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FAQs & Fatwas

Question: “Assalamu Alaykum. I have known a woman who was raised Muslim but does not necessarily believe in mainstream Islam what is the minimum that will be required of her for me to be able to marry her?”

The Question:

Assalamu Alaykum. I have known a woman who was raised Muslim but does not necessarily believe in mainstream Islam. She believes in God in “her way” as she says. I have just told her this weekend that I cannot marry her as long as she does not accept the basic principals of Islam, believing in Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet and following the Quran as the word of Allah. I love her very much and she is an amazing person (Muslim in every aspect except in her beliefs) but I cannot do something that ultimately will upset Allah. Am I right in my approach and what is the minimum that will be required of her for me to be able to marry her.
Asslamu Alaykum

The Answer:

As-alamu alaikum,

May God make this easy for you and we pray that He will use you as a guide for this sister.

What we are required, as Muslims, to believe is what is found in the famous hadith of Jibril where the Prophet stated the pillars of faith: Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers, the Hereafter and al-Qadar, and practice: Declare one’s faith in Allah, to pray five times a day, to pay zakah [if one can], to fast Ramadan and to make Hajj if one can.  We are obliged to believe in these things in a general fashion and not required to go into the complexities of faith and to practice them to the best of our ablities. If she accepts this, then she is a Muslim.

I would advice you to take it slowly and try and build bridges by which you can both communicate your feelings on this issue. Over time try and communicate the true teachings of Islam to her.

Allah knows best

Suhaib

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

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  • I think it is important to remember that your wife will also be the mother of your children. Communication problems or belief conflicts between spouses tend to manifest themselves once the two have children and are responsible for lives other than their own.

    It is difficult on a child to receive conflicting messages (esp about religion) from his or her parent.

    You are a shepherd for your children. Before making a decision, think ahead to what is to come inshaAllah and let that guide your rationale.

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