October 11, 2007 No.1735
Fatwa by Influential Islamic American Jurist: Marriage of Muslim Woman to Non-Muslim Man – Forbidden and Invalid
A fatwa issued in August 2007 by the secretary-general of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), Dr. Sheikh Salah Al-Sawy, states that marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is forbidden and invalid, and that children born of such a union are illegitimate.
The following are excerpts from the fatwa, which was posted on the website www.islamonline.net: 
“Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim [man] is forbidden and invalid - that is a consensus among Muslims.
A [Muslim] woman who has taken the liberty [of marrying a non-Muslim man] has removed herself from the fold of the Muslim community - and one who has done so knowing that it is wrong, has done something strictly forbidden, and has committed an open [act of] abomination that may hurl her into the abyss of heresy and apostasy.
“Some clerics hold that [a Muslim woman who marries a non-Muslim man] is considered a heretic from the very beginning [i.e. from the moment she marries], since the bond of marriage allows her to have sexual relations and intercourse [with her husband], and to take pleasure [in this], and it is inconceivable that she should commit the crime [of having intercourse] without the sanction [of a valid marriage].
“The wisdom of the religious ban [against the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man lies in] its preventing [the woman] from being tempted away from her faith.
The Koran justifies this ban by saying that these marriages ‘beckon [the believer] to the Fire [of Hell; Koran 2:221].’ In other words, they lead to sins that doom [the sinner] to Hell... since [the woman] may be tempted to renounce [Islam], to doubt [the truth of] Islam, and to disparage its religious rituals.
“Woman is weak by nature, and the guardianship of a [non-Muslim] man affects her powers of reasoning. [Marriage to a non-Muslim] may thus cause a woman to follow the ways [of her husband], or at least to abandon her [own] religion and neglect its rituals. [By so doing,] she is neither a Muslim nor one of the People of the Book [i.e. a Christian or Jew like her husband]...
“The same applies to the children who are the product of these marriages, for they are raised by a polytheist father who may urge them to renounce or disparage [Islam], thereby [causing them] to lose both this world and the world to come.
“A person must have some buffer between him and [deeds] that will bring him to perdition. A person about to commit suicide may expect society to intervene in order to safeguard his right to live.
This is why shari’a prohibits marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man - because it is the first step towards religious suicide, whether [it is the woman’s] suicide or that of the children she will bear.
This [form of] suicide is much worse than actual suicide, which also [involves] the murder of [unborn children]. The woman can expect Muslim society to stand between her and this fate, thereby safeguarding her faith and her salvation in the world to come.
“[The Koran says]: ‘Do not marry unbelieving women, until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you.
Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do [but] beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden [of bliss] and forgiveness [Koran 2:221].’
“The excuse that one is unable to find a [Muslim] partner for marriage is completely invalid, both from a religious and from a practical point of view... for one who is unable to find a spouse must remain chaste until Allah delivers him [from his plight], for Allah has said: ‘Let those who cannot find a match keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace [Koran 24:33].’
“Allah has commanded those who cannot find a match to be patient and chaste until He provides them with what they lack. [Even if they cannot find a match], they are not permitted to go to whores or to commit incest. In addition, Allah has forbidden a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man.
The Prophet [Muhammad] said: ‘...Those of you who can marry should do so, for marriage causes one to lower his eyes [i.e. to be chaste] and it is the best protection [against promiscuity]. Those who cannot [marry] should fast, for fasting is like castration.’ The Prophet recommended fasting for those who are unable to marry for economic reasons, and for those who cannot find a religiously suitable partner.
“[Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man] is invalid and despicable, for we know, and anyone who has contact with the Muslim communities in the West knows, that the number of [Muslim] men seeking marriage is growing. When Muslim women behave in a righteous manner and frequent the mosque, they will receive plenty of marriage proposals and have plenty of [suitable partners] from whom to choose...
“The numerous Muslim centers in the West are still providing [matchmaking] services, supplying information to those who wish to marry so that they know of suitable [candidates]. We must redouble our efforts in this area in order to help men and women who wish to remain chaste, and to remove the excuse which is used by those of weak faith and feeble hearts [namely, that they are unable to find a suitable match].
“The excuse that [the man and woman] share an emotional bond, which comes to justify that which is forbidden, is one of the most despicable excuses...”
Electricity Crisis in Syria
“What is the daily schedule of the Syrian citizen during power outages? At night, naturally, he spends his evening by candlelight or by the light of a flashlight, and if neither are available, there’s nothing wrong with moonlight either.
In this way, our ridiculous authorities aspire to restore the productivity to our troubled souls. As we know, the light of the moon revives our souls and enriches our imagination, and it has the power to transform us into silver-tongued lovers or poets.
The afternoon is the worst time for a serious power outage - especially in the middle of a burning hot summer. The hours between one and four or five transform one from a keen-sensed poet into a crazed murderer... You curse your mother and your father who brought you into Syria.” 
- Ahmad Mawloud Al-Tayyar, a resident of the city of Al-Raqqa,describes life in Syria under electricity outages
Since early summer 2007, Syria has been suffering from a severe electricity crisis, the worst in many years.
Recurring power outages last four to 10 hours a day, and this has obviously affected the lives of Syria’s citizens, as well as causing serious damage to the Syrian economy.
At first, the Syrian government assured the public that the crisis was temporary - that it stemmed from increased demand due to the summer heat and was expected to resolve itself within a few weeks.
Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji Al-’Utri even gave Electricity Minister Ahmad Khaled Al-’Ali a two-week ultimatum to solve the crisis.
But when the problem persisted, with the weeks turning into months, harsh criticism of the government, and particularly of the prime minister and electricity minister, began to appear in the Syrian media.
The Syrian government daily newspapers called on the country’s decision makers to act swiftly to correct the flaws in the country’s public services, including the electricity crisis.
More critical articles appeared in the Syrian dailies and news websites, and also on the opposition sites, which attributed the crisis to public corruption and to poor planning, and called for the privatizing Syria’s electricity services.
Protests against the situation reached their height in early August, after Prime Minister Al-’Utri blamed the crisis on political reasons and on international pressures that had led, inter alia, to refusal by the world’s four largest companies dealing with electricity to work in Syria.
In this context, Al-’Utri pointed at former French president Jacques Chirac as the one who had pressured a French company to withdraw from a Syrian tender for erecting a power station in Syria.
The criticism over the electricity crisis also spread to popular protest, when, on August 2, 2007, a hacker penetrated the Electricity Ministry’s website and left the following notice on the homepage:
“I thank all the Electricity Ministry employees, and particularly the [electricity] minister, who so far has offered no solution and has abandoned the country and the people who gave him his job.
I also express my gratitude for the tremendous effort of all those in charge of maintenance in the Electricity Ministry - an effort that demonstrates their inability to bear the responsibility and to hold onto their lofty positions. How long will we remain backward? How long?”
The following are excerpts from articles and reports published in the Syrian papers and news websites in response to the electricity crisis, and particularly in response to statements by Syrian Prime Minister Al-’Utri:
The Regime Must Hold In-Depth Discussions on Issues Concerning Residents’ Lives
Sana Ya’qoub, columnist for the Syrian government daily Teshreen, wrote:
“In light of the pathetic picture before the eyes of the residents, from the water and electricity crises, to the narrow streets full of dust and potholes, to the animals and cattle in the neighborhoods and the bugs, rats, and sewers polluting everything around them - the people say to the makers and executors of the decisions: ‘When will you speak the truth and keep your promises? Are we to remain forever at your mercy?!”
Isma’il Jaradat, columnist for the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, also wrote about the crisis in public services: “[There are] many issues that members of the legislative authority must raise with the executive authority. It is to be hoped that [the matter] will not end this way, and that the discussions will not take place infrequently.
We are interested in an in-depth discussion that will deal with all the issues concerning the lives and livelihoods of the residents - and not in discussions aimed at grabbing media prestige.”
Al-Watan Daily: The Electricity Crisis is the Result of Corruption and Poor Planning
In a July 30, 2007 editorial, the Syrian daily Al-Watan called for privatization of Syria’s electricity: “What is the use of talking about achievements? What is the use of all members of the government stressing the ‘improvement’ in the citizen’s [standard of] living?
What is the use of threats, promises, and ultimatums [for solving the crisis] when they are only slogans? The Syrian citizen raises these questions every day, every hour, in an attempt to obtain an explanation of what is going on.
Water comes from Allah, but electricity is the government’s responsibility... What are the investor, the tourist, and the immigrant told? Are they told that the planning is poor, and that the cause of the crisis is the corruption and neglect? Or are we to reiterate the words of the government and of the electricity minister, that the crisis is temporary and it will be overcome within a short time?