Counseling 2011_janfeb_eight

Published on December 27th, 2010 | by Dr. Shahid Athar

23

Marriage of Muslim Girls (and Boys) in America

The marriage of Muslim girls in America is becoming a problem.  Recently, a Muslim father wrote a letter in a national magazine complaining that despite all his efforts to teach his children Islam, his college-going daughter announced that she would marry a non-Muslim boy whom she met in college. As I was wondering why a Muslim girl would prefer a non-Muslim boy over a Muslim, the following issues came to my mind:

  1. Might be she is opposed to and scared of arranged marriages. However, she should know that not all arranged marriages are bad ones, and about 50% of all love marriages end up in a divorce in this country.  Arranged marriages should be “arranged” with the approval of both boy and the girl.  I am personally opposed to the blind arranged marriages, for that is not Islamic.
  2. It is possible that the Muslim boys she or her family knows may not care for marrying Muslim girls.  In this white supremacy cult of our society, many of us are living with an inferiority complex.  Thus, Muslim boys in pretext of  dawah, get involved with non-Muslim girls because of their easy availability.  Muslim parents who also live with an inferiority complex do not mind their son marrying a white American girl, but they would object if he marries a Muslim girl of a different school of thought (Shia/Sunni) or different tribe, like Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan, Arab vs. non-Arab, Afro-American vs. Immigrant.  Both the parents and the boy should remember that the criterion for choosing a spouse that was placed by the Prophet Muhammad (P) was not wealth or color, but Islamic piety.
  3. She may have been told that early marriage, that is, age 18 or less, is a taboo, and she should wait for later age. According to statistics, 80% of American girls, while waiting to get settled in life with marriage, engage freely in sex with multiple boyfriends.  However, this freedom is not and it should not be available to Muslim girl (as well as boys).  Every year, huge number of teenage girls in this country who think that they are not ready for marriage  get pregnant.  By the age of 24, when a Muslim girl decides that she is ready for marriage, it may be too late for her.  If she reviews the matrimonial ad section in Islamic magazine, she will quickly notice that boys of the age group of 25 to 30 are looking for girls from the 18 to 20 year age group.  They wrongfully assume that an older girl may not be chaste.
  4. She may also carry a wrong notion not proven scientifically that marrying healthy cousins may cause congenital deformities in her offspring.

Let us discuss some other issues.

  1. Marriage with People of the Book. The Quran permits Muslim men to marry women from the People of the Book (Chapter 5, verse 5).  Whatever Quran makes permissible remains permissible, and we cannot make it non-permissible. At the same time, Quran discourages Muslim men and women from marrying an idolater (mushrik), saying that a believing man or a believing woman, even as slaves, is better than idolaters (Ch. 2, verse 221).Thus, Muslim reformists in the past, including Caliph Umer (RA) discouraged Muslim men from marrying women from People of the Book. My personal opinion is that a Jewish or Christian girl who wants to marry a Muslim boy should preferably become Muslim for at least six months before marriage, with the conviction that even if the marriage does not take place, she will remain a Muslim.
  2. Wrong expectations. If you review the matrimonial ads in the Islamic magazines, the wish list for Mr. Right or the Perfect Wife is very similar.  All fathers and brothers want to marry their daughters or sisters to a professional such as a physician, engineer or lawyer, as if other modes of living such as in the case of teachers, mechanics, taxi drivers or carpenters, have no right to marry.
  3. Importing brides or grooms from overseas (green card marriages). There is nothing wrong with marrying someone from overseas, preferably a relative who has visited the USA.  It would be easier for him or her to adapt to the lifestyle in the USA than it would be for a total stranger from overseas, who marries a girl with a green card.  Such marriages are usually disastrous.
  4. Marriage with a widow or older woman. This does not take place anymore in our society because of the culture.  To the contrary, Islam came to abolish such customs, and the Prophet Mohammed (P) himself set an example.
  5. Role of parents and community elders in introducing prospective brides or grooms. There is nothing wrong with doing so.  Again, it is the culture that stipulates that the girl and her parents do not initiate a proposal but wait for the offer.  To the contrary, Khadija sent a proposal to her business manager through her friend and the father of Fatima (RA) sent a message to Ali, his cousin that suggested that he marry his daughter because he (PBUH) thought that both of them were suitable for each other.  Therefore, the introduction of eligible bachelors to each other is the duty of the parents and community elders, regardless of their sex or relationship.

By Shahid Athar

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About the Author

Shahid Athar, MD, FACP, FACE is a physician (endocrinologist) in private practice and on the faculty of Indiana University School of Medicine (sathar3624@aol.com).



  • Bahjat Tabbara

    I doubt ‘people of the book/scripture’ refers to the Christians & the Jews (or Unitarians & Samaritans) & indeed NONE of the Muslims married non-Muslims (by ‘Muslim’ I am referring to all the Prophets from Adam to Muhammad) & even Muhammad himself only married women who had converted to Islam. The ‘people of the book’ perhaps refer to sceptics of Muhammad’s Prophethood who considered themselves Hanifs (Muslim followers of Ibrahim’s faith) but certainly ‘People of the Book’ was not referring to the Christians & Jews.

    I think that we should be clear that people should be allowed to make their own decisions, after-all God will sort them out. With all due respect to people who’s sons (or daughters) choose to marry non-Muslims, but their destiny is in the hands of God, & people should be left alone, for they know what Islam allows/doesn’t allow.

    • Sana

      People of the book as used in the quran…does actually refer to the christians and the jews!!! The term “People of the Book” in the Qur’an refers to followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions that are older than Islam. This includes all Christians, all Jews (including Karaites and Samaritans), and Sabians. There is no confusion about that! It does not refer to sceptics of the prophet. The people of the book were considered much closer the muslims in thier beliefs and teachings because all these religions (christianity, judaism…) came with the same message..but the message was corrupted and changed over time by the people. Everytime a prophet was sent with this message of monotheism and the belief in Allah, the people would either kill the prophet or disregard his teaching. that is why we were warned that mohamed is the LAST messenger and that there will be no more messengers after him.
      you are right, people should be allowed to make thier own decisions, but it is STILL the duty of every parent to educate his/her daughters and sons about islam and what it means to choose the right person for marriage. Wisdom comes with age and experince, and at times the girl or boy who’s all excited about getting married may not have thoughfully and seriously considered the meaning and consequences of this action that they are about to take, thus, it would be the parents responsibiliity to help them put everything into perspective and clearly understand the responsibilities one will have as a married person. Its true that god will sort things out for them…but if the pick is wrong from the begining then you can only blame yourself and no one else for the failure of your marriage.

      • msa

        Just want to say that Islam is the Oldest way of life, nothing is older than Islam – it existed right from day one when Adam (pbuh) was created. All Messengers & Prophets were Muslims (submitting to the Creator – Allah) – with passage of time each of the communities to whom Message of God was revealed deviated from it’s true teachings & the Muslims of today are no exception.

        Shaitaan or satan is an equal opportunity employer – his sole objective is to destroy everything Allah swt has made healthy & wholesome (leaves no one alone – be they Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroasters, etc..) – he is mentioned as a sworn enemy to humanity (Adam’s progeny) in The Quran.

    • msa

      The people of the book are “the followers of Injeel or Torah” or those who claim to be following these books & refers to the Jews & the Christians. The very purpose of the Quran was to purify & rectify the deviations to the truth that had crept into peoples beliefs & actions – so people would have no more excuses that no warner has come to them. Even the idol worshipers in Mecca claimed to be followers of Ibrahim pbuh just like the Jews & Christians did & Quran clearly refutes those claims while inviting them to the newly revealed Message preached by Prophet Muhammad pbuh. After Prophet Muhammad pbuh this responsibility of sharing the Truth rests on the Muslim ummah.

      I agree with what’s mentioned in the second paragraph.

  • Sbawany

    It is not just in America that girls are facing a problem in getting married. Muslim girls find it increasingly difficult to get married anywhere outside their country of origin. I am a 36 year old single Muslim woman staying in the Middle East and I have been trying desperately to find a suitable spouse for the last 15 plus years but in vain. I have given up now and probably will have to end up being a spinster rest of my remaining life. Maybe this is Allah’s will.

  • Imran

    I think open communication with kids from early age about this and also being an open minded person might help in looking for a spouse? Also go out and meet many people and hey you might develop a connection…

    • S Shaik

      I like to agree with you Imran. The up bringing of kids is the foundation and meeting people makes it much easier for getting to know people and what to look for a spouse. Being Isolated does not help the person looking for a partner. There are many good Muslim Women & Men that will connect easily and share the same values. I grew up in a Non-Islamic county and witness Non-muslim getting married to Muslims and become better practical Muslims. Some even reached the stage where they teach born Muslims about the Deen of Islam. We got to have an open mind & open communication with the kids…

      • turkish

        you r wrong!dont use open minded ,this ,that as excuses~Allah made it clear on Quran what we should do and dont~it make me sick to see ppl are not serious about marrige espacially if thay r muslims~Halal marriage is real happiness!

    • Tahira

      When it comes to marriage, that only works if you are a strong muslim.  For a woman, she has to be even stronger, because a man can turn a woman around even if she thought she couldn’t be turned around.  She might think she’s going to convert him and he may be thinking he loves her for who she is now.  But wait till the honeymoon’s over and reality hits. 

      If a muslim woman is going to marry a non-muslim man, she can’t masquerade as a moderate muslim, thinking she’ll give him a little “Islam” at a time. She has to up front with the deepness of her faith, including the way she dresses and if he likes what he sees, then he already knows what he’s getting himself into. He’ll be more apt to convert because he already likes what he sees.

  • MixednProud

    Perhaps the parents of this girl need to be more open minded and give dawah to this young man and accept that the person their daughter is marrying may become one of the best Muslims out there. Since when does an Arab or a Pakistani have to remain confined to their own culture? This whole article really offended me. As a child of mixed culture–my mother is white, I can tell you that she is one of the best Muslims I will ever encounter and I am so proud that my father–an Arab, went against CULTURAL (not Islamic) norm and married the woman he felt was his partner in life. How did Islam spread? The Muslims remain in Saudi Arabia just twiddling their thumbs? Or did the go off to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe giving dawah, spreading Islam, marrying women of the new areas and putting down new roots. Islam is not a culture, it knows no boundaries, so why expect that to apply in one’s marriage?  

    • Syed Rehman88

      Islam did not spread by Muslim marrying non muslims to try to convert them. Its true that many converts become very good muslims but that is usually the case if they convert for the right reasons. If a person is converting just so that they can marry someone then they are doing it for the wrong reason.
      Also this article is not abt mixed cultural marriages but it is about muslims marrying non muslims which is not allowed in many cases.

  • Hanoonamuslimah

    I do not agree with the article at all. And frankly as a (happily) married Muslim woman I think that the author as a man as NO BASIS what-so-ever to speak on behalf of Muslim women and why they may be making choices they are. This is quite clear in the article.

    • Syed Rehman88

      Just because a person is a man or women does not mean that they cannot speak of things other than themselves. And it doesnt matter if you agree with the article or not but if your married to a non muslim then know that it is against Islam.

    • Tahira

      The main reason why a muslim woman needs to marry a man for his piety is because if there is ever any disagreement between the husband and wife they can always turn to Qur’an and Sunnah.  This means that the sister needs to be educated as well as the brother.  If she marries a non-muslim, there is no defense.  Even if he takes Shahadah just to marry her, she still has no defense, because he’s just doing lip service and that will vanish the minute there is a disagreement.  Where is she going to turn?  To the Bible?

  • nouman

                                       I am Nouman from karachi , , i belong to memon family bombay wala, i m 24 years old ,currently i m  studying ACCA(ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS) UK , i m in final part 3, in addition i also completed B.comm(Bachelors in Commerce)  with 1st division, moreover, i also worked in ARY DIGITAL NETWORK as Assist Financial Accountant for one year since 2011, and i also worked in my father office as trainee of one year as well since 2008. i have left one year to complete MBA , if i complete ACCA qualification so i will need to give final paper of CPA usa, and i can also get membership of CGA Canada ,. so i have bright opportunity in future in both these countries . 
    we are two brother and no sister, my younger bro is studying BBA from IQRA in 4th semester, my dad is an accountant, my mom is a house wife. my two aunties and one uncle live in Texas at Houston city. we are moderate family .
    i am trying to apply for USA visa, but you know it depends on luck. ,  y, my parents is also looking a usa or canadian girl for marrying with me so soon as possible, i can engage or marry whatever her family like , if her family live in karachi they can contact us 
    nouman.attari@yahoo.com, if she want to come in U.A.E,  for marrying so i can come , we can also get marry through telephone , i have no restriction for her , if she like to continue her study after marrying so she can. my dad is also applying for usa but i dont know how much time will it take to make him reach. 
    please ask me any further queries if you want, and  i can show my all document to her family . moreover,, as my two phoppies and one uncle live in TEXAS at Houston city, if you know any family please let me know
    thanks
    regard
    nouman

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002380929652 Syed Mujahid

    as salamu alaikum, 

    dear brother and sisters ,
    The basic information i am lacking in this case seems to be and not only in this case but all over the globe is that we are not giving the regular islamic etiquettes and the love towards islam and the prophet muhammed pbuh. and his sayings.

    once the love to allah , islam and his prophet muhammed is ignited, there is no way that a boy or girl go astray. it is the parents who through their children in the other engagements, other studies, other affairs and leave their kids and children in the dark way , the parents never care for their children. if i am not wrong, it is the parents who have opted the non islamic life , and if at all they think of islam it is restricted towards juma prayers and if most possible, ethical way of prayers and reading quran but never they know why they are praying and how come is there possibility that their children know ?

    it is very highly important that all parents especially newly married couples must start to work on starting daily reading and understanding of islamic literature in their homes with their kids.

    I Repeat , this work of daily islamic home study is important rather than just arranging muallims who just impart education but cannot leave the prints on the mind which only can be possible mostly if done by parents.

    This issue is not only in USA but also in India and i can say globally wherever the parents are careless towards their children in imparting islamic studies at home by them in their  upbringing the results are same in one or other form. say denying marraige with muslims, not respecting elders, careless towards parents at old ages etc….
     
    the age factor discussed in this article 25 years of boys are seeking 18 to 20 is not only in usa but also in india and is global it seems.
     
    if this is the practical case, the solution is again the turn for a marraige of girl is coming to 18 years as that of 30 years back and parents must think again rather on studies only , better get married and continue studies as well.
     
     
    discuss and explain the issues very frankly.

    then only there is a possibility that the children of the today will not go astray insha allah.ameen.

    May allah swt bless with the best to all the muslims all over the world.
     
    Regards/-
     
    Syed Mumtaz
    ISRA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002380929652 Syed Mujahid

    as salamu alaikum, 

    dear brother and sisters ,
    The basic information i am lacking in this case seems to be and not only in this case but all over the globe is that we are not giving the regular islamic etiquettes and the love towards islam and the prophet muhammed pbuh. and his sayings.

    once the love to allah , islam and his prophet muhammed is ignited, there is no way that a boy or girl go astray. it is the parents who through their children in the other engagements, other studies, other affairs and leave their kids and children in the dark way , the parents never care for their children. if i am not wrong, it is the parents who have opted the non islamic life , and if at all they think of islam it is restricted towards juma prayers and if most possible, ethical way of prayers and reading quran but never they know why they are praying and how come is there possibility that their children know ?

    it is very highly important that all parents especially newly married couples must start to work on starting daily reading and understanding of islamic literature in their homes with their kids.

    I Repeat , this work of daily islamic home study is important rather than just arranging muallims who just impart education but cannot leave the prints on the mind which only can be possible mostly if done by parents.

    This issue is not only in USA but also in India and i can say globally wherever the parents are careless towards their children in imparting islamic studies at home by them in their  upbringing the results are same in one or other form. say denying marraige with muslims, not respecting elders, careless towards parents at old ages etc….
     
    the age factor discussed in this article 25 years of boys are seeking 18 to 20 is not only in usa but also in india and is global it seems.
     
    if this is the practical case, the solution is again the turn for a marraige of girl is coming to 18 years as that of 30 years back and parents must think again rather on studies only , better get married and continue studies as well.
     
     
    discuss and explain the issues very frankly.

    then only there is a possibility that the children of the today will not go astray insha allah.ameen.

    May allah swt bless with the best to all the muslims all over the world.
     
    Regards/-
     
    Syed Mumtaz
    ISRA.

  • Dadang

    hi all…i am dudung come from indonesia…i want marriage with an american girl moslem…because her is my dreamy girl…most beautiful girl in world…

  • looking at Islam

    His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
    ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ????
    Special Office of King
    Saudi Royal Court

    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    c/o Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia to Washington DC
    His Excellency Adel A. Al- Jubeir (Ambassador)
    601 New Hampshire Ave, NE
    Washington, DC 20037

    Ref: American Citizen Stranded in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

    His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

    We read about your big Islamic Solidarity Summit doing Your Holy Month of Ramadan calling for Islamic Solidarity , We question how non Muslim’s can learn about Islamic Religion or have trust when we learn about American Muslim Stranded in your country in city call Riyadh being miss treated doing Muslim Holy month of Ramadan, Joseph speak before on Face book about Islamic values Ethics, morals that Islam is good Religion, how can I have faith in Religion this natural when I hear about someone being miss treated in this way. We learn Joseph over stay his visa by one day in Saudi Arabia after bring delegation from major U.S. University’s with group Doctor’s to visit Saudi Arabia this delegation visited your country, have agree to return with his assistance Joseph. We have learn Joseph Morris having been trying obtain assistance from members Saudi Royal family to travel back to United States after only over staying his Visa by one day he have been stranded for over 20th days in your country why treat him this way. Joseph Morris love your country he has been trying to see members of Royal family for their help like. His Majesty King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman. Joseph Morris is African American we understand it’s very hard for him to obtain assist alone to see members of Royal family, we are asking for your assistance. This man waits and waiting for assistance. This how your Religion treat non Arabs.

    Joseph Morris contact in Saudi Arabia 966-556375415

    Sincerely Yours

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  • justin

    I want girl american for marry I am kurdish this is my number 07507424359

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