Until recently, the idea of a Muslim marrying in a church has been puzzling to me. I’ve wondered if this could be religiously permitted. So, I did some research and interviewed an Imam and a priest.
So can a Muslim get married in a church? Under Islamic law, regardless of the school of thought, a Muslim may not marry in a church. It dictates that a Muslim woman may not get married in any church with a non-Muslim, while Muslim men may not also get married in a church but can marry a non-Muslim but the woman must meet the definition of Kitabia in a mosque.
The main event in all Muslim weddings is the Nikah. It is the actual wedding ceremony that is typically officiated by a Muslim cleric, an Imam to be specific. Although a Nikah can be conducted anywhere including the reception hall or the bride’s home, it is usually conducted in a mosque and not a church.
Therefore, in conformity with the general accepted legal opinion a Muslim cannot conclude a marriage with a Christian woman in a church. Although there’s always freedom that declares a marriage to be possible for a “free” woman. The law on such ‘permission’ can only apply to a Muslim man. Whenever a Muslim woman, in good faith, gets married to a Christian, such a union becomes null and void.
Where the woman has married a Christian fully knowing what she was doing should be punished with forty lashes because such a marriage in Islam is considered a breach of the dhimi treaty, which makes the Christian subject to capital punishment.
From the Christian standpoint a Muslim may marry a Christian woman in a church if the Bishop gives the bride dispensation for marrying a non-Christian husband.
A full Christian marriage service will be conducted depending on how strict the priest is. Dispensation is basically a formality granted through a priest, though the priest will probably ask for the children to be growing up as Christians. But yes, it is possible.
It is important to note that under church law, it prescribes that the Christian partner should be in a position to provide an affirmative answer during the preparatory conversation to the question: “Do you desire to live your marriage a Christian, that you live your faith and witness to it?”
These stipulations by the church law concerning a Muslim marrying in a church comes from the realization of the different ways of understanding marriage.
At the same time, they ensure that they protect the unconditional tenets of the Christian faith and show one way, how, while ensuring that these essential elements of faith are maintained, the marriage can be validly concluded between a Muslim and a Christian. This is why the local priest can opt to lift the existing marriage impediment under the predefined conditions.
The requirements for concluding such an interfaith marriage are distinct when the Muslim is a convert from either a church or a community, or where he or she was baptized in a church. This will require that no application be made to the Ordinary’s office for getting dispensation from the impediment because there exists a difference in religion, but because there exists a difference of confession.
If the person had been baptized in a church before joining Islam, the partner is required to apply for a marriage permit.
Can a Muslim Get Married in a Greek Orthodox Church?
In the Orthodox Church it is not allowed for any Orthodox Christian to marry any individual who has not been baptized, irrespective of whether they are Muslim, or of another faith. There is basically no deviation to this rule, especially in the USA, you may need to discuss your specific circumstance with your local priest, who can give you guidance tailored to your specific situation.
This practice of the church is not considered as a matter of discrimination any more than the practice of Islam, which only allows Muslim men to marry orthodox women thus converting them into Islam.
Therefore if a Muslim has not converted to the way of the church by getting baptized, taking part in chrismation, and the Eucharist- and who as such does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as his or her lord, God and Savior- would demean the Sacrament of Holy matrimony to a ritual or pure eternal form since he or she, by not accepting Jesus Christ will not be in a position to properly seal his or her marriage in Him.
It is important to note that the Orthodox Church cannot force you to marry outside the church. It is the decision of the person who is planning to enter into a marriage that cannot be conducted in church to marry outside the church.
However, you can opt to speak to a Parish priest. You can never know until you try. Speaking to a priest might help open other options. It is essential that you work together without anger, prejudice and without assuming things will never work out.
The Orthodox Church believes that marriage is the mystical union between Christian and the church. Consequently, marriage is blessed, because the union of spouses is similar with the union between the church and Christ.
These images are not only representative but are suggestive of the substantial and real union in marriage. Therefore, through the church and connected with the mystery of the Eucharist marriage is placed beyond natural processes and acquires eschatological and ecclesiological significance.
The Muslim partner must allow the marriage to be performed in the name of the holy trinity, which means that he or she is entering the communion of marriage and have the blessing of the triune God, their house is transformed into a church, and as spouse and any children born to them are blessed.
The blessings of the Orthodox Church makes both couples to be equal to each other in rank, quality and merit. It binds them with the bond of holiness and love and helps them to be part of the married life full of peace, faith and love.
The Orthodox Church, although discouraging mixed marriages, permits them and tolerates them on condition that the children are brought up and baptized in orthodox faith.
A marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a Muslim is prohibited according to the church canons, but it may be blessed according to the Orthodox principle of “economy” in loving concern for the couples, with the express condition that the children born are brought up and baptized in the Orthodox Church.
The principle may vary from one local church to the other. The local autocephalous churches may opt to act in pastoral benevolence towards the orthodox believer in each individual case. The church teaches that any union may not be dissolved in the hope that the believing member will save the Muslim.
However, marriage preparation counseling is always mandatory to ensure that they help support a successful marriage. Marriage preparation counseling is always mandatory to ensure that they help support a successful marriage.
In conclusion, the conditions for a Muslim marrying in a church are clear when stated in theory but is normally complicated in practice. Interfaith marriages in the secular world is possible. Marriage in any religious center has to conform to the creeds of that particular religion. This involves their history, loyalty and lineage of leadership.
Marriage in an orthodox church has to follow the orthodox creed- that the Muslim partner should be baptized and conform to the ways of a Christian. The children must also be raised as Christians and should be baptized in the church.