Some claim that the prohibition of a female Muslim to marry a non-Muslim is an infringement against her human rights and her personal freedom, which is permitted in the modern secular law; any individual may marry whomsoever they desire. It is important to note here that the Muslim male is also prohibited from marrying a polytheist such as a Hindu or Buddhist women. Is this then an infringement against his human rights and personal freedom? Clearly the answer to this question and the aforementioned misconception is that these prohibitions do not in any way infringe on the human rights of either the male or the female in Islam, as will be explained below; rather it is to ensure the harmony of the marriage.
Quoted with paraphrasing from Symposium on Islamic Shari'ah and Human Rights in Islam, Beirut, Dar-al-Kitab-al-Lebnani, 1973.
The Islamic rationale behind this restriction is for her protection and for the preservation of the family values and nucleus family unit. Most modern secular laws permit any and all sexual relations between consenting adults, even homosexuality. All this is unacceptable in Islam since sexual relations are only allowed through legal and honorable marriage between a male and a female. Since Islam seeks all means to protect the morality of the human race and guard the family unit against dissolution by divorce, the potential spouse is encouraged to seek harmony, security, and compatibility with the one chosen for marriage, for personal happiness, and for the success of the future family and generation. Anything that would be a cause for serious potential conflict would be a reason for not allowing the marriage. Difference in religion between the two spouses is naturally a known potential cause. The following three possible cases exist:
1st Case: A Muslim male is prohibited from marrying a polytheist, idolater or atheist female because the Islamic Faith does not condone or respect polytheism, blasphemy and idolatry. Islam prohibits the marriage where a spouse will not show consideration to the primary principles of other spouse. The entire family in this case would be in a continuous dispute and confusion. Such a problematic marriage most likely would end up in divorce leading to the dissolution of an existing family, affecting the children of the family the most.
2nd Case: A male Muslim is allowed to marry a Christian or a Jewess because Islam accepts Moses and Jesus, may Allah exalt their mention and render them safe from every derogatory thing, as true Prophets and Messengers from Allah . Regardless of certain differences in some principles of faith, belief and religion, the marriage does not have the problematic nature mentioned above, and may continue and prosper if all other factors are satisfactory between the two spouses, God willing.
3rd Case: Islam bans the marriage of a non-Muslim man with a Muslim female because a Jew, Christian or polytheist denies the Message of Muhammad and his prophet-hood. By natural and historical precedent, men dominate women. A non-Muslim husband may possibly take advantage of his strength and dominance, and demonstrate in the private confines of the home disrespect to the wife's Islamic faith and principles. He may talk with derogatory language about the Prophet and Islam, a situation that would cause intense hatred and problems between the two spouses. Naturally this will lead to a dispute between the two spouses, or tempt her from her faith. If she defends her faith vigorously, this may lead to unjust subjugation and physical violence against her person. As the weaker sex, she may accept this dire situation of maltreatment and suffering to protect herself and her children. Islam bans this kind of marriage that inevitably leads to maltreatment, conflict, severe trials, or near certain divorce for those concerned, similar to the first case. This third case, in summary, is the worst-case scenario for potential conflict, and therefore prohibited.