Q: As known to everyone, we, inhabitants of non-Muslim countries, encounter difficult circumstances including temptations, semi-nude clothing and the like. As people committed to their religion,
is it permissible for us to marry Christian women?
What are the conditions?
It is permissible for a Muslim to marry a Jewish or Christian woman if she is chaste and free (i.e. not a slave). The basic principle in this regard is permissibility based on the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) that reads: (Part No. 18; Page No. 327)
Made lawful to you this day are At-Tayyibât [all kinds of Halâl (lawful) foods, which Allâh has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you
...and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girl-friends.
The general purport of the Ayah indicates that it is permissible for a Muslim to marry a woman of the People of the Book provided that she is chaste and free. It is well-known to all Muslims that meeting such a prerequisite nowadays is hardly attainable. Therefore, a Muslim has to be on his guard against overlooking such a condition as it leads to contingent corruption regarding both marital bond and children. Moreover, non-fulfillment of such a condition renders the marriage contract null and void. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.