Question # 323: As salaam alaikum. My cousin sister has married a Christian. A sister in law married a Hindu in spite of our advice and entreaties? Should we avoid social interaction with them? Is it permissible to invite the couple for Eid or social functions?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man is haraam and the marriage contract is invalid. If your female relatives entered into marriage aware of this Islamic ruling, then that constitutes apostasy from Islam; however, if they did not regard it as permissible in Islam, then they are sinners. Cutting off ties with such relatives for the sake of Allah is advisable, on the condition that one tries to warn, advise and explain them the seriousness of the matter and call them to leave their husbands if they do not become Muslims. At the same time, one should pray for them that Allah guides them to the Right Path. Nevertheless, one should judge the situation for an appropriate action: if cutting off the ties would lead them to react negatively by committing apostasy, then upholding your ties of kinship with them would definitely be better; on the other hand, abandoning them might cause them to regret for their deeds. 

Long Answer: Marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man is a major sin, and there is scholarly consensus that it is haraam and that the marriage contract is invalid. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an:

  • “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al-Mushrikoon till they believe (in Allah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater, etc.), even though he pleases you” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:221)
  • “O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them, Allah knows best as to their Faith, then if you ascertain that they are true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers, they are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them” (Soorah al-Mumtahanah, 60:10)

It says in a statement of the Islamic Fiqh Council: Marriage of a kaafir to a Muslim woman is haraam and is not permissible according to scholarly consensus. And there is no doubt concerning that, because of what is implied by shar‘i texts. (Fataawa Islamiyyah)

[Hence, the] …marriage to a Christian[/Hindu] man is an invalid, haraam marriage. If she did that regarding it as permissible when she was aware of the prohibition on it, then that constitutes apostasy from Islam… If she did not regard it as permissible, then she is a sinner… Nevertheless, she should be advised and explained the seriousness of the matter and call her to leave her husband if he does not become Muslim.

On the other hand, Islam calls for the upholding of the ties of kinship because of the great effect that this has on achieving social cohesion and perpetuating cooperation and love among the Muslims. Upholding the ties of kinship is a duty because Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an:

  • “… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)…” (Soorah al-Nisa’a, 4:1)
  • “And give to the kindred his due and to the miskeen (poor)…” (Soorah al-Isra’, 17:26)

And Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has warned us against cutting the ties of kinship: “And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).” (Soorah al-Ra’d 13:25)

Hence, those who sever the ties of kinship, deny themselves the reward for upholding the ties of kinship in the Hereafter, in addition to denying themselves much good in this world, which is a long life and ample provision.

  • The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever would like his rizq (provision) to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
  • Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: ‘Allah created the universe, and when He had finished, kinship (al-rahm) stood up and said, “This is the standing up of one who seeks Your protection from being cut off.” Allah said, “Yes, would it please you if I were to take care of those who take care of you and cut off those who cut you off?” It said, “Of course.” Allah said, “Then your prayer in granted.”’” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Recite, if you wish: ‘Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.’ (Soorah Muhammad 47:22-23)” (Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi)

[Hence, as for an apostate relative,] …who has gone out of Islam and become a kaafir (disbeliever) by her words or actions, or by her giving up (some obligatory duty) or her beliefs… then she is to be treated in the following manner:

  • It is obligatory to disavow whatever she believes in of kufr and apostasy.
  • It is haraam to regard her as a friend and love her.
  • It is obligatory to advise her and call her to come back to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).
  • It is permissible to visit and talk to her with the aim of calling her to Islam and seeking to guide her, for the one who is qualified to do that.
  • It is permissible to uphold ties with her by giving gifts and the like, to encourage her to repent and follow true guidance.
  • She should be shunned and cut off if she persists in her misguidance, especially if there is an interest to be served by shunning her, such as exposing her evil or to discourage the other relatives from following her.

Al-‘Allaamah al’Safaareeni, may Allah have mercy on him, said in his book Ghidhaa’ al-Albaab: “Ibn Abi Hamzah said: ‘The ties of kinship may be by money, by helping at times of need, by warding off harm, by meeting them with a smiling face, and by praying for them. The general meaning is that one helps them in good ways as much as possible and helps them to resist or fight evil as much as possible. This is the case if one’s relatives are righteous, but if they are kaafirs or are wrongdoers, then cutting off ties with them for the sake of Allah is how one maintains the tie, on the condition that one tries to warn them, and tells them that the reason for cutting the ties is because of their deviation from the truth. At the same time, the connection of making du’aa’ for them should remain, and you should pray for them in their absence that Allah will guide them to the Right Path.” (al-Tuhfah: Ghidha’ al-Albaab)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

According to Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America: “…you should judge what would better for her: if you believe that forsaking her completely might cause her to react negatively by committing apostasy, then upholding your ties of kinship with her would definitely be better in this case because committing apostasy and zina is worse than committing zina while still being a Muslim!

If, however, you think that the whole family abandoning her might cause her to regret what she is doing and feel sorry for the great sin in which she is involved, then that would be better for her.”

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.