Non-Muslim woman dating Muslim man
Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
I am a Christian woman dating and interested in marrying a Muslim man. I have also been considering converting to Islam. His father and step-mother have recently arrived from Saudi Arabia, and I was considering entertaining them in my parents' home, according to the custom of my family. Would this be a good idea, and if so, what custom should I observe to avoid filth or sin? Further, in regard to our pending marriage and my interest in Islam, could you recommend any good resources for research into the laws and faith? What should I avoid in order to not sin?
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
I pray this message finds you and your family well.
Thank you for your questions, which are very important.
First, a little advice for non-Muslim women in relationships with Muslim men...
It is definitely in your (and his) best interests to insist that he extend the same courtesies to you that he would extend to a Muslim woman from a Muslim family. That means, any and all contact he has with you should be within the boundaries of Islamic law. If he observes these limits, then, God willing, this will go a long way in helping the both of you to avoid sin.
Consequently, dating and any sort of physical affection are impermissible as long as you are not married. The benefit for you is that having this sort of space will allow you to contemplate embracing Islam without the pressure of being emotionally and physically involved with someone. It will also purify the atmosphere and place blessings or barakah in the situation.
It is really commendable that you'd like to host your fiance's family. Here are a few suggestions to make their stay more comfortable:
1. If serving food, make sure that pork and alcohol are not served and are not used during the cooking process. If you serve meat or poultry, please purchase it from a halal butcher. (Halal is a term that is used for foods that are Islamically permissible to consume).
2. Inquire if your fiance's stepmother would be comfortable sitting in a different room from the men in the family. Many Muslims, in an effort to provide a comfortable environment for women, observe separation of the sexes during social functions.
3. If your fiance's parents observe modest Islamic dress, then you might want to ask your family to dress more conservatively for the occasion, for example, avoiding shorts and short skirts, etc.
Finally, for your research into Islam, there are several places you could start. SunniPath has a great online learning academy where you can take courses on Islamic theology, law, and spirituality.
You might also want to look into Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's work at Alhambraproductions.com.
Finally, here are some multimedia resources that may be of interest:
1. Ruqaiya Waris Maqsood, What Every Christian Should Know About Islam (London: Islamic Foundation, 2000).
2. F. Kamal, Dirks, Gerald, Badawi, Jamal, et al, Easily Understand Islam (Desert Well Network LLC 2006).
3. Alex Kronemer and Michael Wolfe, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet (DVD), astrolabe.com
4. Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Becoming Muslim (Amman, Jordan: Wakeel Books, 2001). Available from SunniPath Bookstore.
And Allah Ta'ala alone (God, the Exalted and Glorified) gives success.
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