A fatwa issued in August 2007 by the secretary-general of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), Dr. Sheikh Salah Al-Sawy, states that marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is forbidden and invalid, and that children born of such a union are illegitimate.
"Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim [man] is forbidden and invalid – that is a consensus among Muslims. A [Muslim] woman who has taken the liberty [of marrying a non-Muslim man] has removed herself from the fold of the Muslim community – and one who has done so knowing that it is wrong, has done something strictly forbidden, and has committed an open [act of] abomination that may hurl her into the abyss of heresy and apostasy.
"Some clerics hold that [a Muslim woman who marries a non-Muslim man] is considered a heretic from the very beginning [i.e. from the moment she marries], since the bond of marriage allows her to have sexual relations and intercourse [with her husband], and to take pleasure [in this], and it is inconceivable that she should commit the crime [of having intercourse] without the sanction [of a valid marriage].
"The wisdom of the religious ban [against the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man lies in] its preventing [the woman] from being tempted away from her faith. The Koran justifies this ban by saying that these marriages 'beckon [the believer] to the Fire [of Hell; Koran 2:221].' In other words, they lead to sins that doom [the sinner] to Hell... since [the woman] may be tempted to renounce [Islam], to doubt [the truth of] Islam, and to disparage its religious rituals.
"Woman is weak by nature, and the guardianship of a [non-Muslim] man affects her powers of reasoning. [Marriage to a non-Muslim] may thus cause a woman to follow the ways [of her husband], or at least to abandon her [own] religion and neglect its rituals. [By so doing,] she is neither a Muslim nor one of the People of the Book [i.e. a Christian or Jew like her husband]...
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"The same applies to the children who are the product of these marriages, for they are raised by a polytheist father who may urge them to renounce or disparage [Islam], thereby [causing them] to lose both this world and the world to come.
"A person must have some buffer between him and [deeds] that will bring him to perdition. A person about to commit suicide may expect society to intervene in order to safeguard his right to live. This is why shari'a prohibits marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man – because it is the first step towards religious suicide, whether [it is the woman's] suicide or that of the children she will bear. This [form of] suicide is much worse than actual suicide, which also [involves] the murder of [unborn children]. The woman can expect Muslim society to stand between her and this fate, thereby safeguarding her faith and her salvation in the world to come.
"[The Koran says]: 'Do not marry unbelieving women, until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do [but] beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden [of bliss] and forgiveness [Koran 2:221].'
"The excuse that one is unable to find a [Muslim] partner for marriage is completely invalid, both from a religious and from a practical point of view... for one who is unable to find a spouse must remain chaste until Allah delivers him [from his plight], for Allah has said: 'Let those who cannot find a match keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace [Koran 24:33].'
"Allah has commanded those who cannot find a match to be patient and chaste until He provides them with what they lack. [Even if they cannot find a match], they are not permitted to go to whores or to commit incest. In addition, Allah has forbidden a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man. The Prophet [Muhammad] said: '...Those of you who can marry should do so, for marriage causes one to lower his eyes [i.e. to be chaste] and it is the best protection [against promiscuity]. Those who cannot [marry] should fast, for fasting is like castration.' The Prophet recommended fasting for those who are unable to marry for economic reasons, and for those who cannot find a religiously suitable partner.
"[Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man] is invalid and despicable, for we know, and anyone who has contact with the Muslim communities in the West knows, that the number of [Muslim] men seeking marriage is growing. When Muslim women behave in a righteous manner and frequent the mosque, they will receive plenty of marriage proposals and have plenty of [suitable partners] from whom to choose...
"The numerous Muslim centers in the West are still providing [matchmaking] services, supplying information to those who wish to marry so that they know of suitable [candidates]. We must redouble our efforts in this area in order to help men and women who wish to remain chaste, and to remove the excuse which is used by those of weak faith and feeble hearts [namely, that they are unable to find a suitable match].
"The excuse that [the man and woman] share an emotional bond, which comes to justify that which is forbidden, is one of the most despicable excuses..."