This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.
There are many women who fall in love, marry a Muslim, and through the process of time discover Islam. All the possible ways of finding Islam are indications of the mercy of Allah and of how He guides those who wish to be guided.
When any two people marry, they will inevitably get to know and appreciate each other’s culture and beliefs. When a non-Muslim woman marries a Muslim, he is either practicing Islam or not.
If the man is practicing Islam, he will be kind, considerate, and tolerant with her. He will allow her to practice her religion (Christianity or Judaism) and at the same time, he will be a good example to her of Islam. She will see him fast in Ramadan and at times during the year and notice how he disciplines himself and tries to be a better person by praying more, reading more Quran, and giving in charity.
Through the course of their daily lives, she will see him pray five times a day and organize his work schedule and daily plan around this. She is unlikely to ever see him flirt with women, drink alcohol, gamble, use coarse language, or lie and cheat. If he makes a mistake, she will see him repent and seek forgiveness of the person he hurt as well as the forgiveness of Allah.
She will see in him his great love and fear of Allah as well as his love and admiration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She will also see his love and admiration for all the prophets of Allah including the one she, as a Christian or a Jew, is following, that is, Jesus or Moses (peace be upon them).
In such a situation, many women may feel attracted to the values and principles of Islam. Even if they do not accept it as their religion, they raise no objection to their children being raised to be like their father, her husband.
At the same time, there are many women who have accepted Islam at the hands of their husbands. Islam brought them closer together. What a gift from Allah that a person would be guided by the one they love!
Unfortunately, there are many cases of men who are Muslim in name only, and their practical lives and behavior do not reflect the great values and principles of Islam. Such people may meet a woman, fall in love, and marry.
Most Muslims who do not practice Islam will never deny the truth of its message. For example, even if the man is immoral, drinks alcohol, gambles, cheats, lies, deals in drugs, or does whatever else, it is unlikely that he will ever say Allah has a partner or that Muhammad is anything except the final prophet of Allah. This represents the bare minimum of his faith. And few overstep this line.
What does this mean?
It means that a woman will marry such a man and be under the assumption that both of them are just going to do whatever comes naturally, whatever they want to do and however they want to live. Another problem is that the woman may believe that what she is witnessing is Islam.
However, when children come along, sometimes a non-practicing Muslim man will have his conscience stirred and will want his children raised as Muslims. He may begin to practice Islam and try to reform his life.
Often the woman caught up in such a situation will wonder what on earth is going on and feel that her rights are being invaded because now he calls into play Islamic values and principles that up until a short time ago were not important at all.
It may appear to her as some kind of hypocrisy on his part and she will resist. This is where some women may try to escape with their children and the Muslim man tries to take them back and very difficult situations occur. It happens like this because the marriage was not built on Islam from the very beginning and things were not made clear.
At the same time, many women have found Islam in spite of their non-practicing husbands. Many women read a lot and go to knowledgeable people in an attempt to understand more about their husband’s culture or religion, hoping that this will help their relationship to be stronger and more fruitful.
While on this path, many women come to see the practical and beautiful teachings of Islam, and convert. Most men in such a situation are very pleased that this happens, and in the cases of the people I met, it was the woman who brought her husband back to the path of Islam.
Marriage in Islam is sacred, and to ensure that it has every chance to work properly, it should be based on the principles of Islam: submission to Allah and obedience to Him and His Prophet, mercy, justice, equity, kindness, tolerance, and selflessness.