Marriage: Inter-faith marriages - Muslim woman, non-Muslim man

Q353 :A marriage was formed between a Muslim woman and a Hindu man. Neither of them changed faith. At present they have children. What faith should the children follow? How is that women to be buried after her death? If this marriage is not valid, what will happen to her children? Can they be considered legitimate at all?

A353 : That marriage is simply not valid from the Islamic point of view. The woman may be a Muslim but, by accepting to be married to a Hindu, she has violated the teachings of Islam on marriage. She accepted to be wed to a man who is not lawful for her. Therefore, the marriage is null and void. In other words, her relationship with him is illegal. As for the faith of her children, perhaps it is more pertinent to ask about her faith. The fact that she has gone ahead with this arrangement and has been maintaining it for several years, having become the mother of more than one child, suggests that she does not have much regard to Islamic teachings. Otherwise, she would have taken the necessary steps to determine whether her marriage would be legal or not. Having failed to do so, and continued with this arrangement is a strong indication that she may not really care about what Islam says. Hence the question whether she is truly a Muslim or not. I do not suggest that by marrying this man she is to be cosidered a disbeliever. I am only saying that she does not seem to care whether her marriage is valid or not. If a Muslim woman goes through the process of marriage with a non-Muslim, no matter what religion he follows, she remains a Muslim although her marriage is invalid. Her relationship with her man is one of adultery, not marriage. Her children are illegitimate in the sense that they are born outside wedlock. However, they bear no blame for the actions of their parents. They should be considered Muslims if their mother is truly a Muslim. If it is doubtful that she will be helping them grow as Muslims, someone else from her family should meet that end. When she dies, she may be buried in a graveyard of Muslims, because her action does not constitute apostacy.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )