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Reverts’ Marriage & the Culture Clash

Reverts’ Marriage & the Culture Clash
It is un-Islamic to cause a revert to sever the ties of kinship with their relatives. This will only hinder their relations, and the in-laws will resent the husband and Islam. Be wise, and be fair.

Part 1

All reverts have non-Muslim family and friends.

Accept that. It won’t change unless Allah guides them to Islam.

Many Muslim men married to revert women tend to forget this and think that they have the right to prevent their spouse from visiting their friends and family.

While the husband does have the right to prevent his wife from spending time with non-Muslim friends that are influencing her to do un-Islamic things, he shouldn’t do so if that isn’t the case. Not all non-Muslims will influence a person to deviate if they respect their choice in beliefs.

No one would feel pleased if their relatives were referred to as “those people”. These words hurt, and will never be forgotten. Remember that your spouse used to be one of “those people” and was guided to Islam, so don’t cause your lack of choice of good words prevent it from happening with their family.

In regards to family, it is un-Islamic to cause a revert to sever the ties of kinship with their relatives. This will only hinder their relations, and the in-laws will resent the husband and Islam.  They can never open their minds to Islam if they see that their child is being prevented from having a relationship with them. This is just logic.

It is ideal to foster good relations with their family to open the door to Islam to enter their homes and hearts. Visit their family with them from time to time, and go bearing gifts, and invite them to your home too! Show them how Islam really is, instead of feeding them the reasons to believe the lies and manipulating information spread by the media.

You Are Muslim Now, You Must Forget All of these Holidays!

This is another topic that deserves a book written about it. A new Muslim can sometimes have a hard time evolving their mindset in regards to holidays of non-Muslims. This issue alone is the root cause of many failed marriages with reverts.

Keep in mind, it is caused by the revert’s refusal to ever adapt to the Islamic views and practices regarding holidays, just as much as it is caused by the spouse being impatient, and overbearing.

Mahmoud, an Egyptian, was married to a German revert named Gretchen, and they lived in Egypt after they married. Gretchen accepted Islam several years after her marriage to Mahmoud. She said he never forced it on her, and that she accepted Islam at her own volition.

However, three years after accepting Islam, Mahmoud was frustrated because she wasn’t trying to learn, or implement anything in regards to Islam. He didn’t know what to do. He was very patient with her, but he put his foot down this last Christmas.

She had invited all her co-workers to their home for a Christmas party that would have alcohol served to the guests because her co-workers were all non-Muslim. He refused to allow her to do such a thing, and she started calling him an extremist. Needless to say, tensions flew and fights never seemed to end.

There is no simple solution to the holidays. Each person and each couple is different. Both parties must find a balance and make a plan on how to cope with the issue. I always recommend that reverts gradually adjust their thinking, and practices over a 1-2 year time period.

There are ways to respect family and maintain Islamic principles at the same time. She always used the excuse “you are not giving me time”, but he felt he had given her three years to adapt a Muslim lifestyle, and she had not put any effort into it. He asked her to take an Islamic course on Aqeedah, and she refused, and went on a tangent making him appear as if he was an extremist to everyone she knew, and ultimately, they divorced.

The spouse should try to find ways to work around the holidays, allowing their revert spouse to visit family ‘around’ the time of the holiday, and avoid participating in anything that is religious.  It can be done, but you have to discuss how to manage things in advance so that there won’t be conflicts that blow up at the last minute.

Reverts have to take on some responsibility in this regard, and not give excuses and manipulate their spouse into accepting something that is un-Islamic. Don’t expect your spouse to be tolerant forever on the issue. On the other hand the spouse needs to be patient and offer realistic solutions to the matter that respect each other too. It can be done, but maintain respect, stay calm, and find a solution that you both can agree to, and adapt over time.

Revert Wives Deserve the Same

Often times, Muslim men search for a revert simply because of the extreme dowries and demands that women from their own culture demand that are unrealistic. Reverts typically won’t demand much, and prefer to keep things simple. However, this does not mean that a revert ‘deserves’ less or to be treated less.

Maryam, an American revert, had been Muslim for seven years before she married her husband.  They agreed on a mahr (dowry) of three months salary, and a wedding ring. She put conditions in her marriage about various things that he agreed to, including a divorce financial clause (mo’akhar), in the event he wanted to divorce her for whatever reason. Their marriage was filled with love, compassion, respect, and understanding.

However, many revert sisters find that their future husband talks to her as if she is greedy, or not following the sunnah if she asks for these things which are her right!

This can leave a woman feeling as if she isn’t given the same respect as other women from his culture, because no woman would accept his refusal of such things if he married a woman from his own country. If a man is resisting these things, which are basic matters, you should take it as a sign that he will not be fair with you in the marriage.

Another factor that negatively affects revert sisters is that when a born and raised Muslim man gets offended at the fact she has a wali, and puts her wali to work to protect her rights, and to check him and his family out.

Men automatically assume that by marrying a foreign revert sister, that she won’t have a wali, and will be able to ‘get out’ of a lot of responsibilities, and may be able to hide some treacherous details about himself, preying on her naivety.

If a brother has a problem with you having a wali, run, and don’t look back! Any woman from his country will have a wali, and they will thoroughly check them out, and it is nothing abnormal.

If a woman is not given equal respect, and rights that a woman from a Muslim country would be given, be sure that at some point in the marriage there will be huge conflicts.

Protect yourself because if you don’t, no one else will.  If a man has no problem with such requests, or even insists on them, then he is a keeper, because these bros are far and few between.

May Allah grant us all a blessed, happy home, with caring, respectful, loving spouses that have taqwa.

Ameen.


About Shannon Abulnasr

Shannon Abulnasr: An American convert sister who accepted Islam in 2006, and since has dedicated her efforts as an advocate supporting new Muslims after their shahadah. You can read her reversion story here and visit her website created for new Muslims and non-Muslims.

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