Intercultural marriages are completely allowed in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) even encouraged the believers to give less weight to things like culture, race, beauty, and wealth, in order to find a mate based on a compatible level of faith.
When considering a spouse for an Islamic marriage, the main thing to look for is a spouse’s level of practice and faith in the religion. Little, if any, consideration should be given to culture or the color of one’s skin.
This folder highlights blessings, problems, and challenges posed by intercultural marriages.
One white American Muslimah married to a black Jamaican Muslim shared that over the course of their marriage they have had absolutely zero challenges related to them being an interracial couple.
Yet another Pakistani sister who married an American brother notes, “Alhamdulillah, I did not face any major challenges. My husband and I were focused on Islam and wanted to teach our children Islamic values in the best Islamic environment as possible.”…
While intercultural marriages can have their difficulties, one of the blessings of Islam is that sharing a common religion can smooth over some of the rough edges.
Having a shared religion makes it easier to choose how to raise the children, which holidays to celebrate, and takes the pressure off of participating in unIslamic activities…
If children are born into a marriage, it can highlight many of the differences that you were originally able to overlook as a couple. Some cultural differences, like food preferences and language difficulties, may be overcome in the first years of marriage.
When you marry into a family that is from a different culture, you may clash with your spouse’s immediate family – including close family parents and siblings or extended family like aunt’s uncles, cousins, friends, and associates.
Depending on where you choose to live – in your own country or your spouse’s, you may run into these challenges to varying degrees.
Having a happy marriage is not something hidden inside the home, it shows! When a couple has a happy intercultural marriage it can help dispel stereotypes and break down barriers.
One sister writes that having a happy marriage “is a good thing for the kids […] to see.” But it’s also something that family, friends, and the wider community can see as well.
Sister Maryam remembers five years ago when her brother came to her after her wedding and narrated something he had heard at her nikaah.
One of the guests was overheard telling another guest, “How could her father allow her to marry that man.” That man was her husband and he was an Egyptian. Sister Maryam is from Cape Town, South Africa and of Indian heritage.
Cultural differences brace the brunt of marital misunderstandings as spouses — even Muslims — often carry cultural baggage that sometimes overshadow the sovereignty of Islamic principles. This is especially true for born Muslims or Muslims from Muslim-majority countries. It is through die-hard traditions that the fine line of separating what is Islamic from what is purely cultural is sometimes blurred.
When I first got married and after the honeymoon phase had worn off, the cultural shock was really difficult to bear. It is hard enough when two people from the same culture get married because they still have to adapt to each other and learn the little things that make the other person tick as well as what makes them happy and motivated.
What was so wrong with Aminah marrying Zaid? What was she supposed to do? Live with her parents for the rest of her life? It frustrated Aminah that her mother wouldn’t give up her obsession with Aminah marrying Abdur-Rahman, the son of a family friend.
On the phone, Aminah listened to Zaid talk about her beauty, and she was undoubtedly pleased… But as Zaid talked on and on about her white skin, Aminah became uncomfortable.
I’m facing some problems in my married life. My husband is from the UK, and I’m from Pakistan. It was an arranged marriage. We have had so many issues. Our relation has never been normal like for other couples, but I have always thought maybe it was due to the distance we have.
I am a convert married to a Muslim man. Recently, I had a small conflicting talk with his aunt. I felt that she was very rude to me and made me feel small. I didn’t respond to her since we don’t speak the same language. I speak French, and whenever I am with the family, they always speak in their language even though they know how to speak French.
Intercultural marriages come with extra challenges to marriages from within the same culture. It can be a great experience to learn about other cultures, but it can also present with many challenges, especially when it comes to crucial issues central to the home and the marriage and both partners have completely different perspectives on the issue.
My experience in working with many wives and couples over the years is that culture clash is rarely the actual problem. What is more often the problem is dealing with individuals who have an immature understanding of marriage and its commitments, and are emotionally and psychologically unprepared for a meaningful relationship with another individual…
Every married woman needs a husband whom she can openly go out with and whom she does not need to be afraid to be seen with. You are a strong woman who has managed to keep your marriage as a secret for 6 whole months, but you should not have to do that.