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Why is marriage so restricted..

Q:

I want to marry a man who is an Atheist but as a Muslim woman, this is not permitted. My question is why? We have agreed to raise the kids with islam. He respects and understands the faith but he is a non believer in God in general and finds the act of converting disrespectful if his intention of being a Muslim is not there. He believes to be honest and not disrespectful is greater and I should respect it as much as he respects mine. I don’t understand why we have to go through the whole process when the basis is to continue the religion in our children is settled. Shouldn’t we as Muslims accept everyone and their beliefs – even if they have none? Why is it required and why doesn’t it matter what the circumstance is in regards to Islam in our household and future. He has supported me during Ramadan and encouraged me in other things. I have seen many Muslim men who are not moral and respectful people yet I should be marrying them because of this. I find it very difficult that Allah has created a human for me and yet would be an invalidated marriage if he didn’t convert. Shouldn’t we all accept each other as we are? Marry good people with pure hearts? Instead of reject them because they’re non believers? Reject them even though they respect the religion more than some Muslims I know? I want to marry him, he doesn’t want to lie when converting because he respects the religion – but I can’t.

A:

Bismillah

Salaamun Alaykum

Thank you for your question. Your question could be answered in two ways. One is fairly simple and the other detailed.

As for the simple answer, as a Muslim – one who submits to the Will of Allah – you recognise that Allah is Most Knowing, Most Merciful, All Just and All Wise. You also recognise that He sent Prophets and Imams to guide humanity to reach their ultimate goal of existence and perfection and that the Holy Qur’an is the Book of Guidance. In this regard then, when Allah and His messenger deem something right or wrong, it is for the believer to submit and follow, even though they may not understand the wisdom behind such ordinances; “A faithful man or woman may not have any option in their matter, when Allah and His Apostle have decided on a matter, and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle has certainly strayed into manifest error” (33:36). A Muslim therefore should have faith in the laws that Allah has prescribed and obey them with sincerity, knowing that Allah is Most Aware of what is best for them and for all of humanity.

The above answer may not satisfy some people, particularly those with weak faith or those who have been afflicted with doubts, perhaps due to external influences. In this case, a deeper discussion is needed which is beyond the scope of this platform, however, I will attempt to highlight some important points.

1. Looking at Islam holistically will give a clearer picture of the overall intended goal of creation. Each creature is moving towards perfection. For humans, that means using ones intellect and correctly identifying realities and their function in the grand scheme of things. The goal of creation is for all beings to move towards perfection (not just your children) and atheism, a denial of the existence of God, is moving away from that goal.

2. Islam is the final and complete religion for mankind and as such, is superior to all other religions. It is the path which Allah has chosen for Man to follow and therefore does not allow Muslims to be subservient to non-Muslims not for non-Muslims to have guardianship/legal authority (wilayah) over Muslims.”O you who have faith! Do not take those who take your religion in derision and play, from among those who were given the Book before you, and the infidels, as guardians, and be wary of Allah, should you be faithful” (5:57). In a marriage, the man has a wilayah over the woman. Therefore, should a Muslim woman get married to a non-Muslim, she would be handing him an authority over a Muslim which has been explicitly prohibited in the Holy Qur’an.

3. In Islam, there is a principle of kafa’ah (equality or equivalence) between the prospective husband and prospective wife which should be adhered to. This principle is sometimes mistakenly interpreted as both parties having roughly equal social and economic status, lineage, educational background or caste. However, the correct meaning is that they should both be believers. “A Muslim is a Muslim’s compeer and a believer is a believer’s compeer. This is the Islamic criteria of marriage….. because Islam insists on emphasizing spiritual values.” (The Compassionate Family, Ayatullah Khamenei).

4. Some of your comments stem from a misunderstanding of religious pluralism. I would recommend this book for further clarification: https://www.al-islam.org/islam-and-religious-pluralism-murtadha-mutahhari

Fi Amanillah
SM