All praise is due to Allāh , the Lord of the Worlds. The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgement, and Allāh’s Peace and Blessings be upon Muhammad , his family, his noble Companions, and all those who follow them.
Religiously, can a Muslim man marry a Christian woman?
MUSLIM MEN are allowed to marry women from People of the Book, i.e, JEWS and CHRISTIANS. And yes, it is forbidden to marry idolaters, polytheists. The verse is as follows:
❝… (lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time, – when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).❞
― Al-Qur`ān, Chapter 5, verse 5
From the above verse, it is important to note that lawful are not all the women among the People of the Book, but only the chaste ones.
Man by nature tends to be dominant and woman by nature tends to be compromising. This is a fact which cannot be denied.
Primarily, Islām teaches us to believe in all the prophets that were sent by Allāh to Mankind. Thus, a Muslim by default believes in Jesus and Moses . On the other hand, Christians do not believe in Prophet Muhammad and the Jews niethet believe in Muhammad nor Jesus as prophets of Allāh.
This is a very important point, because a Muslim man would by default respect the Prophet which his non-Muslim wife believes in, but a non-Muslim man would not believe or respect the Prophet which his wife believes in.
After the couple has children, the non-Muslim wife would teach their child to love and respect the Prophet she believes in. The Muslim man would certainly not object if his child is being taught to love Jesus or Moses . On the other hand, the non-Muslim husband might object when his Muslim wife would teach their child about Islām.
It is highly likely for the man to teach his children the religion he follows. A non-Muslim man with a Muslim wife would then teach their child to be a Christian or Jew. This would mean that the mother would have to be a witness to her child being led onto the wrong path. In such a situation, the mother might retaliate by teaching her child the Islāmic values and principles. This in turn would lead the relations between the spouses to turn sour. This could also lead to domestic violence. Further the non-Muslim husband could end up divorcing his wife, which would lead to trauma for the Muslim woman and the children.
The non-Muslim husband would naturally not recognize Prophet Muhammad to be a prophet of Allāh, and might object to the Islāmic practices of his wife. He could object to the hijāb which the wife would wear. He could want the wife to dress more ‘moderately,’ especially, when accompanying him to a party. Moreover, he could ask the wife to sit with him while he consumes alcohol. The husband could want the wife to serve alcohol for him and a couple of friends after dinner. It is a huge sin in Islām for a person to have anything to do with alcohol. Moreover, the husband could want to eat pork for lunch or dinner and could ask the wife to cook it for him. Again this is something not allowed for a Muslim to do, and thus, would cause trouble in the family. The husband could find it okay for him to drink where his wife is offering prayers. It could be okay for the husband to keep a pet dog inside the house. This is another thing which is not allowed by Islām but the non-Muslim husband might not understand it. As it can be seen, there can be a lot of issues which can arise between the marriage of a Muslim woman and non-Muslim man.
The non-Muslim husband could also compel the Muslim woman to accept the faith he follows.
On the other hand, a Muslim man respects the People of the Book and is under strict instructions from Allāh, not to compel his wife to change her faith. Hence, the rights of a non-Muslim wife are secure and protected in the house of a Muslim man, whereas, it is not necessarily the same in a vice versa situation.
One might say, that it could also be possible for a non-Muslim wife to disrespect the Muslim husband’s beliefs as well. What is interesting is that such a case is highly unlikely to occur because of the teachings present in the books of the People of the Book. The Bible tells us that when Eve committed the sin, the punishment she received from God was:
To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
– Genesis 3:16
Thus, to the women of the People of the Book, their scripture teaches that their husband will rule over them and they are not to speak against them as the husbands are given this position by God. It should be noted here, that such a concept does not exist in Islām, and both Adam and Eve are blamed equally for the sin they committed.
Let us further see what the religious scriptures, of the People of the Book, teach. They state that the wives are to submit to their husbands just as they submit to God. The wife is told to submit to their husbands just the way the church submits to Christ.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
– Ephesians 5:22-24
Another verse that is important to mention is as such:
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
– Peter 3:1-2
As one can see that the women of the People of the Book are told to completely submit to their husbands, regardless of whether the husband believes in the word or not. To them the husband has been given a position by God to rule over them. Thus, it is highly unlikely for her to disrespect her husband. At the same time, the non-Muslim man comes from the line of thought that they are in this world to rule over their wives, and that their wives should submit to them like they would submit to God. Hence, it is highly likely for there to be clashes between the marriages of non-Muslim men with Muslim women.
Allāh has Absolute Wisdom, and thus, He has set laws which are only better for us. We, being humans, have limited wisdom which is negligible in front of Allāh, and thus, at times we might not be able to comprehend the true reason why certain things are forbidden in Islām. Allāh does know that many would not recognize that which is bad for us and thus, He says in the Qur`ān:
❝But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allāh knoweth, and ye know not.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, Chapter 2, verse 216
And Allāh knows best.
If I said anything correct, then it is from Allāh, and if I erred, then that is from me and satan.
❝Oh Allāh, I seek refuge in You lest I misguide others, or I am misguided by others, lest I cause others to err or I am caused to err, lest I abuse others or be abused, and lest I behave foolishly or meet with the foolishness of others.❞