Sikhism and Interfaith Marriage
Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra
Question: I am from India, Sikh by birth and I seek knowledge regarding the Islamic views on few aspects.
1) Sikhism, as you must be aware, is a strictly monotheistic religion, like Islam. I am keen to inquire about how Islam views Sikhs from Day Of Judgement.
2) If Islam allows a Muslims girl to chose a husband of her own, shouldn’t she be allowed to chose someone who may be a non-Muslim? And why is this given more importance than lying? And considering Sikhs also believe in One-God, shouldn’t they be a suitable matrimonial partner?
3) If a boy is very good in nature and doesn’t hurt anyone but is not a Muslim by birth or religion, should a Muslim girl’s family reject him just because he is not a Muslim? If he has the best value-system, does belief in God matter?
Answer: In the Name of God, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,
Thank you for your email. Your questions show that you are open-minded and respectful. I believe that no one asks a sincere question regarding the ultimate Truths and eternal verities, except that they are being guided by God to something higher and greater and better for them. So in His Name, I begin:
Sikhism and Islam
It is true that Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, just like Islam. In fact, Sikhism was influenced in a significant way in its early development by Islam, particularly through the field of Islamic spirituality (Sufism) and the teachings of certain Muslim mystic-saints (sufis), whose writings were later included into the Sikh holy book, the Adi Granth.
The beliefs of the early Muslim mystics who left their indelible mark on Sikhism were clear: that there is no god except the one true God, and that the Prophet Muhammad was His final messenger and servant, peace be upon him, after a long line of prophets revered also by the Jewish and Christian faiths. Whoever sincerely desires the truth of monotheism in its purest and most authentic expression then, should at least explore what this means, and what the Prophet’s message was.
The crux of the matter therefore, is not simply claiming monotheism, but actualizing that claim to monotheism. What monotheism entails from us is that we worship God the way He desires to be worshiped, according to the guidance that He sent to us through His messengers, of which Muhammad was the last, peace be upon him and all the prophets.
The message of Islamic monotheism is the one valid, saving message on the Day of Judgment for all of humanity. Those who never had a chance to fairly understand this divine truth in their lifetime will not be judged by its standards on that Day, but those who did have the chance, and realized its veracity deep down inside, will be asked on that day how they responded to God’s guidance in their lifetime. It’s up to the individual to earnestly seek God and accept the truth where it is revealed to him.
While a Muslim, man or woman, has the right to choose who they marry, the pool of who they can choose from is based upon what God has allowed. A Muslim woman can only marry a man who prays to one Lord in the same way she does, and who encourages and enables her to live a spiritually-fulfilling life in Islam, with all the rights and respect it affords her, ideally speaking. This requires that he be a Muslim, so that she finds a partner to live her faith with, and so that their future offspring can also be born and raised as Muslims who lovingly follow God’s way.
Every virtue has its proper place. Not lying, for example, is better and more important than being a good driver, but when one is on the highway, driving safely takes precedence over not lying since a greater interest (life) is being protected as a priority. In the same way, all good virtues in a spouse are important, but if correct faith is missing, this threatens the spiritual life and afterlife of the other spouse, and so this becomes a priority to preserve.
As we said above, while both religions are monotheistic, the next litmus test is to ask whether one believes in the finality of prophethood and the verity of the final message of God in the form of Islam. If the answer is in the positive, one is suitable to marry a Muslim woman. If not, then not.
You must remember that these conditions are not made-up by religious clergy nor in the hands of men- rather, this is God’s command to us. Hence, if one claims to be monotheist, how can one sincerely claim this and not ask oneself what God wants from them?
Thus, rather than questioning the wisdom behind certain rulings that may be preventing us from doing what we want to do, we should open our hearts and ask God what He wants us to do then follow that, as, obviously, what He wants will have the greatest wisdom, will it not?
Faith Matters, So Give Truth a Chance
Correct belief in God matters, as it is the highest virtue. This is the purest reflection of the highest ideal: Truth. It is only through God that all other virtues are known to man. Thus, the closer we get to understanding God and worshiping Him the way He wishes, the more we understand what virtues we should adorn ourselves with. One can be very moral and courteous, but without loving God and doing what He loves, we have a huge gap in our moral system and our values are deficient, without knowing it.
Thus, it is valid for a Muslim girl’s family to demand that a suitor follows that highest virtue of true faith. If a man truly loves a Muslim woman, then he owes it to her- and moreover, to the One who created her – to give an unbiased, sincere look at her religion, and ask God whether it is the true way, or not.
I am not trying to preach or cast rules upon you because I don’t know what you are going through, but rather because I was once in your position over a decade ago, and I was faced with this opportunity to search for the truth, and I asked God to guide me, and then He guided me to the truth of Islam through His love and mercy upon me. I have not regretted or looked back since then. By finding God, I gained everything I truly wanted and more than I had ever asked for in both my worldly and spiritual life, including my family and the most peaceful and satisfying way of life. And you can have that too.
If you have any other questions, I am ever at your service.
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani