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Qur’an 2:221 - Is it allowed to marry a polytheist or not?

There are different answers to the question in the Qur’an:

It is not allowed to marry a polytheist – Qur’an 2:221

“And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe.” (Qur’an 2:221) The words in the English translations of the Qur’an as idolatresses and idolaters are from the Arabic word “mushrik”, which is related to “shirk”. Therefore Umar said: I do not know of a more terrible shirk than that a woman say, ‘My Lord is Jesus, when he is one of the slaves of Allah.” [1].

It is allowed to marry a polytheist – Qur’an 5:5, 9:30

“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.” (Qur’an 5:5) Qur’an 9:30 says the Jews and the Christians are polytheistic people (idolaters), but Allah allows Muslim men to marry their women without converting to Islam. This is not consistent with Qur’an 2:221, where Christian women are idolaters.


We conclude that there is a contradiction to marry a polytheist or not.


  1. Imam Bukhari (translator: Ustadha Aisha Bewley), The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 71. Book of Divorce.


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