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Laetitia Symonds wrote:

Hello, Father —

I'm a Catholic and I have been in love with a Muslim boy for six years. I can't live without him.
He loves me very much as well and we want to get married.

  • Is it OK for a Catholic woman to marry a Muslim man?
  • Can I marry in another religion like the Hindu faith?

Please reply as soon as possible.

Laetitia

  { Can I Catholic girl marry someone who is not Catholic, like a Muslim? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Laetitia —

We are laymen, by the way, not priests, but we'll be happy to answer your question.

It is possible for a Catholic to marry a non-Christian, if your husband agrees to allow you to raise the children Catholic, and with the permission of the bishop (It's called an indult of disparity of cult.) In the U.S., this is routinely granted; I don't know the situation in India.

However this is not particularly advisable. A lot of conflict can arise over religion, particularly when a woman marries a Muslim husband, who will want to wield a measure of authority over her that may conflict with her faith. Islam does not treat wives well in marriages. Even if your husband does treat you well, and even if he agrees to allow you to raise the children Catholic,
the children are going to be conflicted, because they won't see their father living out the Catholic faith. This will have a powerfully negative effect on your children's faith, especially boys.
In addition, you won't be able to share what should be the most important thing in your life:
Your faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Husband and wife are supposed to give everything to one another and relate on the most intimate levels, but can you do that when your religions are as radically different as yours are?

If you must do this, be sure you talk about all the religious stuff ahead of time.

  • Will he come to Mass with you and the children?
  • Will he allow you to raise the children Catholic?
  • Will he support Christian days of fast and abstinence?
  • And, conversely, will he expect you to support Muslim fast days?
  • Will he allow Christian religious items like crucifixes in the home?
  • Will you keep halal (no pork etc.) in the home?

Remember half your family and likely much of your community will be a Muslim influence on your children. Above all, I'd strongly, strongly caution you to stay away, if he is a devout Koran-reading, halal-keeping, practicing Muslim, or if he tries to pressure you into converting to Islam. If you must do this, your best bet is with a cultural or nominal Muslim who doesn't take his faith too seriously.

You should be aware that the Koran forbids taking non-believers as friends:

(3:28: “Let believers [Muslims] not take infidels [non-Muslims] for friends and allies instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with God—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.”)

So he may well have designs to convert you to Islam.

As you talk with him, you must also know that Islam gives Muslims permission to lie. It's called
Al-taqiyya. According to Imam Muslim, "Kitab al-Birr wa's-Salat, Bab Tahrim al-Kidhb wa Bayan
al-Mubih Minhu," Sahih Muslim, rev. ed., Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, trans. (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2000), — Mohammad permitted Muslims to lie: to reconcile two or more quarreling parties,
to placate one's wife, and in war.

Here is an interesting story. A poet, Ka'b ibn Ashraf, offended Muhammad, prompting the latter to exclaim, “Who will kill this man who has hurt God and his prophet?” A young Muslim named Muhammad ibn Maslama volunteered on condition that in order to get close enough to Ka'b to assassinate him, he be allowed to lie to the poet. Muhammad agreed. Ibn Maslama traveled to Ka'b and began to denigrate Islam and Muhammad. He carried on in this way till his disaffection became so convincing that Ka'b took him into his confidence. Soon thereafter, Ibn Maslama appeared with another Muslim and, while Ka'b's guard was down, killed him.

(Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 367-8.)

Muslims are even permitted to disavow Islam and Mohammed if it is not a genuine heart-felt rejection. Muslims will tell you that concealment of a truth is not an abandonment of that truth if it benefits Islam. See:

  • Al Taqiyya, Islamic Art of Deception
    [January 7, 2014: Interestingly, the web address Eric gave for the above site has been taken down.]
  • Al-Taqiyya/Dissimulation

Be sure you understand Islam before you do this. I recommend the book:

I know Robert and he is very well informed.

Eric

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