Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Muslim Marrying a Christian American Protestant woman – How to put the basis for a healthy relationship?

cloud of faith, interfaith, many religious symbols

Assalamu 3alaykoum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh,

I am a French Muslim man, born in France but from Algerian descent.

I have met a woman a few years ago during my studies in the USA and we got along almost instantly. She is a Lutheran Christian Protestant, and goes to church every Sunday and celebrates all the Christian holidays. She introduced me to her parents who seem to appreciate my personality.

Back then I was not very into religion, although I practiced and respected the very basics, (I have made "zina"), so I met her during this period of my life.

After my studies I went back to France and we stayed in touch until the next year when she came to France with her mother on holiday. I have shown them parts of France and her mother was very touched by this gesture so she has always been grateful for that.

The next 2 summer holidays, I went to visit her in California (for 2 weeks) and she introduced me to a larger part of her family, this time as her official boyfriend. I got along with the main members of her family and they accepted me with my differences as a Muslim man which I was grateful for (cooking halal food every time they invited me, asking me about my practice, helping me out while I was there etc.).

We have been in a long-distance relationship the whole time. All in all, we have only met in person for 9 weeks over the course of 3 years which is not long but we have lots of affection and feelings for each other.

Since the first time I met her I have evolved in my faith and I am trying to practice more consistently, getting rid of bad habits, and trying to follow Sunna as best as I can. Therefore marriage has become an important topic in my mind.

The first main problematic for me is that I have NEVER explicitly mentioned her existence to my parents for fear that she will not be accepted as my potential wife. My mother is a lot into Islam and keeps reminding me now and then, that I should marry a Muslim woman. so I find it hard to come up to her and tell her I want to marry a Christian woman let alone from another continent and another culture. I am afraid to cause her sorrow as she might not be able to bond as well as with an Algerian Muslim woman for example especially because of the language barrier.

  • How could I tell my parents about it and make them accept my choice ? 

The second problematic I am facing is regarding the Islamic law regarding life in an interfaith marriage. I know that a Muslim man can marry a woman of the Book if she is chaste and follows her religion the correct way. My main concerns are the following if we move forward into marriage :

  • She is not chaste and neither am I. Could our marriage be valid in Islam ?
  • She does not want to convert to Islam and I respect her choice and support her in the practice of her own faith. What is the correct posture regarding this fact?
  • How would our potential children have to be raised spiritually?
    • Would they be able to celebrate or at least be involved in Christian holidays with their mother ? (for example receiving gifts for Christmas?) 
    • Do they have to carry Muslim names ? 
    • Would they be able to go to church with their mother from time to time to learn about her Christian faith and religion ? 
  • What are the main compromises that each of us would have to make in order to have a healthy marriage? Examples: 
    • She dresses shorts sometimes which is forbidden in Islam, but then again she is a Christian. 
      Can this be a problem regarding my own faith as a Muslim husband?
    • She eats bacon and ham, and drinks (very rarely) alcohol which are allowed in Christianism but not in Islam. How to handle this as an interfaith couple with children eating at the same table for example?

I do not want dive into a relationship and marriage without having all the parameters and find out years later that our lifestyles are not compatible. I do not want to wait until there are children in the equation because it would cause harm for them as well as for her own family.

Many thanks in advance for your attention, I know you have lots of requests and I will be patient. I truly hope you will be able to respond to my interrogations and give me useful advice InshaAllah.

BarakAllah ou fikoum


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5 Responses »

  1. I suggest to follow your mother's advice on this issue of marriage----i.e., to find a MUSLIM girl and get marriage.

    DON'T LOOK/GET INFLUENCED BY HER TEMPORARY BEAUTY . Without real Islamic faith, she will never be a good wife infront ALLAH and your parents ofcourse.

  2. You are not smart at all ......Read study practise ask a Scholor about yor faith.Islam is simple but people cant even do the basics So were do i begin..........??????ISLAM IS THE ONLY RELIGION THAT WILL BE EXCEPTED BY ALLAH!Those who choose any other way cotrary to what Prophet Muhammad has brought sharia ..Then know this he will never be successful in both of the worlds.... The biggest problem is that the people of the book refers to the small group of muslims that followed correctly the teachings of Jesus.They were muslims...But the jews and christens of today are idol worshippers .The ayat is not referring to this generation. Also how can seeing any women be halal.Dating is not permissable........Do you know why muslims have somany problems in the world because of the sins we commit.We dont even have basic proper knowledge and so we start to follow and take our own opions.This is the work of shaitan who is very experience and knows from is experiences with men in the past...My friend i am a revert married to a scholor(Alima) SO ask true sunni scholors wether shafi malki or hanafi they are all correct ......stick to one and master it.. For marriage many beautiful practising girls...Get a pious one .She will bring baraqah home and raise children who will be blessed.These dunyia girls look nice but thats all .for show and good for sex i guess but ..If you dont make the money you wont be around..and thats a fact just look at the divorce rate in N.America..Look bro dont let your weenie do the talking ok!!!.peace out

  3. A little hope for you, many Christian wives convert to Islam after being married that being said there is also some who don't.. So Before you move forward you need to have a long talk with her and see what she's wiling to compromise on...
    For example.. Her eating pork! This isn't allowed even for Christian people would you be able to live with someone who eats pork? And might cook and then use the same utensils and cook wear to cook you halal food??
    Also your children have to be raise Muslims would she be ok with her children not following her own religion since she isn't willing to convert??
    And will she be ok with them having Muslim names?
    Since you have to think of all possible outcomes... What would happen if you divorce her? Your kids then will most likely be raised Christians would you be ok with that?

    About her wearing shorts..
    You as a Muslim man might be ok later on as you are now.. Would she be willing to at least dress conservative? If she's not willing to compromise and small things how would she compromise and big things?

    You have to do a lot of research and thinking as this won't be easy for both of you

  4. I think your marriage to this woman would be accepted. My husband and I were previously married. He had a relationship with a Christian woman before he met me and the Imam had no problem marrying us. I reverted to Islam before I met him.

    His mother was against our marriage at first because his ex wife was an American revert so she thought I might treat him the same as his previous wife did. Alhamdulillah the day before our marriage she called him to tell him that she accepts our marriage and will love me as her daughter.

    Interfaith marriages are exremely hard. I was previously a practicing Christian woman and my ex husband supposedly believed in God. It caused a rift between us. I worked hard in my faith and belief in God and to stay faithful to my husband and since he did not follow organized religion he lived a life of lies, cheating and was abusive toward me. What made me decide to divorce this man was the thought of children. I want my children to have a strong faith in God. After I divorced him I studied Islam and it really spoke to me it made clear sense. I knew I wanted to be a Muslim and marry a Muslim man and raise up Muslim children.

    Raising children in an interfaith household will cause great confusion for them. Especially since children are supposed to be raised Muslim. If they witness mom drinking occasionally and eating pork and not praying five times a day the children may ask why mommy isn't doing what we do and why can't we do what mommy is doing.

    Even now, my family is Christian, I will soon be giving birth to my first child, and they do not understand why the baby can't have a Christian name. It does upset my family but I can't please my family if it goes against Allah. I am not trying to discourage you, all i am trying to do is explain that choosing an interfaith marriage is so much work, much more work than if you both practice the same religion.

    It might be easier on children if you will send them to Islamic school so they can live their religion in the correct environment and not be misguided by public school systems. We live in the usa and plan on sending our children to Islamic school.

    Many Christian women seem to convert if they marry a Muslim man but I would not assume she would convert because she is entitled to her beliefs.

    I would definitely discuss things like this with her because there will be many barriers not just religion wise but also cultural and life is different when you are married and live together. It's important to help each other and have lots of patience with one another. I only met my husband twice before marrying him. Our courtship was about 4 months. Even though we share the same religion our cultures are different, he is from Egypt originally. We do have disagreements like any narried couple but we try our best to work through everything and see how each of us are thinking/feeling and why we have those thoughts/feelings.

    I pray that your future will be good inshallah.

  5. Respecting someones different religion also includes not imposing your own religion upon the said person. So if she wears shorts, eats pork, you have to accept that as it is. You cannot expect respect for your own religion without showing the same towards others`.
    Regarding most other points you have to reach a compromise with her, but than you also have to stick to it. After all, is a man who does not keep his promise only because it is inconvenient respectable at all?
    Regarding the names I can give you simple advice: chose names which are both prevalent in islamic and judeo-christian culture!
    For example
    Dawud or Daoud = David
    Ibrahim = Abraham (like Abraham Lincoln)
    Musa = Moses
    Sulaiman = Solomon
    Maryam = Mary
    Yusuf = Joseph

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