I'm an Italian brother. I have an important question to pose. I promised to marry a young Christian woman, who was divorcing from her husband. We love, and we were supposing to get married relatively in a short time: but Italian legislation is very complicated. The judge pronounces the sentence of separation in three-four months from the request. This sentence suspends the legal and civil effects of the marriage, and the mutual duties between spouses: but it takes three full years to get the divorce. That is very unjust, since getting a divorce in other European countries is a matter of few months only. Since in certain Fataawa civil right is compared to Sharee'ah principles, and the sentence of separation already stops the effects of marriage, I ask whether is possible to make an Islamic wedding on the basis of the first sentence, without the need of waiting three long years, that can only be painful and create tension between us. Thanks for your answer; it's very important for us.
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
First of all, you should know that it is not permissible for a Muslim man to establish a relationship with a marriageable woman. If this woman is married, then this is even more prohibited and condemned. It is also not permissible for a Muslim man to marry a married woman until her husband divorces her or dies and her waiting period expires. If this existing relationship between you and her caused the divorce, then this is spoiling the relationship between her and her husband and this is forbidden. The Prophet said: "He is not one of us he who spoils the relationship between a woman and her husband." [Abu Daawood]
Some scholars are even of the view that if such a man [who spoils and breaks the relationship between a woman and her husband] marries her, the marriage is invalid.
Therefore, if this woman is not divorced by her husband, it is not permissible for you to marry her. However, if her husband divorces her, it would be permissible for you to marry her after her waiting period expires provided she is chaste even if the court divorce procedures are not yet over.
It should be noted, nonetheless, that even though marrying a woman from the People of the Book is permissible, it has many disadvantages. Hence, we do not see that a Muslim should marry such a woman.
If there are other embarrassments and harms that could be caused by the authorities in your country because of marrying before the court divorce procedures are concluded, then it is even more appropriate for you not to marry her for the sake of your religion and your dignity. We advise you to endeavour to marry a pious and righteous Muslim woman who would help you in your marital life and bring up your children according to Islamic morals and principles.
Allah knows best.
Mofti: Fatwa Team Supervised by Dr. Abdulla Al-Faqeeh