Interracial Marriage in Islam

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For Muslims worldwide, the Holy Qur’an is the fundamental principle to abide by throughout their lives. If used correctly, it is an infallible compass to navigate through the different cycles of the ocean of life. The Holy Prophet (sa) showed us in practical ways throughout his life how to do just that. One such cycle of life is finding the right spouse, and the Holy Qur’an sheds light on how to tackle this momentous task. 

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an,

“O ye people! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and created therefrom its mate, and from them, both spread many men and women” (1).

The fourth chapter of the Qur’an, Surah an-Nisa, addresses the mutual rights of human beings and lays the foundation for sound family life. The opening verse urges mankind to acknowledge that all humans share the same roots as descendants of Prophet Adam (as) and his wife Eve. This conveys the connection that exists between all people due to sharing a common ancestor, therefore eradicating the concept of any race, creed, or color being greater than another. 

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an.

“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female, and We have made you into tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognize one another. Verily, the most honorable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you” (2).

Allah makes it clear that there is no distinction between races, rather, races exist so we may identify and understand each other. There is no moral or superior value attached to a person’s skin color alone. 

If we look at the life of our practical guide, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), we see that he utilized marriage to join (or to blend) families, faiths, and races together. More than one of the Holy Prophet’s (sa) marriages was contracted with divorced/widowed women, and some were interracial; the wives came from a different nation/tribe/religion (they converted to Islam before or upon marriage).
One of his wives, Hazrat Safiyyah (ra), was originally from a Jewish clan called Banu Nazir who came to Arabia before the birth of the Holy Prophet (sa). Another wife from outside of Arabia who was not born a Muslim was Hazrat Mariyah Qibtiyyah (ra), a Coptic Christian from Egypt. While on her journey to Arabia, she accepted Islam and later wed the Holy Prophet (sa).

The Holy Prophet (sa) said,

“A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty, and her religion. So, you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser” (3).

Teaching us that these are the four main categories that must keep in mind when seeking a spouse, the Prophet (sa) emphasized that the best option is to look at a person’s religion and good character; there is no mention of skin color; there is no mention of race. It is evident that, especially in marriage, race is not an obligatory factor; rather, it is a personal choice. Islam only gives superiority to one thing, namely Taqwa (righteousness/piety through the love of God and fear of losing His love), because marriage does not just affect the man and the woman involved; rather, it affects society as a whole. If Taqwa is kept in mind while deciding on marriage, then there are greater chances that Taqwa will be passed down to future generations as well.


1. The Holy Qur’an (4:2)

2. The Holy Qur’an (49:14)

3. Sahih Al-Bukhari: Book 67, Hadith 28

Last modified: September 2023

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