Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I am married to a Christian man but am in love with a Muslim man who wants to marry me. Can I leave my Christian husband to marry the Muslim man, although under the law I’m still married? Will my daughter be accepted by the Muslim man’s family?
Answer: Dear questioner,
Thank you for reaching out to us. I advise you to tread very carefully.
It sounds like you have embarked on an affair with this Muslim man.
I urge you to please end this affair. Affairs are not a good starting place for a second marriage. Give yourself some clarity and peace of mind first.
If you still wish to marry this Muslim man, then please go through the correct legal proceedings. File for divorce from your husband, settle your paperwork, then get married.
You must legally protect yourself if/when you marry again. You and your daughter risk getting very hurt if you do not register your second marriage.
Please read this article to better understand the gravity of this situation:
Unregistered Marriages: A Muslim Concern
Why did you choose this man over your Christian husband? What about him appeals to you? Have you considered how leaving your husband will impact on your daughter? Can you still provide her with the love and security that she needs, even with the introduction of a stepfather?
Often, affairs signal unresolved issues within a marriage that can be repeated in a second marriage.
Are you considering converting to Islam before you get married? I encourage you to do so. Please think about doing courses like Introduction to Islam: What It Means to Be Muslim.
It is far more likely for you and your daughter to be accepted by your future in-laws if you embrace Islam, and raise your daughter Muslim. Even then, that is a process that will take some time. You will need to exercise tremendous patience and good character. Even then, some families have very fixed cultural expectations, and may be disappointed by anyone who does not fit into their world view. That is hurtful, but please do not take it personally.
Even if you and your daughter do not embrace Islam, the Prophetic model is still one of kindness and acceptance. Unfortunately, Muslims often fall short.
I hope and pray that you and your daughter are safe and well. Please do everything in your power to prepare yourself and your daughter before you make such a big life decision. You are an adult, responsible for your decisions, and you also have your daughter’s wellbeing to consider. Please speak to a counsellor if you need more clarity. Even if you do leave your Christian husband, he remains your daughter’s father, and you will need to make a commitment to honouring that relationship.
I hope this helps. Please keep in touch.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.