Salam Dear Sister,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
I appreciate your feelings and your genuine interest in having your boyfriend convert to Islam. But you need to know that if he declares himself as a Muslim for your sake, then it is not really the right thing to do. If he declares himself as a Muslim without knowing what Islam is about and without believing in it, then you did not help him out.
Belief is an act of the heart and mind. It is not something that we declare to others in order to reach a certain status and forget about what we really think. Islam is the submission of one’s entity: heart, mind, and soul to the One and Only Creator of all that exists. Our outside attitudes and actions are a reflection of that, but can’t stand on their own.
So you say he is Catholic. Then he believes in a different version of human-divine relation than the one you believe in. It would not be true if you call yourself Catholic while, for example, you do not believe in Trinity and you believe in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a human messenger to all mankind. It is also the other way around with your boyfriend.
On the other hand, you definitely know that non-marital relations are not accepted in Islam. By this I mean as a practicing Muslim, you cannot just move in and start sharing life together. In order to share life with a man, you need to fulfill that under the declared legal bondage of marriage.
Again, as a Muslim woman you should not marry a man, no matter how deep you love him, if he does not believe that God is One and Only (in accordance with the Islamic version), or that He did not really send Prophet Muhammad to deliver us His divine message.
Consequently, you have only two options. Option number is one is that your boyfriend would choose Islam willingly and lovingly without being pushed into that. Option number two is to leave one another and each of you would start all over again.
Let’s first do our best about option number one. I think you should ask him to study Islam more. Give him time. Give him real time. Don’t expect a man to change what he believes in within a couple of weeks. This might take months, might take years and might take forever.
You can help him by giving him some guidelines. My first advice ever is to guide him to read the Quran. The Quran speaks for itself.
Buy him a copy of the Quran and give it to him as a present. Ask him to read it thoroughly again and again. Introduce him to trusted Muslim scholars who would explain to him what he can not get from what he reads.
Ask him to come up with all the questions that would bother him while going through the whole book. Make sure he is not embarrassed or afraid to hurt your feelings.
No question is ever an embarrassment to a Muslim, because there is always an answer. In case you do not know the answer, then refer him to trusted scholars. Set meetings for him with scholars and trusted Muslim friends.
Follow up with him and make sure you would not ever volunteer with an answer that you are not sure of. Don’t be emotional about your religion by giving out any answer just for the sake of answering. When you do not know the answer to a question, trust that there is an answer that you need to search for.
When he is done with reading the Quran, give him more time. Provide him with books, programs, and links that would help him study Islam more in-depth. Make sure you provide him with trusted sources and you can go back in that to trusted scholars.
Be patient and do not give up easily. Along the way, never stop praying for him. Make sure you try to be the best Muslim possible. Watch God in your relation with your boyfriend and try to stop having him as a boyfriend. I am not saying stop talking to him or knowing him. But stop any intimate level of the relation. If you want God to accept your prayers, how can you not follow His guidelines?
The better a Muslim you become, the quicker and easier your prayers are accepted by the will of God. To become a better Muslim, you yourself need to study your religion more in-depth.
Read the Quran and its explanation on your own. Attend religious lessons and study the biography of Prophet Muhammad. Search for good religious company and surround yourself by them. Also try to find him good practicing Muslims to provide him helpful, but not pushy, company.
Pray and pray and pray. Ask Allah each time you prostrate to guide him to Islam. Fast a lot and pray while fasting. Give charity to the poor and ask Allah to accept your charity and your prayers. Make sure you believe that God is watching your pleading and that He is responding to you sooner or later. Trust God.
In case after you have given it all possible means of trying, it did not work, then it is his choice. You cannot push him to become a Muslim. You will also need to trust that God is doing what is best for you. At that time, you will have to choose between your boyfriend and God. Here the wise and correct choice is to choose God. You will have to drop your boyfriend.
Difficult, it might seem to be. But you will have no other choice. Nothing is worth risking your Islam. I pray you would not ever have to do so. But in case you are squeezed between choices, make sure you make the right decision at the right time.
I will keep you both in my prayers.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.