Q1. I'm French so pardon my question if is it is already addressed at your site. I read your fatwa about interfaith marriage and need some additional clarification. I learnt that Muslim women have the right to not take care of their children. I mean, if she doesn't want to educate them, she's free to not do so, and her husband must do everything for them as kids depend on their father. What is your view on this?

A1. It is true that kids (especially boys) spent more time with their fathers centuries ago as the father was the parent who passed on whatever skills he had to his son(s), there were no educational institutions, etc. as we know them today. We are unaware of any culture or religion that absolves a mother from taking care of her children, and if the mother is exempt, why shouldn't the father be? Doesn't Islam promote equality of the sexes? And if the father is the breadwinner in the home and expected to provide for his wife and children, is he supposed to take his children to work with him if he cannot afford daycare? We live in a different era where the mother is the more influential parent in children's lives. There is nothing in the Qur'an that forbids Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men. Muslims have jumped to the conclusion that because the Qur'an states Muslim men are permitted to marry non-Muslim women, then Muslim women are therefore not permitted to marry non-Muslim men. We cannot speculate and introduce legislation that we claim comes from God in the absence of such rulings.

Q2. The imam Dr. Al Ajami wrote a fatwa that says exactly the same thing as yours. I have the fatwa but it is written in French (sorry but I don't have the English translation). The link is http://oumma.com/Mariage-mixte-que-dit-vraiment-le. Do you think his explanation is right; especially the one he gave to S5.V5 at the above link? How can we explain "the silence" about the Muslim woman's wedding in S5.V5?

A2. We are in agreement because the message from Dr. Al Ajami's fatwa underlines that which is agreed upon by jurists: the Qur'an must specify exactly what is forbidden. The verse in question talks about something that is allowed without saying what is forbidden. Our view on this matter is that the Muslims had to raise a question about the matter, since with the backdrop of the law of the "People of the Book" being a paradigm, the question of Solomon's marriages to women outside of his umma was an issue of importance. As you may know, he married women who were from outside of the tribe of Israel and they supposedly introduced polytheism and idol worship as that was their practice. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Posted August 28, 2011