As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,
Thank you for writing in. I am sorry to hear of your conflicting situation with the Muslim man. Yes, there is a big difference between the two of you. Islamically, he is to marry women who are Muslim or women of the book (Christian, Jews) who are practicing. The Qur’an states,
“This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith – his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.” (5:5)
While it was haram (bad) for him to have a relationship with you or any other girl prior to marriage, nonetheless it has happened. The fact that his cousin approached him about marriage means his parents may be thinking that it is time he married.
In this day and time there is much strife, racism, and divisions which can keep people apart. This is very sad sister. While I do not know how old you are, you do appear to be very intelligent and aware of the socio-political issues at hand. Thus, not only would you have to deal with family problems, but also issues from within society itself. However, often times, we cannot help who we fall in love with, but we must strive to ensure it would be a healthy, halal, and compatible marriage.
Many Muslim men will enter relationships outside of what is permissible due to feeling a love for a girl and truly desiring a marriage with her. Often times he hopes and expects that she will convert to Islam. It is great alhumdulillah that you are studying Islam and learning more; however, I would advise you not to convert (if you are thinking about it) just to please or keep this boy. But if you feel in your heart that yes, Islam is the true religion and Allah (swt) has guided you to Islam through His love and mercy, then yes, convert. Allah (swt) guides whom He will.
I kindly suggest sister that you study Islam so you can fully know what he believes, how he is supposed to live, as well as for increasing your knowledge. I would also suggest that you and him sit down and list all the positives of getting married and all the negatives. Try to keep it real as feeling in love often clouds our ability to see things as they would truly be. For instance, how would you (and him) feel about possibly losing your families over the marriage? How would he react to your practicing your religion when it goes against his? Would problems surface in the future? Also, what faith would the children be raised?
There are many things to think about, dear sister, regarding this marriage. I would kindly suggest taking it slow, learning about Islam first, then decide if you still want to marry. If it was meant to be, it will be. Whatever Allah (swt) has decreed will be. If it was meant for you and him to marry, some changes would have to occur within your heart – between you and Allah (i.e. converting to Islam) as well as within the Muslim man’s heart such as gaining the strength to inform his family he is not going to marry his cousin. If you two do not marry, sister, you may have a bigger blessing from all of this which would be the blessing of being chosen by Allah (swt) to see the light of Islam.
You are in our prayers.
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