I have met a woman of a different religion at work, after getting to know one another we would like to get married. I explained to her how certain rules in our house must be followed such as no alcohol or pork allowed and only halal foods allowed, also if we have any children they will be raised as Muslims. She has agreed to these conditions and has no issues with Islam at all, she prefers to stay a Christian. There is one thing that I need clarification on; she was raised as a Buddhist most of her life and changed to Christianity only recently (5 years ago). If I marry her will my nikkah be valid? Can you please clarify. Thank you.
There are a various factors to take into consideration when marrying a person of another religion beyond just the legal ruling of the marriage. Marriage in and of itself requires a lot of focus and attention to ensure it is successful even when two Muslims are getting married. In addition to this if the married couple are individuals who have varying world views and values, it adds an extra layer of difficulty and challenge.
A marriage to a Christian would technically be valid provided that the woman is actually a Christian in belief and not just Christian based on her parents belief. This would apply even if she was a Buddhist beforehand. However, one must bare in mind that marrying a Christian whilst residing in a non-Muslims country would be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahrimi) which is close to committing something unlawful (haram).
You have mentioned that there are certain Islamic rules that must be followed in your house and that her children will be brought up as Muslims however there are two issues here. Firstly, though you maybe able to implement these rules at the start of your marriage, it may not be that easy to implement on a long term basis. It is very possible that once you become accustomed to your wife drinking alcohol elsewhere you may eventually start allowing her to drink at home also.
The second issue is that on many occasions couples will agree beforehand as to how the children should be brought up, however, after the children are born there could be dispute between the couple.
There are many cases where couples have disputed over these types of issues and on many occasions if the matter is taken to court the wife is favoured which would mean the children will not be brought up as Muslims.
Also, there are many instances where couples split up after having children and the wife becomes the primary carer for the children and those children are then brought up as non-Muslims. This then becomes something very difficult to deal with for the husbands.
For these reasons we would not recommend this marriage.
Ifta Research Fellow
Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel