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Converting for the Sake of Marriage

Question and answer details
Ameera
2011/05/11
As-Salamu`alaykum. I am a young woman in love with a Christian guy whom I have known for three years. I told him that I cannot marry him because he is non-Muslim, but he is willing to convert to Islam. I told him that only if he converts to Islam from the heart that I will marry him. My question is that if he converts, can I marry him then? I belong to a very strict family and I know that my parents will never agree, but if he converts then I’ll definitely go for it. Please guide me and tell me what to do. I’ll be looking for your response. Thank you very much.
Ælfwine Mischler
Answer

As-Salamu`alaykum Ameera,

Thank you for your question.


You are in a difficult position in which your emotions are trying to overcome your reason. I don’t envy your position at all, for love does indeed blind us.

You are quite right to refuse to marry this man while he is a Christian. But even if he converts to Islam, how would you know that he is converting sincerely, that he is convinced that it is the true religion and that he is willing to live according to its rules?

You say that your parents are strict and will never agree to the marriage. I’m not sure whether you mean a marriage before or after he converts. But next you say that if he converts you’ll go for it, apparently meaning without your parents’ consent. Prior to that you said that you told him that you would marry him only if he accepted Islam from the heart. Again, how will you know if his conversion is sincere or only for the sake of marriage? So it is clear from these conflicting statements that you yourself are confused.

Falling in love with someone is so difficult to control and it often blinds us so that we are unable to make reasoned decisions. Marriage must be based on much more than “chemistry” and physical attraction.

My concern is why you have allowed yourself to fall in love with someone who is forbidden to you in the first place. It may be that, consciously or unconsciously, you see this person, who is apparently not from the same ethnic-cultural background as yourself, as a key to get away from your own cultural heritage and into the mainstream culture.

You need to distance yourselves, physically and emotionally. Although it will be hard to do so, you need to stop seeing each other with no promises made to each other about a future together. Give yourselves a year at least. During that time, he should sincerely study Islam and if he then is convinced that it is the right religion, he should convert and begin to practice Islam. If after a year or so he appears to be sincere in his acceptance of Islam, then you could consider again whether you want to marry each other.

However, given your family background, I doubt that there is much hope that your parents will allow you to marry him, even if he appears to be a sincere Muslim. The majority of Muslim scholars say that the woman must have the permission of her father - or another guardian if he is dead - to marry, and I would advise you to stick with that ruling. If you were to go against your parents’ wishes and marry him anyway, you would likely cut off the relations with your parents, which is haram (forbidden).

Marriage is not just about sleeping and living together. It is about building a life together for the future generation, and to do that you need strong support from both sets of parents. Remember also that even if he converts, his family will be Christian and will perhaps put pressures on him or have adverse influence on your future children. A marriage to this man may also have difficulties because of your cultural background. These are not minor issues and should at least be carefully considered before making any decision.

Therefore, I again advise you to break up with this man for at least a year. Make it clear to yourself and to each other that you hold no promises. Be willing to consider other marriage proposals in that time. Perform the Istikharah Prayer frequently asking Allah to guide you both to the right decisions. Most of all, pray that Allah opens his heart and guides him to Islam for his own sake and not for the sake of marriage. If after a year or more he appears to have become a sincere Muslim, after much study and contemplation, then you can open the topic with your parents of a possible marriage to a convert.

If your father meets or at least hears of other male converts who have become devout Muslims, he might be more willing to agree to your marriage to a convert. But, again, I don’t think you should get your hopes up that this one you are in love with now will be able to marry you. Separate and pray, and may Allah guide you both to the right decisions!

Thank you again for your question and please keep in touch.

Salam.

Useful Links:

Want to Convert but Marry Christian

Convert to Marry?

Converts Finding a Husband


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