Question:  Hi. I am a Muslim and will be married to a Christian soon inshallah. I rather let my children learn both religions and decide for themselves when they are smart enough rather than imposing Islam onto them. As God created us all free men. Does that make me a kafir (disbeliever)?

consultant:  Jasser Auda


Thank you for your question.

First of all, there is nothing that makes someone "a kafir" except for declaring him or herself non-Muslim. So, even if there is something wrong with that marriage or with raising the children in a certain way, that does not take any Muslim out of his declared faith.

Interfaith Marriage in Islam

As a general rule, there is nothing wrong with a Muslim man marrying a Christian woman.

Yes. Some scholars find it "makruh" (detestable) or even "haram" (forbidden). But most scholars refer to the clear verses in the Qur'an which state:

*{Today, all the good things of life have been made lawful to you. And the food of those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime (the People of the Book) is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them. And [lawful to you are], in wedlock, women from among those who believe [in this divine writ], and, in wedlock, women from among the People of the Book before your time-provided that you give them their dowers, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love-companions.}* (Al-Ma'idah 5:5)

Some people say that there is no more 'people of the book' because (some of the) current Christians worship Jesus, for example. But, in the Quran itself, God still addressed those who believe in the trinity doctrine as the 'people of the book'.

*{O People of the Book! Do not overstep the bounds [of truth] in your religious beliefs, and do not say of God anything but the truth. The Christ Jesus, son of Mary, was but God's Apostle – [the fulfillment of] His promise which He had conveyed unto Mary – and a soul created by Him. Believe, then, in God and His apostles, and do not say, "[God is] a trinity". Desist [from this assertion] for your own good. God is but One God; utterly remote is He, in His glory, from having a son: unto Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and none is as worthy of trust as God.}* (An-Nisaa' 4:171)

So, the Islamic law 'ruling' for this marriage is permissibility.

On Applying a Rule

Having said that, I would like to highlight the fact that there is a difference between an Islamic juridical ruling (which is called hukm), and the application of this ruling in a specific case (which is called fatwa).

The 'rule' is permissibility, but if the rule is not applied properly, the action could move from being a permissible action into being a detestable action or even a highly forbidden one.

Now, the fatwa, which is the application of this rule in your specific case, is something that I cannot issue with certainty unless I know you and your circumstances.

But you mentioned something that is very important, which is that you will "let" the children "decide for themselves." And here is a problem with the application of the rule that could make this marriage a mistake.

Please kindly allow me to explain.

No Compulsion in Religion

In Islam, as a principle, and according to the Quran, nobody has the authority to force anybody to become Muslim.

*{There shall BE no coercion/compulsion in matters of faith.}* (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

However, there is an "obligation" on every Muslim parent to teach his or her child the religion of Islam. And I am, certainly, not speaking about a certain culture or tradition, in the sense of what people eat, drink, listen to, or wear, even though there are some few Islamic provisions in these areas.

I am speaking about "Islam" in the sense of faith in One God, believing in all the prophets and messengers of God, including Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them), believing in the Divine Books that God had revealed, including the Torah, Gospel, and Quran, believing in the Afterlife, and the rest of the "pillars of faith" in Islam.

And, by the way, if your children are "believers" in that sense, they will also become believers in their mother's sense, because they will believe in Jesus and the Gospels, and so on, even though they would not 'pray to Jesus'.

Perhaps their mother herself does not. I personally know a growing number of "Christians" who do not pray to Jesus anyway, even though they go to Church and call themselves "Christians".

Raising Believers

But in real life, and speaking from experience, and I live in the UK now, the vast majority of Muslim men who marry Christian women and decide to "let the children choose when they grow up" end up with children who are not "believers in God" at all, in any sense.

I have seen many examples; one of them is a Muslim neighbor of mine, whose wife is Christian. However, their two daughters are now in their teenage years and they are strong and self-declared atheists.

This is not an end you would like to have for your children, is it?
The point here is not to "force" the children to be believers, but to raise the children in a certain way and teach them.
And if they grow up and decide for themselves to reject the faith, then it is their own free decision.

*{And say: "The truth [has now come] from your Sustainer: let, then, him who wills, believe in it, and let him who wills, reject it.}* (Al-Kahf 18:29)

But this has to come after trying hard to raise your children to be believers, not while leaving them to become atheists in the name of freedom of choice.

In any case, pray to God to guide you in this matter. May Allah guide us all to the straight path.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.



Source: — Ask about Islam — Jasser Auda.