I ran across an odd article today titled “Imam to Rep. Weiner’s wife: Stand by your man” in which Imam Omar Abu-Namous reportedly stated, “I would tell her to be a little bit patient…In our holy book, if you think your wife, or husband, is doing something unacceptable, you start by counseling her.”
As I have been quoted out of context before, I will give Imam Abu-Namous the benefit of the doubt that he was talking about the issue of marriage in general within the context of being asked about the broader high profile media driven scandal of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).
It is the consensus of all of the schools of thought within Islam going back to the salaf (the first three generations of followers of Prophet Muhammad [Prayers and Peace be upon him and his family]) that Muslim women are not permitted to marry men who are not Muslim. Furthermore, such marriages are deemed by the consensus of scholars to be invalid (batil).
قال عمر:لا يتزوّج النصرانـي الـمسلـمة.
Relating to the verse in the Qur’an (2:221) that women can not marry men who associate partners with G-d, the second caliph `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (May G-d’s mercy be upon him) said, “A Christian man can not marry a Muslim female.” Moreover, `Umar found it repugnant (makruh) when Hudhayfah (May G-d be pleased with him), one of Prophet Muhammad’s companions, married a Jewish woman out of fear of its implications. Some of the scholars of the Zaydi school of thought have ruled that it is impermissible for any Muslim to marry someone who is not a Muslim, be they male or female.
Irrespective of whether Weiner’s wife is married in accordance with Islam as it is deemed legal by the broader American public according to the laws of the State of New York, Imam Abu-Namous’ advice on the general principle is correct.
In the grand scheme of things, however, the Weiner incident is garnering too much press. A public official made a stupid snafu that has nothing to do with his congressional position. With all of the substantive issues facing our country now, the bigger shame in my opinion is that mainstream media has devolved into peddling smut and tabloid type stories instead of informing and educating the public, which is generally ill informed about national and world events because of lack of information.