A Christian woman is asking whether her marriage to a Muslim is valid

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
As-Salaamu-Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I am a Christian woman, recently married to a Muslim man.  Due to our different beliefs, we were married in a courthouse, as opposed to a Mosque.  Does the Muslim belief still see this as a "real" marriage?  I have researched this, and was surprised to read that the Islam belief does not honor this as a real wedding?  Please confirm...I am very much in love with this man!
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Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: if the marriage contract was done with:

1.the proposal of your guardian – who may be your father or whoever is acting in his place if he is not there, on the condition that he is of the same religion as you – by his saying, for example, “I offer my daughter in marriage to you.”

2.Acceptance on the part of the husband by saying, for example, “I accept.”

3.The contract was done in the presence of two Muslim witnesses

 – then the marriage is valid. (For more details on the conditions of marriage, see question no. 2127 and the section on conditions of marriage on this web site). If any of these conditions is missing, then the marriage is not valid, and you have to do it again. The place where the marriage contract is done does not have any effect on the validity of the marriage. 

Secondly: this question caught our attention because of your keen interest in finding out the rules of the Islamic religion concerning this matter. Perhaps this will lead you to enquire about greater realities, the most important of which is, which is the true religion? 

Permit us to ask you the following questions: 

Do you want a happy life? Do you care about finding contentment? Are you looking for the truth? Do you want a good and righteous life for your children? 

If you do, then please – may Allaah guide you and us to the truth – consider the following: 

That Allaah has created mankind for a great purpose, which is to worship Allaah alone with no partner or associate. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).

I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures).

Verily, Allaah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong”

[al-Dhaariyaat 51:56-58] 

Allaah sent the Messengers to call mankind to this purpose. He said (interpretation of the meaning):

 “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allaah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taaghoot (all false deities, i.e. do not worship Taaghoot besides Allaah).” Then of them were some whom Allaah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth)”

[al-Nahl 16:36]

 Then Allaah sent the final Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He was the last of the Prophets and Messengers. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allaah and the last (end) of the Prophets. And Allaah is Ever All-Aware of everything”

[al-Ahzaab 33:40] 

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allaah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Tawraat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers, that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allaah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise)”

[al-Fath 48:29] 

One of the reasons why He sent the Messengers was so as to establish proof against mankind, lest they say, “No Messenger came to us and no one told us that Allaah commanded us to worship Him.” Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, We have sent the Revelation to you (O Muhammad) as We sent the Revelation to Nooh (Noah) and the Prophets after him; We (also) sent the Revelation to Ibraaheem (Abraham), Ismaa‘eel (Ishmael), Ishaaq (Isaac), Ya‘qoob (Jacob), and Al-Asbaat [the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya‘qaab (Jacob)], ‘Eesa (Jesus), Ayyoob (Job), Yoonus (Jonah), Haaroon (Aaron), and Sulaymaan (Solomon); and to Daawood (David) We gave the Zaboor (Psalms).

And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you, — and to Moosa (Moses) Allaah spoke directly.

Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the (coming of) Messengers. And Allaah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise

[al-Nisaa’ 4:163-165] 

We call you, and everyone who does not follow the religion of Islam, to hasten to obey the command of Allaah by believing in Him alone, with no partner or associate, and to believe in His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whom Allaah sent to all of creation, men and jinn alike. Allaah has commanded them to do this, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger (Muhammad) with the truth from your Lord. So believe in him, it is better for you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allaah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And Allaah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allaah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Eesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allaah and His Word, (“Be!” — and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rooh) created by Him; so believe in Allaah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allaah is (the only) One Ilaah (God), glory is to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allaah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs”

[al-Nisaa’ 4:170-171] 

Allaah has told us in His Noble Book (the Qur’aan) that He does not accept any religion other than Islam. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:85] 

“Allaah bears witness that Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He always) maintains His creation in justice. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

Truly, the religion with Allaah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allaah, then surely, Allaah is Swift in calling to account

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:18-19]

 Do not forget that if you become Muslim, it will be better for your children, so that they will not be confused or suffer from mental anguish, and say, “Our father is a Muslim and our mother is a Christian, so who should we follow?” 

Perhaps thinking through these matters more deeply will lead to a good result, by Allaah’s leave. Strive to read a sound translation of the Qur’aan, which is considered to be the miracle of the Prophet of Islam, then read the biography of the Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and how Allaah granted success to him and his Companions, and how Allaah supported him with miracles, such as making water flow from between his fingers and the splitting the moon, when the mushrikoon (polytheists) asked for a sign – so he commanded the moon to split, and it split in two – and other events which are recorded in his Seerah (biography). And he also spoke of unseen matters which could not be known except by means of Revelation, such as when he said that the empires of the Persians and Romans (Byzantines) would be conquered before it happened, and other matters which are indicative of his Prophethood. We ask Allaah to guide us all.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

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