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I Am Married to a Non-Muslim Woman, Who Does Not Know I Am Muslim. Do I Stay in This Relationship?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I’m legally married to a non-Muslim. I tried to break up with her, but felt so guilty when she cried and yelled. She doesn’t know that I’m Muslim. It’s so hard to accept that I’ve been destined to marry someone who doesn’t practice the same religion as me.

What should I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for entrusting us with such a difficult matter.

Tribulation

I am so sorry to hear how much you have suffered. Ending a relationship, even a sinful one, is not easy.

Your guidance to Islam is a gift from Allah, and I pray that one day soon, you will be able to express your deen in its entirety.

Decision

Allah Most High says, “Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe […] And do not marry (your women) to unbelievers until they believe.” [Qur’an 2:221]

I urge you, for the sake of your faith and that of your unborn children, to consider ending this relationship.

From what you have shared, you are married to her as far as civil law is considered. However, as she is not Muslim, then your marriage contract is invalid. If she falls pregnant, then your child will not be considered legitimate. The legitimacy of your offspring is an extremely important factor.

Mercy

Jarir bin Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever does not show mercy to the people, Allah will not show mercy to him.” [Tirmidhi]

Feeling compassion for her is natural. The next step is for you to express this compassion within the guidelines of the Shari‘a. In other words, the most merciful thing you can do for her, and for yourself, is to end this relationship, because you are both in a state of sin. I pray that Allah grants you the courage and the means to do so.

Moving forward

In terms of moving forward and disclosing your past to your future Muslim wife, please keep this fact in mind — your civil marriage is not recognised by Allah. Therefore, you are under no obligation to inform your future spouse that you were cohabiting with your non-Muslim partner. This falls in line with not exposing your past sins. This is not considered lying. Please refer to this article to help you understand this better: Can One Lie About Past Sins?

Please don’t fear that you will never marry a good Muslim woman. Shaytan calls you to despair. Allah calls you to hope. Have hope in His Mercy, and His Generosity. Nothing is difficult for Him. I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need as much as you need to.

Priority

First things first. Make a sincere repentance, break the news to your partner, and commit to following through. Divorce is a major life stressor, so please reach out for support. Please do everything in your power to connect to like-minded Muslims; seek out friends who remind you of the Mercy to Allah.

When registration reopens, I encourage you to listen to Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. In the meantime, please download this free lesson set on Getting Married.

Hope

Please reflect on this beautiful aphorism:

“Among the signs of success at the end
is the turning to God at the beginning.” [Hikm of Ibn Ata’illah]

I pray that Allah will bless you with a loving and pious wife who brings you closer to Allah, and with whom you can raise a new generation of believers. Please consult us again should you require further counsel.

Please see:
Is It Permissible to Lie In Order to Conceal Past Sins?
Can a Muslim Man Marry a Sikh or a Hindu?
Is a Marriage to a Non-Muslim Woman Valid? (Shafi’i)

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

Is It Permissible to Marry a Buddhist Woman?

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