Islamic marriage advice and family advice

New convert to Islam, Struggling with Cultural differences

I am a mid-thirties progressive American woman who never really found religion - until now. I am successful, never married, no children, have a great career and I would consider myself open-minded, strong and independent. At the oddest moment in my life I met a man whom I consider to be my soul mate. We met and had an intense, immediate attraction. Our relationship progressed quickly, he asked me to be his wife, I said yes. He is Tunisian and Muslim.

muslim and non muslim woman %photo

“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness....” (Final Testament, Al Quran, An Nisa 4:19)

He returned to his country for a visit and then his visa was denied and he is stuck in his home country. We are awaiting his Visa, we applied for a fiance visa.

The thing that I am having trouble with is the extreme 'passion' of our relationship. He has a strong temper that I am not used to. He has never hit me and says that he would never do that, but I have seen warning signs including grabbing my arm tightly.

Sometimes I feel that I should not marry him but it breaks my heart to think of being without him. I love him more than I have ever loved another. My heart says that Allah brought us together. Our differences are so great - age, culture, religion, etc. But I have researched Islam and read the Qu'ran and I decided for love, that I would believe and embrace Islam. I quit smoking, I quit drinking, I stopped speaking to men in shops, etc. I changed the way I dressed.

The problem is now none of it seems to be enough for my love.

In my world, in the United States it is ok for a man to be friends with a woman - strictly friends. I have stopped hanging out with my male friends, but most of my closest female friends are married or in relationships. When I hang out with these women, their husband ends up hanging out with us as well. My fiance came unglued when he found out that I went to dinner and a movie with my friend and her husband. He had told me that I could "keep" my current male friends,  but I could not be alone with them. I thought that being with my friend and her husband (also my friend) was ok, but apparently it was not. I don't know if this is Islam or if this is culture. I don't touch my male friends anymore (no hugging, shaking hands).

They invited me for dinner at their house and my beloved told me today that if I go that he will not marry me. It is because other people (men) will be there. I don't know what to do. Do I follow my heart or my brain? I understand because other men will be at the dinner that I will not go; but the rules seem to keep changing.

I know I can't just choose to follow the parts of Islam that I like. But it is so difficult and I don't want to ruin his life or mine. I feel that we would be very happy if I "obeyed" his every word and never went anywhere. He has told me that it would maybe be ok to go to dinner if he was with me. But when he's with  me, he does not want to be social with any of my friends - he refuses. He only wants him and me to be together - no one else.

Can I be happy in such a drastic new life?...... I know only Allah knows......

Does anyone think that he may be able to change and compromise? He says he wants to, but I don't see it. He has apologized for our fight, but I don't know what to think anymore. I can't throw away who I am........ I feel I've changed a lot for this love, I want to be his wife, but I'm afraid for the future.


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27 Responses »

  1. NewMuslim, As-salamu alaykum,

    It's his culture, not the religion. It's true that a Muslim woman should not have close male friends, and should not touch men who are not family (and the opposite is true for men as well). However, Islam does not prohibit you spending time with your female friends, or with your female friends and their husbands, or attending a gathering where men and women are present.

    North African men in particular (Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian) are known for being very jealous, controlling and possessive. Not all of them of course, but I would say most are like this.

    I realize you love this man deeply. But quite frankly, I don't think you and he are compatible. I see many warning signs. The way he has been physically aggressive with you is a big warning sign, as it is only a small step from that to striking. And yes, I think if he had his way he would try to cut you off from all your family and friends, and keep you isolated in the house. I have seen it before with these types of men.

    I don't know why some men are like this. Maybe it's insecurity; in not understanding your culture, perhaps he seeks to cut you off from it. Maybe it's jealousy, or the desire for control.

    These friends of yours, are they Muslim? If not, maybe your fiance is worried that they will try to persuade you away from Islam, or lead you to drink.

    In any case, I really don't think the two of you are compatible.

    I don't know how firm your faith in Islam is. I don't know if you would remain Muslim if this relationship did not work out. I would hope so. Islam is a beautiful religion with much to offer. Allah works in His own way. He brought you to the light of Islam. Hold on to that.

    I realize your breakup with this man would be very difficult and painful. I pray to Allah to give you the strength to deal with whatever comes.

    Without being insensitive, I would like to point out that there are many Muslim men who are easy going and trusting, and who would not try to control you in this way. Maybe in the future, if you find yourself free from this relationship, you can seek one of those men, Insha'Allah.

    Wael
    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  2. Assalamu Aleikum,

    I wouldn't recommend you to marry this man. I agree with Wael that many men from North-

    African countries can be possessive and controlling,that's at least what we hear very often.

    He is not allowed to prohibit you from going to the movies with your friends or to tell you

    not to go to a dinner where men are present. This shows a lack of confidence and has nothing

    to do with gheyra, which is positive possessivness. If you don't hug them or flirt with them,

    there's absolutely no problem in it.

    If he grabs your arm tightly or prohibits you from going somewhere, he's not the right choice sister.

    Insha allah you'll find a real good Muslim brother who is aware of your rights as well.

    Good luck

  3. As salamu alaykum,

    He is not going to change but you have changed a lot since you are in this relationship, he will get tighter and tighter, you are his possesion, and he will close your circle until you cannot move from your home, and the worst of all is that you will feel guilty about something you don´t even know what it is. That kind of jealousy is at the begining even nice, because he made you feel unique and completely loved and acepted as you are, he has introduce himself in your life with enormous subtlety, and now he has taken a big part of yourself. This for certain has been put in your life by Allah(swt) to make you stronger, to prove your faith, to see your roots, who do you love more? which is the center of your life? which is the reason why you wake up every morning? I don´t need you to answer me, you answer yourself with your Heart, you know the straight answer.

    Do everything you mention by Allah, not for any person around you, people is just around; Allah(swt) is everywhere, inside and outside, He knows you and He knows everything about you, He knows your Heart and what moves you, thanks this man for approaching you the Open Hand of Islam, recover yourself as the strong woman you are and share the Straight Path surrounded by the people you love and respect and the ones that loves and respects you,... don´t apart people from you, noone has the right to ask you that, we are social human beings.

    His "passion" is jealousy, please be extremely careful about this, this get worse and worse, you will be everyday more and more confused, miserable and guilty without no reason. As you said he only wants you, have you wonder where is the unconditional love and respect in this relationship? What does he know about your preferences, about you in general? Please think about it, act with a cold head, walk slow at least 40 every day, remember to breath consciously at least when you walk, that will help you to put everything in the right place.

    I am sorry if I am being too rude but I´ve seen it many times, and it is an extremely painful situation.

    You have the choice to be with him or not, that decision only belongs to you, if you decide to quit the relationship, please hold tight Allah´s Hands, pray and think of Him as much as you can to give you strength to go over the pain of loosing who you think is your soulmate, you will be much stronger and clearer about what moves you in life after the struggling.

    All my Unconditional Love and Respect to you,

    María

  4. As salamu alaykum Sister,

    You answer yourself, he is getting tighter and tighter, he won´t be the man you want him to be, he is who he is, you take him as he is or just let him go. He is an extremely jealous man, you have seen it, but I understand it is getting difficult for you to admit what you already know. It is your process you decide what you want to live.

    Just a question, because this is going to move you deeply, why did you embrace Islam? you said for love but for love to whom, which kind of love moved you to become a muslim?

    You know the difference of what it is straight and what it is not, then follow your Heart, you have the answers and the strength to go for what you know is the Straight Path.

    Be yourself, enjoy being alive, ... who loves you, shows love and respect for you and what surrounds you.

    All my unconditional love and respect,

    María

  5. Salaams,

    Everyone's comments here were sound and should be helpful to you. Just a couple other points I'd like to add that have not been mentioned....

    Islam teaches there is no compulsion in religion. What that generally is taken to mean is that a Muslim can not force someone who is not claiming to be Muslim to submit to issues of sharia, such as being around other men, how to dress, how to refer to the Creator ( ie: by the name Allah, or just God), among other things. It also means that if a someone decides to convert to Islam, the last thing the Muslims in their life should do is hand them a list of "do's and don't's" that they have to snap into conformity with. Most western converts find it challenging to adopt all the lifestyle changes involved at one time, and they it's best that they move into it at a pace that is comfortable to them and not overwhelming.

    Secondly, passionate relationships tend to change over time. The positive aspects of that passion tend to cool over time, and the not so positive aspects tend to become irksome, if not downright unbearable. This is the case regardless of the faith of the couple involved. Keep this in mind no matter who you fall in love with, that what you feel now will likely change into something else as time goes on. The best odds in a relationship are to find someone you are truly compatible with, who doesn't seem to be living an a 'different planet' than you.

    Best wishes.

  6. Thank you all very much for your responses. I read them all with mixed emotions. Even as I re-read my original post (it seems so very long ago that I wrote this) I have mixed emotions. I sort of knew these things that you all have posted would be the response - I don't know if I'm in denial or what. When he was here in the U.S. things were so smooth (except for the night before he left the U.S. when he grabbed my arm). In the six months that he's been gone we had a number of fights, mainly because I went to dinner with my good friend and her husband. And it is true they are not Muslim and it is true that they were drinking at dinner and offered me a drink more than once. It is also true that I was lost before I met my fiance and I was drinking a lot and not doing good things. Am'dullah I have found a better path.

    To answer another question, honestly if this relationship were to dissolve - would I identify myself as Muslim? I am not sure. I have never been a religious person in all of my life. Right now though I am identifying as Muslim, I have no idea how to pray or how to wash for prayer. I have embraced modesty and respect for Allah. I have quit drinking, smoking and gossiping. But I don't yet pray. I have asked my fiance to show me how when he comes home.

    Up until I read all of these comments I was most definitely ready to marry. I know that I must make this decision alone and should not let others opinions change mine - it is a very big decision. I guess I'm a bit confused. My heart says I want to take this risk and marry this man. Though he has been gone for six months we speak every single day. We have similar goals - to have a small family, to be close to my family, to live a simple life and love each other. There are so many unknowns - but that is life, right?

    I am thankful that Allah has come into my life. I am thankful that my fiance, for good or bad, has come into my life. I feel that I'm ready to put my heart into this. I have a muslim friend at work that I spoke with just briefly for advice (he is a man) - he said that he thinks my fiance will relax a little bit once he returns to the U.S. and is near me and gets used to things again here in the U.S. This man says that it is so very different in Muslim countries and it takes adjustment to live in the U.S., but it does happen.

    My apologies for the length of this post, but I just have so much to say about everything. I think the biggest thing is that I am trying to tell my fiance what I know about Islam (not much) - but that I want to follow the Qu'ran and not someone's culture. I feel that the word of Allah is the way - not the word of man. And I'm also struggling with "Hadiths". I have not ready any. I feel that this is the word of man - not the word of Allah. And it is confusing me.

    A Muslim woman I work with (and my fiance) says to enter the restroom with the left foot and say bismillah. And to leave the restroom with the right foot and say amdullah. I couldn't find this anywhere in the Qu'ran - so why??? One of my displeasures with organized religion in the past was all of the superstitions and rituals associated with the evolution over time of the religion. I feel that I want to follow the Qu'ran as to the best that I can and please Allah. What is with all of these other items such as saying bismillah and entering the restroom with the left foot?

    I have isolated myself from almost all of my old 'friends' as they smoke and drink and are not supportive of me or my new lifestyle. I wish to meet Muslim friends, and this is a good start! Thank you all for your very thoughtful comments - it is most appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    New Muslim who hopes, inchallah, to be an "Old" Muslim someday.......

    • As salamu alaykum New Muslim,

      Your words come from your Heart. Barak Allah feek ( May the Blessings of Allah be upon you)

      I wish you all what is good for both of you in your new life, may Allah guide and bless you and your fiance.

      Thank you for sharing.

      All my unconditional love and respect,

      María

    • newmuslim, As-salamu alaykum. Frankly, after reading this comment you wrote, I'm not so sure about the answer I gave you earlier. Does your fiance know that you used to have a drinking problem, and that these non-Muslim friends of yours drink, and that they don't have much respect for your newfound faith and its regulations? If so, then I can understand why he does not want you to associate with them. He might be looking out for you, trying to protect you and help you start a new life.

      If your fiance does not know these things, then maybe he is simply being controlling and possessive. But if he does, then I sort of see his perspective.

      There may be some truth to what your co-worker says, that your fiance will relax a bit when he acclimates to American customs. On the other hand, maybe not. I've personally seen marriages between jealous men like this and American women, where they fought like cats and dogs all the time, and eventually got divorced.

      You must be the judge. You know yourself, and you know this man better than anyone. You have to make the decision. Just don't forget to consult with Allah.

      You also asked about the issue of Sunnah or Hadiths. It's not something to be confused about. The Quran is our book and is the word of Allah. One of the missions of the Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) was to teach us how to live the Quran, how to practice it, how to express it in our daily lives. The Quran is the framework, while the Sunnah provides the details. That's why the Prophet's wife Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said about him, "He was the Quran walking." For example, the Quran commands us to pray, but does not tell us exactly how. It was the Messenger of Allah who taught us the format of the prayer, and the times of the prayers, after he himself was taught by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel). So the Sunnah is a unifying force in our lives, a body of teaching that guides us in how to practice Islam.

      That's why the Quran itself tells us over and over, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger". And the Quran says, "Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he prohibits you, avoid it." And the Quran tells us, "There is surely for you in the Messenger of Allah a good example for anyone who seeks Allah and the Hereafter."

      And that's why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in his final sermon said, "O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray. Bite on to them with your back teeth..."

      Following the Sunnah does not mean that we have to do every single little thing that the Prophet (pbuh) did. Many things were a part of his culture and time, and we are not obligated to follow them. But in matters of religion we should strive to incorporate as much of the Sunnah into our lives as possible.

      As far as what to say when you enter and leave the bathroom, these are little things and not something you should really worry about. They are not superstitions. They are ways of remembering Allah at all times, so that Allah's presence becomes a constant in our lives.

      Before I eat I say Bismillah, and when I am done I say Alhamdulillah. I say a dua' before driving, asking Allah to protect me and my family. I say a dua' when I sleep, and another when I wake up. I don't view these as burdens, but as blessings. They comfort me. The Prophet Muhammad gave us ways to always remember Allah, so that we can find peace in our hearts at all times. When I'm exercising and I push a big weight I say, Allahu Akbar! Because it reminds me that all strength comes from Allah, and that I have no power on my own. It's good to always have Allah's name on our tongues. A Muslim can do as many of these things as he chooses, or not at all, but they are good things, not discomforts.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • Schedule of Dawat-e-Islami's Sunnah Inspired Congregations in USATexas, USA. 29 September Wednesday. Madinah Masjid Dallas, 2180 Old Denton Road ... California, USA. 1st October Friday (After Namaz-e-Maghrib) ...
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  7. it is enough for you if only you know that you are a muslim. Islam respects your individuality and your integrity. you will be free to impose a penalty for a misdemeanor or quit your marriage if the fearful thoughts of yours' are fulfilled. Do mention your demands in your marital contract. Follow your love and be patient on hardships. Americans too are no less a bullying men then the rest of the world;don't believe! watch Jerry Springer show.

  8. All beautiful posts and so very helpful. Shoukran to each and every one of you - I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Alhamdullah my fiance and I have been brought together and I met this man and he has helped me to find Islam and Allah.

    Wael - yes, you are correct. My beloved knows all of my past in detail. I tell him everything and share everything with him - even when my friends have questioned my change in faith. Now that I am seeing it from that perspective, I believe I can understand his insecurity. With our language barrier, it is also very likely that he is trying to protect me and some of the words and emotions come out strictly as jealousy.

    Wael - thank you very much for your words about Sunnah, Haddiths, etc. You are right. And it is true that I have found great comfort and peace in the simple actions of saying bismillah before eating, drinking, driving, etc and saying alhamdullah when finishing.

    I will continue to learn and research and find comfort in faith, spirituality and ritual. Alhamdullah living in the Bay Area provides me ample opportunities to learn and explore.

    Wael, I believe you are very busy; however if you can explain the previous comment it would be greatly appreciated "Islam does not prohibit.....attending a gathering where men and women are present". My fiance says this is haram. In what I have been able to find on the internet, it is not haram (unless haram acts are taking place such as drinking wine, touching, not following hijab, etc) - but it is 'makruh'. I guess I'm trying to find out exactly what pleases Allah and if it is ok to attend a gathering where both men and women are in attendence (such as a Thanksgiving dinner). I feel that in a Muslim country it would be easy to avoid such gatherings, but here in the U.S. I am finding it nearly impossible (unless I stay home). Perhaps my fiance is very strict but will relax as he experiences culture in the U.S.

    Thank you so much again to all of you - Barak Allah feek!

  9. As-salamu alaykum,

    Erm, google how to read Istikhara Namaaz and perhaps you will get your answer that is clear as day. While you at it, hows about a small general dua/prayer for me.

  10. Salaams,
    I hope Allah Most High gives you guidance.

    There are a lot of organizations in the bay area, check out http://www.mcabayarea.org/
    they have classes for new Muslims. Don't make your faith dependent on the man.

    INMHO the guy does sound like he promotes culture above Islam, so don't be surprised if you find numerous verses of the Quran and Hadith challenging this guy's views- he is going on what he has been taught and seen in his society. You may want to ask him what his formal level of education is in Islam-has he ever studied under a scholar for any amount of time? If not, he may have a very elementary level of education.

    How does he feel about you working/, since it sounds like you will need to work to sponsor him? Will he support that even when he gets his green card? How many children does he want? Does he believe in birth control? Does he believe women with children always need to stay at home? If he is progressive on all these issues, is he willing to document that in the Islamic form of a prenuptial?

    If these sound very detailed, I'm in a similar boat as you, having sponsored my spouse and realizing there is so much more than just liking someone! I wished I had waited, had seen him interact in the US environment-he's 8 months here and no signs of giving up any of his original ideas-maybe if he had been younger, it would be easier for him to adjust his ideas.

    Best of Luck,
    unity

    • Unity - Thank you so much for your post - this is very good advice. We both would like to have 2 or 3 children (Insha'Allah). He does want me to be able to quit my job and be with the children but he understands that financially speaking, it may not be possible. He does feel that the man must support the family financially.

      I believe you are correct in that many of his thoughts are cultural. He is very open to asking his Imam and getting advice from his Imam - so that is good - hoping that the Imam is teaching from the Qu'ran and Hadiths and not culture.....

      I am very interested in the Islamic form of a prenuptial as before we get married with a justice of the peace, my fiancee wants to go to the Mosque and get sealed/married by the Imam.

      I'll check out the link, thank you again. Best wishes to you and your husband!

      • dear sister

        for islamic learnings there are many centers and site like http://www.dawateislami.net which may which may help you and guide the person you want to be with.

        on facebook also there are communities for reverted muslims as well for those wh want to learn

        may Allah bless you and guide you and your fienci to the right path Ameen

  11. Hi there

    your story breaks my heart and echo's my own.

    I'm 5yrs down the line and followed my heart - married him. I too love him with all my heart and have turned to Islam even more in a bid to seek help, advice and peace. Sadly I feel even more confused and hurt than before.

    He began so meek, quiet, loving etc but as time has gone on, he's become much more controlling; am not allowed to show any emotion other than happiness. He's 'tapped my facewhen Ive shown him anger... I too lost all my friends (esp the gay ones) - have no social life really'. He misses his country, friends etc and to top it all, last year I found out he'd taken a 2nd wife who had his baby!! All in secret... He says he divorced her during pregnancy?? but who knows, what I always thought of him being a private man, I now believe/know is that he's secretive. He still lets her believe she has a future with him (says he will never leave me?!), talks daily to her (for hrs!) because he says 'she has his baby'. Too many games, not enough understanding or tollerance of culture differences, trying to live in his cultural way but in the UK, with an English wife (11yrs his Snr). Ironically, he has become more westernised - is ok for him to put his arm round women, kiss her on cheek , laugh and joke with opposite sex etc but has expected ('demanded'?) me to become more middle 'easternised' and not to do this any longer.

    If I had know all this would happed from the start, would I have married him? NEVER
    Do I regret marrying him? Yes because of all the daily stress, pain and heartache... NO because he introduced me to Islam and I do know that he loves me...
    Does our marriage have a future? Allah knows
    Do I love him? Oh so so very much

    Its easy to say about laying down the rules in the marriage contract but the contract does not allow for feelings. If he were to divorce me etc, is getting financial compensation going to help take away all the pain and devestation? NO! Money does not matter to me.

    Think carefully about your decision, and be aware that any complications now may well be amplified in the future. With greater Islamic belief/knowledge and greater depth of love for him, only adding to the mixing pot of emotions, thoughts, desires, pain and happiness...

    I'm happy for you to PM me if you want to chat.

    Inshallah all will work out well for you and regardless of anything, you have the most important thing, the knowledge and opportunity to live your life in a way pleasing to Allah.

  12. I have not read everyone's reply, except the first, and I can't say I share the same view as Brother Wael. In Islam there are strict guidelines between gender relations. It is not fitting for a woman to be in the company or presence of a man that she is able to marry (ie anyone other then her uncle, brother, grandfather, newphew, son). If she desires to talk to a man it should be for purpose of marriage, or for business. Both instances avoiding being alone/touching/softening the voice. Islam preserves the Muslim woman to highest standard possible. Raised in America it can seem oppressive to woman that their mobility appears limited. Yet on the other side, from a Eastern "traditional" perspective it can appear extremely oppressive to know women in the West have to do everything for themselves.
    This man is obviously picking and choosing, this right here is a warning sign. If you two are not married you are not to be alone with him either. So just because it feels like you are married, it does not make it right. You both need to be in the company of your wali/guardian,finalizing nikkah details.
    As for your level of compatibility,I agree with Brother Wael and I don't think you two are ready for marriage to each other. If he clearly has a temper, yes that's a strong warning sign. "Words" and promises are not sufficiant. You said "none of it seems to be enough for my love", and it will never be. Because religion can not be based on what a person wants of you. They can support you, they can encourage the good in you, but you have to choose to do it for Allah subhanhu wa tala. If you don't, you'll find yourself go back to your old ways as soon as the bubble of disillusion pops and you find yourself in a hard spot.
    This man that you so dearly loves, should not be grabbing your arm tightly, then asking you not to sit with men, then threaten to leave you. I'm not sure what you two have in common to be honest.
    Maybe he is as Brother Wael said, being jealous. I see it as jealous with an excuse of Islam.That however does not mean that Islam doesn't greatly put a strong emphasis on women's haya/modesty. This is a topic I strongly suggest you research on your own. Look into Islam, it's principles, it's purpose, it's message.... if you choose to follow it, do it because it's the Truth, InshaAllah for the sake of Allah subhanhu wa tala.
    Perhaps this man was brought in your life to open your eyes, to something you may have ignored for the rest of your life.. Allahu Alim

    May Allah subhanhu wa tala guide us on the Straight Path..Ameen

    • Salam my beautiful sister, I sit here with tears pouring down my face. I too am in the same position but unfortunately i think it is down to the color of our skin whether intentional or not. i am engaged and living with a Syed..who although can be beautiful and very funny when he wants... is fundamentally flawed in the belief that he is higher that all others due to heritage...my answer was "listen sunshine if i want to i am probably related to all British royalty...stop riding on heritage over centuries old".. I also tell him respect is earned!!...family still can't deign themselves to meet.. so i am about to cut free... because the pain tells me I am never going to find happiness with this man. I make mistakes but due to culture..we will never find happiness.

      • Aliyah,

        You said: '...he is fundamentally flawed in the belief that he is higher that all others due to heritage'.

        The man is arrogant - period. He will never respect you as a wife. However only when he marries a girl who matches his so called 'heritage' or 'status', will he realise that the superficial ideology that he carries in his head was worth nothing. He'll learn the hard way, by which time you will insha'Allah have moved on.

        Do yourself a favour and don't waste a second longer with this man. May Allah make this easy for you, aameen.

        SisterZ
        IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  13. Salaams,

    As I was rereading I noted your question about whether Islam prohibits gatherings where both sexes are present or not, based on another comment. There are varying positions on this issue, but I can say that if men and women were at a gathering or function where they were freely conversing with each other and mixing (western style of interaction) with no second thoughts, this would definitely be considered haram.

    There are Islamic groups that meet and men and women share the same room, but are segregated to different sides or a curtain/divider is placed between them so that they are not distracted by one another. In my understanding, even back to times of the Prophet (saws) men and women worshipped together without barrier, however the men stood in front and the women behind.

    There are Islamic groups that meet and put the men and women in different rooms or buildings altogether, but it occurs at the same location. As a result, as people are coming and going in hallways or outside, men and women may be exposed to each other.

    And then there are groups that believe either of these two are completely haram, and only go to functions where it is strictly the same sex.

    Everyone draws their own conclusions based on the teachers they are studying under and what they are learning of shariah. Of course, I'm sure in most cases personal preference has an influence as well.

    The main point of "non-mixing" of the sexes is to avoid sin and temptation. In my experience so far as a Muslim, I have felt safest with my Muslim brothers above all other men, and so I never had a problem with being in the same room with them but in a different area. To me, everyone being there with the right niyat helps achieve the goal with the least restriction necessary while still following shariah. (Not to mention that at some places where women are completely isolated from the men, we are sometimes not able to hear the imam or particpate adequately in whatever is going on because of the lack of technological conveniences, or food was given to men over preference of the women and we left starving, things like that.)

    However I am saying this for something in the context of an Eid celebration or Jummah, etc. If it was a wedding, or some other type of gathering where the spirituality of it was not the main focus, people's devotion might not be on the top of the list and perhaps in those situations it's better to have more structure.

    The best thing to do about this issue is research together hadith and history of the way Prophet saws had men and women doing things together and separately. Study how it was in his time, how it "began", and how it continued through the years in various cultures. Read some information written by respected scholars on the issue, and ask your fiance what led him to his current perspective. Was it something he was told but never questioned? Was it how he was raised in his culture? Was it something he read at one point but maybe was not accurate or taken the wrong way? I think questioning our beliefs to make sure they are sound and based on accurate, valid teachings is a practice we can all continue to do throughout our spiritual journeys. Islam teaches the value of only accepting verified information supported by sound scholars, so if one person in a relationship is more keen to do that than the other...that would be something to consider as well as you evaluate whether to marry the person or not.

  14. Right Sister Amy, various 'sects' view this differently, here's one opinion and Allah subhanhu wa tala Knows Best!

    ------
    http://www.islam-qa.com
    She is confused about the answer to a question concerning women talking to men
    Praise be to Allaah.

    This has been discussed in the answer to question no. 1497 where it says:

    Speaking with a woman to whom one is not related (i.e., not mahram) should only be for a specific need, such as asking a question, buying or selling, asking about the head of the household, and so on. Such conversations should be brief, with nothing doubtful in either what is said or how it is said.

    The idea of limiting speech with women to the five instances mentioned in the question – which are: to ask how her family is, for medical purposes, for financial purposes (e.g. in a shop), to find out about her personality for marriage suitability and to give her dawah (Islamic knowledge) – needs to be approached with caution, because they could be taken as examples instead of limits. One must also adhere to the conditions set out by the Sharee’ah even in instances where such conversations are necessary, such as in da’wah, giving fatwas, buying or selling, etc. And Allaah knows best.

    In the answer to question no. 1121 it says:

    Women are not prevented from talking to non-mahram men when it is necessary to do so, such as dealing directly with them when buying things or conducting any other financial transaction, because in such cases it is necessary for both parties to speak. A woman may also ask a scholar about some legal Islamic matter, or a man may ask a woman such questions, as is proven in various texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Within the guidelines described above, there is nothing wrong with a woman speaking to a non-mahram man. It is also permissible for men to greet women with salaam and vice versa, according to the most correct opinion, but this greeting must be free of anything that may provoke desire in the person in whose heart is a disease, so as to be safe from fitnah and pay attention to the regulations outlined above.

    If there is fear of fitnah being provoked by this greeting, then the woman should refrain from either initiating or returning the greeting, because warding off fitnah by neglecting the greeting is warding off mischief, and warding off mischief takes precedence over doing something useful. (See al-Mufassal fi Ahkaam al-Mar’ah by ‘Abd al-Kareem Zaydaan, vol. 3/276). And Allaah knows best.

    Thus it is known that we do not mean general talk for no need, or a great deal of private talk. Rather it should be just as much as is needed in order to reply.

    Going into detail in permissible talk or in shar’i matters when there is no need for that leads to removal of barriers between the two parties, which may lead to negative consequences.

    And Allaah knows best.

  15. The peace for you dear questioner,

    Quran 2:165 translation:
    And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah . And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment.

    Your hadith issues can be found in the quran, ie quran 49:6

    You're friend issues can also be found in the quran

    Subhanallah, I used to think like this man you mention when was 17-18, then I grew up. Allah knows best, but to me he sounds too young when it comes to faith.

    Don't worry about ruining his life, just worry about your deal with Allah.

  16. Salam Alaykum sister i think you have done so much now and im very happy for you for doing that, i think its best to follow your heart but really is your life much better now since you met him if then i think its best not too hang out with your male friends its not really good in Islam for women to male friends. Allah knows best for you and he brought ye together so really its a blessing keep on looking up sister, i think your life will be much better if you listen to your husband. God bless you and your husband i hope all the best for ye in near future

  17. I really feel for you sister. Alhamdullilah, you have found the right path in faith, but I'm not sure about the partner. In Islam, women aren't expected to stay home 24/7, there is nothing wrong with you going with your friends, along as it's an acceptable outing ( not bars etc) Islam is very liberating for women, but it sounds like your man is quite the opposite. I would step back and judge him again

  18. I feel that you should take a long hard look at:
    1. Who you really are
    2. Who he is
    and most importantly...

    3. What kind of love do you want?

    Do you want the unconditional, passionate, forgiving and accepting , always giving without expecting anything in return, trusting and mutual respecting LOVE?

    or the conditional, secretive, one sided, selfish, tit for tat kind of love -( I will love you if you will do this & that and that) which is no love at all.

    Firstly, you must understand what is the love he is bringing to you.

    Personally, I do not think such men have any inkling about what the heart of a woman is like - in order to love her as her heart desires. There are many women exactly like you who have made mistakes to love.

    The greatest thing is " To love and be loved in return". I can see your heart and your love in what you wrote.

    But I don't see his..... it's all too familiar. A twisted form of self satisfaction disguised as love waiting to devour you. i dont think he loves you. So just move on and find a man who will love and accept you just the way you are. And not if you do this and that and change your dressing etc etc.

    Two people will mould each others character and continue to love and accept and respect. I dont see that here either.

    All the best

  19. Selam alaykum.

    Dearest sister, I am a convert (3 years old)...and take this very honest piece of advice. STOP EVERYTHING. SIT DOWN AND THINK FOR A SECOND. I was once in your shoes exactly. And I married the man, and was deserted and divorced 3 months later. My life took a turn for the worst, and I have been struggling ever since. I tell you this not to scare you or manipulate your emotions, Wallahi, if things aren't smooth in the beginning or when it really matters they won't ever be.

    Physical attraction isn't the main course it is the appetizer. Understanding, care, and concern for well being and happiness is the main dish and always will be.

    When life hurts, you need someone to be there to ease the pain, not make it unbearable.

    If you can check yes - to physical attraction but no- to wellbeing and happiness...you are about to make the same mistake I did...and this man doesn't deserve year(s) of your life.

    I spent 1.5 years with my ex in total and it has now brought me and additional many years of turmoil.

    Please, the only good my pain is...is if it helps someone else.

    Think this through.
    As a woman I understand you, as a convert I understand you...as a human being I understand you...
    Islam is worth it. The One True God is worth it.. He isn't, no matter how wonderful he has been, if he can't accept you the way you want to be or that converting is a process...he is not right for you..PERIOD.

    This is a defining moment of your life. The man you chose to marry, should come with feelings of ease and love and peace...

  20. I understand the concept note about the reality. From my point of view, first of all I highly congratulate to convert in Islam. Islam is a way of life, no doubt about it. But the crucial period is to overcome by you, which is really so hard especially in the West. My feedback for you according these points (1) Falling love into a man who is Muslim; Here i highly overestimate you for proving love is always powerful if it comes to each other from the heart only for the interest of love, nothing else. In this point you deserve higher score than that Muslim you married. (2) Converting in Islam: being a Muslim, at least, I can assure you God/Allah the Almighty will always be with you until you reject it. the complication is the time, yes time will give all answers time to time. You have to keep a patience for a year, not for the man, only for the HEREAFTER, An excellent reward is waiting for you. If your continuing observation over the man indicates and drives you make something different interest rather the commitment he did with you, I will suggest you, leave him. And if everything is OK according to all then vice-versa!
    In least of all, I pray to Almighty Allah, He will guide you through His mysterious light around you. For only your interest, I will keep in touch with this site thinking as my duty and responsibility over a human converted in Islam. Peace be upon you.

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