Fatwa Denouncing Marriage to Israeli Women Stirs Controversy
Wednesday 14 November 2007
By Mohammed Khalil

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- A fatwa issued recently by the former undersecretary of Al-Azhar and former supervisor of the Mudun al Baooth al Islamiya [Scholarships Hostel] Sheikh Farhat Saeed al-Munji prohibiting marriage to Israeli women has been met with mixed reactions from the scholars of Azhar Islamic Research Academy. The fatwa was based on the idea that Israelis are considered enemies of Muslims and coincided with a draft law that was prepared by Egyptian MP Saad Abboud that called for outlawing marriage to Israeli women. It was presented as a draft law to be considered in parliament in its current session.

Sheikh Munji’s fatwa states that it is prohibited for Muslim men to marry Israeli women because Israeli women are part of a state that antagonizes Muslims and is a racist state that was founded on certain laws that impose that anyone born to a Jewish mother is also Jewish. Accordingly, the children of Muslim men would be Jewish. Such fact endangers the national security of Arab and Islamic countries since children who are born to Jewish mothers and Muslim fathers would inherit territory in Muslim lands. Islamic Shariaa forbids such act according to the Quranic verse that reads, “Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger,” [Quran 58:22]. Furthermore, scholars also condemn marriage to Israeli Jewish women based on Ibn Abbas’s rejection of it, whose opinion has been adopted by many scholars.

Asked whether the fatwa applies to all Israeli women anywhere, Sheikh al Munji told Asharq Al-Awsat, “This fatwa prohibits marriage only to Jewish women who live in the Israeli state that is aggressive towards Muslims and usurps their land by force. A Jewish woman living in Israel who is not concerned about what her people are doing to Muslims is also against Muslims. If she marries a Muslim, she might turn out to be a spy and could even be the cause of her husband being deemed a traitor to his homeland and may pose a serious threat to the national security of Muslims.” He noted that Islam permitted marriage to “People of the Book” that includes Jewish women as long as they do not live in the warring states. Therefore, according to him, it is permissible to marry an Israeli woman living outside Israel.

Commenting on the fatwa, former Undersecretary of Al-Azhar and member of the Islamic Research Academy Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour said, “I have reservations about this fatwa since war is one thing and Shariaa is another. Islamic Shariaa permits marriage to Jewish women based on the fact that they are people of the book regardless of where they live.”

Sheikh Ashour added, “Our religion is clear regarding such issues and we should follow the guidelines of our religion.” As for prohibiting marriage to Israeli women on the grounds that they are part of a warring nation, Sheikh Ashour said, “Israel is no longer at war with Egypt since there are peace treaties and agreements between both countries in place. Jews travel safely from Israel to Egypt and there are Egyptians who go to Israel as well.”
Dr. Mustafa al Shakaa, member of Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy agrees with the fatwa and believes that it is prohibited [in Islam] to marry Jewish women living in Israel because of the state of war with Arabs and Muslims. He believes that Israeli Jews have an astute plan. They make their daughters marry Muslims in order to have Jewish children in terms of identity even if they are Muslims [by conviction]. Therefore, over time, the number of sympathizers to the Israeli state will increase and this would weaken and eventually eliminate Islamic and Arab identity.