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My Christian Boyfriend Wants to Convert to Islam

21 November, 2021
Q Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu. I have a Christian boyfriend that I've known for 3 years. He's been studying about Islam and has finally decided that this is the religion for him and so we have decided to get married in the near future giving him time to strengthen his imaan and really submit to Islam. What I want to know is that is it OK for me to marry him? Or do we need to break up first before we marry?

Answer

Short Answer: I recommend that you wait until he is sure he wants to be a Muslim and knows his rights and responsibilities as a Muslim husband. I worry about this process being rushed, or worse, forced because it is contingent on a wedding date. The engagement period is a time to get to know one another in a halal way. You are going from dating a non-Muslim to being engaged to a Muslim, inshaAllah. 

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Walaikum Asalam wa Rahamatulahi wa Barakatu Sister,

Thank you for putting your trust in us here at Ask About Islam.

I am always happy to hear when people want to embrace Islam.

I myself converted in 2001 and make dua daily for the guidance of my family.

You have been truly blessed in this situation.

I have heard of many Muslim women who have gotten involved with non-Muslim men. And then their hearts are broken when they are so emotionally attached they wish to marry, but their boyfriends usually do not want to become Muslim.

As I am sure you know, it is not allowed in Islam for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man.

This law is not meant to oppress Muslim woman. Quite the opposite.

Among the reasons is that it is meant to ensure that woman (and their future children) receive the many rights Islamic law grants them.

Within Islamic law you have a right to good treatment; financial provision whether or not you choose to work and earn a living; fulfillment of spiritual, physical, and emotional needs; and more.

And if your rights are not given to you freely, then you have recourse within your religious community to have them fulfilled.

Time is Needed

Now, you state, “we have decided to get married in the near future giving him time to strengthen his imaan and really submit to Islam.” I am glad to hear that you will be married soon.

However, I would recommend that you only wait until he is sure he wants to be a Muslim and knows his rights and responsibilities as a Muslim husband. And, of course, once you have worked out a marriage contract.

Imaan will come inshaAllah. And the journey of learning and incorporating Islam into one’s life takes time.

I worry about this process being rushed, or worse, forced because it is contingent on a wedding date.

People grow Islamically at different paces.

Even the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lasted over 23 years. Dropping all the wealth of Islamic knowledge on someone and expecting them to incorporate it into their life suddenly is jarring and unfair.

I recommend that you do not wait, for example, until he has fully learned and understands the prayer in Arabic and what it means in his native language.

That will come with time and practice, and as his wife you can help teach him and encourage him one on one (and get great reward for it!).

Engagement Period

The point is that strong imaan and living Islam fully should not be rushed.

But the engagement period is meant to be rather short so that the engaged couple is not tempted to fall into inappropriate behaviors.

The engagement period is a time to get to know one another in a halal way.

Since you already know one another, this time period should not be very long. This will help you not increase the opportunity to slip into the haram.

So, a balance must be struck. You and your fiancé should find a middle path that allows him time to fully understand the shahadah but doesn’t push him into taking on too much too fast without time to adjust.

You should also find a middle path between rushing into a marriage without each of you knowing and understanding your rights and responsibilities but also isn’t so long that you find yourselves tempted.

Separation Before Marriage?

As for your question, “is it OK for me to marry him?”

I don’t see why not if he becomes a Muslim and is ready to give you your rights as his wife.

Maybe you are thinking because you had a haram relationship before, that you should not continue that relationship in marriage. I have seen many different scholarly opinions on this.

And Allah (SWT) knows best. If you fear this is something you shouldn’t do Islamically and need a definitive answer, please contact the Ask the Scholar section.

If you do decide to go forward, I would strongly advise you to make istaghfar for the past and move forward by praying istikhara about marrying this man. This is a huge step not to be taken lightly.

As for you question, “do we need to break up first before we marry?”

You need to end any interactions that are not allowed in Islam for a couple that is not yet married.

To start a new path toward a halal relationship, you should eliminate any alone time. Avoid inappropriate conversations or physical contact until after you are married.

This is not a break-up so much as it is a shift in your relationship.

You are going from dating a non-Muslim to being engaged to a Muslim, inshaAllah. 

A lot about that relationship dynamic should be reconstructed and reconsidered.

Check out this wonderful article about the Dos and Don’ts of engagement.

I hope this helps and I pray that Allah (SWT) continues to guide you both and grants you strength.

May He bless you in your marriage.

I hope that this answers your questions.

Salam. Please stay in touch.

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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.