Monday, December 13, 1999
I am a teenaged Indian Muslim girl, born and brought up in the U.S. Since I was raised so far away from a Muslim environment, I don't know anything at all about Islam. I believe in God, and believe that all religions, wether it be Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or whatever, in their different ways lead to one God. I am in love with a Hindu boy, and am thinking of converting to Hinduism for him. Since we both belive in the same thing (as described above), conversion, really doesn't bother me. I have already started calling myself 'Aarti'.
Now, I need to know what an Islamic view to all this is because I need to know what my religion has to say about all this, and also I still have to tell my family and friends about it all. Please do not ask me to convert him because I do not want to do that. If I do convert it is solely my decision and he did not force me, so I do not want to force him either. Besides, I am very comfortable about his way of life and he is very understanding about mine too. But I am still confused. Please let me know what you think of my situation.
I am sorry that you grew up without benefit of correct knowledge of your religion. But it is not too late to learn. However, once learned, you are responsible to Allah (swt) for this knowledge. You will need to make some changes in your current situation.
Firstly, you need to know that a Muslim lady can only marry a Muslim man. Islam is a complete and total way of life. It is a beautiful way of life which was revealed by Allah. You need to decide how serious you are about learning about Islam and if you are prepared to make some serious choices for your life. As a Muslim, I do not take my religion lightly nor should you. Either you believe in Allah (swt) or you don"t. Either you believe in Paradise and Hell, and the Day of Judgement or you don't. These are all serious issues that deserve serious thought.
I can refer you to websites on Islam where you can obtain an abundance of information. That's the easy part. It's interesting that at this particular time you are seeking this information. Perhaps, it is a "blessing" of sorts to bring you back to Islam.
If you are serious about your inquiry into Islam, I would encourage you to postpone any plans of marriage. Hinduism, as a religion, is the complete antithesis (opposite) of Islam. Islam is monotheistic; Hinduism is polytheistic. Islam fights against racism, classism and sexism; while Hinduism is predicated on a caste system. Islam encourages re-marriage for widows and divorced women; Hindus until recently burned widows alive because without the husband, the wife's existence was considered meaningless; even though this practice has diminished in modern times with more attention to human rights these days, poor widows in countries like India still suffer a terrible plight.
I agree with you that you cannot convert the boy to Islam. Only Allah can guide a person to the truth, and put the truth in his heart. However, you must make the decision which is best for your own soul, regardless of what the boy decides to do. If you give up your religion for a boy (or man), then you are saying that the boy is more important to you than Allah, more important than discovering the truth, and more important than your soul.
Rather than take my word on this matter, let us see what Allah the Most High has said about this in the Qur'an, which is the glorious book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad for the guidance of all human beings:
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islám (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost." (Quran 3:85)
"O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islám." (3:102)
"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islám as your religion." (5:3)
"Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breasts to Islám; those whom He wills to leave straying,- He makes their breasts close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to believe." (6:125)
"Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah? - while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islám), and to Him shall they all be brought back." (3:83)
Please read these verses carefully and think deeply about them.
Here are some sites for you to look at and I hope that Islam is your choice:
This site is a topical index to different aspects of Islam: http://www.ourdialogue.com/contents.htm
USC Muslim Student Assoc. Islamic Server
(covers Fundamentals of Islam, Islam and Society, Stories of
New Muslims and looks at other religions* ):
Islamic videos, CD's, books, etc:
Note: Some time after this column was written, a Hindu reader wrote to protest that Zawaj.com had misrepresented Hinduism's true beliefs. In the interest of fairness, his email is printed here: Response to Bilqis' answer by a Hindu reader.