Sharia Law on The Inter-Religion Marriages

In the religion of Islam, “marriage” is considered as holy and spiritual agreement, it is crucial and necessary to recognize the gist of the religion of Muslims: ‘Islam’. In a literal sense, a Muslim wedding is a simple civil agreement involving a marriage proposal of the woman by way of herself or her mother or father and acceptance via the man who can pay a dower as consideration. Proposal or offer to marry can be from man side. Shari’a law incorporates some specific regulations related to succession, alimony, dower, and dissolution of marriage, but, it gives space to the people, and parties, involved in a contract, are free to add and settle clauses according to their wish.

A man in Sunni law may marry a Muslim woman or a kitabiya (people of the book), but a Muslim woman cannot marry anyone except a Muslim. It is necessary to explain the terms Kitabi and kitabiya, the former of which refers to a man and latter to a woman. A kitabi is a man believing in a relevant religion possessing a Divine Book. The words kitabi and kitabiya have also been rendered “scripture”. Mostly, this term applied only to Jews, and to Christians each of whom possesses a revealed Book.

A Muslim man is restricted to marry the woman who is not kitabiya and they can’t enter into a valid marriage.

The marriage of a Muslim woman with non-believers is declared batil (void).

HOLY QURAN: 2: 221

A rule among Shias is stricter. A Shia, a male or a female is not allowed to build a marital relationship by the agreement of nikah; but a male Shia has an option to contract a mut’a marriage (temporary marriage) with a kitabiya.

In Pakistan, Muslim can lawfully marry a woman, who is Christian or Jewish by faith, according to the tenets of Muslim Law. I believe that all religions are equal before the law. Many times, the question arose in my mind that, when a Christian woman marries a Muslim man, which law prevails between both? Does the woman have a right to register her marriage according to her personal law? So, I consider this case in the context of the law of Pakistan.

Marriages between Muslim and Christians have been fairly frequent. A Muslim woman is not allowed to be wed with a Christian man; such kind of relationship is declared as void. But a muslim man may marry a Christian woman in accordance with Muslim law. Such a marriage must be in Pakistan solemnized in accordance with the provisions of the Christian Marriage Act. The marriage of a Christian must take place in the presence of a marriage registrar else it would be “void”. Since a Muslim woman cannot lawfully marry a non-muslim, she can’t be married to a Christian under the provisions of this Act.

#Islam #studyofreligions #ShariaLaw #marriage #PersonalLaws #familylaw #peace #legalstudies

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Fatima Tariq Written by:

Fatima Tariq, a law student at Kinnaird College for Women and a political science student at the University of Punjab. Research fellow at Insaaf Camp. Follow me at