Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
If I marry, I would marry a convert. Due to racist reasons, my mother disagrees with this but my father doesn’t. To me, character and lifestyle matter more than nationality. But I have noticed that so many born Muslims are so nationalistic and have cultural traditions that are against Islam. The mothers-in-law and families are often very difficult, and I know this because I see this in my own family. Most converts are not nationalistic and don’t live with these traditions. That’s why I don’t want to marry a born Muslim. Am I right? Can I make dua for this?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Unfortunately, what you say is true. There are many deeply problematic and ingrained cultural problems that lie within many ethnic Muslims and their marriages. Difficult mothers-in-law are an especially sore point. All of this is cultural, and not from Islam, because Islam condones the exact opposite – forgiveness, letting go of grudges, compassion, giving others the benefit of the doubt etc.
However, it is a mistake to think that one can avoid problems by marrying a Muslim convert. Marriage to anyone will bring its own set of challenges. These problems are all opportunities for growth, if handled well, or opportunities for misery, if handled poorly.
For example, common issues faced by people who marry converts are this: difficulties with non-Muslim in-laws, mismatched expectations, difficulty explaining one’s family’s traditions etc.
By marrying a convert, you may not have a traditionally difficult ethnic mother-in-law, but you may have the difficulty of a mother-in-law who does not respect your Islam, and how you wish to raise your children.
Everyone, even those from the West, has some kind of culture, and a set of beliefs and expectations. There is no escaping this. What matters is how maturely you handle the challenges brought to you by marriage.
I suggest that you ask Allah to make dua for the best kind of husband for you.
If you wish, you can be as specific as you like, but know that Allah will give you exactly what you need, even if it may not be exactly what you want.
Please study and read more about marriage through these resources:
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.