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New Convert Wedding Problems: How to Deal With In-Laws?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 22, 2018

Question

I am of Mexican decent and converted into Islam. I am engaged to a Muslim and we are one month away from the wedding. Both families agreed to an open wedding with only very close family. Recently my in laws are pressuring me to uninvite my family and only my father can attend. They are not going to attend the wedding if my family attends. I don’t really know about Islam as his family never helped me to find resources so I can study and learn. I have studied and done research on my own, but I am very confused on what is the right way a wedding should happen?

Consultant

Answer


New Convert Wedding Problems

Asalamu Alaikum Sister,

Congratulations on your conversion to Islam!

I myself converted in 2001.

I am also happy to hear about your upcoming wedding. This is a very exciting time for you.

May Allah grant you good in everything.

Thank you for sending in this important question.

Wedding Expectations

It is very distressing to hear about your future in-laws unreasonable request.

I cannot understand why they would want you to uninvite your family from your wedding (excluding your father). Please know that this has nothing to do with Islam.

Since you are a new Muslim, it might be that your family is already confused or even upset by your choice in faith.

It can be a very difficult adjustment period for families after someone has converted.

My advice to every new Muslim is to do whatever it takes (that is not haram -a sin in Islam, forbidden) to strengthen the ties of kinship.

Telling your family that they cannot come to your wedding would be a slap in the face even if you had not also recently converted to a different religion than the one they raised you in.

Therefore, telling them that you have become a Muslim, and that you are marrying a Muslim, and that they cannot come to the wedding would be catastrophic to any family relationship and the opposite of what you need to be doing regarding your family.

It will take years to repair these relationships if you uninvite your family from your wedding. That is if repair is even possible. And it will likely make them think negatively of your new faith.

So, uninviting your family would be equivalent to cutting off your family ties and leading them away from Islam. And these are both a very serious sin in Islam.

Keeping Good Family Relations

There are numerous prophetic traditions (hadith) and verses in the Quran that warn against cutting family ties:

{Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.’ (Quran 47: 22-23)

As you can see from this, keeping good family connections is extremely important.

For your future in-laws to even think to ask this of you is unfair. Not only that, but your in-laws have threatened to not attend the wedding themselves if you do not do this horrible thing.

Ask yourself, if someone you cared about said they would harm themselves if you didn’t commit murder, would you?

Of course not!

This is an emotional hostage situation.

You care about what happens to this loved one, but you cannot do something evil yourself just to prevent someone else from doing evil.

Whatever your in-laws do is between them and their Lord. You cannot concede to their demands, effectively compromising your values and your family, simply because they threaten you. You are not responsible for anyone’s actions but your own.

God tells us this in the Quran:

{And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. […]} (Quran 35:18)

Try to Figure Out The Real Problem

That being sad, I understand that you don’t want to start off your married life with tension between you and your in-laws.

This is not your fault of course, they are giving you no choice.

But you can try to figure out what the problem is.

You can talk to whomever you feel comfortable speaking with in your fiancé’s family and ask him/her kindly and politely why they wish your family not to attend the wedding.

You can ask your fiancé to approach his family and find out as well.

Getting to the root of the problem can oftentimes do wonders to solve the problem itself. Do this with great patience, care, and kindness.

It might also help if you arrange for your families to meet, have a meal together, and get to know one another. If this is not possible, then talk to your in-laws about things your families have in common and try to bring them together over common ground.

These are just a few ideas. But you can think about ways to foster affection between the families. Think about what will work for your specific situation and the personalities involved. Ask your fiancé to help.

Treat everyone involved with kindness and respect, but also stand your ground.

Learning About Islam

As you said, “I don’t really know about Islam as his family never helped me to find resources”.

Have you tried asking them for resources? This might be another way to start building strong bonds between you and your future in-laws.

If you have asked and they refused, don’t let this deter you. There are more resources than ever for new Muslims.

I recently published a book with Kaighla Um Dayo that is specifically for the new Muslims as they start their journey on the path of Islam.

It is entitled The New Muslim’s Field Guide. It is full of advice, stories, and even includes a glossary of all the Arabic/Islamic words you will want to learn.

The New Muslim’s Field Guide also talks a lot about culture and identity and why it is important to keep yours, which might be very important to the health of your faith moving forward in your marriage.

Also check out Learning Resources for New Muslims, New Muslims: Keep Going, Your First 3 Practical Steps as a New Muslim, and 5 Practical Steps to Understand the Quran.

There are a ton of resources on YouTube about prayer, the Quran, and the stories of the Prophets. I recommend any video by Omar Suleiman, Suhaib Webb, Yasmin Mogahed, and Anse Tamara Gray.

And please explore this website. We have a ton of wonderful resources for new Muslims. And of course, if you ever have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask us here at Ask About Islam.

I will be making dua for you, sister. You are in Allah’s most capable hands and your future is bright for sure.

Just remember to never compromise your principles no matter who is asking, but also always be kind and respectful. Islam is all about striking a balance.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How Does a Muslim Couple Build a Strong Marriage?

Top 10 Secrets For a Happy Marriage (Folder)

What Are the Interfaith Marriage Rules?

New Muslims – All You Need in Your New Life

 




About Theresa Corbin

Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for AboutIslam.net and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.

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