I get asked a lot of questions in regards to marriage. These are the most important things you should consider before getting Married.
1- Must I Find a Wali?
One of those questions that I’ve been asked many times is how important is a wali when seeking for marriage?
Let’s understand what a wali is. A wali is somebody that is responsible for you and will be helping you through this process. In Islam, we have a protocol when it comes to marriage, and therefore this wali would be taking a very specific role; and he has responsibilities and duties.
Therefore, as a convert sister, you need to find someone that is trustworthy and reliable that will carry this role to the best of his ability.
How important is a wali in a convert’s process to get married?
Wali is very important in terms of seeking someone that will inshallah help you through this process and through this protocol that we have.
This is one step that we cannot skip, sisters. And obviously for my brothers that are watching it is very important that this is your first question when you’re seeking marriage: “Can I talk to your wali?”
Because as converts when we enter Islam, we are very new to the faith and so we may not know even our rights. And one of the things that I would personally suggest is for you to get involved in the Islamic center or masjid so that you can establish a relationship with the community and the imam gets to know who you are as an individual.
Why is it important?
Because when we are seeking for marriage, we want to make sure that we know our rights, and the only way to do that is by obtaining knowledge.
So you can’t skip a wali.
My Own Experience
My wali is an old gentleman, he’s married and he is somebody that is well known in the community. We have traveled, we have done dawah during the world cup in Brazil, we have traveled to Mexico to give dawah… And so I allocated him this role.
We traveled in large groups and so we were able to get to know one another. I always see his way of caring for converts; he worries a lot about converts and their well-being, and therefore, I thought he was the most appropriate individual to choose as my wali.
Marriage is something sacred in Islam, it’s half of our deen, but it’s a huge responsibility. It’s not a joke and it’s also not a walk in the park, you have to work at it. We have to make sure that whatever is that you’re looking for, you write it down on paper and tell your wali about it.
2- When to Get Married?
The next question that I received was how soon after converting do I recommend for someone to get married?
I’ve been Muslim for over a decade, and I was married and unfortunately it didn’t work out. Because I didn’t do my homework!
A lot of times when you’re fresh into Islam, you don’t know your rights and therefore a lot of things that you think are right or just because somebody is born into the faith tells you that’s the way to go, well sometimes it doesn’t work out that way…
We need to be careful when it comes to looking to get married. So, every situation is different. Converts come from all walks of life, we come from different backgrounds, different upbringings and obviously we have different needs upon entering the faith.
I have dealt with sisters that are in a financial situation that they need to be taken care of well. Other sisters that are very independent and they don’t need to get married immediately, and so they seek knowledge.
Rushing into the process can become a bit chaotic. I’ve been divorced for eight years and this is not a pressing matter for me. I’m very involved in the community. I do a lot of activism, I do a lot of dawah. I have a job and taking care of my son is suffice for me.
Every individual is different, and therefore we need to make sure that we’re cautious, that we’re asking the right questions.
That’s why the wali is so important because he will help you filter some of these questions. And he will help you navigate this process.
3- Can My Non Muslim Family Be Part of This Process?
I always get asked, “could my father be part of this process?”
The only thing that you disobey your parents is when they take you away from Islam or they’re trying to tell you not to obey Allah. It’s important for you to include your family.
Well, because a lot of family members of converts don’t understand the faith. And if you exclude them completely, it would be heartbreaking.
They’re still going to be your family and they’re still going to be part of your life. Even after you marry this individual. So it is important for you to involve your family members.
(From Discovering Islam archive)