Does Islam allow a Muslim man to marry a woman from Ahlul-Kitab (Jews and Christians)?
"This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers." (Chapter 5, Al Maeda, Verse 5)
From an Islamic point of view there are two categories of non Muslims, one is the ‘Kitabi’ and the other is ‘Wasani’. A large group of Non Muslims are called Ahlul Kitab by the Qur’an. Ahlul kitab means Jews and the Christians. They are the people of Torah and Injeel. This category is called ‘Kitabi’. The other category of Non Muslim are called Wasani and it is an Historical title. Wasan means an Idol. The idol worshippers like Hindus, Buddhists etc fall into this category.
The biggest difference between the Kitabi and Wasani is that the former believes in Allah, His Messengers, Akhera, Angels, Heaven and Hell.
Where do the ahlul Kitab get stranded up?
The advent of the last Messenger of Allah, Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) marks the seal of the Prophethood as the Qur’an declares: O Mankind, Here is a Messenger for all of you. It is essential for the Ahlul Kitab to believe in the last messenger the way they believed in all the previous messengers and become Muslims. But since they did not believe, so Allah called them Ahlul Kitab and they too are kafir because they rejected the last messenger and the Qur’an. And because all the divine books before the Qur’an were revealed upon them they are called Kitab. The idol worshippers reject Allah, Angels, all the prophets and Akhera (Hereafter) as well, hence they are called Wasani.
There are two things about Ahlul Kitab which are halal for us
An animal slaughtered by Ahlul Kitab is declared halal by Allah. The other thing which is halal is the permission to marry the women of ahlul kitab but with two conditions. One is, they should NOT be immodest, obscene or vulgar. If she is modest, which is called Afeefah then it is allowed to marry them. The second condition is after she comes into your marriage she should not make you incline towards her religion. In other words she should not propagate Judaism or Christianity. If your faith remains safe and if your children who are born out of her too remains Muslim then you may marry them.
But it is still better to marry a Mu’min (a believer)
If a Muslim has married her to help her and keeps her safe then there is no issues but the children born out should not be groomed into Jewish or Christian culture. Therefore, if you are able to take care of your Deen and your children’s Deen then there is no harm in marrying her but it is still better and more virtuous to marry a Believing woman.
However a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a man from Ahlul Kitab
If a woman marries a non Muslim then she will be considered as Murtad. The reason for such prohibition is because Allah says that He does not allow a Non Muslim to dominate over a Muslim. “And never will Allah let the disbelievers Triumph over Believers”(Surah Nisa’ verse 141)
And since a man is given the status of Qawwam (Protector), so he has to dominate. Thus, a woman from Ahlul kitab who is married to a Muslim man will be dominated by Muslim husband but if a Muslim woman marries a Christian or a Jewish man then she will be dominated by her husband and be ruled over by their rituals and culture thus she may lose her Eemaan.
We pray to Allah to give us firmness in Eemaan.