This reply is on: NUS ISLAMIC AWARENESS WEEK 2011
By Ustaz Zhulkeflee Bin Haji Ismail:
I have a non-Muslim friend who wants to get married to a Muslim guy. She is willing to convert and believe in Islam but she will not be able to get her parent's approval. If she goes ahead and marries the boy, will their marriage be a blessed one? Will she be sinned because she disobeyed her parents? Her parents disapprove of the guy only because he is Muslim.
Al-Hamdulillah! (All Praises belongs to God). Whomsoever Allah guides, none can lead astray and Allah will be the Protector of those who believe in Him, and He will bring them out from darkness into light.
Lest people may misunderstand Islam and Muslim converts, please allow me to make some clarifications first, before responding directly to your question.
A person’s willingness to accept any religion, especially Islam, is a personal decision which he or she should make without being coerced nor deceived into it. In my experience, people ‘come’ to Islam or ‘come to know’ Islam, because of many different reasons or circumstances. Some were born into a Muslim family, while others may be through conversion. Yet, to ‘become’ a Muslim, we are taught in Islam that it should be because of the truth of its teachings, in which one has learnt and is willing to accept. This is because religion is a personal matter between a person and God, for which he or she will be held accountable for it in the Hereafter. Religion should be accepted sincerely, as Allah stated in the Qur’an:
وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ حُنَفَآءَ
“And they have been commanded no more than this: to (serve or)worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being True (in faith)”
(Qur’an: Bayyina: 98: 5)
NO FORCE IN MATTER OF ACCEPTING RELIGION
One of the cornerstone of Islamic teaching is the individual right to a religion. And no person should be compelled or forced, nor deceived into accepting any religion. This is clearly stated by Allah :
لَآ إِكۡرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشۡدُ مِنَ ٱلۡغَىِّۚ فَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِٱلطَّـٰغُوتِ وَيُؤۡمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ
ٱللَّهُ وَلِىُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ يُخۡرِجُهُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِۖ
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error; whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness, He will lead them forth into light.”
(Qur’an: Baqarah: 2: 256-257)
وَلَا تَقۡفُ مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌۚ إِنَّ ٱلسَّمۡعَ وَٱلۡبَصَرَ وَٱلۡفُؤَادَ
“And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).”
(Qur’an: Isra’: 17: 36)
IMPORTANT ADVICE ON CONVERSION
Thus as much as I am happy at her willingness, and would welcome the sister to Islam, I have to advise her firstly that she find out, study and assess Islam by the teachings, without it being mixed with the idea of the marriage to a Muslim.
Only if she is already convinced of its Truth, should she convert. Do not accept Islam and embrace it as a matter of convenience. I always respect Muslim converts because they become Muslims by choice, not by chance.
MY ADVICE TO HER IN DEALING WITH HER PARENTS
Your parent’s objection precisely is because they think that if you marry a Muslim man, then you are going to be ‘forced’ to convert to Islam. Their fear should be appreciated, although somewhat misplaced if you truly accept Islam because of your conviction of its truth, rather than because of marriage to a Muslim.
As I understand from the question, your parents’ objection is ‘Islam’, and not so much the Muslim guy. You need to remove that fallacy which they have. So share with them the truth of Islam (rather than the goodness of the guy). Respectfully if you can, try to remove their ‘misperceived fear’ of your becoming a Muslim, and tell them about Islam. This would be better.
When your parents have no objection to your becoming a Muslimah, then the issue of marriage to a Muslim guy would become easier. But, please ensure that he is a good Muslim.
Now in seeking your parent’s permission, you need to consult them for advice respectfully because, as a Muslim daughter you must show the utmost kindness and filial piety even to non-Muslim parents:
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَـٰنًاۚ
“Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.”
(Qur’an: Isra’: 17: 23)
وَوَصَّيۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٲلِدَيۡهِ حَمَلَتۡهُ أُمُّهُ ۥ وَهۡنًا عَلَىٰ وَهۡنٍ۬
وَإِن جَـٰهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تُشۡرِكَ بِى مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌ۬ فَلَا تُطِعۡهُمَاۖ
“And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was hisweaning: (hear the command) "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal.”
"But if they strive to make the join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge obey them not; Yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration) and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love): in the End the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did."
(Qur’an: Luqman: 31:14-15)
MARRIAGE WITHOUT CONSENT
Family in Islam is to be regarded as a sacred trust and marriage, an act of worship to Allah. And in Islam, women are to be protected and role of guardianship (Waliy) and their consent is very important. Although your non-Muslim parents must be consulted, their objections (if any) should be on matters of safeguarding your interest as their daughter, not because of your new religion. Even if they may object to you (who is already a Muslim) to marry another Muslim (but he must be one who qualify to ensure your rights and welfare would be looked after by him, responsibly), then a Muslim (Shari’ah court judge or appointed by him) as guardianship (Waliy) for you would suffice. This is because you would be only striving to comply or obey Allah, and the marriage would still be regarded as blessed. We are taught:
“There can be no obedience to creation in matters of disobedient to the Creator”
BEAR COMPANY WITH THEM
InshaAllaah, if you do marry, your family ties (even as non-Muslims) must be strengthened, for your duty (obligation) still is also to be the best daughter and your husband, the best son-in-law to them. Impress upon them that in Islam, marriage does not mean they have lost a daughter, but that they gain another son.
All these are actually obligatory for all Muslims who have testified that they bear witness to the truth “That there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا لِّتَڪُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ
“And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way (ummatan wasotan) [i.e. justly balanced], so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind (shuhadaa-a ‘alan-naas), and the Messenger as a witness over you. “
(Qur’an: al- Baqarah: 2:143)
May Allah grant us His Guidance with success
(And Allah knows the best)