Question: I am 23 years old and am interested in marrying a non-Muslim who is currently studying to convert to Islam. My mother is however against it and I am not sure what to do. My father does not have objections but he is non-Muslim. Can I marry without my mother and with my father as my Wali even though he is non-Muslim?
Thank you for your question. I am assuming that you are a female, and as such, you do not need the permission of your mother nor your non-Muslim father to marry (even if you are male, you don’t need their permission). In addition, it would be invalid for your father to be a wali because he is not Muslim.
To have or not to have a wali
I don’t recommend that you take this route of doing it alone, so it would be wise of you to seek out a Muslim elder, relative, or imam to be your wali. It is recommended (and in some schools, obligatory) for a Muslim girl to have wali in order to conduct her marriage, but not obligatory in the Hanafi school as you will see in the links below. This provides some ease for converts. Please see a local, reliable, imam for his suggestions about your nikah:
Istikhara is the first step to making any big decision like marriage. Have you prayed it yet? Did you follow the etiquette of praying istikhara? Please see these links for full information on it, and be sure to have done your istikhara and let that be the foundation of your decision to marry this would-be convert. If you find that your istikhara comes out negative, you must be prepared to walk away from this and consider that your mother might have been right.
Try to communicate openly with your mother that you feel this is the right person for you. Tell her that you have prayed istikhara and that you will not marry him if he does not convert, as that would be sinful and invalid (if you are female). Assure her that this will not dissuade you from your religion or make you a worse Muslim. Be open, kind, polite, understanding, and never get angry. Let them spend some time together so that your mother can see his good character and qualities. Give your mother time to accept and get used to the idea, but do let her know that you plan to marry him and that you need and want her support.
Learn and prepare before you marry
I commend you for being Muslim, seeing that your father is not Muslim and I advise that you and your suitor take a course on marriage before you tie the knot. It is incumbent that you both learn your rights and obligations and about the spirit of an Islamic marriage.
Also, see this link for more articles and resources:
May Allah make it easy for your mother to accept this suitor, may his conversion be blessed, may both of your parents rejoice in your union, and may Allah bless the marriage.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.