Edited conversations between a Christian and several Muslims regarding
Marriage between Muslims and Christians follow. The content has not
been changed other than to try to make ideas more clear for Lam.


Christian:
Hello All,
This is not usually an interest of mine, but I have now become curious
about it.  Those of you who take the ahadith as necessary or at least not
unnecessary... I have a question.

Does the hadith actually define the ayat, make the intent more clear, or
would you say it is one of the ahadith that one should ignore because it
contradicts the ayat?

+++
From the Quran:
Made lawful to you this day are . . . chaste women from those who
were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time . . .
[al-Maaidah 5:5].

From the Hadeeth:
"Whenever Ibn 'Umar was asked about marrying a Christian lady or a
Jewess, he would say: "Allah has made it unlawful for the believers to
marry ladies who ascribe partners in worship to Allah, and I do not know
of a greater thing, as regards to ascribing partners in worship, etc. to
Allah, than that a lady should say that Jesus is her Lord although he is
just one of Allah's slaves."
http://www.usc.edu/
dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/063.sbt.html#007.063.209

Volume 7, Book 63, Number 209:
+++


Muslim:
My view is: An attempt should be made to reconcile the hadith with the
ayat. Usually, the hadith makes the ayat easier to understand, as it is one
application of the ayat. The hadith does not limit the interpretation of the
ayat as such, however. If the hadith opposes the ayat, and cannot be
reconciled with the ayat, or if the ayat has to be distorted to fit the hadith,
then that hadith should be discarded or pushed aside, for it cannot be a
hadith in the true sense of the word, in that it is not an accurate or genuine
hadith.


Christian:
Appreciate any thoughts on how to understand this. ...

Made lawful to you this day are . . . chaste women from those who
were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time . . .
[al-Maaidah 5:5].



Muslim:
Please note the emphasis on the CHASTE aspect. Also please note that
in the previous ayaat, mention is made of extreme circumstances in
which one may be forced to eat non-halaal foods. Just as the flesh of
swine is haraam, no also are UNCHASTE women. An indirect linkbetween good pure food and purity of mind and heart is discernible.

It is best to consume halaal meat which is also pure and wholesome.
Similarly, it is best to marry CHASTE Muslim women. Under certain
circumstances, when pure and halaal food is not available, one may be
permitted to eat food of the People of the Book, who also believe in one
God, even though it may not have been slaughtered in the proper Islamic
way, so long as it is wholesome pure and permissible food.  Similarly, if
a Muslim woman is not available, one may marry, if extreme
circumstances so dictate, a non-Muslim woman who believes in One God,
so long as she is CHASTE.

Hadith:
"Whenever Ibn 'Umar was asked about marrying a Christian lady or a
Jewess, he would say: "Allah has made it unlawful for the believers to
marry ladies who ascribe partners in worship to Allah, and I do not know
of a greater thing, as regards to ascribing partners in worship, etc. to
Allah, than that a lady should say that Jesus is her Lord although he is
just one of Allah's slaves."


Muslim:
Paganism and Idolatry is associated with spiritual impurity and unchastity.
A person is to that extent unchaste to the extent that he or she is away
from the worship of the One True God. There are those Christians too who
believe in one God, and worship Him alone. It appears that Waraqa was
one such Christian, and you must be aware of the Ebionites too.  You will
also agree that in "general" Muslim women "tend" to be more covered
than non-Muslim ones. Manner of dress is one indication of internal
purity, though not the only one.


Christian:
Okay.  What I get from this is in each situation the man should decide
if he can reconcile the ayat with the hadith - in other words he should
marry a woman who is a believer.  If he cannot reconcile the ayat with
the hadith it would be best to take only the ayat as his guide since it
comes from the Quran itself.

Considering only the ayat actually brings about the same conclusion,
because although he can marry someone other than a believer, he must
also take into consideration the chaste nature of the believing woman
from one of the people of the book.

_If_  she is one who takes Jesus as her Lord then she may be considered
to be unchaste (in the spiritual sense) and therefore even if one cannot
reconcile the hadith with the ayat, the ayat is still perfectly clear that one
should not marry a woman whose Lord is Jesus the Christ (since that
would make her unchaste in the spiritual sense and the ayat calls for him
to marry one who is "a chaste women from those who were given the
Scripture).
 
Let me go on.  It seems to me he has only these choices.

If the woman has not taken Jesus as her Lord, she is chaste and is
good for marriage to a believer if there are no good choices for him from
among believing Muslim women or he is far away (or something) from
believing Muslim women.If the woman has taken Jesus as her Lord, she is unchaste and no matter
if there are no other women available he is not to marry her because the
ayat and the hadith seem to only allow marriage if she is of the people of
the book who do not ascribe partners to God (who do not take Jesus as
Lord)

In the previous two paragraphs I lay out  what I think Muslim has said
which can be boiled down to this.

He may marry someone who is not a believing Muslim woman in the same
way a Muslim may eat non halal food if he is not in a position to be able to
obtain it but, he may marry only those women who do not take Jesus as
Lord.

So even though she may be a believing woman from the people of the
book (Scripture) who believe in One God, if she has taken Jesus as her
Lord she is to be considered unchaste and he may not marry her even if
there are no other women available.

And so in this instance"...the hadith makes the ayat easier to understand,
as it is one application of the ayat. The hadith does not limit the
interpretation of the ayat as such, however."

Is that correct?  Or did I get it twisted around somehow? And is there
more that could be said?


Muslim2:
>
> As far as I noticed, the mentioned hadeeth attributes the saying to Ibn
> Umar, and not the prophet. Though it can have a credibility, however, it
> can still be an opinion that might be right or wrong. It is a hadeeth in
> thew sense of being a report, but is not a hadeeth in the sense that
> this is what the prophet said.
>
> In general, scholars consider marrying a non-Muslim woman to be
> not encouraged.


Christian:
So, in essence you agree that in this instance the hadith, while not
attributed to the Prophet, could be taken to enhance or make more
clear the ayat, which itself _does_ discourage a Muslim from marrying a
non-Muslim.  Is that correct?


Muslim2:
>
> No. The ayah does not discourage. Initially, the food from the Jews
> (kosher) has no problem in it, nor is it discouraged to be eaten. The
> problem with the food from Christians is that their (your) dietery system
>is different. For example, Christians eat pork, while both Jews and
>Muslims don't. Also, Muslims and Jews have certain laws for
>slaughter, while Christians don't. Some prefer to avoid such food, and
> others  might take it as allowed, since it is explicitly stated as
> lawful (that is, you don't sin by eating it.)
>

Christian:

Focusing on this ayat might take us off the track of the original
question...nevertheless, it does seem like having those to do with
halal and non-halal foods in nearly the same context as halal and
non-halal marriage partners must have some significance.  Maybe not,
but that's the way Muslim saw it.

So, just as non-halal foods _are_  okay for a Muslim to eat in
certain circumstances (those circumstances may or may not be
important here?), Christians and Jews are made halal, so to speak,
in this ayah?  That is how you see it?

Muslim2:
> The ayah simply states that such mariage is allowed the same way a
> normal mariage between a muslim man to a muslim woman is allowed.

Christian:
I haven't actually looked this up in the Quran and am taking Muslim's
word for it that the context for the food ayat and the context for the
marriage ayat are the same and the idea that at certain times in
certain situations non-halal food has been made halal for Muslims.

If it was talking about what you state above...."such mariage is allowed
the same way a normal mariage between a muslim man to a muslim
woman is allowed.", then I'm not sure it would need an aya or word from
God to say that - it could be - but the context would suggest to me that
normally it is not a good idea to marry outside of Islam but in certain
situations and circumstances it is lawful ie. believing Christian women
and Jews.

Muslim2:
>The hadeeth mentioned reflects the opinion of it's holder, and it has a
> certain validity, but still remains an opinion.

Christian:
I  _think_  I see that.  What I mean is that I have a very basic
understanding of the position of the hadith in Islam, and as this
one isn't even attributed to the Prophet it isn't necessarily even to be
used to try to make the ayat more clear but may be only Ibn Umar's
understanding of either the aya or his understanding of what the
Prophet believed or taught.. 


Muslim2:
> The reason that scholars discourage such mariage (as I understand it) is
> because a mother has a significant influence on the children, and as
>such, could have a harmful effect on the childrens religion (from the
>Islamic perspective.)
>

Christian:
I agree that might be the reason.  My opinion is that those of different
faiths should not marry for that reason specifically without some real
good conversations and a deep deep understanding of what each partner
actually believes and how it will be handled when the children start
coming.  I haven't seen very many couples who have that kind of
'big picture' mentality when it comes to that kind of planning.  Many are
way too 'in love' to see that there will be problems of some kind down
the road.... regardless of whether God has control of the final outcome,
the marriage and the children and the family (for marriage is a familyaffair) will suffer pangs and turbulence to some degree whether these
details are discussed in depth before marriage, or not.


Muslim3:
> Scholars thereby propagate the belief that Allah is not truly  the one
> who gives guidance and Iman (faith).  Allah specifically gives Muslims
> the right to marry Christians unequivocally, both men and women, and
> "Scholars" seek to protect His Religion from His "shortsightedness".
>And upon the "authority" of Omar who singlehandedly did the most to
> set aside Quran in his great misunderstanding of affairs, seeing force as
> the great panacea of all ills, at that.


Christian:
> >I still have questions concerning the 'chaste' part the Muslim mentioned.
> >
>

Muslim2:
> As I understand it, chaste means morally good. A married woman
> is called "muhsana", and so is a chaste non-married woman. It is
> connected to the religious aspect only in that religion commands people
> to be chaste.


Christian:
Actually that is how I saw it also until Muslim brought it up.  I did
find these two hadeeth; how authentic they are or even if they can
be applied is not mine to know, but they do seem to be saying that
chaste can also mean 'spiritually chaste'.  [both are also from the same
source from which the Ibn Umar hadith came ....
dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari
/063.sbt.html#007.063.209]

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 187:

    Narrated Ibn Abi Mulaika:

    . . .  Ibn Abbas added. "The people asked me to take the oath of
allegiance to Ibn AzZubair. I said, 'He is really entitled to assume authority
for his father, Az-Zubair was the helper of the Prophet, his (maternal)
grandfather, Abu Bakr was (the Prophet's) companion in the cave, his
mother, Asma' was  'Dhatun-Nitaq', his aunt, 'Aisha was the mother of the
Believers, his paternal aunt, Khadija was the wife of the Prophet ,
and the paternal aunt of the Prophet was his grandmother.

*He himself is pious and chaste in Islam,* well versed in the Knowledge of
the Quran. By Allah! (Really, I left my relatives, Bani Umaiya for his sake
though) they are my close relatives, and if they should be my rulers, they
are equally apt to be so and are descended from a noble family.


Christian:
In the above hadith, it actually says  "is pious and chaste in Islam".  If
we were talking about a Christian, I would assume the Christian being
described is pure in his Christian faith not just in body.

And the following ....


Volume 4, Book 51, Number 28:

    Narrated Abu Huraira:

    The Prophet said, "Avoid the seven great destructive sins." The people
enquire, "O Allah's Apostle! What are they?

"He said, "To join others in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery,
to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, (according
to Islamic law), to eat up Riba (usury), to eat up an orphan's wealth, to give
back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting,
and to accuse, chaste women, who never even think of anything
touching chastity and are good believers.


Christian:
One of the seven great destructive sins is "To join others in worship
along with Allah" and we know that most Muslims believe that is exactly
what Christians who take Jesus as their Lord do.  So if the first hadith
[from Ibn 'Umar] can not actually be taken as an enhancement to the
understanding of the ayah.... perhaps these could (are) or there are others
which I  have not found that do.  Maybe that is where 'the scholars' get
the basic idea that it is not okay to marry outside of Islam, but in general
believing women who are Christians and Jews [who believe in the One
God] are made lawful.


Since one of the seven great destructive sins is said to be
"To join others in worship along with Allah" and the previous
hadith seems to refer to someone being "chaste in Islam"  it seems to
follow, for me, that when the ayah refers to 'chaste' it could mean not only
those women from those who were given the Scripture who are
physically pure and chaste, but could also mean those women who do
not/have not taken Jesus as Lord (chaste in Islam).... just as  Ibn 'Umar
seemed to understand it.  And there may be other sayings of which I am
not aware or have no way to know what to look for that also see it in this
way.

Maybe that is where the context of halal and non-halal food comes in
also.... in certain circumstances the believing women from the Scripture
become halal or lawful for marriage  - one of which would be as long
as the women from the Scripture had not taken Jesus as Lord?

{the ayah in question is repeated below]
Made lawful to you this day are . . . chaste women from those who
were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time . . .
[al-Maaidah 5:5].