Converting for Marriage, Superficial?

13 October, 2021
Q Recently I have been getting very close to a very appealing Yemeni girl, here in North America. She's Sunni Muslim and has a very conservative outlook on life. This is although she doesn't wear a hijab, nor goes to the mosque. I like her a lot. I myself, however, was born from a Christian family, and strongly believe in a monotheist God. This is the same God identified as Allah. Recently, I asked her if she would consider marrying me. She said that if she said yes, I would have to convert to Islam. It seems a bit awkward. I have a hard time understanding how would it be possible to convert in order to believe in the same God! Yet, I am no stranger to Islam. I was fascinated by Islam since I was 15. I obtained an authentic Qur’an from a fellow student, who was Muslim. I also read an English-translation of the Qur’an and books on the subject. From my readings, I have begun to see the philosophical side of Islam that is very attractive. It is understandable why this faith is spreading… Yet, I find it somewhat a challenge to adopt the rituals full-time, when I am traditionally surrounded by non-Muslims. In fact, I often thought a Muslim was someone that believed absolutely in God's existence and influence in our lives. So, I ask: • Would our relationship work and be permitted? • Is it possible that we share the same God and differ only because we have been brought up with different teachers? • Is such an intimate relationship encouraged? I would seriously want this relationship to work out, but at the same time I feel my relationship with God is very personal and fear that proclaiming I converted simply to be with this person would be superficial. I just feel it is important that I continue to learn more as I would never denounce the Islamic faith. If our relationship were to go forward, I would encourage that our children be educated fluently in the Qur’an and I would encourage them to make their own choice on faith. What should I do? Where can our relationship go?

Answer

Salam (Peace) Kesate, 

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam. 

I sincerely hope my words would not offend you. This is because I need be frank with you and point out that Christians do not believe in the same One God, Who Muslims believe in.

Christians hold Jesus Christ (peace and blessings be upon him) as God. 

In fact, from the Islamic point of view, this is considered shirkShirk means considering one of God’s creations as God, or at any rate worthy of worship. This, in Islam is a serious sin.

Suppport AboutIslam.net

This version of monotheism is in fact being a Trinitarian, not a Unitarian. Muslims do not consider it to be monotheism. 

Secondly, what Islam stands for is unconditional submission to God. This means that anybody who does not order his or her life in accordance with the divine teachings, conveyed through the Holy Quran and sunnah (the example of Prophet Muhammad), is not a Muslim.

The most important point here is that Islam does not approve the marriage of a Muslim girl to a non-Muslim, who does not submit peacefully and give himself totally to God, the Great Creator of existence. 

Your contention that your relationship with God is a very personal one, does not work here; in your relationship with another person, who believes differently.

A Muslim Submits

Islam teaches that a person’s faith in God – if sincere – is expressed, not only in his private individual life, but also in his public, social life. A Muslim, by definition submits peacefully, with total free will, to God, his/her Beloved Creator, in all areas of his/her life. 

So, a Muslim has to submit his/her choice of food, clothes, morals, dealings with others, etc. to the will of his/her Creator. He/she has to literally submit to God, in the sense that they have to kneel, prostrate, and pray to God, out of a loving free will.

Unless the person changes his/her life so thoroughly, as to be – really – constantly struggling to surrender to the Beloved Creator – in the words of Dr Jeffrey Lang – this person is not a Muslim. 

In fact, the word “Muslim” in the Arabic language means that one submits peacefully. It is related to the words salima (was given safety and peace) and salaam (peace). So, the world “Muslim” in its totality means the one who submitted peacefully and reaches safety by that submission. 

Future Children

Your plan of teaching your children to be educated in Islam is a noble one. We know that it is mainly the parental influence, plus their education, that help our children make the future choices in life.

As the father of your children, you have a responsibility to help them choose a course of life that you believe is best for them. 

For this purpose, you need not to be only teaching them, but also you will be an example. But, once they become mature enough to think for themselves, they can be given the freedom to choose their course of life.

Even in an Islamic society, parents are anxious to see that their children do not go astray. Parents are not to force their children, but are to direct and advise them. 

Conversion to Islam

Now, let’s move to the point of conversion to Islam. In fact, according to the Islamic creed, every human is born a Muslim (peacefully submitting to God). This is in the sense that he/she follows the natural laws of God, which are often called laws of nature. 

Since humans are creatures gifted with rationality and freedom of will, they have to willingly submit to God, as they attain maturity. This is what is required from you now.

This is more a question of deliberate choice and change of attitude towards life, the world and existence, than “a change of your religion”. 

All of us are greatly influenced by the world around us. After every important experience of life, like it or not, we change. In your case, you need to acknowledge that change formally and be a real Muslim, if you chose to do so. It is chiefly a question of practicing what you believe. 

May God guide and help you and all of us take the wise and correct decision, always! 

Thank you and please, if you have any other inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us. 

Salam.

(From Ask About Islam archive)

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

https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/my-journey-to-islam/4-reasons-make-us-convert-islam/
About Professor Shahul Hameed
Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.