he has spent on his wife on her embracing the religion of Islam as mentioned in the same verse:“ But pay the Unbelievers what they have spent (on their dower).”[4] so that he does not suffer the double loss of the marital relationship with his wife and money that he spent on her.

If the Unbeliever wife who is married to an Unbeliever husband becomes prohibited for him on her embracing the religion of Islam and is unlawful for him, then how is it allowed that an Unbeliever man marries a Believer woman? However, Almighty Allah has allowed the marriage of such Believer woman with the Believer man after the expiry of her Iddat period as mentioned in the following verse: “… And there will be no blame on you if you marry them on payment of their dower to them…[5]

It is not allowed in the same way that the Believer male marries an Unbeliever female as Almighty Allah says: “Do not marry Unbeliever women until they become Believers…”[6] and He says: “…But hold not to the guardianship of the Unbeliever women.”[7]

Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) divorced his two Unbeliever wives when this verse of the Qur’an was revealed. The Muslim scholar Ibn Qudamah Al-Hanbali stated that there is no difference on prohibition of the Unbeliever women’s marriage with the Muslim man. Women from People of the Book can marry the Muslim men and there is no difference among the Muslim scholars on this issue except the Imamites who are of the view that such marriage is prohibited. However, it is better for a Muslim not to marry a woman who belongs to People of the Book, when there are the Muslim women.

Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said that it is unpleasant to marry women from People of the Book if the Muslim women are available. This is also the opinion of Sheikh Al-Qadhi.

The majority of the Muslim scholars subscribe to the view of the Second Caliph, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, (may Allah be pleased with him) who told those marrying women from People of the Book to divorce them and they did so except Hudhayfah, who declined to divorce his wife however, he divorced her later, because when a Muslim marries a woman from People of the Book, he may incline to her likings and perhaps the child born from them may follow her way.

Islamic Fiqh Council 


[1] (Qur’an, 2:221)

[2] (Qur’an, 60:10)

[3] (Qur’an, 60:10)

[4] (Qur’an, 60:10)

[5] (Qur’an, 60:10) 

[6] (Qur’an, 2:221)

[7] (Qur’an, 60:10)