Is It Permissible to Marry a Buddhist Woman?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: As salam alaikum,

Are interfaith marriages with hindus or buddhists permissible?

Answer: wa `alaykum assalam

Scholars generally hold it permissible, with some conditions, for Muslim males to marry women who are considered ‘people of the book’ (Jews and Christians). This is based on the verse: “[Also lawful] are chaste, believing, women as well as chaste women of the people who were given the Scripture before you, as long as you have given them their bride-gifts and married them, not taking them as lovers or secret mistresses…” [Qur’an, 5:5].

It is unanimously considered impermissible for Muslims, male or female, to marry someone who would fall within any other category (such as Hindus and Buddhists).

This is because of a general ruling established by the following two verses:

-“Do not marry idolatresses until they believe: a believing slave woman is certainly better than an idolatress, even though she may please you. And do not give your women in marriage to idolaters until they believe: a believing slave is certainly better than an idolater, even though he may please you…” [Qur’an, 2:221]
-“…And do not yourselves hold on to marriage ties with disbelieving women” [Qur’an, 60:10]
These verses, Ibn Qudamah explains, establish a general ruling, with the verse cited earlier (5:5) providing the lone exception for people of the book. Any others remain governed by the original general ruling, that of prohibition. He notes that there is no scholarly disagreement on this ruling.

The Kuwait Encyclopedia of Islamic Law notes, “Jurists have agreed that it is impermissible for one to marry a woman who does not follow a divinely revealed religion, and does not believe in a Messenger nor a revealed scripture…”

Please see also: Sikhism and Interfaith Marriage

Source: al-Mughni; al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaytiyya

Shuaib Ally