Indonesian Islamic Organizations Ban Interfaith Marriage
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M. Cholil Nafis and Hafid Abbas taking an oath before testifying virtually as experts for the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) at the judicial review hearing of Law No. 16 of 2019 on Marriage, Monday (9/26/2022). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.


Monday, September 26, 2022 | 16:40 WIB

JAKARTA (MKRI)—The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) as the Relevant Party presented two experts, M. Cholil Nafis and Hafid Abbas, at the material judicial review hearing of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage as amended by Law No. 16 of 2019 on the Amendment to Law No. 1 of 1974 on Monday, September 26, 2022.

M. Cholil Nafis, who teaches Islamic law at the PSKTTI of University of Indonesia and UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, asserted that the Marriage Law stipulated that a marriage is only legitimate if performed according to the law in the religious upheld by the bride and the groom, thus interfaith marriage is not in line with Islamic teachings and is prohibited.

The Instruction of the President No. 1 of 1991 on the Compilation of Islamic Law (KHI). Article 44 of the KHI expressly prohibits interfaith marriage. In addition, the MUI through Decree No. 4/MUNAS VII/MUI/8/2005 issued a fatwa to ban interfaith marriage. The marriage between a Muslim man and a woman that is ahlul kitab [(people of the Book)] according to qaul mu’tamad is haram and not legitimate. The Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) also issued a fatwa at the 28th National Congress in Yogyakarta in November 1989 to assert this. Muhammadiyah also issued a decree in its 22nd National Congress in1989 di Malang, East Java to prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslim women or people of the Book.

“Based on interpretation [of the Quran], fiqh, legislation, and socio-religious values, interfaith marriage between a Muslim man or a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim is not legitimate and haram. Indonesian ulemas in MUI, NU, and Muhammadiyah have agreed to ban interfaith marriage,” Cholil said.

State Must Interfere

Meanwhile, Hafid Abbas, a professor of human rights at the Faculty of Education (FIP) of the State University of Jakarta (UNJ), quoted Article 28B of the 1945 Constitution: (1) Everyone shall be entitled to form a family and continue their generation through a legitimate marriage. (2) Every child shall be entitled to live, grow, and develop, and be protected from violence and discrimination. This law, he said, gives no space for same-sex marriage, because it does not allow for continuing generation, and for casual relationships, because children shall be born from a legitimate marriage.

He also quoted Article 28J: (1) Everyone shall respect human rights in the social and national life. (2) In implementing their rights and freedom, everyone shall adhere to the given limitation in the law solely intended to guarantee the recognition and respect of the rights and freedom of the others and fulfil fair demands in accordance with moral considerations, religious values, security, and public order in a democratic community. This provision gives everyone the right to exercise their rights within the limits of the law, morality, religious values, security, and public order. Thus, the state must interfere by protecting Muslims to promote, enforce, protect, and fulfill their right to form a family and continue their generation through a legitimate marriage.

“In accordance with the provision of the right to marriage outlined in Article 28B of the 1945 Constitution, which is reaffirmed in Article 10 of Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, the state must promote and protect human rights for every citizen as mandated in Article 28J of the 1945 Constitution and must provide protection for Muslims to promote, enforce, protect, and fulfill their right to form a family and continue their offspring through legal marriage,” he explained.

Before concluding the session, Chief Justice Anwar Usman informed all litigants that the hearing would resume on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 to hear an expert for the MUI and 2 witnesses for Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah.

Also read:

Failed to Have Interfaith Marriage, Citizen Challenges Marriage Law

Petitioner of Provision on Interfaith Marriage Reduces Object

House’s and Govt’s Stance on Interfaith Marriage

Interfaith Marriage in International and Islamic Laws

Indonesian Ulema Council Requests Court to Reject Interfaith Marriage

DDII: Petitioner’s Arguments on Interfaith Marriage Legally Groundless 

Ade Armando and Rocky Gerung Speak on Interfaith Marriage 

Interfaith Marriage Brings More Harm 

Article 29 of 1945 Constitution, Legal Basis for Marriage in Indonesia 

The case No. 24/PUU-XX/2022 was filed by E. Ramos Petege, a Catholic who had intended to marry a Muslim woman. The union fell through because interfaith marriage was not accommodated by the Marriage Law. Consequently, the Petitioner’s constitutional rights were harmed.

He also felt harmed for losing freedom of religion and faith because if he wishes to have an interfaith marriage, either the bride or the groom will be coerced to convert. In addition, he also lost his freedom to have offspring by forming a family based on free will. The Petitioner challenges Article 2 paragraphs (1) and (2) as well as Article 8 letter f of the Marriage Law, which he believes contradict Article 28D paragraph (1) and Article 29 paragraphs (1) and (2) of the 1945 Constitution.

Article 2 paragraph (1) of the Marriage Law reads, “A marriage shall be legitimate, if it has been performed according to the laws of the respective religions and beliefs of the parties concerned.” Article 2 paragraph (2) reads, “Each marriage shall be registered according to the regulations of the legislation.” Meanwhile, Article 8 letter f reads, “[A marriage shall be prohibited between to people that] have a relationship that, by religion or other statutory regulations, are forbidden to marry.”   

Writer        : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 10/12/2022 15:47 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.


Monday, September 26, 2022 | 16:40 WIB 500