By S N Smith
So you are considering marrying a non-Muslim woman, in your case a Christian. I cannot say to you that such a decision is forbidden in Islam because Allah says in the Quran:
“This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith – his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. (Quran 5:5)
But before you make a final decision, however, I want you to consider the following four points:
1) There are many Muslim women who are seeking a Muslim spouse and when Muslim men choose to marry outside of the faith they are being unfair and unjust to these Muslim women because their options and opportunities for marriage become further limited.
2) Your non-Muslim spouse will not be a source of comfort or support when it comes to faith matters. In fact, she may end up being the opposite because she may very well lure you into doing that which is forbidden or allowing forbidden things to enter your household ad your defences will be broken down over time.
3) Your yet to be born children have a right upon you that you choose the right kind of mother for them. What that means for you as a believer is that you choose someone who will bring your children up in the ways of Islam. If you choose someone who does the opposite — ie either draws them away from Islam or does not instil in them the love of the religion of Allah — then you may be questioned both by Allah and your children why you chose such a spouse given the known risks associated with doing so. There are also many other rights your child have upon you as Muslim and your non-Muslim spouse will not be able to fulfil them.
Consider the following story. A man once came to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second Khaleefah (Caliph) of Islam may Allaah be pleased with him complaining of his sons’ disobedience to him. ‘Umar summoned the boy and spoke of his disobedience to his father and his neglect of his rights. The boy replied: “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen! Hasn’t a child rights over his father?” “Certainly”, replied ‘Umar. “What are they, Ameer al-Mu’mineen?” “That he should choose his mother, give him a good name and teach him the Book (the Quran).” “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen! My father did nothing of this. My mother was a Magian (fire worshipper). He gave me the name of Julalaan (meaning dung beetle or scarab) and he did not teach me a single letter of the Quran.” Turning to the father, ‘Umar may Allaah be pleased with him said: “You have come to me to complain about the disobedience of your son. You have failed in your duty to him before he has failed in his duty to you; you have done wrong to him before he has wronged you.”
4) Related to the third point, if you choose to marry a non-Muslim woman, your children will be conflicted with regards to their identity and it will be you who will be responsible for creating this conflict. They will tend to take the easier path, the path of the majority, and it will be the non-Muslim mother who will not discourage them when they do so. You will wake up one day to find your children either identifying as non-Muslim or saying they are part Muslim but don’t really pay much attention to it. Is that what you really want for them? Do you want to be answerable to Allah for contributing to your flesh and blood coming to this state?
I admonish you, dear brother, do not act merely on the feelings resident within your heart or your personal desires, as they are very fickle and can cloud your personal judgement. Instead, think rationally, based upon the above four points, about what decision you make for what you choose to do will have a long term impact on the course of your life.
Of course, you can never know in advance what the consequences or outcome of your choices are, but it is wise to be prudent and think carefully before proceeding with those big life decisions by weighing the pros and cons of the decisions you finally make. You may still find that you made a mistake, but at least you can honestly say you did your best.