I Hid My Islamic Identity

28 December, 2016
Q Dear Sister/Brother. Please can you help me with the following problem? I converted to Islam almost two years ago. About one year ago, I met a wonderful practicing Muslim man whose country of origin is Yemen. We got to know each other and then decided to get married. (I moved from Scotland to where I am now to be with him). Al-hamdu lillah, we have had a very good marriage so far, and he has done his best to support me in my religion. However, I am facing big problems with my parents and my family in general. I lied to my parents for a whole year, telling them that I am living with a female friend. They knew nothing about my husband or that he even existed. I just could not bring myself to tell them that I am married, that I have become a Muslim and that I am living with an Arab (I am a white convert to Islam). When I told my father about my husband, he was furious and now wants nothing to do with me. He will not speak to me on the telephone and he has told my mother to tell me to cancel my flight to Scotland because he does not even want to see me! My mother has offered to come to England to stay with me for a few days so that she could meet my husband and get to know him. My mother is like a bridge between my father and me during this difficult time. I agreed for her to meet him, but I am nervous about this because deep down I know that my mother does not approve of our marriage and is putting on a brave face. I am terrified of losing my family. I have not told them about my religion yet, because that would destroy them! They know about my husband being Muslim, but not about me converting. I am so scared. I do not want to lose my father. I love him so much and we are such a close family. I just cannot believe that he does not want to see me and won’t even make the effort to come to England and meet him. I am so upset. Should I just give up on my husband and go home to my family, or should I stay with my husband?



As-Salamu `Alaykum my sister,

Thank you for sharing your experience and current situation with us. It is an inspiration to the spirit, but reality is knocking at your door of contentment. Without doubt, you have been guided to the path of Islam, which has blessed you with a good husband and has given you a good marriage.

Islam, meaning submission, is an experience that can only be understood by experiencing it: to submit to something greater than what is visible. To those who love you and are not a part of it, it will seem like a great loss. Even greater if one has absorbed the propaganda that is in the press. One can understand and appreciate the fear at meeting with your mother, but as you said: “… we are such a close family”. Therefore, regardless of whether you became a Muslim or not, married an Arab or not, you have betrayed that closeness. One can understand your reasons and, in part, they are justified; but there is always a price to pay by not meeting a situation as it presents itself.

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If it were simply that you had become a Muslim, one would urge care and consideration for the feelings of your parents, as this is what we are strongly advised to do whether our parents are Muslim or non-Muslim. Therefore, care has to be taken, and this of course means time to inform or discuss issues with parents so as not to cause a falling-out. You came into the world through them so this is their right.

However, under these circumstances, there is likelihood that no matter what you tell your mother, it will not compute immediately that you became a Muslim first and married a Muslim second. In other words, they might blame him for what has befallen them. This then will make the situation worse between you and your family.

At the same time, you are of another generation and your parents cannot live their life through you. You have your own life lessons to learn and experience to profit from within the context that you have a home, the home that you were born into and that provided for you. Without them, you are without an anchor or rudder to steer you. It would be a great loss if ties with your family were to break. Equally, it would be a great loss if ties with your husband were also to be severed. To maintain both, care has to be taken so as not to offend anyone. At the same time, there can be no further delay, because the situation will force itself when you have children, in sha’ Allah, so consider the following:

  • Go to Scotland as previously arranged but don’t stay at your family’s home. Stay nearby in a small hotel or something like that. This would allow you time to be with your mother and family, in sha’ Allah, and give them time to get to know you as you are now. In this way, you would be able to share (possibly) your experiences in a light manner, giving them time to digest what is going on. This would allow them to see you as a Muslim and the qualities of being a Muslim.
  • Then, of course, they might think that you are hiding something by not bringing your husband. If this is the case, then he can go with you, but remain busy elsewhere so that the focus is on you until such time as they are ready to see him, or he can join you later.
  • If you go alone and smooth the way for your natal family and the family you have now, then it can be arranged for your mother to come to England to see you and your husband. This might be better for him, because he might be more relaxed in familiar surroundings, and thus able to present the real him; the person whom you chose to marry and has given you contentment in your life.

I am sure, once you stop worrying and pray for the best, you can think of other ways of improving the situation. Remember, what matters most to parents is that they know that their children are contented and are being cared for. If they can see and understand this, even if it is only with your mother at first, what is feared will become less daunting. Once your mother is happy then she can help smooth relations between you and your father. By then the babies you have will do the rest, in sha’ Allah. Most of all, maintain relations with your family.

Try not to worry so much, because then the next scenario could be that you disturb the peace you have with your husband; you both start having arguments and then you will only end up justifying the fears of your parents! We do not want this, so try to stay calm so that you can be receptive to all concerned and be a better judge as to what to do next. Make plenty of du`aa’ (supplication) and, if you do not mind, please could you let us know how you get on? It will ease our minds a little.



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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.