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Why are Muslim women not allowed to marry non-Muslim men?

The Qur'an permits Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women:

Today all good things are made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste believing women, and chaste women from the people who were given the Scripture before you, provided you give them their dowries, and take them in marriage, not in adultery, nor as mistresses. But whoever rejects faith, his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.

Thus, a Muslim man is required to provide

a) a dowry
b) financially, for all his wife's, family's needs
c) a divorce, upon the request or demand of his wife
d) inheritance rights (in the event of his death, very necessary)
e) but: is not allowed to employ his wife's earnings or wealth, without her express permission.

But, why are Muslim women not given similar permission? The answer lies in the rights provided to women by Islam:

1) the right to choose one's spouse 
2) the right to receive dowry
3) the right to divorce
4) the right to inherit - from parents, siblings, spouses, offspring
5) the right to own property
6) the right not to spend wealth upon family, children.

Inheritance Laws are applicable to both men and women. Though women may receive a lesser share than men in respect of bequests of parents and relatives, this apparent disparity is necessitated by the fact that men have full and complete responsibility for all financial obligations. Women may own property and wealth in their own right - but they are not required by Law to spend it upon the family, although they may contribute financially if they so desire.

A woman forfeits her rights under Islamic law - which are designed to protect her interests and provide for her under all circumstances - when she marries a non-Muslim, and obviously becomes subject to the laws her husband believes in, adheres to or follows. He is not obliged, for instance, to provide a dowry, he is not obliged to take full financial responsibility for her, the family, he is not obliged to divorce her (if he is Catholic, Orthodox Jewish), he is not obliged to provide her with any inheritance rights, an important matter because he could predecease her. And so on.

Muslim women, like their male counterparts, may marry who - or do whatever - they please, as 'There is no compulsion in religion' Q2:256, means force of any kind or description is categorically forbidden.

Allah SwT knows best.


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