Salam Dear Jacqualine,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Islam did not just begin with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam means peace and submission to God the Almighty (Allah) and this has been an essential part of human life since the first man, Adam (peace be upon him).
Adam was the first prophet and he was followed by many others—some of whom we know and some of whom we don’t know. The ones we know about include Moses, Abraham, Enoch, Jacob, Joseph, Noah, Jesus, and finally Muhammad, the last of the prophets (peace be upon them all).
So the message of Islam is not new to the world—in fact it is as old as the world itself. All the prophets came with the same message, which was to worship the One and Only God, obey His prophets, and spread piety on earth. So essentially the message of Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) are not different—they all call to the worship of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all.
For this reason, in Islam the people who truly and sincerely follow the previous prophets (before Muhammad (peace be upon him)) are called the People of the Book and they enjoy a special status in Islam.
Marrying a Woman from the People of the Book
One part of this special status is that a Muslim man is permitted to marry a woman from the People of the Book. So, Islamically, this man you are referring to in your question is permitted to marry you.
You expressed your desire to do what is best for him and you, and this is a very noble and worthwhile aim. May God grant you your true desire. As I mentioned before, Islam, as a concept of submission to God, is ingrained in the human psyche.
All human beings are born with a special nature called fitrah that makes it instinctive in mankind to search for God, to seek the meaning of this life, and to recognize goodness from evil and truth from falsehood. Islam has a much more universal message and vastness that are not always appreciated in modern narrow terms which call it “just another religion.” It is the very nature of mankind himself.
So it goes without saying that striving to live according to the message that God the Almighty has given mankind should be the logical aim of mankind. After all, the Creator gave us life, then He guided us, He provided us with everything we need to survive and thrive on earth, He told us (through His prophets) what is good for us and what is harmful—for example, lying is harmful, killing is harmful, stealing is harmful, and all these things are not permitted in divinely revealed religions.
At the same time, honesty is honorable, morality is honorable, and respect for parents is honorable. And these things are ordered in all divinely revealed religions.
Therefore, we have to say that obeying God the Creator of all is the wisest thing to do because, as the Creator, He knows what is good for us and what is not. Also He loves us and wants us to succeed in this life and the next. So what should we human beings do? We should lovingly submit to His rules and avoid what He has forbidden us from.
One thing that He has forbidden us from is having relations with someone before marriage. As mentioned previously, whatever we are ordered to abstain from is something that is harmful to us. In these days, people are not only allowed to form relations before marriage, they are actually encouraged to do so, and if they fail to, they are labeled as strange, different, or backward.
But we have to notice how many people get hurt in so many ways when they engage in relations before marriage. Hearts get broken, emotions are torn apart, and the person usually ends up feeling used and dejected.
So to prevent harm, Islam guides us to the way to marry and it makes marriage accessible and easy so as to prevent hardship and harm. The prospective couple are allowed to meet before marriage in the company of a third person, with the intention of knowing if that person is suitable for him/her or not.
At the same time, the people from each side will get to know the prospective spouse in their work/school environment, family background and so on. Because there is a third party involved, if either person wants to back out of the proposal, he/she can do so with the minimum harm being inflicted on either side.
So what I want to say is that there is a specific way of getting married in Islam that your boyfriend obviously doesn’t know about or is not adhering to. You, as his prospective spouse, should then remind him of the Islamic etiquettes of marriage that will ensure God’s mercy, help, and guidance to you both, ensuring His blessings on your union. Such behavior is included in all divinely revealed religions, including Christianity.
Given that Islam (peaceful submission to the One and Only Creator) is the essential nature of mankind and of all creation (as all creation submits to the Creator), it is unnecessary to even think about the idea that it will be “taking on another religion in the future.” Indeed, what is required is to actually learn about and live the religion that God the Almighty has provided for mankind.
May God open the way that is best for you both and cover you with His mercy, guidance, and blessings.
Thank you and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archive)
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