Intermarriage between Muslim and Hindu

There is a question on the minds of many people in India and abroad, rather,

Marriage is an old religious and social contract that began basically when human being originated and its ruling differs from one religion to another.

in every society in which Hindus and Muslims live together, and an emotional relationship begins between a young Muslim and a Hindu young woman or between a young Hindu boy and a Muslim girl.

The question is: does Islam allow a Muslim to marry a Hindu?

According to Islamic jurisprudence, marriage between a Muslim man and a Christian or Jewish woman is permissible, if there is no fear or danger because of this marriage on the religion of the husband or children. However, it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, whether the man is Jew, Christian, polytheist, idolater, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist or Magi.  This ruling is based on the clear texts of Qur’an and verified by the consensus of the Muslim scholars.

Question: Can a Muslim boy marry a Christian or Jewish girl though she did not convert to Islam and prefer to remain on her own religion?

The answer: Yes, it is allowed in Islam if she is chaste.

Question: Can a Muslim girl marry a Christian or Jewish boy though he did not convert to Islam and remains on his religion?

The answer: No, it is not allowed.

The question:  Can a Muslim boy marry a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or polytheist girl though she did not convert to Islam and prefer to remain on her religion?

The answer: No, it is not allowed.

Question: Can a Muslim girl marry a Christian or Jewish boy though he did not convert to Islam and remains on his religion?

The answer: No, it is not allowed.

Question: Can a Muslim girl or boy marry a Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or any polytheist or non-Muslim if he or she embraces Islam?

The answer: Yes, it is allowed in Islam.

Basically, the ruling is based on some verses of the Glorious Quran.

One of the verses is:

“This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith – his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.” (Al-Maidah5:5).

In these verses, Allah the Almighty clearly allows: 1- usage of favors that He has given to his slaves, 2 – and the Verse allows eating from the lawful animal slaughtered by the people of the Book or the Christians and Jews. 3 – Marriage with Muslim chaste women and chaste woman of the people of the book.

“And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.” (Al-Baqarah2:221)

In this verse, God forbade the marriage of the polytheist if the partners are different in faith; Muslim man and woman, as well as between Muslim woman and polytheist man.

This is the ruling on marriage in Islam between expected spouses who differ from each other in faith and religion. Islam is the right and the truth supported with clear proofs of evidences, so, Islam wants people to learn about its principles and message and hoping from them to accept it. But people aren’t forced to accept it.

In coming lines we will present some rules and principles on marriage in Hinduism.

Al Beruni on Hindu Marriage

Al Beruni says about marriage in Hinduism:

The Hindus marry at a very young age; therefore, the parents arrange the marriage for their sons. No gift is settled between them. The man gives only a present to the wife, as he thinks fit, and a marriage gift in advance, which he has no right to claim back, but the wife may give it back to him of her own will. Husband and wife can only be separated by death, as they have no divorce. According to their marriage law it is better to marry a stranger than a relative. The more distant the relationship of a woman with regard to her husband, the better. It is absolutely forbidden to marry related women, both of the direct descending line, viz. a granddaughter or great-granddaughter, and of the direct descending line, viz. a mother, grandmother, or great grandmother. It is also forbidden to marry collateral relations, viz. a sister, a niece, a maternal or paternal aunt and their daughters, except in case the couple of relations who want to marry each other be removed from each other by five consecutive generations. In that case the prohibition is waived, but, notwithstanding, such a marriage is an object of dislike to them. (1)

Purposes of Marriage in Hinduism

One of the purposes of marriage in Hinduism is the offspring and the performance of religious rites and religious duties in a correct and proper manner. Only after the marriage wife enters the caste of her husband and marriage can never be abolished by divorce in Hinduism. In addition, the marriage is a religious obligation not merely a social contract as was mentioned in the Hindu Shastar. In Hinduism there are ten religious duties to purify a person from the impurities of the pregnancy that every person undergoes before his birth, and one of those rituals is marriage. (2)

According to Shastra’s provisions, there is no specific age for marriage, and marriage may be held for adolescents and children. In this case, the parents or guardians will perform the rituals of the marriage. (3)

Marriage and Goatr in Hinduism

According to Shastra, it is forbidden to marry his own (Goatr) tribe’s daughter, but this prohibition is limited to the three high castes, not to the Shudra.

Goatr word is a combination of two separate words; Gao that is cow and tra that is boundary or area where the cows are assembled, thus the Goatr means the same tribe or family origin.

According to Shastra there are 24 or 42 Goatr in India and the children of one of the ancestor Rishis are Sogoatr or the same family origin or tribe and this is for Brahman caste only. However, Chatri and vish will follow the priest of their own domestic rites while Shudra do not have any Goatr (गोत्रीय). Marriage cannot be held in the same tribe or Goatr even if a marriage was contracted within the same tribe or Goatr the marriage is regarded as null or void.(4)

What is Spend (सपिंड) in Hinduism?

Spend (सपिंड) means one body in Hindi and refers to individuals who share one ancestor or belong to one forefather in the same family or tribe. If the word Spend (सपिंड) is used unconditionally, all human beings will be a single family and entire humanity will be Spend to each other, therefore, spend is limited to seven family ancestors from the father’s side and five ancestors from the mother’s side. And beyond that there is no spend ruling. So, the maternal and paternal uncles and aunties are among the spend of a person.

Age of Marriage in Hinduism

Literal meaning of Wivah in Hindi is sexual intercourse between male and female or the man’s intercourse with women within the permissible framework.  A man aged 25 is equal to a girl of 16 years in physical strength and therefore it is not appropriate to hold a marriage before puberty and it is permissible after puberty. (5)

A girl before the age of 16 is not adult and from 16 to 30 years old is regarded as young and from 30 to 55 is middle age and after 55 is old.

In marriage, the declaration of the boy and the girl is the final word, and this could not be regarded before puberty. According to Shastr, word of “girl” is not considered as final in marriage.

Ruling in Hinduism on Marriage with Followers of other Religions

Generally, we find in Hinduism reference of caste in the context of marriage and marriage orbits around the caste system which the base of permissibility and prohibition. Therefore, the Hinduism is  silent from ruling on marriage with followers of other religions. I think that Hinduism is like Judaism where religion and race are inseparable, and go in line with each other never separated from each other. A non-Jew by birth is non-Jew by faith and religion forever.  If a non-Jew wants to embrace Judaism it is not welcomed. Similarly, a Brahmin by birth is Brahmin by faith and religion. A non-Brahmin cannot be a Brahmin and it is not his choice. A Brahmin is not allowed to marry outside his caste. However, Islam is a message for the entire humanity and everyone is welcomed in its fold. And Islam is clear in ruling on marriage with the followers of other religions.

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(1)  ALBERNI’S INDIA, LONDON KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO. L™ DKYDEN HOUSE, GERRAKD STREET, W.1910, P. 163-164.

(2) Dharm Shastr, by Basweshwar Nath, 1914, Urdu, p. 25.

(3)Ibid.

(4) Dharm Shastr, by Baijnath, Yousuf Electronic Press, Hyderabad 1916, p.23-24.

(5) The Tahquiq ul Haqq, by Thakur Mukand Singh, Press Lala Sukhan Lal, Aligarh 1890, P. 135

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