First of all, we would like to state that Islam, as a divine religion, pays great attention to the importance of conviction for those who embrace it. Therefore, it lays down the principle that there is no compulsion in religion. In the same vein, it doesn’t accept conversion for other objectives such as marriage.
At this juncture, we recall the Prophet’s hadith in which he, peace and blessings be upon him, rebuked a man who migrated from Makkah to Madinah to marry a certain woman, for he gave priority to worldly interest over the great merits of Hijrah, and thus he lost a great reward. The Hadith says, “Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
To shed more light on this, we would like to cite the following fatwa issued by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty in which he states the following:
“A person must never embrace Islam solely for the purpose of getting married to a Muslim woman; Islam does not sanction such conversions.
Conversion to Islam, in order to be considered as genuine, must proceed from one’s inner conviction and should be based on one’s own free choice. Allah says, “There shall be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out starkly clear from falsehood.” (Al-Baqarah: 256)
If, therefore, at the time of conversion, a person did not have the intention of seriously considering the religion for practice, then such a conversion is simply invalid and unacceptable. Whoever is making this gesture is simply deceiving himself and wronging his own soul as he can never deceive Allah who knows not only what we do, but also what we cherish in the innermost recesses of our hearts.
When a person says upfront that he is simply taking the Shahadah (saying that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), and yet he has no intention of practicing Islam, then in reality he is not embracing Islam at all but is merely making a show of conversion for wooing the girl he wants to marry.”
Based on what is mentioned, it is wrong and forbidden for a man to embrace Islam just for the purpose of marrying a Muslimah. Likewise, it is forbidden for her as a Muslimah to marry to such a person if she knows that he only wants to embrace Islam for that purpose.
In case he decided to accept Islam out of full conviction in becoming a Muslim, then he is permitted to marry a Muslim woman keeping in mind that Islam blots out previous sins.