Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: I am a American born and raised Muslim woman. There are many Muslim men available in America, but I’ve never found myself attracted to men of my race. I’m a proud Muslim, but I’m not very strict. I follow most of the basic rules such as charity, I don’t eat pork, I believe in one God, etc. I’m not only a Muslim by name, I actually read Quran verses and I’m proud to be Muslim.
Here’s the tricky part. A couple of years ago I met a Mexican man. We started off as friends in the very beginning.
We began developing deep feelings for each other. I truly believe that he’s my soul mate, and I know he believes the same thing.
My father is very strict. He was born in Iran and was raised as a Muslim. So of course, when my dad found out he was very angry. When I asked my dad why he didn’t like him, he told me it was because of his race. I didn’t listen to my dad and continued seeing him.
We are 100% sure we want to get married. The man I want to marry and his entire family is Catholic. But other than that, we are pretty much made for each other. I truly believe we are soul mates.
I know for a fact that I will always be Muslim. Nothing will change that.
I want to know why doesn’t God consider it a valid marriage if they are from different religions? It’s only the label that is the difference. His family loves me as well and has no problem, because they are all very open minded and kind.
I’m a very strong advocate of interracial marriages. It brings people closer together and reduces racism, using my father as an example. Please advise me.
Answer: In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
Thank you for your question.
I appreciate the complexity of your situation and would like to offer a few reflections.
As people from Muslim-majority nations immigrate to the West in mass numbers, they would do well to consider the well-being of their children and grandchildren and the challenges they will face as they attempt to hold onto their faith in a society that is multiracial and pluralistic. It’s not realistic to assume that our children will naturally incline toward prospective spouses who are from “back home” or share our particular ethnic affiliation.
Moreover, we have to consider that our children will even move beyond the family’s religious affiliation to consider prospective spouses from other faith traditions, your case in point.
I believe that it’s vital the Muslim community in North America take stock of this situation as it directly affects the future of Islam in this part of the world.
Now, on a more personal level, woman to woman, I advise you to think very carefully about the decision you are making. I understand that you share much in common with the Mexican man. However, you have to balance your feelings with the requirements of your faith, which stipulate that your husband be a Muslim. Islamically, your marriage will only be valid if he takes his shahadah (declaration of faith that God is one and Muhammad is His messenger). You should also consider your father’s feelings on the matter. In a Muslim marriage, the father acts as the daughter’s guardian, which is another requirement for the marriage’s validity, so you would need your father’s blessings.
Finally, please understand that there is a lot of wisdom in requiring Muslim women to marry Muslim men and much of it goes back to the way Islam views gender and the complementary roles of men and women. A man is expected to lead his household and establish the religion of the children. This would be difficult if the head of the household were not Muslim.
Please view a related question here as Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja counsels a Muslim woman who is considering marrying a Catholic man.
May God Most High guide you to the decision that is best for your eternal life,