If we have a close family or friend who is entering an impermissible marriage (such as Muslim man marrying a polytheist, a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man, or same sex marriage), and they know it is impermissible in Islam, should we avoid attending their wedding? If there is a worry that not attending would lead them even farther from Islam. Would the fact that one of the maqaasid assharia is preserving faith in Islam be a valid rationale to attend the wedding with the intention of showing love to attract them both to Islam?

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Thank you for your trust in asking this question. We can offer some Islamic framing points by which you may consider your decision, absent a specific familiarity with the particular work relationship and individuals in question.

We can not advise you to attend this ceremony – as our position is that the only religiously sanctioned form of intimacy is between a single man and a single woman under the contractual relationship of marriage. All that is beyond this – such as pre-marital sexual relations, extra-marital sexual relations, and same-gender sexual relations, a Muslim man marrying a polytheist, a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man – is unanimously considered by Muslims scholars to be outside the religiously permissible.

It is important to consider the ramifications of the decision at all levels. For example, in Western culture, attendance at a wedding ceremony can generally be understood to signify one’s support and endorsement of the relationship being established. While we are not expected to enforce or request conformity to our morals from others, it is religiously problematic to endorse and support activities prohibited by Islam – though we respect the freedom and right of others to make that choice. For example, we may attend a civil rights rally with interfaith colleagues, but we would not actively engage in their ritual worship. In another example, a Muslim should not participate, witness, or facilitate a usurious (riba) contract, though we do not actively stop others from doing so of their individual choice.

These considerations should be taken in light of two additional matters. First, the position is in regards to the act and not the individual – so one should not stop dealing with the colleague and individuals in question with compassion in all worldly matters. In fact, it is compassion itself that drives one not to endorse or support that which we believe is not sanctioned by God.

Second, the deen of Islam promotes the increase of benefit and reduction of harm, so ultimately these are contextual decisions that are weighed appropriately according to the specifics at hand. If the specifics of this situation may cause harm that outweighs the anticipated benefit, then a person may cautiously approach what is normally prohibited on an exceptional basis due to exigent need.

May Allah guide you on the best course of action. And Allah knows best.


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