Ibadi school position on marrying Ahl Kitab.

“This day are things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. Lawful unto you in marriage are not only chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book,  revealed before your time when you give them their due dowers, and desire charity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.” (Qur’an 5:5)

“O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.” (Qur’an 5:87)

This entry will give the position of the Ibadi school (Ahl Haqq Wal Istiqama) and the position of marrying the people of the book (Jews and Christians).

 

Companions such as Ibn Abbas, Saad bin al-Musayyab, Said bin Jubair, Uthman, Talha, Tawus, Mujahid are all known to have married people of the book. The Blessed Messenger (saw) himself is known to have married from among the Ahl Kitab.

 

Allah (swt) has made a distinction between the People of the Book and the Mushrik.

“Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among those Polytheists, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence” (Qur’an 98:1)

“Those who reject the truth, among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures.”  (Qur’an 98:6)

Allah (swt) also has made it clear that there are differences among the Ahl Kitab themselves. Differences in their levels of observance of the faith. Differences in their theological perspectives.

 

Therefore there can be Christians who are Mushrik and Christians who are not Mushrik but both follow under the category of ‘Ahl Kitab’.

Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stands For the right: They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.” (Qur’an 3:113)

 

As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will, in the end, tell them the truth of all that they did.” (Qur’an 6:159)

 

So Yes in the Ibadi school a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jewish woman if certain conditions are met.

Among our brothers from the Ahl Sunnah, there are two positions. The position of Imam Malik (r) and Imam Abu Hanifa (r) that Muslim men can marry Christian and Jewish women and until today there are no restrictions put on this.

 

The position of Imam Ahmad (r) and Imam Shafi’i (r) that Muslim men cannot marry Christian or Jewish women.

 

The position of the Ibadi school is in between these two camps. It is very clear that we cannot make impermissible what Allah (swt) made permissible.

That being said there is a context to these verses and conditions that must be met.

What are these conditions?

1st condition is that this takes place under Muslim governance where there is full compliance of the shariah law.

2nd condition is that the interest of the Muslims dominates. The children for example are to be raised as Muslims.

3rd condition is that the Muslim man actually is a practicing Muslim.

4th condition is that the Jewish or Christian woman actually be practicing Judaism or Christianity.

5th condition is that she did not ever commit fornication or have an extramarital affair.

 

Understanding the first condition.

 

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best way and best in result.” (Qur’an 4:59)

 

What happens today in North Africa and in Turkey is that many of these men who are exposed to the Maliki and Hanafi schools of jurisprudence will marry women from the United States, Europe, Russia. Often the children of these marriages are split between nationalities. The inheritance laws are not decided by the laws of Islam they are decided by secular institutions. The fate of the children will be decided by the laws of those lands. More often than not the court awards the custody of the children to the mother. The children are brought up without a Muslim father, an Imam leading the prayers and teaching the deen of Islam. This is totally unacceptable.

 

 

Understanding the second condition.


Our Lord, and make us Muslims that submit to You, and from our descendants a community that submits to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are Ever-Accepting of our repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 2:128)

 

O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your own families from a Fire whose fuel is mankind and stones, (and) over which are harsh, severe Angels, who do not disobey Allah in whatever He commands them and who perform whatever they are commanded to.” (Qur’an 66:6)

 

 

Anyone who loves their children do not want to expose them to the dangers of hellfire. The best and clearest way to ensure this is to raise them as Muslims. To instill in them the articles of faith. The love and fear of Allah (swt) The love of the Blessed Messenger (saw) and following his noble example. Muslims cannot give blessings to their children to be raised by other religions because they were all abrogated with the coming of Islam. Qur’an 2:106 establishes this.

 

 

Men are in charge of women by right of what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for maintenance from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in the husband’s absence what Allah would have them, guard. But those wives from whom you fear sexual immorality advise them; then if they persist, forsake them in bed; then if they persist strike them. But if they obey you once more, seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.” (Qu’ran 4:34)

 

It is difficult enough to get Muslim majority nations to comply with the shariah laws how much more Non-Muslim majority nations? They have different world views and different principles upon which they base their concepts of justice. Many of them promote egalitarianism. Too many times Muslim men are taken by the charms and beauty of Non-Muslim women. Non-Muslim women may make promises to them. However, none of those promises are legally binding. This will lead us to understand the third condition.

 

Understanding the third and fourth conditions.

 

And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men to your women until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite you to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.” (Qur’an 2:221)

 

Many of these Muslim men who want to marry Christian or Jewish women are themselves not practicing Islam. That is not a good foundation to start a marriage with a Muslim woman let alone a Non-Muslim woman. The children are likely to be swayed by the parent who shows more conviction and practice of their faith tradition than the parent that does not show conviction or practice their faith tradition. That is why Allah (swt) says that marrying someone who is a slave is better than marrying a free non-believing woman even though her /his looks may please you.

 

Allah (swt) also said you can marry Christian and Jewish women.

 

Understanding fourth and fifth conditions.

 

This day are things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. Lawful unto you in marriage are not only chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book,  revealed before your time when you give them their due dowers, and desire charity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.” (Qur’an 5:5)

 

That Christian or Jewish woman has to be a practicing Jewish or Christian woman. She has to follow the tenets and edicts of her faith tradition. She cannot be a ‘nominal’ Jew or a ‘nominal’ Christian. If the Christian or Jew converts to Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shintoism, New Age spirituality, or anything of the kind the marriage can become null and void.

 

Also, Allah (swt) says, ‘chaste women‘ -muhsanatu. This means if these women have committed fornication or adultery you cannot marry them. So this only leaves you with the option of marrying someone who is a virgin or a divorcee.

 

The same rule applies to Muslims as well. Muslims who have committed fornication for adultery can only marry other Muslims who have done similar. They cannot marry the chaste believers, nor can they marry those people they have done fornication/adultery with. Insh’Allah we will have our article with proofs on this soon.

 

This is not an example of abrogation. This is an example of a specification. Now you ask yourself are these conditions met today?

 

What happens in places where the Maliki and Hanafi schools reign supreme you do see Muslim men often marry “Christian” or “Jewish” women many of whom are actually agnostic or even atheist. They do so while many hundreds of thousands of Muslim women go unmarried. There are hundreds of thousands of Muslim women who are widows, divorcees, orphans, spinsters, or simply never been married before.

 

Shouldn’t our priority be to the Ummah of Muhammed (saw)? Remember the wisdom of Allah (swt)

 

And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you.”

 

What happens in those places where the Maliki and Hanafi schools do not reign supreme and the Shafi’i school is dominant, places like Indonesia or Malaysia is that Muslim men or Muslim women will tell the Non-Muslim to convert to Islam and then they will marry them. That of course is acceptable by Islamic law. However, every action is judged by intention and so to will be the fruit of that intention.

 

There are thousands of thousands of Muslim men and women who convert to Islam every year of their own free will and volition. Not under any social pressure to convert because of love. Would it not be wise to give preference to these people for marriage?

 

May Allah (swt) continue to guide the Ummah of Muhammed (saw)

 

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