Marriage: Interfaith marriages - Permissible though not advisable

Q354 :You have said in the past that a Muslim may marry a Christian or a Jewish woman. However, we read in the Qur'an the following instructions: "Do not marry unbelieving women until they have believed: a slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman" (2;221). Please comment.

A354 : It is not I who say that; it is the Islamic ruling. I have on several occasions pointed out that for a Muslim to marry a Christian woman is permissible. However, I repeated on every occasion that although such an interfaith marriage is permissible, it is inadvisable. The apparent contradiction between the ruling and the verse you quoted is due partly to the translation you have quoted. It is a little inaccurate. There is no contradiction, because the Qur'anic verse speaks of "women who associate partners with Allah." It is more accurately translated as "Do not marry polytheist women until they have believed. A slave woman who believes is better than a polytheist woman even though you may find her desirable." All Muslim scholars are unanimous in their view that to marry a woman who follows any faith other than Islam, Christianity or Judaism, is forbidden. The concession in the case of Christian and Jewish woman is made on account that there remains a common area between Islam and these two religions which allows the children to be brought up as believers.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )