Statements made by Al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb in 2016 refute the controversial statements made this week by Azhar University Professor of Islamic Thought and Philosophy Amena Nosair on the marriage of Muslim women to non-Muslim men.
Nosair had sparked a fierce debate among social media users after stating in an interview that nothing in Islam prevents a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim man.
Responding to questions from members of Germany’s Parliament in March of 2016, Ahmed al-Tayyeb said that Islam forbids a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim, because affection is missing in this marriage.
Tayyeb clarified that a non-Muslim does not believe in the Prophet Muhammad, and his religion does not command him to enable his Muslim wife – if he marries her – to perform the rituals of Islam, or respect her sacred things, because Islam came after Christianity.
He concluded that the husband, in this case, hurts his wife morally by not respecting her religion, her prophet, and her sacred things.
“Marriage in Islam is not a civil contract as it is with you [Germans], but rather a religious bond based on affection between its two ends,” Tayyeb said.
However, he went on, a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, because Islam orders a Muslim man to allow his non-Muslim wife to practice her religion freely, therefore ensuring affection and respect in the marriage.
Nosair argued that Christians and Jews are people of the book, meaning they believe in the same god and are not idolatrous worshipers, but practice a different religion.
“In such a case, he [the husband] does the same as a Muslim man when he marries a Christian or a Jew, he does not force her [the wife] to change her religion, does not prevent her from her mosque, does not deprive her of her Quran and does not prevent her from performing her prayers,” she said.
When asked what religion would the children of such a marriage follow, Nosair responded that the children follow the father.
She went on to say that this is the reason such marriages are not permitted, as they decrease the number of Muslims in the world.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm