Muslim married to a Hindu Woman
Adil Salahi, January 18, 2008

Q. A friend of mine is married to a Hindu woman who has given him three children. The children have Muslim names, but his wife remains a Hindu. Now he realizes that this should not continue. Can he force his wife to convert to Islam if she refuses to do so voluntarily?

S.J. Hussain

A. Your friend certainly cannot, and must not, try to force his wife to accept Islam. Faith is the result of conviction, not coercion. God says in the Qur’an: “No compulsion is admissible in matters of religion.” (2: 256) Besides, if he forces his wife, and she feels that she must do what he asks her to do, what will the result be? She simply will say the declaration that Muslims say, but it will be a mere verbal formality, with no conviction. Will she be a Muslim as a result? Certainly not. It is all a question of conviction. You say that his children have Muslim names. So what? Are they brought up as Muslims? One or two Christians in Arab countries have called their sons Muhammad. Does this mean that the father or the son is a Muslim? Certainly not, unless either or both make a conscious decision to be a Muslim and acts on such a decision.

Your friend should have looked into this question long time ago, before he got married. You have not told me whether he realizes the full implication of his negligence. Well, his marriage may be approved by the civil law in his country, but it is not recognized as valid from the Islamic point of view.

What he should do now is to explain to his wife how their marriage is viewed in Islam and tell her all the implication. He should suggest to her that she should study the main principles of Islam and its basic requirements to determine whether she wishes to be a Muslim. If she decides against this, he must not force her.

He should terminate his marriage. They can agree on how they look after their children. But the children must be brought up as Muslims.

Source: Arab News, September 7, 2007

Also read the below ruling where the Prophetic traditions allowed the non-Muslim spouses without breaking the marriage for few years until they embraced Islam.

Is It Necessary to Remarry After Embracing Islam?

Q. My wife and I were married under the civil law of our country, where Muslims are only a minority. At the time, my wife had not yet embraced Islam. Now she is a Muslim, thank God. Do we have to remarry under Islamic law?

N. Militon

A. No you do not have to remarry. Your marriage is valid under Islamic law. During the Prophet’s lifetime, there were many cases of husbands and wives embracing Islam at different times. Sometimes the woman accepted Islam before her husband and sometimes it was the husband who was the first to become a Muslim. The Prophet approved all their marriages. He did not ask any couple to revalidate their marriage under Islamic law. In the case of the Prophet’s own daughter, Zaynab, she embraced Islam many years before her husband. She became a Muslim in the early days of Islam, while he only became a Muslim in year 6 after the Hijrah, i.e. 19 years after the start of the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). For four years before that, she lived with her father, the Prophet, in Madinah while her husband, Abu Al-Aas, lived in Makkah. Yet when he embraced Islam, they rejoined in marriage, without going through a new marriage contract.

Source: Arab News, January 18, 2008