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Old 06-04-2009, 07:51 PM   #1
Taqwaman
Ummat Muhammad
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Toronto
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Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

Assalam alaikum.

I think this a very important question especially considering our society in North America. Alhamdulillah there are brothers and sister entering Islam everyday in communities throughout north-America. Considering this reality I want to engage ourselves in a discussion to explore the challenges/opportunities that one (brother or sister) might face/see when considering a revert brother or sister, especially those who have recently entered the fold of Islam, for marriage.

It would be great to see brothers and sisters who have been married in this scenario or are considering as such.

JazakAllahu Khair.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:35 PM   #2
Juvé
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

I used to be married to a revert, and I have to say that FAMILY is the biggest issue, and the amount of Islamic knowledge that the reverted partner has.

Family is big one, especially the parents. Alhamdulilah, there are some parents who embrace their child (and sometimes, Islam as well) but the vast majority only tolerate it. And so, by default, they kind of resent you too. I'm speaking only of my experience, so please keep that in mind.

Anyways, this poses a lot of problems all on its own, and if the reverted partner's knowledge of Islam is limited, or they practice a limited amount, this adds to the difficulty--especially if the opposite party is from a family of Muslims. If the reverted partner isn't showing the best example of how Muslims should be (i.e. amazing akhlaaq), it makes dealing with his family a mission every single time you visit. They won't be very respectful to you because you're marrying (possibly) their worst-mannered child/sibling/relative...and this kinda stuff CAN be hidden when you are getting to know each other, and comes out AFTER you're married!

Some people don't understand Islamic etiquette and are very ignorant. Some don't bother to comprehend the wisdom of separated wedding functions, or the fact that men should go to the masjid as much as possible for prayer, etc. Likewise, there will be a lot of things that you don't agree with, such as alcohol being consumed at dinner, a gay family member, ignorant comments, etc.

Subhannallah, all I have to say is that the soon-to-be-married couple HAVE TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE in almost every facet of their lives in order for this to work. It CAN WORK, it usually DOES work, by the Will of Allah, but you have to 'girdle your loins' and be 100% positive, motivated and optimistic through it all. Then again, you have to be like that in marriage, period!

I hope this helps!
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:34 PM   #3
Taqwaman
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

JazakAllahu Khair. You have raised really good points. One of my objectives here is to understand better that the culture is one thing but understanding of religion takes precedence. But the challenge is that as more and more brothers and sisters enter Islam, they will look for relationship within out communities which come from traditionally Muslim ethnicities and cultures. I am afraid that if we do not have an approach of acceptance, these new muslims will feel rejected and distance themselves. I know of atleast once case where a reverted brother married a ahl-kitab because of the difficulty I have previously described.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:22 AM   #4
Juvé
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

Alhamdulilah I'm not from a very culturally-oriented family, as my family is a family of scholars and shuyookh--so the deen was always used as the criterion for setting the standards in the marriage. But I understand what you mean. It's not so much about acceptance--if the reverted sis/bro is very religious and so is the family that s/he is essentially marrying into--the problems mostly stem from the non-Muslim family (from my experience, the reverted partner as well).
So essentially, reverts will have the LEAST difficulty in very religious families...they should be wary of very cultural families...but that's obvious hahaha.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:02 AM   #5
Basil
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

I would advise that we steer clear of backbiting and dealing in perceived generalities when discussing such a topic.

But yes, family can be a big issue. Speaking from my perspective: I'm not the "black sheep"/outcast/bad son by any means in my family but my wife should be comfortable with the idea that my family is non-muslim and should have the knowledge and wisdom to understand what that entails:

- they may ask lots of questions relating to Islam and the woman's perspective

- they they may be severely misguided as to a lot of what Islam says about husband/wife relations (i.e. my mother, when finding out that i am looking to get married said to me: "i will be really disappointed in you if you beat some poor girl)

- they may ask about birthday parties and such for any children

It is probably more important for the convert to marry a spouse from a good family: one that is accepting of converts, patient with them, and (above all else) has left cultural baggage overseas.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:51 PM   #6
Winnie
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

Assalamu Alaikum,

Great topic of discussion.

I would like to start off by saying: If both sides of the family has approved and given you their blessings, you've passed one of the biggest challenge already! Alhamdulillah!
(Some families do not accept interracial marriages)

No doubt, there will be times of difficulty in such a situation. Given that a born Muslim man/woman chooses to marry a convert, of the same level of understanding in fiqh - many issues that arise regarding daily life can be reasoned and worked out using ijtihad.
Most problems will surface in the convert's family members.

*Do you visit the family if they have a dog?
*Will you have dinner with them if they're having pork - even if they don't serve it to you?
*What about Christmas and birthdays?
*How do you explain to your children that alcohol is haram but some of mama/baba's family drinks it?
*What if the convert's family does not want you to/is not happy with you naming your children Islamic names?
*What about the wedding? - Will they understand or be offended if you don't want it mixed?
(the list goes on)

On the other hand, from the Muslim household, it is very important that culture is kept seperate from religion. This is an important aspect regardless if you marry a convert or not - but should be more vigilently watched with someone learning the religion because you do not want to misinform him/her. The Muslim family also needs to be understanding WITHOUT having to compromise religion.

Advice:
*Make sure both parties take sufficient time to get to know one another personally and families.
*Openly discuss possible challenges before marriage and propose possible solutions together.
*KNOW that this marriage will not be easy - this is 'your' struggle/test and Allah (swt) has willed it for you - Allah (swt) does not burden us with anything more than we can handle.
*Both parties have to want to make this happen...together!
*Being understanding is an important characteristic in both parties, as well as willingness to fight together.

The born Muslim partner should also realize that support is a large responsibility in marrying a convert. Many a times, a convert sister/brother is not well accepted at home. And even if they are, he/she has a family support system at home but not a religios support system - you're all they've got! You are his/her backbone in this religion.

I always say: When 2 people really want to work together to make a marriage work, there is no such thing as a big fight.
Yes, there will be disagreements but nothing that would make or break your kinship.

Answers are always found in His book.

Sabirin.

May Allah (swt) guide us all in making the right decisions in marriage.
May Allah (swt) reward those who care for ones who have accepted Islam with the highest level of Jennah.
May we be blessed with strength and patience to stand strong next to each other through all battles in such a marriage.
May Allah (swt) warm our hearts in understanding one another.
And may those who enjoin to fulfill half their deen rightfully be showered with Allah (swt's) blessings in this life and the hereafter.
Ameen.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:08 PM   #7
Samina
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnie
Assalamu Alaikum,

Great topic of discussion.

I would like to start off by saying: If both sides of the family has approved and given you their blessings, you've passed one of the biggest challenge already! Alhamdulillah!
(Some families do not accept interracial marriages)

On the other hand, from the Muslim household, it is very important that culture is kept seperate from religion. This is an important aspect regardless if you marry a convert or not - but should be more vigilently watched with someone learning the religion because you do not want to misinform him/her. The Muslim family also needs to be understanding WITHOUT having to compromise religion.

Advice:
*Make sure both parties take sufficient time to get to know one another personally and families.
*Openly discuss possible challenges before marriage and propose possible solutions together.
*KNOW that this marriage will not be easy - this is 'your' struggle/test and Allah (swt) has willed it for you - Allah (swt) does not burden us with anything more than we can handle.
*Both parties have to want to make this happen...together!
*Being understanding is an important characteristic in both parties, as well as willingness to fight together.

The born Muslim partner should also realize that support is a large responsibility in marrying a convert. Many a times, a convert sister/brother is not well accepted at home. And even if they are, he/she has a family support system at home but not a religios support system - you're all they've got! You are his/her backbone in this religion.

I always say: When 2 people really want to work together to make a marriage work, there is no such thing as a big fight.
Yes, there will be disagreements but nothing that would make or break your kinship.

Answers are always found in His book.

Sabirin.

May Allah (swt) guide us all in making the right decisions in marriage.
May Allah (swt) reward those who care for ones who have accepted Islam with the highest level of Jennah.
May we be blessed with strength and patience to stand strong next to each other through all battles in such a marriage.
May Allah (swt) warm our hearts in understanding one another.
And may those who enjoin to fulfill half their deen rightfully be showered with Allah (swt's) blessings in this life and the hereafter.
Ameen.
AMEEN!

great advice alhamdulliah.
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
Taqwaman
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Join Date: May 2009
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

Winnie, Great advice.

Thanks for the detailed response. I think it would not be inappropriate to deduce from the discussion so far, that we (Muslims) tend to concentrate on cultural or religious difference even more in the case of considering a convert as oppose to someone from our own community (who, if you will, is "normal"). I say this because in traditionally muslim communities we have people with beliefs which lead us into shirk and these are practiced in abundance. For a new muslim to join such a family is also very challenging because they accept Islam with one understanding and then in practice they see another. So challenges in many cases are very similar as far as family and parent's beliefs are concerned, that is either being completely out of the fold of Islam or practicing bidaa' (even shirk). Therefore it is important for the new generation to consider these aspects on both ends of the equation, whether it is the muslim family and their practices or convert's. Patience and compassion on both sides is the key as far as the couple is concerned.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:24 PM   #9
Ahmed Ibn Hassan
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

Great thread btw, jazakallah kahir.

Taqwaman are you Zakariya by any chance? I think i might know you
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:37 PM   #10
Taqwaman
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Re: Marrying a convert, What are the Challenges?

No brother I am not. nice name Zakariya.
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