Unlike Judaism, Islam is passed down through the father. The Qur’an even grants a Muslim man permission to marry a Jewish or Christian woman, so long as she is chaste. “A believing maid is better than an idolatrous woman,” the holy text says. Thus it was for centuries: Muslim men married other women of the Book, who were permitted to practice their own religion but were absorbed into their husband’s family along with their Muslim children.
About The Author
Lisa Miller is a contributing editor at New York magazine. She is the former religion columnist for the Washington Post, former senior editor of Newsweek magazine, and author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.” She is a multi-year winner of the New York Newswomen’s Club prize for feature writing and has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award.