One of the motivations of those who convert to Islam may be marrying someone who is a Muslim. In Islam, marriage is a sacred and dear institution to Allah, and it plays a very crucial role in the formation of an ideal society. It is in fact, considered one of the greatest Divine blessings for responding to the natural instincts of human beings. However, according to the Islamic teachings, faith is the first quality to be considered in choosing a spouse.
A faithful and harmonious partner plays a crucial role in having a prosperous life. It is on this basis that the Quran, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahl al-Bayt (AS) have laid great emphasis on religion and well mannerism as necessary criteria for marriage.
Meanwhile, an important question that comes to mind is that, “can we convert to Islam for the sake of marriage or not?”
Marriage is a natural necessity for every human being and several good outcomes such as procreation, sexual satisfaction, peace of mind, etc. are considered as the purposes of marriage. However, these could not be the ultimate goal of marriage in Islam as the non-Muslims can also achieve these, perhaps in better ways.
Humankind is not created solely to eat, drink, sleep, seek pleasure or act lustfully. Thus, the aim of marriage for a religious person should be a means of gaining proximity to Allah and avoiding sins. In this regards, a good and faithful partner assumes a vital role as he/she invites his/her partner to goodness, in the same way as a corrupt person would tempt his/her partner towards corruption. Islam has enjoined its adherents to consider religion and good manners as necessary criteria for the selection of their future partners on different occasions.
The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: “If I were to bestow all the good of both worlds upon a Muslim, I would endow him with a humble heart; a tongue which continuously utters the praises of Allah; a body patient enough to withstand all calamities; and I would give him a pious spouse, who when he sees her becomes happy and protects his property as well as her own honour in his absence”.
In the Quran, it is said:
“Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace faith. A faithful slave girl is better than an idolatress, though she should impress you. And do not marry [your daughters] to idolaters until they embrace faith…” (2: 221)
From the above verse, it is clear that faith and religion is an uncompromised condition for marriage in Islam. It has explicitly prohibited marriage with the infidels except that they embrace Islam, as the statement “until they embrace faith” indicates. Thus, neither is the man allowed to marry an idolatress nor a Muslim woman is allowed to marry an idolater. However, there is a separate ruling [i] to the marriage with the people of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians).
Meanwhile, following the Islamic jurisprudence, it is considered permissible for someone to convert to Islam for marriage, as there is not any religion hindrance on that, as far as it is based on the sincerity of intention and a strong determination to act by the Islamic teachings. Although such a conversion might not be the best idea, it might be a perfect chance to think more about converting to the real and true religion.
In Islam, faith and religion are crucial requirements to be considered in the choice of a future spouse. This is because the ultimate goal of a marriage is the everlasting salvation in this world and the Hereafter. And this cannot be achieved by marrying an idolatress or idolater. However, based on the verdicts of the Islamic jurists, it is acceptable to convert to Islam for the sake of marriage, so far as it is based on the sincerity of intention and a resolution to work in line with the teachings of the religion.
[i] Books on the Islamic jurisprudence or the official sites of the religious authorities should be consulted for details of the ruling.
- Hur Amuli; Wasa’il as-Shiah, Vol. 14, P. 3.
As stated in the first part, Islam brought about reforms in the customs previous nations, including Arabs, had in practicing polygamy in Islam:
The first reform Islam enforced was the restriction it imposed upon polygamy. Before the advent of Islam, there was no limit to the number of wives. One man could keep hundreds of wives and thus establish a harem for them, just as the ones some kings had, which is strictly banned in the religion of Islam.
However, Islam put a maximum limit on their number, and an individual was not allowed to have more than four wives simultaneously.
The other reform that was made upon polygamy in Islam was the condition under which there must never be, for any reason, discrimination between the wives or their children. The Holy Quran explicitly commands:
"But if you fear that you may not treat them fairly, then [marry only] one" (4:3)
As a matter of fact, those men who can observe full justice with a number of wives are very few. It is clearly stated in the following verse of the Quran which is in association with the previous verse:
"you will not be able to be fair between wives, even if you are eager to do so..." (4:129)
Allah explains here that justice between the wives in its true sense - to stand exactly in the middle of the extremes - is beyond human power even if one may wish it. What a man is obliged to do is that he should not be totally inclined to one of them, leaving the other one as she were in suspense… .
Besides these two main restrictions, there are other responsibilities and duties polygamous men have to fulfill toward all their wives; such as Nafaqah (alimony) and Mahrieh (marriage portion), etc. [see the article about the rights of the wife over her husband]
Ultimately, there is no dispute about the fact that monogamy is better; it is actually the best and most natural form of marriage in Islam. Obviously, the spirit of marital life which is oneness and unity is attained better and with more perfection with a single spouse.
It is only within this form of marriage that family commitment makes sense, and the great bond that unites the hearts of husband and wife makes them become one soul and one flesh .
Polygamy in Islam, on the other hand, rises from a social problem that rests heavily on the shoulders of all men and married women and for which a better solution has not yet been found. We have to face the fact that monogamy is not practical in specific social circumstances, and polygamy -under the mentioned conditions- is the most significant saving factor for monogamy.
One of two alternatives should be chosen: either the restricted acceptance of polygamy -as a duty rather than pleasure-, or the love affairs system, which is common in some societies these days. In other words, a few married men should marry more than one wife -of course under the condition of fulfilling all the above-mentioned responsibilities of a husband in a polygamous family-, and these will certainly not exceed a few percents, and unmarried women should settle, get home and make a life for themselves; or else open the way for love affairs.
In the case of the second alternative, the women deprived of family life may associate at her own free will with several men, and, as a result, almost all married men will in practice be polygamists.
Even then the matter will not end. The wives who will find their husbands to be unfaithful will think of taking revenge upon them and thus will themselves become unfaithful. This final result has been summarized in the well-known Kinsey report in one sentence: “The men and women of America have surpassed all other nations in unfaithfulness” .
Now, which alternative do you think is better?
Islam is a comprehensive way of life, and one of the characteristics through which it is distinguished from many other religions is that it encompasses every aspect of a Muslim’s life. Islam teaches Muslims to respect the elderly whether they are parents, relatives, or any other old person. This is because caring for the elderly in Islam is considered an important obligation through which one seeks closeness to Allah.
There is no doubt in the special status of the elderly in Islam, as there are several texts, which urge Muslims to respect and honor them. An elderly person has a high status before Allah and His Prophet particularly if he is a believer.
In the Quran, Allah says:
“ And whomever We give a long life, We cause him to regress in creation. ; …?”(36:68)
From the verse, it is obvious that the inception of old age is a period of decline – decline comes partly from physical and partly from psychological factors. Thus, at this critical stage of life, Islam recommends adequate caring for them because they are like a prophet in a family and a blessing in the society. The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) said:
“The elderly among his family is like a Prophet among his community” 
Moreover, honoring the elderly is synonymous with honoring Allah and His Prophet. In this regards, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was reported to have said:
“Honor the elderly because honoring them is part of honoring Allah” 
Meanwhile, Imam Sajjad (AS) while describing the right of the elderly in his book ‘Treatise on rights’ said:
“The right of him who is older than you is that you show reverence toward him because of his age and you honor him because he entered Islam before you. You leave off confronting him in a dispute, you do not precede him in a path, you do not go ahead of him, and you do not consider him foolish. If he should act foolishly toward you, you put up with him, and you honor him because of the right of Islam and the respect due to it”.
Similarly, Islam commands a Muslim to honor and respect senior citizens because honoring the elderly will guarantee the protection against every calamity on the Day of Resurrection. The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) said:
“Whoever honors the gray hair due to an old age, Allah will definitely save him from the panic of the Day of Judgment”.
Islam is the fountain of mercy, sentiments, and sympathy. Hence, it is not strange to see Islam paying attention to the elderly and instructing a Muslim to give them compassion. There are texts from the Quran, the sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his pure Household (AS) on how a Muslim should treat an elderly person. These include:
Always honors and be merciful to the elderly. For respecting them is considered a form of worship in the sight of Allah while disrespecting them is absolutely rebuked, and it is against the pristine teachings of Islam.
In case of necessity, always render assistance to the elderly .
Consult the elderly for guidance on personal and collective decisions, for they are guides in a family and the society similar to a Prophet of God.
Never insult or scold an elderly. Because a disrespect to them is reprimanded by Allah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his pure Household (AS).
Allow our elderly to live with us. It is a bad habit to send them to nursing homes just because they are considered as nuisances to the society.
Respecting the elderly and honoring them are among the characteristics of a Muslim society. Therefore, it is expected of every Muslim to imbibe the culture of respecting old people whether they are parents, relatives or not. Likewise, we should always acknowledge and appreciate their presence within us especially our parents. The presence of the elderly either in the family or the society is a blessing from Allah. Their presence will bring peace, happiness, concord, tranquility, mercy, and reward from Allah. It is indeed an un-Islamic practice to consider our elderly a public nuisance and eject them from our midst.
- Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 72, P. 137.
- Wasail al-Shiah, Vol. 12, P. 100.
- Treaties on Rights, Right 44 (i.e. The right of the one older than you)
- Mustadrak Wasail, Vol. 8, P. 391.
- Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 165; Jami at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1919.