Question and answer details
|Dear Respected Consultants, Hello, I am a "typical" 18-year-old Caucasian American girl who is deeply investigating Islam through books and the internet, and I am seriously considering the lifestyle/religion. However, I have found a few things that trouble me. First, I have read that men and women are forbidden from seeing each other in private and must "cast their eyes down." However, my best friend for the past six years has been a boy, so do I have to sacrifice my friendship if I convert to Islam? Does this go under the "struggling" factor of the religion? Second, I have read that Caucasian women who convert before they are married have a horrible time finding a husband since dating is not allowed and the chance of different ethnicities marrying are less likely to occur. This all seems like a Catch-22 to me! Please enlighten me, for I would greatly appreciate your advice.|
Salam Dear Bethany,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
First of all as regards your friend who is a boy: (I assume that you have no sexual relationship with him, and that he is, as you say, a friend.)
The rules of modesty in the Quran are aimed at preventing sexual relations outside marriage, and protecting the rights of women not to be exploited sexually but to have a stable marriage relationship with full financial rights and legitimate children.
In any friendship between two people of opposite sexes, it is likely that a physical attraction may arise, and therefore both women and men are advised to be modest and straightforward in their behavior and dress, to minimize the risk of this happening.
You may not find a Caucasian to marry, but it is possible that you will. In any case, in Islam all races are equal: to Allah, the one who is the most honored is the one who is most conscious of Him (Quran 49:13).
Women who accept Islam are often taken aback by the number of proposals they receive. There are also Muslim web sites and marriage agencies that try to bring people together.
Women who are considering one proposal should not consider another at the same time, but should say no to one person before considering another. This avoids conflict and jealousy arising, and minimizes hurt feelings.
It also means that people don’t get too attached to each other before deciding they can’t marry for one reason or another, and that no illegitimate, unwanted children are born without a father to help support and rear them. Everything is clear and above board.
This whole system helps to filter out unsuitable and irresponsible men (and women) who only want to take advantage. All you have to do is to make known the sort of person you are looking for (and not looking for!), and consider each proposed person on his merits, with a reasonably open mind.
In the end it is Allah who sends you the one you will marry, and all people can do is to try and help.