Marriage: Interfaith marriages - Complications in

Q350 :Some eight years ago I married a Christian woman who declared before our marriage that she has become a Muslim. Now she wants to return to her original religion. She did not at all pray according to Islamic way after our marriage. I always tried to see her as a Muslim woman, but she seems intent on reverting to Christianity. What effect would that have on our marriage? We have no children.

A350 : It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a Christian or a Jewish woman. This means that your wife need not have changed her religion in order for your marriage to go through. She could have remained a Christian and your marriage would have been valid. Perhaps I should add here that although an inter-faith marriage of this type is allowed, it is by no means encouraged, because inter-faith marriages often run into difficulties. When a person, whether a man or a woman, renounces Islam, his or her marriage is automatically rendered invalid, because of the apostasy involved. In a situation like yours, where the wife became a Muslim, her apostasy invalidates your marriage and you may not be reunited in marriage any longer. It is different from a straightforward divorce which can be revoked and the marriage reinstated. Moreover, that woman is not permissible for any Muslim man to marry. She is not treated like an ordinary Christian. She is treated as an apostate. Therefore, if your wife decides to revert to Christianity, you consider your marriage at an end. However, you may have to comply with certain requirements of the law of your country, such as the registration of divorce. But then, may I ask you whether your wife was ever a Muslim? Is it you who can answer this question. She may have declared that she has converted to Islam, but how far was this genuine? Did she ever believe in the message of Prophet Muhammad and consider the Qur'an as the Divine Book which should be implemented at least in your family life? If the answer is in the negative, then the whole affair of her conversion to Islam was a joke. No one is allowed to take Islam other than seriously. If you are living in a Muslim country and your case comes before an Islamic Court and she states that she was not serious when she declared that she was a Muslim, the court will take that statement as an offence against Islam. You should explain all this to your wife and let her decide for herself. Islam does not believe in compulsion in matters of religion. If she says that she wants to go back to Christianity, you tell her that your marriage is automatically nullified. You should leave her immediately in that case. If, after being told of the implications, she decides to remain a Muslim, you have to take positive steps in order to educate her in the principles of Islam and explain to her what duties Islam expects her to fulfil. You should try to encourage her to adopt gradually an Islamic way of life. As she gets to know more and more about Islam, I am sure she will be more and more convinced of its truth.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )