Help, I’m in Love with a Muslim! (Part 1)
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful [towards all mankind], the Especially Merciful [towards the believers]
Part one of this mini-series takes the form of Q&A.
For those of you in a relationship with a Muslim and considering the prospect of converting in order to marry, I pray the answers below will be of use inshaAllah.
The second instalment in the series will touch on two topics, God willing:
– What you would have to believe if you decided to go ahead and become Muslim (key tenets of faith in Islam)
– The impact of becoming Muslim on a non-Muslim lifestyle
1. Are Muslims allowed to date non-Muslims?
There is a problem with this question. The only type of romantic relationship allowed between a man and woman in Islam is marriage. This makes dating anyone- Muslim or non-Muslim- impermissible. There are many reasons why Allah SWT (God) has forbidden pre-marital relationships, but that is beyond the scope of this post.
2. Are Muslims allowed to marry non-Muslims?
Generally, no, Muslims are not allowed to marry non-Muslims. There is an exception in that Muslim men are allowed to marry women from Ahl al Kitaab, women who believe in previous scriptures from Allah SWT i.e. the teachings of Judaism and Christianity. However, this refers to women who follow the true monotheism taught by Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon him both), not later teachings by the people which distorted the messages of these noble prophets. In practice this excludes many who consider themselves to belong to these religions today e.g. a Christian woman who believes in the Trinity. Despite this dispensation, it is still preferable for Muslim men to marry a Muslim woman over someone from Ahl al Kitaab.
3. If a non-Muslim accepted Islam could they marry their Muslim partner?
Yes, if they accept Islam sincerely and with conviction they become a believer and the two may marry. If they only accept Islam with their tongue (in order to marry their partner), but in their heart they continue to disbelieve in Allah SWT and His religion then they remain a disbeliever and marriage between the two is still prohibited in the sight of Allah despite the signing of any marriage contract.
4. For a non-Muslim in this situation is it possible to accept Islam without researching it first?
Yes, if you find you can sincerely believe in it without knowing much about it, but this would probably prove to be difficult. It is advisable to find out- at the very least- the basic tenets of faith as part of accepting something is knowing what exactly it is you are accepting.
5. Do these conditions count even if the Muslim in the relationship is not a ‘practising’ or devout Muslim?
Yes, Allah SWT created the rules of His religion- they do not bend to suit our whims and desires. The Muslim in such a situation is sinning by engaging in a pre-marital relationship. Unfortunately many times such Muslims themselves believe that if their partners convert to Islam purely for marriage to take place this is enough.
6. If my Muslim partner does not care enough about their own religion to practise it, why should I as a non-Muslim take the huge step of converting?
Even amongst non-practising Muslims the vast majority acknowledge they cannot marry a non-Muslim and will make accepting Islam a condition for marriage. If you accept this superficially in order to marry, you will probably experience changes in your life e.g. your spouse may now expect you to stop drinking alcohol, eating pork etc. Not only will you find such changes very difficult if you do not believe in the God who has prescribed this way of life, but even if you implement such actions your efforts and exertions will go unaccepted in the sight of Allah SWT without eemaan (faith). This makes looking into Islam and accepting it with a sincere heart the best option if you are committed to marrying. Your own acceptance of Islam may motivate your partner to themselves become more practising and this would only be to your benefit as someone who genuinely loves and obeys the Creator will be the best to His creation i.e their family, friends etc (you may find this post elsewhere on the blog interesting). More importantly, a key tenet of faith in Islam is that the life of this world is temporary, whereas the life of the Aakhirah(Hereafter) is eternal. Given this bigger picture, accept Islam to benefit yourself- to have the best in both this life and the next.
7. I have heard bad stories about Islam and Muslims which puts me off accepting the religion even if I am interested in finding out more.
Firstly, Islam and those who believe in it are two different things- the former is perfect whereas the latter is not. All human beings- Muslim or not- are prone to mistakes and slip-ups as perfection belongs to the Creator alone. Given this it is illogical to judge a religion simply by its followers, whether or not they are praiseworthy. All groups of people have their good and bad and Muslims are no exception. With over a billion in number worldwide, of course there will be less than pleasant people out there who associate themselves as Muslims (but do not actually follow the teachings of their religion). Equally, however, those who genuinely follow their faith will be amongst the best in their communities. Secondly, in the world we live in today there is a concerted propaganda effort in many spheres against Islam. Those who hate Islam and Muslims will resort to many a lie, distortion and fabrication to paint the two in a negative light. My sincere advice is that rather than accepting what the media and others may tell you about Islam, seek out genuine Muslims who love and practise their faith to glimpse what Islam is all about. Learn about Islam from its own sources (such as the Quran) with an open and sincere mind rather than accepting stereotypes and propaganda from those with a hidden agenda. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, with people from all walks of life accepting it as their faith. This in itself defies the propaganda and vitriol.
8. If I decide to genuinely look into Islam and have a sincere intention to accept it as a result of my efforts, can I continue in my relationship in the meantime?
No, as mentioned earlier all pre-marital relationships are impermissible in Islam. You would need to wait until accepting Islam and marrying before resuming your relationship. Anyone claiming to love you should give you such space. This ‘break’ from one another has the added benefit of letting sincerity shape your choice, rather than letting your emotional attachment cloud your decision.
9. If I am convinced of the truth of its message, are there any prerequisites to becoming Muslim, such as taking any religious classes, learning the Arabic language etc?
No, sincerity of faith is all that is required :).
10. If I decide to accept Islam, how do I become Muslim?
Having personally witnessed other people accepting Islam I can honestly say becoming Muslim is one of the simplest yet most beautiful of actions. All that is required of the person in question is to accept the testimony of faith- the Shahaadah– with genuine conviction from the heart:
أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله
(Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illah Allah wa ash-hadu anna muhammadan rasul-allah)
“I bear witness that there is no deity (none truly to be worshipped), but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Most people who become Muslim take their shahaadah in their local Masjid (Mosque) and share this very special moment with those they love, as well as their new family of believers.
For more detail regarding taking the shahaadah you may find it useful to refer to this article.
Stay tuned for Part 2 inshaAllah 🙂