Does the Holy Quran allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men?


Someone sought guidance from Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa regarding a fatwa, issued by a female official of Al-Azhar University according to which “there is no clear legal injunction in the Holy Quran that forbids a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim man”.  Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 21 December 2020, gave the following reply to this question: 

“Apart from the Holy Quran, Islamic teachings are based on the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammadsa, the Holy Founder of Islam, and his ahadith which are in harmony with the Quran and the sunnah. Therefore, where on the one hand Allah the Exalted has instructed the Muslims to follow the commandments of the Holy Quran, He has also said:

قُلْ‭ ‬إِنْ‭ ‬كُنْتُمْ‭ ‬تُحِبُّونَ‭ ‬اللَّهَ‭ ‬فَاتَّبِعُونِي‭ ‬يُحْبِبْكُمُ‭ ‬اللَّهُ‭ ‬وَيَغْفِرْ‭ ‬لَكُمْ‭ ‬ذُنُوبَكُمْ‭ ‬وَاللَّهُ‭ ‬غَفُورٌ‭ ‬رَحِيمٌ۔‭ ‬قُلْ‭ ‬أَطِيعُوا‭ ‬اللَّهَ‭ ‬وَالرَّسُولَ‭ ‬فَإِنْ‭ ‬تَوَلَّوْا‭ ‬فَإِنَّ‭ ‬اللَّهَ‭ ‬لَا‭ ‬يُحِبُّ‭ ‬الْكَافِرِينَ

Say, ‘If you love Allah, follow me: (then) will Allah love you and forgive you your faults. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.’ Say, ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger;’ but if they turn away, then (remember that) Allah loves not the disbelievers. (Surah Aal-e-Imran, Ch.4: V.32-33)

Likewise, He commanded: 

وَمَا‭ ‬آَتَاكُمُ‭ ‬الرَّسُولُ‭ ‬فَخُذُوهُ‭ ‬وَمَا‭ ‬نَهَاكُمْ‭ ‬عَنْهُ‭ ‬فَانْتَهُوا‭ ‬وَاتَّقُوا‭ ‬اللَّهَ‭ ‬إِنَّ‭ ‬اللَّهَ‭ ‬شَدِيدُ‭ ‬الْعِقَابِ

And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from (that). And fear Allah; surely, Allah is Severe in retribution. (Surah al-Hashr, Ch.59: V.8)

Knowing these basic principles, when we consider the issue of a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man, we find clear injunctions in the Holy Quran forbidding Muslim women from marrying idolators [mushrikin], disbelievers or the People of the Book. Hence, Allah the Exalted commands in verse 222 of Surah al-Baqarah not to give believing women in marriage to idolaters until they believe. Moreover, in verse 6 of Surah al-Ma’idah, where it has been declared lawful for Muslims to eat the food of the People of the Book, Muslim men have been permitted to marry women of the People of the Book, no mention has been made of Muslim women [being allowed to] marry men from among the People of the Book. Hence, its prohibition has been established. Furthermore, in verse 11 of Surah al-Mumtahinah, the prohibition of giving Muslim women in marriage to disbelievers has been established because Muslims have been commanded not to send female Muslim refugees back to the disbelievers as they have been declared unlawful for the disbelievers and the disbelievers unlawful for them.

Apart from these Quranic injunctions, the sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa and his instructions also do not provide any evidence that the Holy Prophetsa ever married any one of his relatives to a non-Muslim or that his Companionsra, after the revelation of the aforementioned Quranic injunctions, married any of their girls to a non-Muslim of their own accord or upon the instruction of the Holy Prophetsa. Rather, on the contrary, the Holy Prophetsa generally advised the Companionsra that when someone, with whose religion and character there were pleased, sought the hand of a Muslim woman who was under their care, they should marry her to him, even if he had some flaw. Huzoorsa repeated this phrase (‘religion and character’) three times. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab an-nikah)

The Promised Messiahas, being the Hakam ‘Adl of this age and the most ardent devotee of his Master and Guide, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, the Chosen One, admonished his followers in exact accordance with this Islamic teaching and said: 

‘There is nothing wrong with accepting the hand of the daughter of a non-Ahmadi in marriage because it is also permissible to marry a woman from among the People of the Book. Rather, there is a benefit in doing so because an additional person would attain guidance. You should not give your own daughters in marriage to non-Ahmadis. If you are offered one’s hand in marriage you can accept it by all means. There is no harm in accepting but it is sinful to give.’ (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 525,…, 2003)

It is in accordance with the clear Quranic injunction mentioned in Surah al-Ma’idah that Huzooras has declared it a sin to give one’s daughter in marriage to a non-Ahmadi because in this verse it has been mentioned that it is permissible for Muslim men to marry women of the People of the Book, but there is no mention of giving Muslim women in marriage to men from among the People of the Book.”

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