Monday, March 11, 2002
Dear Bilqis, Asalaamu Alaykum,
Asalamu Alikom! I wish to stay anonymous because I feel shy about my question. I am seventeen years old and will turn eighteen very soon. I have been a Muslimah for about eight months. Before converting I met a Muslim man who lives in America (I live in New Zealand) and he told me a bit about Islam and I learnt more from books and converted!
We became engaged before I converted to Islam and we are planning for me to go to America as soon as I can and marry him. I have no wali and no mahram because I have no father and no brothers and no men close to me in my life - I never have. My family are disbelievers and judge me a bit much about my Islamic beliefs and practices; I myelf do not pray yet because I dont know how! I read Qur'an in English and I say al-fatihah in Arabic many times each day. Also each day I pray in my own way to Allah; and Allah is All Hearing All Knowing!
My fiancé grew up as a Muslim and inside his heart he is a true believer! But since he was young he has been led astray by many things; doing drugs and alcohol, and he is not a virgin but has never been married; he doesn't pray except on Fridays he goes to the mosque, and he works in a liquor store. I dont blame him for his job because he is trying to make money to get me to him and he has no other job with which to buy food and the means to talk to me and Insha'Allah soon to marry me.
I never was bothered by these things so much! Until I met another brother on the internet through an Islamic site who offered me his help with learning about Islam; we talked a bit about Hani and he found out these things about my fiancé; he told me that it is haram for a Muslimah to marry a man with these sins and his advice is that I should leave him. My problem is that I love my fiancé and care a great deal about him! I wish to marry him but I don't want to unless he is a good Muslim not lacking the things a true believer has. My fiancé also cares so much about me and he gives me money if I need it for anything, e.g. my health, my clothes, etc, and if I want something he will give me money for it also. He bought me my first hijab after I convinced him that I have to wear it and I am not afraid of what others might do to me! (he was a bit afraid of me wearing al-hijab because of things people may do to me and he is not by my side to protect me). He wants to live a religious life with me and he cares about me so much that I'm afraid I will hurt him and I love him too much to do this. He has given up some bad things that he did since meeting me and me talking to him about the harm he is doing. But he still is preoccupied by the things of this world. Also he is the one that showed me to Islam and I owe him a lot for this. He praises me for the good I do in Islam; because I am still learning and developing my imaan to be good and strong. He treats me with respect and is faithful to me.
Please help me because I don't wish to marry a man with such sins, but I don't wish to leave my fiancé because I love him and care about him! Please tell me what I can do. Thank you, barak Allah feek! Salaam; your sister in Islam.
- New Sister in Islam
Dear "New Sister in Islam",
First, I would like to welcome you to Islam and pray that Allah (may He be exalted) makes your way easy in learning your religion. I am glad you have asked this question because it shows that you are being cautious and giving a serious decision the attention it deserves.
I do not know much about the Muslim population in New Zealand, but, from my experience, Muslims are all over the world and there usually is a Muslim community in or near most major cities. I would suggest that you make it a priority to get in touch with other practicing Muslims in your area if possible. Hopefully, you would then be able to get basic information on how to perform salat (daily prayer), begin to study Arabic to help with pronunciation of Qur'an and prayers. Study the history and examples of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions, daily Islamic etiquettes, and your rights as a Muslim woman. These things are all very important for you as a new Muslim. If you are unable to find a Muslim community in your area, since you are on the internet, there are online sources for purchasing Islamic books, clothes, tapes to learn Arabic and study Qur'an, etc. In fact, there is a source here at Zawaj.com. Please try to begin the process of doing these things, especially to learn salat.
Regarding the young man that you are considering for marriage, it seems that the knowledge you have acquired thus far has helped you to begin questioning certain things. That is good! It is truly haram for a Muslim to sell alcohol, but many do it because it is a good source of income in many non-Muslim communities. However this does not justify it. Also, you would want a husband who is making salat regularly, so that he can be a help to you in this regard. Being so new to Islam, I would suggest that you try and find a wali (a male guardian). For many converts, this may mean the Imam of a nearby community or a Muslim brother that you respect for his exemplary character and practice of Islam. Communication can best be done with regard to modesty, either over the phone or perhaps at the mosque. Even on the internet, you can find many sites that give good information and advice on Islam. (The following website has some information for Muslims in New Zealand: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Teahouse/8786/pages_ready/newpage_newzeal.htm).
Perhaps this young man has been kind to you with regard to money, etc., but you want someone who is practicing Islam and not just culturally a Muslim. I would suggest you try to work on learning as much about your religion as possible and finding some Muslims to interact with locally before marrying someone.
I hope you find this information helpful
and that you take your time in finding a husband when you can
make a more informed decison as a Muslim lady. There are many
things at this site and others which I feel can be helpful to
you, so take the time to look at them. My prayers and best wishes