Friday, November 16, 2018 - 9 Rabi' al-Awwal 1440

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A non-practicing Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man

I was born a Muslim. However, throughout my life I did not practice Islam and had no one to teach me the fundamentals of the faith. I am now married to a non-Muslim man and have three children. What is the opinion of Islamic law concerning my situation? What should I do now that I know that a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man?


Ibn ‘Abbas (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily, God has forgiven my Ummah for their [unintentional] mistakes, their forgetfulness, and that which they do under compulsion” (Ibn Majah).

Through the above hadith and based on the question, the inquirer was ignorant of the fundamentals of Islamic law and committed an unintentional mistake by marrying a non-Muslim man. She is therefore not blameworthy and the children are legally attributed to her and her husband.

Muslim wives are prohibited to live with non-Muslim husbands
In Islam, Muslim women are explicitly prohibited to marry non-Muslim men. Therefore, in this case, it is unlawful for the inquirer to engage in any form of physical intimacy with her non-Muslim husband based on the words of God Almighty, “They are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them” (Quran 60:10).

The ruling
In order to maintain the family's stability, which is one of the objectives of Islamic law, it is obligatory to inform the court (if you live in a country that provides this) that you are a Muslim, so that the judge will inform your husband and invite him to embrace Islam. You might also invite your husband personally to Islam through kind advice and wisdom. If he complies and embraces Islam, then it is a great blessing and you must conduct a new marriage contract. Otherwise, separation becomes necessary based on the court decree.

And God Almighty knows best.

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