Muslim man married woman without religion
Fatwa No: 337576

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2017 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 5, 1438
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I married a Muslim in the Middle East in 2014 in a Sharia court. I had no translator and was very naive, and I was unaware at that time of the rules for Islamic marriages to be valid, i.e. that a Muslim man is only permitted to marry a Christian, Jewish or Muslim woman. (This is correct, I believe?) I am not and have never been Christian, Muslim or Jewish, and I was not even christened. I now wonder if he or the lawyer lied to the Shaykh and said that I was a Christian even though I am not, because he knew from the day we met I am not religious in any way. After we finally got his visa and he moved to the UK to be with me, he became more and more abusive, would often shout, and became violent towards me more than once. (He was arrested for biting my face.) He refused to have sex with me and refused to help with money for rent or look for a job. We would argue a lot, and then one day I came home and he had just left and gone back home without even telling me. Since then, I have repeatedly asked him to organise a divorce. He has been completely uncooperative, refusing to answer messages, and I do not have a phone number for him. If the marriage was never legally valid in the first place, then surely we do not even need a divorce? I would be so grateful if you could let me know what I should do in order to get the proof I need that I am no longer married. I do not want to spend money on a UK divorce if the marriage was never valid. Will I need to go back to the court in that country myself and try to get the marriage annulled? Many thanks in advance for your help.


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, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is impermissible for the Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman unless she is a chaste Christian or Jew. Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And (lawful in marriage are) chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you.} [Quran 5:5]

If you were not Christian or Jewish when you married this man, then the marriage contract is null and void according to the unanimous agreement of Muslim scholars; you are not his wife and there is no need for a divorce. However, this man may claim that you are his wife in the future; so in order to avoid any legal complications, you can seek the help of local lawyers to find a legal solution.

What you mentioned of this man's abusive conduct, such as his violent treatment of you, is prohibited and totally unacceptable... How could he treat you in such a hideous way while he believes that you are his wife and Islam commands the husband to treat his wife with kindness. Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.} [Quran 4:19]

Our Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Be kind to women.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to embrace Islam, as it is the True Religion and the only way of life that ensures happiness in this worldly life and the Hereafter. There is abundant evidence proving that Islam is the True Religion, some of which we have cited in fatwas 86091 and 88906.

Allah knows best.

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