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Marrying women from the people of the book


Can a Muslim man marry a Christian or a Jew?


It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a woman from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians), only if they fulfill certain criteria. Allah (swt) says:

“And (Lawful in marriage are) chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you…” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:5]

Based on the above verse, most of the scholars say that a Muslim man can marry any woman who is a Jew or a Christian. On the other hand, if we read the Qur’an as a whole, Allah (swt) also says that Muslims are not allowed to marry Mushriksi.e. people who associate partners with Allah (swt).

“And do not marry Mushrik (polytheistic) women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:221]

Moreover, we find that the Jews and the Christians too associate partners with Allah (swt). Says Allah (swt) in the Glorious Qur’an:

“They (Jews and the Christians) have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.” [Surah At-Tawbah 9:31]

The Christians, who claim that Jesus (pbuh) is God as well as the Son of God, insist on the supposed divinity of Jesus (pbuh) and worship him as such.

“They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed he who associates other with Allah – Allah has forbidden him paradise and his refuge is the fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:72]

From the above-mentioned verses and many such verses of the Qur'an, it is very clear that almost all the present day Jews and the Christians are committing shirk by joining partners with Allah (swt). Apparently, it appears to be a “contradiction” in the Qur’an, since at one place Allah (swt) forbids Muslims from marrying Mushriks, whereas at another place He allows Muslim men to marry women from the Jews and the Christians, most of who as per the Qur'anic narrations are Mushriks too i.e. those who associate partners with Allah (swt).

In another verse of the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) conciliates all the above verses by informing us that among the Jews and the Christians there are also people who are true believers i.e. they believe in only one God and do not associate partners with Allah (swt). It says,

“Among them (Jews and the Christians) are believers but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” [Surah Ali Imran 3:110]

Therefore, according to me, Muslim men are permitted to marry only those women from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who are chaste as well as who do not commit shirk i.e. those who do not believe in trinity and Jesus’ (pbuh) divinity. And Allah Knows the Best.