Muslim Matrimonials and More's Ask Bilqis


June 1, 2003

Bilqis is currently on sabbatical, so this question is being answered by Wael Abdelgawad, the Editor.


Dear Wael,

Assalamu alaikum. I am in a terrible dilemma that I see no way to fix.

I converted to Islam a year ago and I love the religion dearly, but I have certain doubts I cannot dispel. There are parts of the Qu'ran which I cannot believe are the correct way that Allah would wish his faithful to act.

I still consider myself a Muslim and I believe almost all of Islam except for a few points, but it is enough that no Muslim who follows their deen would accept me as one of the faith if they knew.

Making the problem worse is that I am in love with a very devoted Muslim sister and she has feelings for me as well, and we are thinking of marrying. I have not told her that I don't adhere to all the required beliefs for a Muslim. I do not know what her reaction would be. I love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her, but I know that in the strictest sense I am not considered a Muslim, even though I consider myself one.

Even though she cares for me I do not think she would violate her deen and marry me. And if this is the case then I am doomed because the most important thing to me in a partner is strong Imaan, but this is the very thing which will prevent us from being together, or anyone else whom I would hold dear.

Please is there some answer? Thank you for your time and help may Allah reward you.

- A Confused Brother


Dear brother, As-salamu alaykum,

You've presented a lot of questions and I will proceed step by step to address the background issues behind your doubts and confusion.

Each Person is Different

Each person who embraces Islam comes to the truth in his or her own way. One person may have been a lifelong Christian but has always been troubled by the deification of Jesus, and finds in Islam the pure monotheism he has been searching for. Another person may be attracted by Islam's emphasis on social justice. Another person might find in Islam a deeply spiritual path that harmonizes various aspects of her life.

In addition, each person may come into Islam with a different degree of commitment or openness. Sure, the declaration of the Shahaadah is a huge commitment in itself and no one takes it lightly. And some extraordinary individuals are wide open from that point, ready to abandon all their preconceptions and accept whatever Islam teaches all at once.

But for most converts, the process of learning Islam's teachings, accepting various Islamic viewpoints and achieving true Imaan, is gradual.

Islam Should be Learned Gradually

Allah, in His wisdom, revealed the Qur'an gradually over the course of twenty three years. People were not commanded to implement every aspect of Islam all at once. Indeed, during the early years in Makkah there were almost no Islamic rituals per se. All the early Qur'anic verses focused on issues of faith and belief, such as Tawheed, life after death, Judgement, Paradise and Hell, etc. These verses prepared the Muslims' spirits, so that when the Islamic code of behavior began to be revealed, people were ready.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was also wise in this way. Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet sent Muadh to Yemen and said, "Invite the people to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I am Allah's Apostle, and if they obey you, then teach them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in every day and night (in twenty-four hours), and if they obey you, then teach them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the Zakat from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor." (Al-Bukhari, 2:478)

So you see, he didn't say to Muadh, "Go to Yemen and make the people accept every aspect of Islam at once." He told him to begin with the basics and teach them one thing at a time.

Give Yourself Time

When you accept Islam you are giving up a worldview that you have been raised with, that you were taught by your parents and teachers, and that you probably share with your friends and family, and you are exchanging it for a new worldview which does not originate with human beings at all but with the Creator. Let's face it, this is not an easy thing to do. Most people have a hard time letting go of opinions which have cemented over a lifetime.

Some Christians who accept Islam take a long time to give up their old ideas about Jesus (pbuh). Americans who come to Islam often have difficulty accepting what they think are Islam's teachings regarding women. Or they have a stereotypical idea of Islam's teachings about jihad - due to a lifetime of misinformation and distortions from the American media - so they are ready to accept all of Islam except this one issue.

As for myself, I was raised in a Muslim family, but I grew up in the USA and I did not begin to seriously study Islam until I was about 14 years old. By that time I had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the standard American ideologies, and I had difficulty with some of Islam's teachings. But I knew in my heart that Islam was true and the Qur'an was true, so whenever I came across something that bothered me I would make a note of it and keep it on the back burner of my mind, and move on, always keeping an eye out for more information on those subjects.

As the years passed I began to develop a more complete view of the Islamic path and teachings. I read Islamic books on fiqh, seerah, and hadith, and I also read classic conceptual books by twentieth century authors such as Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb, Maryam Jameelah, Muhammad El-Awa, Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Hassan al-Bannah, and many others. My mind began to grow in new ways and I began to understand aspects of life that had always puzzled me. I began to see how the Islamic concepts of the world are invariably wiser and more in tune with human reality than my previous indoctrinations. Gradually - and not surprisingly! - the issues that had troubled me in Islam were resolved, one by one, over the years.

Do Not Belittle Yourself

Brother, do not denigrate youself by saying, "I am not considered a Muslim," or, "No Muslim would accept me." Astaghfirullah. Never say such a thing. If you have declared the Shahaadah, and you pray, and you follow the other pillars of Islam, then you are a Muslim, al-hamdulilah. Don't belittle yourself or the commitment you have made.

You should also not say, "There are parts of the Qur'an that I have a hard time believing." I assume that if you have become Muslim, then you believe that the Qur'an is the word of Allah. And if this is the case, then how can you challenge any part of it? Instead have the grace and the humility to say, "There are parts of the Qur'an and elements of Islam that I do not understand yet." There is a world of difference between these two statements. This latter statement allows you to keep an open mind and an open heart, and it preserves the quality of your faith as a Muslim.

Learn From Someone Knowledgeable

I may be wrong, but I get the impression from your email that you are reading the Qur'an on your own, and you are finding a few things in the Qur'an that disagree with your idea of justice or truth. If this is indeed what you are doing, then there are several mistakes in this approach. This is why:

  1. To understand the Qur'an properly, you should understand its context. Much of the Qur'an was revealed in response to particular incidents in the lives of the Muslim community; if you are not familiar with those issues then you will not get a true understanding of the verses. I recommend that you study a seerah (biography of the Prophet Muhammad) along with your study of the Qur'an. An excellent choice is Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
    by Martin Lings. It is available from various Islamic bookstores and from
  2. You should also read a good tafseer (explanation of the Qur'an), such as the classic Tafseer Ibn Katheer, or some other more modern tafseers such as Mawdudi's, although it only covers part of the Qur'an.
  3. Find yourself a good Islamic teacher who can help you to understand and deal with some of the questions that are puzzling or bothering you.
  4. Embark on a broader study of Islam as I described earlier.
  5. Lastly, you must approach your study of the Qur'an with humility and an open heart or you will not benefit fully from what it is offering.

The Question of the Woman You Wish to Marry

I hope that if you have understood everything I have said up to now, then the answer to this final question may be clearer. If you can accept a description of yourself as a relatively new Muslim who believes firmly in Allah and Islam but still has many questions and much to learn, then you are not much different from any other Muslim. So there is no reason why you should not propose to the woman in whom you are interested.

Do let her know, however, that there are certain issues in Islam that you are still confused about, and explain to her what these issues are. Then let her make up her mind. If she declines to marry you because of this issue, then try to accept that you are not quite ready to marry. Dedicate yourself to studying and understanding Islam better for the next year or so and see where it takes you. I am confident that a lot of your questions will be cleared up in time, and then you will be ready to pursue a loving and happy marriage with a strong Muslim woman Insha'Allah.

Best regards,

- Wael Abdelgawad, Editor Muslim Matrimonials