For many women who choose to convert to Islam, learning how to pray, giving up certain foods, and dressing differently are some of the challenges that, Insha’Allah, they will find easy to overcome.
Next on the lips of well-meaning advisers is the reminder that marriage is ‘half our deen’ and there is no reason to delay it.
But for Muslim female converts, is it that simple?
How will she find someone suitable, and if the potential match is not a convert, how will they deal with the cultural differences?
Finding a Potential Marriage Partner
For female converts, finding a potential partner is actually not very difficult.
To be frank, a convert Muslim woman will usually appeal to many Muslim men because she is likely to be practicing her deen fully, or thet will think they can guide her, or for other unreligious reasons (such as positive racism).
On the other hand, there may be opposition from some Muslim men, maybe because their family is distrustful of someone not brought up from a Muslim family, or that they want to marry within their own culture for fear of possible cultural conflicts, or what other people might think.
However, Sister Asiya wisely pointed out that the first real challenge for a female convert is to find a wali (as it is unlikely she has any Muslim male relatives/ guardians):
“That man has to be as good as the husband you would be seeking; he must be of practice and understanding of the deen (religion), and of good character.”
“He should understand that he’s not just there to make the marriage but he’s giving it to you as an amanah in front of Allah. It’s also his duty to step in and support her if any issues should arise in the marriage.
After that, then seeking a husband should be easy, because your wali will take seriously his obligation to find a trustworthy, practicing Muslim husband.”
Best to Marry Another Convert?
Amongst many born Muslims, marrying within your own culture or nationality is a given, and marrying a cousin is not unheard of.
But is it the same for converts? Do they choose someone similar to themselves?
Sister Klaudia shared her opinion:
“Personally, I do not think that marrying a revert is better than marrying a ‘native’ or vice versa, but rather it is important to find someone who is open-minded.”
Sister Anna, however, thinks female converts should try first to find someone from their own background:
“I believe marriage with someone from the same culture – like two converts from the same country – is much easier to manage than cross-cultural marriages.”
Generally, however, male converts are much less common than females, so the chances are that a female Muslim convert will marry someone who was born Muslim.
Also, many female converts become Muslim after they have gotten married to a Muslim man or after they have met their Muslim husband-to-be before converting.
Sister Anna and her husband had to overcome certain cultural differences in the early days of their marriage, as they came from completely different backgrounds:
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“Alhamdulillah, we have a happy marriage and, more or less, we manage the cultural differences – especially between a convert raised in the Western, individualistic culture and a born Muslim from a collectivist society.”