Marriage in Islam is a sacred and divine act and will be invalid if the required conditions and rules are not followed. Muslims should be cautious and informed when entering into a marriage. The following are from amongst the broad guidelines to the rules of marriage in Islam:
1. The marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man, irrespective of which faith the man belongs to, is totally prohibited and invalid in terms of Shariah.
2. The Noble Quran has permitted a Muslim male to marry women of the Ahl-e-Kitaab (people of the book, i.e. the Jews and Christians) with certain important conditions:
a. The woman must be true in her faith and practically following the religion she subscribes to. Women who merely claim to be Jew or Christian by name, and do not have any true belief in religion, cannot be termed as Ahl-e-Kitaab. Such people are in fact atheists and accordingly marriage to them is not permissible.
b. Marriage to a Christian or Jewish female must not mitigate the well being and religious affiliation of the husband and the offspring. The children must not be influenced by the mother in terms of faith.
c. In the early days of Islam, every Muslim was equipped with sound knowledge of his religion and had an unshakeable commitment to Islam. Hence, there was little or no apprehension of being influenced and misled. Rather, the husband would convince and influence his wife in religious matters.
Notwithstanding the permission granted by the Shariah, in the era of the Sahaabah (R.A.), people were discouraged from marrying a Christian or Jewish woman for the above reasons, despite the Muslims being in authority. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 158:2/4) (Contemporary Fataawa - Mufti Taqi Usmani Sb).
In our times there is a much greater danger that a non-Muslim wife would influence her husband and his children, Hence, such a marriage has been considered reprehensible (Makruh and sinful) by the jurists .
Muslims are urged to be extremely cautious in this regard and avoid entering into relationships that are forbidden in Islam, as these bring about the wrath and curse of Allah (SWT).