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.
Conversion to Islam and becoming a new Muslim is a journey that begins with many questions and challenges, passes through many doubts and fears, studies and discussions, and one day it arrives the moment that one decides to say the two testimonies (Shahadatain). But this is not the end, rather a new start.
Sometimes conversion not only affects one’s personal life, but also his/her social life, and on top of everything, his/her family ties. However, it is not a big deal; you will always have Allah who helps you throughout ordeals and hardships, and always there exist solutions.
Families rarely accept the religious decisions of a member fully and, at its best, they put up with his/her unfortunate choice while hoping for his/her return to the truth. Sometimes in their eyes, the Muslim member of the family is not an equal, but a misguided soul requiring pity and help.
This is where the Muslim convert faces new difficulties that probably has not been expected. Thus, the question is, how can a New Muslim deal with his/her non-Muslim family?
It seems that the very first thing to do is to tell your family about your conversion; the more you wait, the more courage you will need to make it public. Besides, as long as you have not told your parents about your conversion, you are obliged to live a double life and consequently hide your “Muslim side.”
You feel 100% Muslim, but you should conceal what you really feel and you may not practice Islam as easily as it would be if you had told your family about it. Then, keep your courage, consider the benefits of telling your family about your conversion, and just do it!
Be aware that the Islamic lifestyle is something like others; it does not interrupt your daily routines. Neither the practices you are expected to do as a Muslim nor the personal attitudes that you should follow are bothering or disturbing to others. You are only required to leave or modify those social behaviors that are banned in Islam, like shaking hands with non-Mahrams, kissing or touching them, etc.
Do not panic to talk about your new life, activities, and Islamic practices with your family if you face their disapproval. Start to tell them little by little about the new Halal recipes you had come up with, any of the Islamic books you had read, your trips to the mosque, and your new Muslim friends.
If you feel it difficult to appear with Hijab in your family, for example, just think of all the beautiful things that Islam, your newfound religion, has given you and remember why you have made this decision in the first place.
Hiding things will only make you move further and further away from those you love most and might turn your conversion even harder on you and drive you to go back on your decision. Besides the ordinary daily conversations that you used to have with your parents before, keep talking about Islam and put your trust in Allah. They will eventually give you more and more freedom and respect your decision to be who you really are in front of them, Insha’Allah.
Converting to Islam and becoming a new Muslim is not just saying Shahadatain, but working on yourself and becoming a good Muslim day after day. Since Islam considers high importance for family ties (“Those who sever ties of kinship cannot hope to enter paradise. (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) ” , being a real Muslim requires you to find the right balance between life before conversion to Islam and the Muslim that you’ve decided to become.
The Quran forbids Muslims to cut the relationship with their families, rather orders to foster ties of kinship with family, especially with parents, even if they are unbeliever (kafir) or sinner (fajir) . So, take your visits to your family as an excellent opportunity to expose them to the gentle and positive aspects of Islam ; not only by your words but also with your deeds . The fact that you are a Muslim should enhance your respect for your parents, increase your patience and kindness to them, and make you more humble and merciful towards them (17:23-24).
However, this must never lead you to compromise your commitment to the dictates of your own faith. Although in several verses of the Quran, Sunnah, and many sayings of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) Muslims are ordered to give their parents dignity and keep their company honorably, you should not obey if your parents urge to polytheism (31:15).
Show your family that you would be honored to join them in their gatherings and at the dinner table, but remind them well that you are not allowed to consume alcohol, pork, or their by-products. This way you will be able to educate them on the Islamic dietary laws and explain the rationale behind them .
Remember! You are the representative of Islam and a new Muslim in your non-Muslim family. Try to be a good one!
You can also share the difficulties you have faced when telling your family about your conversion, send us your experience.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 346.
- M. al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 78.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them, and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30:21)
The concept of marriage is very ancient dating back beyond Abrahamic religions and recorded history and was practiced by all people of many cultures, religions, and ethnicities throughout the earth. Among all belief systems, Islam is the only religion that accords great importance to marriage and humans’ marital life.
The religion of Islam holds that the progress and development in all aspects of a person’s life roots in how his/her family is formed. Therefore, it provides the people who are ready for committing themselves to marriage with a comprehensive guideline.
According to Islam, the first criterion of the most eligible person to marry is having faith and being pious; In other words, the candidate should have a firm belief in Allah and the principles of Islam. This characteristic is so important that without it no other criteria is worthy of attention.
The holy Quran says: “And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you” (2:221).
If a person believes in God and whatever He commands him/her to do, consequently he/she will not be seduced by temptations of Satan, will be totally devoted to his/her own family and observant of his/her behavior towards them, and will treat his/her spouse and the whole family fairly.
Another important feature in evaluating the suitable person for marriage is being good-tempered and following the codes of morality in his/her behavior. This characteristic has been defined as “being modest, well-spoken and good-natured”  by Imam Sadeq (AS).
Nevertheless, acting morally is not only restricted to being good-tempered but includes honesty, chastity, using decent language, forbearance, politeness, contentment, benevolence, faithfulness, and generosity as well. The presence of morality in one’s behavior is so vital that when Imam Reza (AS) was asked for his advice in marrying a person who was famous for being ill-natured, he strongly disagreed .
It is stressed in the religion of Islam that one should choose her/his spouse from a decent and noble family. Family nobility does not mean fame, wealth, or social status; rather it means modesty, chastity, purity, and religiousness, which will be all passed on to the next generations.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) has said in this regard: “Marry in the lap of a decent family, since the semen and the genes have an effect.” . He has also said to avoid the greenery (herbs) growing over a sewer (cesspool); i.e., a beautiful woman born and raised in an indecent family .
Islam also lays special emphasis on compatibility in marriage. The marrying partners must be Kufw of each other; i.e., they should be equal and close to one another in terms of religiosity and morality, as well as social, financial, and also physical aspects. Spouses in the Quran are likened to clothing: “They are clothing for you, and you are clothing for them” (2:187). Just like clothes that should be of the right size, color, and material to suit you well, your spouse has to be a suitable match for you. But do not forget that in the Islamic view, the main point of similarity is in the couple’s belief and faith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “a faithful man is suitable for a faithful woman and a Muslim man is good for a Muslim woman” .
Someone who is inferior in faith to you may degrade your belief as well. Marriage is a means of the elevation of the soul, so if it results in the opposite way the whole purpose of this holy union will be wasted.
Although health problems do not preclude marriage, they have negative effects on the continuation of married life. There are various narrations in the Islamic teachings on the importance of marrying someone healthy and of sane state of mind: “when you intend to marry a woman, ask about her physical characteristics since this will create a bond of affection and love between you and your spouse” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) .
It has also been narrated from him that “Avoid marrying a stupid person since her/his company is a woe” . Moreover, we are advised by him to reject the proposal of a person who is accustomed to drinking alcohol for its detrimental effects on the body and soul.
It is noteworthy that there are other features for choosing the right person to marry like financial matters, age differences, racial differences, etc. Though there is a lot of psychological and religious advice on these issues as well, they are not of much importance in Islam as long as the girl and the boy are Muslims and have taken the five above-mentioned significant aspects into consideration.
Allah has promised to fulfill the other needs of the married couple Himself: “And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing” (24:32)
- Usul Al-Kafi , v. 2, p.563
- Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, v. 14, p.54
- Makaremul Akhlaq, v. 1, p. 432
- Al-Kafi, v. 5, p. 332
- Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, Vol. 14 , p.44
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, chapter 35
- Al-Jafariat, p. 92
- Choose a Spouse in Islam