Which Women Are Permissible to Marry in Islam?

Allah Ta’ala states:

This verse means that other than the women mentioned in verse 23 of Surah Nisaa, all other women are lawful and it is permissible to marry them.

Allah Ta’ala also states in the following verse:

“And whoever among you does not have in marriage free, believing women due to poverty, should marry from the believing bondwomen you own...” (Surah Nisaa Verse 25)

This verse means that those of you who do not have the means or finances to marry a free Muslim woman should marry a Muslim slave woman and this is not a matter of shame.

Point: It is permissible for the person who has the means to marry a free woman to also marry a slave girl. This point is not made in this verse but is proven from the previous verse.

Point: It is also permissible to marry a slave girl from the people of the Book but it is better and preferred to marry a believer as is mentioned in the following verse:

“...and likewise are the virtuous Muslim women and the virtuous women from the people who received the Book(s) before you when you give them their bridal money - marrying them, not committing adultery nor as mistresses; and whoever turns a disbeliever after being a Muslim, all his deeds are wasted and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.” (Surah Maidah Verse 5)

In relation to the above verse, Zia-ul-Ummah Hazrat Allama Peer Karam Shah Azhari writes, ‘According to some Scholars it is only allowed to marry those women of the book who are citizens of a Muslim country. It is not permissible to marry women of the book who are citizens of ‘Darul Harb’ (non-Islamic state). 

According to Scholars of Hanafi Jurisprudence, it is not unlawful (Haram) but is certainly disliked (Makrooh). However, some Scholars have given permission to marry all women of the book regardless of which country they are citizens of. It should be noted that where the Qur’an here states it is lawful, this does not mean that merely being a Jew or Christian makes them lawful (for marriage). Rather, if marriage to them will cause more evil or corruption then this lawfulness is now negated.’ (Tafseer Zia-ul-Qur’an Vol 1 Page 443)

Huzoor Sadrush Shariah, Allama Mufti Amjad Ali writes, ‘It is possible that a Muslim man can marry Christian or Jewish women but it should not be done as this opens the doors to many evils. (A’alamgiri etc) This permissibility (of marrying them) is only if they are firm on their Christian or Jewish faith. If they are merely ‘Jewish’ or ‘Christian’ by name and in reality are atheist as is very common nowadays then it is not
permissible to marry them nor is their slaughtered meat lawful which nowadays is not slaughtered correctly either. (Bahar-e-Shariat Vol 7 Page 17)

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