To fast or not to fast when with a non-Muslim lover

By Umar Nsubuga

Added 8th June 2017 10:03 AM

Fasting remains obligatory for her, so she should fast.

Quran 703x422

Fasting remains obligatory for her, so she should fast.

PIC: A man reads the Koran at a mosque during Ramadhan. (AFP)


Aisha Nakalanzi, a young Muslim woman who resides in Matugga in Wakiso district, started dating and staying with a Christian man, Richard. It is now Ramadhan and Nakalanzi feels she is obliged to fast as any other Muslim but she does not know how to go about it.

According to Sheikh Abdu Rahman in Matugga, "marriage and fasting are two different issues".

"However, she has to admit that it was a mistake to live with a non-Muslim. She has to fast because it is obligatory for her," he says.

But before Nakalanzi embarks on fasting, Sheikh Rahman says she should first negotiate with the man and see if he can agree to become a Muslim.

If it is the other way round, he adds that it is wrong for a Muslim man to send his non-Muslim woman away during fasting and call her back after Ramadhan.

Sheikh Rahman's advice is thus: It is better for them to iron out any contentious issues before getting married.

He says that being in a relationship with a non-Muslim does not mean Nakalanzi is exempt from fasting.

Fasting remains obligatory for her, so she should fast. However, she should not have sex with that man because they are not married.

Any such woman should strive to introduce her man to Islam and wait for him to accept Islam before getting into a marriage contract (Nikkar).

"Don't force him though," cautions Sheikh Rahman.

"She should also ensure that children born out of their relationship practice Islam because children are naturally born Muslims although their parents may decide what their religion should be."

Sheikh Abdu Mpindi, the Imam of Kisaasi Mosque, says a Muslim woman regardless of who she is, is better suited for a Muslim man. This is because marriage is not based on fulfilling one's sexual desires but rather an institution.

"Its aim is to establish a home on the basis of tranquility, faith and Islamic morals. To fulfill this task, the whole family must apply Allah's course and try to convey his message."

Sheikh Mpindi says it is hard to serve two masters at a go. In other words, it does not make sense for a Muslim woman to be married to a non-Muslim.

He says if she leaves the man to go and fast, then she should not go back return to him after Ramadhan. He says Islam does not permit a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim with the aim of keeping her away from things that may jeopardise her faith.

In fact, Islam aims at protecting religion. To achieve this goal, it prohibits a Muslim from being involved in something that represents a threat to his religion.

A Muslim woman will not feel that her religion is secure with a non-Muslim husband. Given the fact that the husband is generally the head of the household, it is not far-fetched for a non-Muslim husband to prevent his Muslim wife from performing some Islamic rituals which may seem a nuisance to him, for example fasting or even refraining from marital relations during the fasting period.

As a result, he might force her to change her religion, and if she refuses, the situation may culminate into divorce.


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