Question 576: Can a Muslim woman marry a Non-Muslim (christian or Jewish) man (interfaith marriage)?

It’s mentioned in Surah Al-Mumtahanah verse 10 “O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is most knowing as to their faith. And if you know them to be believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers; they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them. But give the disbelievers what they have spent. And there is no blame upon you if you marry them when you have given them their due compensation. And hold not to marriage bonds with disbelieving women, but ask for what you have spent and let them ask for what they have spent. That is the judgement of Allah; He judges between you. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”

In this verse, it shows the marriage of muslim women to the disbelievers (Kuffar) is suspended, in which disbelievers doesn’t include the people of the book (Ahel Al Ketab, Christians and Jewish), because many verses in Quran called Christian and Jewish as Ahel Al ketab but not Kuffar (disbelievers).

Note: The maraja showing different opinions in case if a Muslim man marrying a woman from the People of the Book, are these opinions applied on Muslim women who want to marry a man from the People of the Book?

Answer 576: According to the following verses of the Holy Quran, traditions and fatwas of our maraja, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man.

Verses of the Holy Quran:

  1. As for the unbelievers the holy Quran reject any ways for them to triumph over the believers. “… and Allah will never provide the faithless any way [to prevail] over the faithful.” [1] When it comes to the submission, a woman is supposed to submit unto her husband. If a Muslim woman marry a man from Ahli Kitab the man can influence the wife in the long run. In this regards Imam Sadiq (as) says: A woman is under the influence of her husband. [2] This might be a reason to change her religion.
  2. In other verse of the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “O you who believe! when believing women come to you flying, then examine them Allah knows best their faith Then if you find them to be believing women, do not send them back to the unbelievers Neither are these) women (lawful for them, nor are those) men (lawful for them And give them) former husbands (what they have spent And no blame attaches to you in marrying them when you give them their dowries And hold not to the ties of marriage of unbelieving women and ask for what you have spent, and let them ask for what they have spent That is Allah’s judgment He judges between you And Allah is Knowing, Wise”.[3] In this regards, a man asked Imam Sadiq (as) that my wife has a sister who lives in Basrah city where many people are of religion other than Islam, in this case are we allowed to marry her to one of them? The Imam (as) forbade him according to verse of the holy Quran.[4]
  3. There is another verse of the holy Quran in which Allah, the Almighty says: “… And do not give (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until they believe And certainly a believing servant is better than an idolater, even though he should please you. These (idolaters) invite to the Fire And Allah invites to the garden and to forgiveness by His will And makes clear His communications to men, that they may be mindful”[5]


The followings are some highly valuable guidelines and models presented by the Infallibles (pbuth) for us to have a good spouse and a healthy marriage:

  1. Having real faith and adherence to Islamic moral codes: Imam Reza (a.s) said: “If a man seeks your hand for marriage and you are happy with his religiosity and moral characteristics, give consent for marriage with him. Do not reject him because of his poverty.”[6]
  2. Cultural, financial, family, scientific and religious equality of man and woman: The Holy Prophet said: ““If one with whose religion and character you are pleased comes to you (to seek your daughter’s hand in marriage), then marry (your daughter) to him.”[7]
  3. Being carefree and inattentive to prayers and hijab and drinking wine mean that the boy is not the equal of a practicing and faithful Muslim girl. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) says: “If a drinker makes a request for marriage, do not accept him.”[8]

Imam Baqir (as) was asked if we are allowed to marry Ahle Kitab, He said: You are not allowed to do so. The man asked again, what is the reason behind this prohibition? The Imam (as) replied: According to this following verse of the holy Quran: “And hold not to the ties of marriage of unbelieving”. [9]


Imam Khomeini: A Muslim woman cannot marry a Kafir whether permanently or temporarily[10]

Sistani: As for a Muslim woman, she is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man at all.[11]

Fadhil, Safi, Makarem: A Muslim woman cannot marry a man from Ahle Kitab.[12]

If a non-Muslim woman, who got married to a non-Muslim man, converts to Islam:

Khamenei: She must separate from him and there is no need for the divorce contract.

Sistani: There is no need for the divorce contract and she must separate from him as soon as she embraces Islam.

Makarem: In the case asked about, if her husband does not embrace Islam, she will separate from him.

Saafi: [The woman] needs to finish the waiting period; if her husband embraces Islam by then, the marriage will hold, but if he doesn’t, then the wife separates from him without the divorce contract and the marriage is terminated.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index:  Rules regarding temporary or permanent marriage with people of the book, answer 080.

[1] . Surah al-Nisa, verse 141.

[2] . Al-Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 348.

[3] . Surah al-Mumtahinah, verse 10.

[4] . Sheikh Hurr Ameli, Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 14, Pg. 424, chapter 10, Abwab ma Yohramo Bil Kufr, H. 4.

[5] . Surah al-Baqarah, verse 221.

[6] – Rayshahri, Muhammad, Mizanul Hikmah, vo.4, pg.280, Darul Hadith Publication.

[7] – Nahjul Fasahah, pg. 37, hadith No.193.

[8] – Hurr Ameli, Muhammad bin Hasan, Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.20, pg.79, Aalulbayt Publications.

[9] . Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 20, Pg. 534, H. 4, # 26275.

[10] . Tahril al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 2, Kitab al-Nikah, Pgs. 254-258.

[11] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani, Marriage » Questions and Answers.

[12] . Tawzih al-Masael (annotated by Imam Khomeini), Vol. 2, Pg. 468. The official website of the office of Ayatollah Makarem.

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