Marriage between Muslin/Non-muslim couple

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asked on Mar 17, 2011 at 17:33
by   Happy Convert
edited on Dec 22, 2016 at 08:20
In Islam, religion of the children follows that of the man. That is why when a non-Muslim man marries a Muslim lady, he has to convert. A Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim lady without her converting is she falls under the category of "children of the Book" i.e. an Orthodox Christian, Jew because the Books of her religion ie. the Bible (Old testament or Torah (Jewish Scriptures) form part of the Quran.

Female spouses who do not fall under the category of "Children of the Book' e.g. Buddhists have to convert.

Many countries are secular and do not insist on the other non-Muslim spouse converting before marriage e.g. Indonesia, Singapore etc.

In Malaysia Islam is governed State by State because the respective Sultans are the head of the Islamic Religion of their respective States. Therefore each State has its own laws (known as State Enactments) on Islam.

Most of the State enactments have provisions very similar to that of the Civil Laws on Marriage (Law Reform Marriage & Divorce Act, 1976) with respect to registration of foreign marriages and recognition of foreign marriages.

Basically, most State Enactments on Marriage provides that if the marriage of the couple overseas is recognised as valid in the country where the marriage is celebrated, then their marriage is recognised as valid in Malaysia/that State.

There is also a requirement just as in Civil law that the marriage has to be registered at the Malaysian Embassy in the country where the marriage is celebrated or alternatively within 6 months of the couple's return to Malaysia, failing which they can be fined - but this does not mean the marriage cannot be registered.

Most State Enactments provide that as long as a person is a Muslim residing in that particular State they are governed by the Islamic law of that State. Therefore a foreigner who is a Muslim residing in Selangor for the time being can be charges for khalwat (close proximity) e.g. Kak Anita a Singaporean singer (you know the one who is forever 45 years old) was charged many years ago and pleaded guilty of khalwat in the PJ Syariah Court. I suppose it was better to pay the fine rather that go through a trial and cancel her Las Vegas shows.

At the end of the day the greatest sin is to go against one's conscience. think about it - is is a sin for a tribesman in olden days to kill an invader into his village in the jungle if he felt that it was for the security of his people? They had no religion there and one cannot blame him for going against Islam/Christianity etc. He has merely following what his elders did in the past to survive.

Similarly, one cannot force one's spouse to practise one's religion if she does not believe in it and she believes in another religion. After all most religions teaches one to be good. To force him/her to practise one's religion is to force him/her to go against her conscience.

Of course it won't be unreasonable to insist that a certain amount of respect be accorded e.g. not to consume or bring in pork into the household, not to force the children to consume pork etc. but in time what is important is that love conquers all. Many couples have died for their love for each other rather than succumb to religious bigotry.

Just like me, in time I found out that there was not much difference between Islam and Christianity and even though I converted to Islam out of necessity, I learnt about the religion and grew to love and practise it.

To all mixed couples out there facing this problem about a conflict of religions, DO NOT DESPAIR.

LOVE CONQUERS ALL! (Insya Allah). As the old saying goes "What God has put together, let no man put asunder".
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9 Answers

answered on Apr 24, 2012 at 00:55
by   arieze
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:21
@Happy Convert,

I appreciate the comment you made regarding interfaith marriage. I was brought up a Catholic and am going thru the same dilemma of converting for the sake of being recognised as a legal marriage in Malaysia. I only wish that our country will one day be more open to mixed marriages without discrimination of religion. Breaks my heart because my own family is still struggling to accept the inevitable fact that I will someday want to marry my boyfriend. They, too, have concerns about what my rights will be like once I convert to Islam.

Thank you for your quote, inspired me. "What God has joined together, let no man asunder."
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answered on Nov 16, 2012 at 23:00
by   Rohan
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:24
@Happy Convert,

Need a bit of advise regarding the above issue, as you mention a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim without her converting if she falls under the category of "children of the book" i.e. so a christian women don't have to convert if she marries a Muslim. Do that apply in Malaysia as well. You mention Malaysian Islamic laws are governed by the individuals states by their respective Sultans, so are there any states in Malaysia that permits such marriages without conversion?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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answered on Nov 28, 2012 at 01:22
by   hasnida rashid
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:25
@Happy Convert

Where in the world have you found out about this rule in Malaysia? Are you creating them yourself? If you do not know Islamic law in our country, you'd better stay silent!
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answered on Jan 15, 2013 at 18:24
by   Asim
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:26
@Hasnida Rashid

You are the kind of Muslim who bring such bad name to the religion. Rather than guiding someone who is unaware you shut them off as you were born from your mothers womb fully literate about the religion. Shame on your kind of Muslims, may Allah give you some sense to open up to others and guide them.
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answered on Feb 18, 2013 at 22:05
by   dhia
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:27

Keep calm. That is one of the value in Islam.


I would have hit the like button if I could do it here.
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answered on Mar 9, 2013 at 07:37
by   Circumspect
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:35
@Hasnida and @Rohan,

The primary source for what Happy Convert has said is to be found in Act 303, the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 which first saw Royal Assent on the 27 of June 1984. Section 10 of the Act states clearly that a Muslim man may marry a woman who is Kitabiyah; whilst no Muslim woman may marry a man who is a non-Muslim.

His practical advice is of course, that it is easier to convert than have two people in a multi-faith household, but it isn't necessary as a matter of law.

The 1984 Act is freely available online at

Hope this helps to clear up any "confusion". Always remember that there are three elements to think about; your personal relationship, your faith, and what the law says. Everyone's advice should be tailored to themselves because the degree of importance of each element is ultimately a very personal choice.

Good luck all! I need it too.
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answered on Jun 24, 2013 at 23:53
by   crimson
edited Dec 22, 2016 at 08:36
My fiance and I have been planning to get married in Malaysia. He's a Muslim and I am a Christian, I was reading through the requirements and became confused about the possibility of a civil marriage.

I would be glad to be enlightened since we have been looking for a common ground for almost a year now.

Is a civil marriage allowed for our situation?
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answered on Dec 6, 2016 at 03:58
by   Sunflower7
Has this post ever got answered? 
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answered on Dec 6, 2016 at 05:41
by   Asim
What is exactly your issue?

The answers are already there, can't you see it?
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