Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim man? NO. Absolutely, not. Not ever. Haraam, sister.
Anthony David Weiner (pronounced /ˈwiːnər/; born September 4, 1964 in New York City, New York, United States) is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 9th congressional district, which includes parts of southern Brooklyn and south and central Queens. Weiner is a Democrat, and has held the office since 1999.
Weiner was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1998 mid-term elections, filling the seat previously occupied by Democrat Charles Schumer who successfully ran for the U.S. Senate that year. Weiner defeated his Republican opponent, Louis Telano, by a margin of 66 percent to 23 percent. He was re-elected handily in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 never receiving less than 59% of the vote.
In the House, he is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of New York City in the 2005 Mayoral election. Weiner graduated from State University of New York at Plattsburgh (SUNY), was an aide to former U.S. Representative Schumer (1985–91), and was a member of the New York City Council (1992–98)
The response only begs the next question, but why? It is not prohibited in the Qur’an. Few modern scholars feel comfortable forbidding it for that reason. Yet, few are actually willing to articulate this in an official forum. Dr. Abou El Fadl is an example of a scholar who has openly and candidly addressed the issue of Muslim women marrying “men of the Book.” In his response he explains his dislike of the issue and his tendency to avoid answering the question. He describes the traditional thought and then goes on to mention that he, personally, finds the evidence regarding the prohibition to be weak and does not feel comfortable telling a woman she cannot marry a kitabiyya [People of the Book.]
I am not a scholar, but Dr. Fadl’s response echoes the sentiments I have heard from other scholars as well. As such, the bases for this opinion are two ayats [Qu’ran verses], the opinions of scholars I have questioned, and my own research. This opinion does not apply to marriages where one converts to another’s faith. Additionally, for the purposes of this discussion I recognize that we live in a patriarchal society and I am not contesting the traditional roles ascribed to men and women as per our cultural patriarchy.
What God Says: Qur’anic Law
The Qur’an addresses marriage to non-Muslims in two instances :
1. “And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you.” [Qur’an 2:221]
2. “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.” [Qur’an 5:5]
There are several absolute truths we can establish from these two ayats. The first is that a differentiation is made between non-Muslim “People of the Book” (those of the Judeo-Christian faith) and non-Muslim polytheists. This distinction determines that both men and women are not permitted to marry anyone who associates another god with God. That is pretty straightforward and not to be contested. The next point is that men are permitted to marry chaste Muslim, Jewish or Christian women when certain duties are upheld. We generally accept this at face value as our right to marry. We also accept from this that though Muslim women are not directly addressed, if Muslim men are given permission to marry Muslim women then naturally, Muslim women can marry Muslim men. The Qur’an does not provide further guidance on whether Muslim women can marry men “of the Book.”
This leads us to the issue at hand – can we assume that the reverse is true for Muslim women marrying Judeo-Christian men?
• If not, can we forbid Muslim women from marrying a Christian or Jewish man?
• If yes, what does that mean in our patriarchal structure?
What People Say: Traditional Thought
Traditionally, the answer has been no, the reverse situation cannot be assumed for Muslim women. The argument is that if men are expressly given permission to marry women of the Book then women must also be given express permission in order to do the same. All major schools of thought accept this ruling. Many provide justifications as to why this traditional view has been upheld. The justification for this view fall primarily along these lines: 1) preservation of the Ummah [Muslim Community], 2) the father establishes religion for his children, 3) loss of certain rights as a Muslim woman, 4) implications on family law.
1) Preservation of the Ummah
Since we live in a patriarchal system there is a need to maintain a certain order under that system. The family lineage is passed through the father so if Muslim women marry outside the Muslim community this would, somehow, impede the growth of the Ummah as a whole.
2) Religion stems from the father
Children are most often recognized by their father’s name, culture, traditions, customs, beliefs, etc. In most customs, a woman marries into a family, not the other way around. In many instances the woman will even move into the husband’s family home. In such scenarios, not only is the father’s beliefs and legacy passed on in a symbolic sense, the father’s family and culture also exert a great influence over the children. This view that religion stems from the father is also used to support the notion that Muslim men may marry a kitabiyya, while Muslim women cannot.
3) Loss of rights
Islam ensures certain rights to women, which in an interfaith marriage cannot be guaranteed because the husband is under no obligation to ensure these rights are protected. This includes, but is not limited to, the right to freely practice her faith, the right to a mehr , the right to keep her name after marriage, the right to retain her earnings, the right to have her husband provide for her and their children, etc. Again, this is not thought to be an issue for Muslim men marrying outside of the faith because, the patriarchal household is accepted as the norm. Thus, as part of his duties, a Muslim husband is expected to provide for his family, uphold the rights of his wife and not prevent her from practicing her faith. He is also prohibited from forcing his wife to be Muslim. The fear, however, is that a non-Muslim husband heading a household would not be obliged to do the same, placing the woman at a disadvantage.
4) Implications on family law
Islamic law provides guidance regarding various topics within family law. This is of particular significance in regards to interfaith marriages as it includes matters of divorce, child custody, and inheritance. A concern for some scholars is that if Muslim women marry outside the faith, not only would they lose their God-given rights, but also, Islamic family law would not be able to address the issues that may arise.
Come On, Really…?
The notion that the Ummah is somehow preserved through the offspring of Muslim men is culturally archaic. The spread of Islam has been through its message, and its growth is maintained through the belief of its followers. A man’s family name, traditions and faith are passed to his children only in a symbolic sense. Their decision to follow or not follow his ways stem from a number of factors, and is ultimately governed by their personal choice. There are further inconsistencies in the reasoning given by those who purport this rule in light of patriarchal tradition. If we maintain that men are the head of households and carry on family legacy, then we also support the notion that women are the primary caretakers and nurturers. Thus, religion and culture are more likely to be passed through the mother. This is especially true of the common nuclear family in America, where the children are solely under the care and supervision of the mother, not the father’s extended family. It simply does not make sense that a practicing Muslim mother would not raise her children as Muslims. It makes even less sense that a non-Muslim mother could be expected to raise her children as Muslim.
The aforementioned justifications speak to an Islamically ideal situation – a marriage between a Muslim man and Muslim woman where both care for and respect each other and live in wedded bliss for the sake of Allah in a Muslim majority country with his upstanding Muslim family. It assumes that by marrying a kitabiyya a Muslim woman is forgoing this wedded bliss. It also assumes that if she marries a Muslim man she will be in an Islamically ideal situation. Both assumptions are just not realistic.
If a Muslim woman finds a practicing man of God who respects her better than the Muslim men around her and with whom she connects with better as well, why should anyone stop her from marrying him? Even if we are to presume that all the single available Muslim men of America are Islamically ideal men and a Muslim woman would be crazy to reject all these potential Muslim suitors – if she chooses to marry a kitabiyya, she does not lose any wifely rights in this country, at least. The beauty of Islam is that it guaranteed a minimum standard for women at a time when there was no standard. We are fortunate enough to live in a society where these basic rights and more are upheld by law.
The concern that a shift in traditional thought will have implications in Islamic law is understandable, but should not be considered a threat to our Islamic traditions. Islamic law is not divine and it is not set in stone. It is a man-made interpretation of divine doctrine and tradition. It is a living body of law and should be treated as such. Implying that the fear of readdressing Islamic family law is enough to forbid all Muslim women from marrying outside the faith is just lazy. A body of law requires constant thought and analysis in order to develop. There are many Islamic scholars who recognize the need for development in Islamic legal theory, and are uncomfortable upholding traditions that are not prescribed in the Qur’an, yet few are willing to voice that opinion. When it comes to the rights of women we need to remember that Islam provided a floor, not a ceiling, and we must be careful of twisting something into haraam that is not expressly prohibited.
Ideally, most of us want and expect to marry a Muslim. It simplifies a lot of complications in our minds regarding marriage and family. But the reality is that in our society we have an increased chance of meeting and marrying a non-Muslim. Huma’s choice may have made the news. But men do it all the time. We accept their decision, as it is their choice, their right. We don’t analyze all the possible outcomes it may or may not have on the future of his children and the Ummah. So why are we prohibiting women from observing the same right when it is not prohibited in the Qur’an? And why are we prohibiting it with outdated justifications?
At most, the traditional justifications provide evidence that marrying kitabiyya is discouraged, not that it is forbidden. The choice is left to the believer.
Renowned scholar Tariq Ramadan said it best. When asked how he would react if one of his children married a non-Muslim, he replied:
“I would naturally prefer someone to share the principles of being a Muslim. But it’s their choice. Look, by then, I will have done what I have had to do [as a father]. I have transmitted my principles to them. So I say to them, know who you are and your values. When you know this, then you are free. “
Allah knows best.
Growing up as a Pakistani-South African Muslim in suburbia New Jersey, Nadia Mohammad spent much of her childhood thinking she was Desi until she moved to Pakistan and learned she was American. Returning to the U.S. with this new perspective and a defiance of social stereotypes she delved into the world of South Asian and Muslim American media and activism. A lawyer in Chicago, she continues to believe in the values of justice and equality with cupcakes for all.
I remember when I first learned about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s unique love affair. They had been a couple for 11 years but never married. They shared children, but lived in separate apartments that faced each other across Central Park. He on the East Side and she on the West; they’d wave towels out their windows as they talked over the phone.
It was weird. Cool, but weird.
Then the other shoe dropped. It was weird all right. The couple had stopped having sex, Allen had taken up with Farrow’s adopted daughter, and accusations of child abuse and molestation were flying. Suddenly, all those raised eyebrows about their unorthodox relationship seemed justified.
My boyfriend of four years and I are no Woody and Mia — we’re just a couple of average divorcees living in the heartland. But we get our fair share of wide-eyed, questioning looks when we describe our arrangement.
Bryan and I don’t want to get married, ever. “That’s how you feel now,” people say. “Things change.” Things do change when people get married, often for the worse.
Then there’s our schedule. We see each other every Tuesday and Saturday. People ask what happens if we want to see each other on a Thursday or Friday. I tell them this is all we can manage right now without overburdening our exes and neglecting our children.
Then they ask if our kids get along. I tell them our kids barely know each other. That’s what really throws them.
The assumption is that divorced people need to introduce their children early on and forge a positive relationship, so that when it’s time to get married, the two families are as happy and harmonious as the Brady Bunch.
But we’re never going to get married.
So twice a week we get together and enjoy the best parts of a relationship without ever having to confront the problems that inevitably arise when a couple shares a home, a bank account and children. It has none of the drudgery of the nightly routine. There’s no negotiating about who will relax with the dishes and who will wrestle the kids to bed. Gone is the invisible scorecard of disappointments and slights.
Instead we embrace and talk and look at each other with an intensity that can only come with a certain amount of deprivation. We know we have limited time and we need to make the most of it. Why would I trade that feeling of euphoria for the inevitable malaise of marriage?
But about a year into the relationship I started having doubts. As my hero Carrie Bradshaw might have put it: “I had to wonder … did the love between Bryan and me depend on not seeing each other too often? Would our relationship fall apart if he stuck around on Sunday morning instead of leaving after breakfast?”
I began asking Bryan all those questions that exposed my deep-seated insecurities about our arrangement. “Don’t you want to see me more often?” I asked. “Why don’t we spend more time with each other’s families?” I wondered aloud. And then one Sunday morning came the real doozy: “What is this? What are we doing?” I’ll never forget the look on his face, a look that went from surprise to confusion to disappointment in the span of seconds. We both knew exactly what we were doing. We were breaking the rules and building a relationship without caring what anyone else thought. We had an understanding, a tacit agreement, and I had broken it.
But I couldn’t help questioning the validity of what we had. Perhaps our love really did amount to something less than all those couples who were married or living together and sharing the triumphs and tribulations of everyday life. It was as if other couples had reached the summit of Mt. Everest the proper way, through hard work and braving the elements, and were therefore better able to rejoice in their accomplishment and more deserving of the incredible view. Bryan and I, on the other hand, had been airlifted to the top. Yes, the view was the same, but our journey there was manufactured.
Everything about our culture seems to center around marriage. It’s the happy ending to almost every book, movie and TV show–including the bold, brash, rule-breaking “Sex and the City.” For six seasons those women dated, drank and did it, all in a quest for love and happily ever after. In the final episode they found it, even Carrie, whose on-again-off-again boyfriend Big tracked her down in Paris to declare his everlasting love. When they embraced on that Parisian bridge, when Big told Carrie she was “the one,” I cried. I cried because I believed in their happily ever after. And I cried because I knew Big wasn’t about to tell Carrie that they should keep their separate apartments and just get together every Tuesday and Saturday. They weren’t going to settle for anything less than marriage.
Carrie was famous for her constant questioning, for beginning every column with: “I had to wonder.” But with marriage, the questions could finally stop.
Marriage is the ultimate answer to all those nagging questions. “Don’t you want to see me more often?” “Yes, I want to see you every single day!” “Don’t you want to spend more time with my family?” “Of course, I want to BE your family!” “What is this? What are we doing?” “We’re getting married and living happily ever after!”
It’s all so perfect. Until, of course, you get divorced. Divorced people understand that marriage is no guarantee of anything. Until, of course, they forget.
Many divorced people forget the fragility of marital bliss and remarry with the same certainty and optimism they had the first time. I didn’t want to forget, and my decision not to remarry was my way of ensuring I never would. But that didn’t mean I was immune to the pressures of society constantly telling me that marriage was the one thing that would make my life complete.
I needed to just accept that I was being radical — constructing a relationship that threw convention to the wind. But it was hard. I was no Mia Farrow — the bohemian actress once married to Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn — living on the Upper West Side with her cats, canaries and chinchillas and caring for a brood of kids adopted from all corners of the world. I was just a single mom of two living on a suburban block in a mid-sized Midwestern town. There was nothing radical about me.
I first thought my relationship with Bryan was the perfect formula. Then it felt like a sham. Now I see it’s just the best we can do — for now. Yes, there are moments of loneliness, reminders of all that I don’t have. But there are many more moments of profound contentment and joy, and the feeling that I might have hit on a formula that is — if not perfect — pretty great.
I believe there’s nothing wrong with us preserving our relationship by blocking out the very things that had led to the demise of our previous marriages and were straining the unions of so many people we knew. And there’s nothing wrong with not wanting our time together to become routine. We want this to last. And if it does, maybe someday the planets will align to allow us a little more time and flexibility — perhaps a Thursday or a Friday or two.
The only thing that was missing from the drama… Oops Weiner’s wife is pregnant. There is a tabloid god and he is sick in the head. Okay, you can read all about this Weinergate scandal on Wikipedia. And right here below you can see the X-rated photo everyone is talking about. Actually it is a picture of screen shot from a video with an iPhone with a screen shot of a laptop with the actual photo. LOL… But the dick shot of a sitting U.S. Congressman nonetheless with the name Weiner. But Anthony Weiner has done what most men only wish they could; keep sexting conversations with women to under 140 characters. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Previous leaked Anthony Weiner photos:
Let this hopefully be the last Weinergate post, so here are a few resources you need to learn all you want to know:
Here is the full transcript of sexting chat conversations thanks to Radaronlinebetween Anthony Weiner and one of his sexting mistresses, Lisa Weiss, the blackjack dealer in Las Vegas.
And here are more Weinergate in the headlines: