First of all, we’d like to state that originally, a Muslim man is permitted to marry a chaste woman from among the People of the Book, i.e. Christians or Jews.
However, prior to marriage, there should be mutual agreement between prospective spouses regarding that children should be brought up as Muslims and regarding who should take care of them in case of divorce.
A Muslim man marrying a Christian or Jewish woman is required to set a good example for her and be an ideal model of a good Muslim who should always be good towards his wife. He should never force her to convert to Islam even if she chooses to remain a non-Muslim. But he can invite her to Islam using wisdom and good admonition.
Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas, US, states: A muslim husband marrying a christian or jewish wife, does not have to convert her to Islam, but he should try to invite her to join Islam through wisdom and beautiful preaching and by setting a good example for her to follow. He doesn’t have to force her to embrace Islam, since no compulsion is allowed in religion. But he should use wisdom without pressure or intimidation. If she converts to Islam, then she has chosen the best way for herself and for him as well; she would be adopting the religion of truth, and he would get the reward promised in the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “If you were to guide one person to the way of Allah, it would be better for you than the world and whatever is in it.”
But if she insists on remaining a Christian or a Jewess, then she has the right to keep her faith, and as the Qur’an states, he is to convey the message and it is up to Allah to judge the people.