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Marrying a non Muslim Woman

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Ustaadha Bint Salih


I am working now in South Korea for 3 years. My wife cannot join me there for some reason. My annual leave is every year for 3 weeks.

I know now a Korean woman (No religion) of 45 years and I am 53 years old.

Can our relationship go to a man and wife?



بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

‘This day, good things have been made lawful for you. The food of the people of the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them, and good women from among believers, and good women from among those who were given the Book before you, provided you give them their dowers, binding yourself in marriage, neither going for lust, nor having paramours. Whoever rejects Faith, his effort will go to waste and, in the Hereafter, he will be among the losers.’

(Surah Maaidah, Verse 5).

‘Do not marry the polytheist women, unless they come to believe (in Islam); a Muslim slave-girl is better than a polytheist woman, even though she may attract you; and do not give (your women) in marriage to polytheist men, unless they come to believe; a Muslim slave is better than a polytheist, even though he may attract you. They invite to the Fire when Allah invites, by His will, to Paradise, and to forgiveness. He makes His verses clear to the people, so that they may heed the advice.’

(Surah Baqarah, Verse 221).

There are two aspects to look at when answering this question:

  1. Marrying non-Muslim women

  2. Polygamy

The shariah has allowed marrying orthodox Jewish or Christian women, however, even still, this has been graded as MakroohTahrimi by Hanafi Scholars (although the nikah will be valid).

(Maariful Quran, Vol 3, Pages 80-81).

In regards to marrying polytheistic or women of no religion, this is strictly not allowed.

In relation to polygamy, although the shariah has allowed a man to marry up to four women at any one time, it is important to consider the following:

  • When a husband is married to more than one wife, he needs to maintain equality between them, in spending nights etc.

    “Whoever has two wives and is inclined to favour one of them over the other, he will come on the Day of Resurrection with half of his body paralysed.”

    (SunanNasai, Book of Kindness to Women, Hadith 3942)

  • A husband has a right to marry a second wife without the permission of the first wife.

    (Raddul Muhtar, Vol 4, Page 138)

    However, in order to maintain a harmonious relation, it is wise to talk the first wife into his intention of taking a second wife. Generally if a manmarries a second wife without discussing the issue with his first wife, his life becomes miserable, causing a great amount of anxiety, stress and discomfort to the wives and children.

With regards to your situation, firstly, marrying the woman in question would not be permissible due her having no religion. And secondly, if you were to marry another, Muslim woman, you would need to consider the aspect of equality between her and your first wife.

I pray Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) eases your affairs.

Only Allah knows best.

Ustaadha Bint Salih.  

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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