Narrated Nafi: Whenever Ibn `Umar was asked about marrying a Christian lady or a Jewess, he would say: "Allah has made it unlawful for the believers to marry ladies who ascribe partners in worship to Allah, and I do not know of a greater thing, as regards to ascribing partners in worship, etc. to Allah, than that a lady should say that Jesus is her Lord although he is just one of Allah's slaves."

Ibn Umar clearly believed it was prohibited to marry Christian woman due to her shirk.

Before you say the Quran clearly it says it’s allowed to marry Christians so it doesn’t matter it doesn’t.

The Quran uses the term People of the Book loosely.

“And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture1 from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party [i.e., their men] you killed, and you took captive a party [i.e., the women and children].”- Quran 33:26

In this verse of the Quran Allah uses the term people of the book just for the Jews of Banu Qurayza.

So Quran 5:5 can just be talking about Jews and Sabians excluding the Christians.

Why don’t scholars adopt this view?

  • Because it never was mainstream
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 30 at 6:54
  • What’s the reason? would it be halal to eat food slaughtered in the name of Jesus?
    – IbnAqil
    Commented Apr 30 at 6:57
  • The reason is that ibn 'Umar was unique in holding this position.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 30 at 7:16
  • I believe Umar held a simliar view and you have nonsense narratives that the Prophet married a Christian
    – IbnAqil
    Commented Apr 30 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


Your question is mostly rhetorical. The obvious answer is that the mainstream thinks that the evidence for allowing it is stronger and more convincing and that there is a valid rebuttal to the argument of Ibn Umar. They adopted the view of the majority of the sahaba and tabieen, and did not accept Ibn Umar's view as it was anomalous. See Is it haram to marry a Christian woman?

Further, some of them have argued that Ibn Umar did not explicitly say that it was forbidden. Ibn Umar only presents his own thought process that Allah has forbidden marriage to a Mushrikah and that a Christian woman is a Mushrikah. It could be that he preferred to abstain from giving a verdict or that he considered such a marriage to be makruh rather than haram. If he considered it makruh then many of the other scholars also consider it makruh, see Are inter-religious marriages encouraged in islam?

Jews vs Christians

As far as I know Ibn Umar did not differentiate between the Jews and Christians in this regard. Ibn Umar was asked about the Jews as well :

سئل عن نكاح النصرانية، واليهودية

Ibn `Umar was asked about marrying a Christian lady or a Jewess

His response to both was:

إن الله حرم المشركات

Allah has made it unlawful for the believers to marry ladies who are polytheists

He did not explicitly mention an allowance for the Jews and this implies that he considered their ruling to be similar to the Christians.

Jews are Mushrik as well since every non-Muslim is a Mushrik. That is because they disbelieve in the acts of Allah (His revelation of the Gospel and Quran, His sending of Jesus عليه السلام and Muhammad ﷺ as Messengers, His manifesting of signs and miracles to support them) and they ascribe these acts to other than Allah. This is a type of shirk and hence they are Mushrik.

They do what is analogous to the shirk that is meant in the following texts:

ولا تأكلوا مما لم يذكر اسم الله عليه وإنه لفسق وإن الشياطين ليوحون إلى أوليائهم ليجادلوكم وإن أطعتموهم إنكم لمشركون

And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience. And indeed do the devils inspire their allies [among men] to dispute with you. And if you were to obey them, indeed, you would be associators [of others with Him].

Quran 6:121

بين الرجل وبين الشرك والكفر ترك الصلاة

Between a man and Shirk and Kufr there stands his giving up the Salat


Further the Jews have been called Mushrik in the following texts:

وقالوا كونوا هودا أو نصارى تهتدوا قل بل ملة إبراهيم حنيفا وما كان من المشركين

They say, "Be Jews or Christians [so] you will be guided." Say, "Rather, [we follow] the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists."

Quran 2:135

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم قريظة لحسان بن ثابت: اهج المشركين، فإن جبريل معك

On the day of Quraiza's (siege), Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to Hassan bin Thabit, "Satirize the polytheists (with your poems), and Jibril is with you."


عن ابن عمر أنه كان لا يرى مشركة محصنة، يعني: اليهوديات والنصرانيات

Ibn Umar said that he did not consider a Mushrikah to be Muhsan (chaste), meaning the Christian and Jewish women

Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim

Ibn Umar's stance on 5:5

It could be that he considered such a marriage to be permissile but makruh. Or it could be that he considered the verse 5:5 to have been abrogated. Or it could be that he thought that it was more cautious to act on the prohibition of 2:221. Or it could be that he considered the verse 5:5 to be specific to those people of the book who had accepted Islam, similar to its usage in 3:199.

  • He clearly said it’s prohibited to marry a Christian woman because she says her lord is Jesus while the Jews don’t say that. And there is no narration where he says the same about Jews since they didn’t believe a man was God.
    – IbnAqil
    Commented Apr 30 at 6:30

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