Compatibility more important than religion in marriage

Marriages would stand a far better chance with deep, meaningful compatibility, rather than a superficial, “we’re both of the same religion” compatibility.

I have long held to the credo that marriage is tough enough, why make it tougher by choosing someone with different beliefs. When I was young (and a bit naive, dare I say?) that meant someone from a different religion. But after 20 years of marriage and two years of divorce, I come to that notion with a (hopefully) deeper perspective.

My ex-husband and I, though both Muslim, had profound differences of opinion on many matters of faith. Not only dogma, but the entire way one approaches sacred texts, theology, religious jurisprudence, etc, etc, etc. We were both deeply religious people in our own ways, and both deeply committed to Islam, but we were certainly not very compatible religiously, and that was clearly one of the factors that lead to the dissolution of our marriage.

When I felt I was ready to find someone new to grow old with, the issue of religion raised its head again. It was clear to me that finding a compatible Muslim was going to be challenging. After all, Muslims are small minority in the US — estimates range between one and three percent of the population. Furthermore, we tend to be concentrated in large cities, which means smaller cities like Cincinnati, where I live (and don’t plan to leave anytime in the near future), have an even lower concentration. Recent estimates of the Muslim population of Cincy puts it at a whopping two tenths of a percent. Not a huge pool to pick from!

To make matters more complex, most of the mosque-going community has attitudes far more inline with my ex’s points of view than my own. Progressive Muslims tend to be alienated from the mosque, which makes them harder to find and connect with. The probability of finding someone within the faith and within my town seemed dauntingly small.

So I started thinking about people outside of the faith. For a lot of Muslims this is simply a non-starter, since they believe that Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslims. I personally believe that ruling is a product of patriarchy, not the Qur’an, and agree with scholars such as Hasan at-Turabi who consider it legal. Nonetheless, I was aware that Muslim women who marry out of the faith often find themselves shunned by the community. And even those spouses (male or female) who convert before marriage may find themselves accused of a half-hearted conversion of convenience.

I believe that it is totally possible that someone of a different religion could be far more tolerant and accepting of my personal faith than my ex was, and than many in the mosque-going Muslim community would be. Indeed, I believe he could hold beliefs and values far more in accordance with mine than many in the Muslim community. As far as I’m concerned, what matters most is not which religion one adheres to, but the values and beliefs one brings to the relationship. I’d probably have a hard go of it with a conservative, a traditionalist, or a fundamentalist — anyone who believes that other people’s morality and religious practice is their responsibility — no matter what religion they come from.

On the flip side of the coin, I believe that people of other faiths (or no faith at all) with a progressive mindset will hold beliefs and morals compatible with my own, even though we draw those beliefs and that morality from different sources. I also believe any future marriage I might enter into would stand a far better chance with that kind of deep, meaningful compatibility, rather than a superficial, “we’re both Muslim so of course it will work” compatibility.

These ruminations are clearly made easier by the fact that my children are older, and I don’t plan to have any more, so child rearing is less of an issue. I, too, am older, and a lot more self-assured in my beliefs. I have grappled with what I believe it means to be Muslim, what my place in the Muslim community is, and have found my spiritual home, spread across the continent and the world as it may be. If I were starting a family and raising young children, my conclusions would likely be quite different. The beliefs one imparts to one’s children, the rituals they take part in, the holidays the celebrate evoke powerful emotional responses that are often completely unanticipated. To successfully navigate a multi-faith relationship when the way one’s children are to be raised is an issue requires a unique commitment to openness and acceptance of differences.

Of course, at any stage of life openness and acceptance of difference is key to the success of an interfaith relationship (or intercultural, interracial, inter-ethnic, or for that matter for any relationship at all). Those qualities cannot be claimed by any one faith group, but rather pertain to individuals according to their own personalities.

I have been fortunate enough over the past year to find someone who shares my values, and who matches me in being open-minded, accepting and accommodating. He isn’t Muslim and while he may not pray the way I do, or fast for Ramadan (both of which could be said of many Muslims), he supports me expressing my spirituality in my own way. What could be a better basis for a long-term relationship than that, regardless of what faiths we might pertain to?

 

Image courtesy of fiat.luxury.

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  • Navin1

    I find this story hopeful and hope also for your and Anjali’s happiness. And in this post is the kernel that needs to be understood of the larger question. How does a non-muslim learn to live with muslims who have trouble with muslims who aren’t doing things their way. I consider myself a fundamentalist Hindu. But as a fundamentalist Hindu, I am required to accept different ways of seeing the world. (no doubt there are other “fundamentalist” hindus that just want to think they are the one’s who have it right). So how do we convince those mono-ideologists that run the mosque that they have islam wrong?hariaum

  • anjali2002

    Thanks for the well-wishes Hariaum.anjali2002 a/k/a Aishah Schwartz

  • abrahamhab1

    Although many of the marriages in this country dissolve in divorce yet almost all the marriages of American women to Muslim men end up in divorce. The reasons are many but the main one is that those are marriages of convenience. Marrying a US citizen is the quickest and surest way to get a residence in this country. Muslims come to this country as students and make sure they get married before they graduate. These so-called “marriages” last for three years till they get the green card. Then they divorce and go back to their ancestral towns and marry their 13 years old cousins. A second reason is the incompatibility in their worldviews. Not too many American women accept the role of house servants.

  • Secular

    I don’t want to say this but religion does make things difficult in every aspect. Why do we need religions at all? Why do we need to pretend to be credulous to believe all the ridiculous and patently unnatural truth claims? Why isn’t the simple credo of “above all be true to yourself” enough? Why is it that you theists feel like you need to buy into the dogma and force your wife or the husband to also at least symbolically buy into the dogma. Do you all really think, if you don’t buy into the religious tenets because they fly in the face of nature, but lead an hones life you would still not achieve salvation? Don’t you in the least bit skeptical about the truth claim that god is “either my way or the highway” kind of guy? Why is it that some religions require that the spouse of the other religion needs to convert?Thankfully I am not saddled with any of the baggage of the religion.

  • TommyTstars

    I’ll play trumpet at your wedding (as long as it doesn’t interfer with snowboard season).

  • lepidopteryx

    Mrs. Taylor: …while he may not pray the way I do, or fast for Ramadan (both of which could be said of many Muslims), he supports me expressing my spirituality in my own way. What could be a better basis for a long-term relationship than that, regardless of what faiths we might pertain to?**************************************************************************************Supoprting one another’s personal growth, even in those areas that don’t include you, is a beautiful way to express love. Congratulations on having found someone who loves you enough to do that.

  • anjali2002

    I’m reading this and just knowing Pamela is going to get hammered, but I’m going to weigh in. The problem with patriarchy is that it does not take into consideration the depth and breadth of the spread of Islam outside the Arab world, particularly the Muslim minorities who live amongst the ‘People of the Book’ in “the west”. As Ms. Taylor points out, “After all, Muslims are a small minority in the US — estimates range between 1% and 3% of the population.” So what are the Muslim revert sisters supposed to do; particularly those of us, like myself and Pamela, who have already borne children and have reached middle age. Are we supposed to just pray and fast and barracade ourselves in our homes; abandoning all hope or thought of finding companionship? I am not saying that I agree, insofar that I would pursue marriage with a non-Muslim man, however, I am concurring that there is room for healthy discussion here on a very real issue regarding Muslim women converting to Islam. We are hammered upon conversion with, “marriage is half of your religion” and “you must get married” – married for the sake of being married, or married because we have found someone with whom we are genuinely compatible and can foresee spending the remainder of our time in this dunya with in fulfilled and loving relationships, livingi lives of peace and harmony? Do women converting to Islam necessarily have to forego such hope merely for the sake of marrying a “Muslim” man – many of whom aren’t even practicing! Add to the fact that these women live in “the west” where marriage to more than one wife is illegal? What is the hope for these women? Even they are shunned by other “Muslim” women in their communities (IF they happen to live near a Muslim community), out of fear that their “devout” Muslim husbands might want to marry them “for the sake of Allah (SWT)” (vs. for a greencard…). I belivee what Pamela is saying is that, this is a genuine issue that needs to be addressed. Revert Muslim women are taken advantage of and abused by both men and women in the Muslim community and yet this is the very community in which we are supposed to engage ourselves…it is definitely an issue for TODAY, obviously not considered 1,400 years ago…I’m just sayin…lets get real, shall we?

  • Jihadist

    Hi Pamela,Thanks for the essay. Ramadan is coming up next month. A blessed Ramadan to you. J

  • cynic505

    If you take the comments of Tatler, and then more importantly Halozcel1, You can see that in fact, regardless of what a “progressive” muslim might wish to believe, there is no such thing as “progressive Islam.” Islam is controlled, defined, and ruled by people who hold the same view as Halozcel1.Which begs the question: why be a muslim? Drop the “faith.” It is a wicked, twisted, deformed, cruel hoax. You should run away from Islam as fast as your covered feet can carry you.Proof of how %^%^$ed up Islam is (posted by yasseryousufi):”If there is a clear ruling on this, this could go a long way in minimizing honor killings of muslim girls in Europe and US.” “Honor” Killings, in Secular europe and the US? This is OUTRAGEOUS. “Clear Ruling?” WON’T HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFETIME. Because Islam is a wicked, twisted, inhumane, anti-woman, anti-peace, anti-love “Religion.” In fact it ain’t a religion, it’s a cult of megalomania. Just a really big one.

  • cynic505

    If you take the comments of Tatler, and then more importantly Halozcel1, You can see that in fact, regardless of what a “progressive” Muslim might wish to believe, there is no such thing as “progressive Islam.” Islam is controlled, defined, and ruled by people who hold the same view as Halozcel1.Which begs the question: why be a Muslim? Drop the “faith.” It is a wicked, twisted, deformed, cruel hoax. You should run away from Islam as fast as your covered feet can carry you.Proof of how %^%^$ed up Islam is (posted by yasseryousufi):”If there is a clear ruling on this, this could go a long way in minimizing honor killings of Muslim girls in Europe and US.” “Honor” Killings, in Secular Europe and the US? This is OUTRAGEOUS. “Clear Ruling?” WON’T HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFETIME. Because Islam is a wicked, twisted, inhumane, anti-woman, anti-peace, anti-love “Religion.” In fact it ain’t a religion, it’s a cult of megalomania. Just a really big one.

  • sadya

    I was always taught that Muslim females aren’t allowed to marry outside their religion, because of raising children and because a non-Muslim wouldn’t give them their rights as females, which Islam grants them. Problem is however, that certain Muslim men don’t give their wives their Islamic rights either. I was married off to my cousin, the marriage was horrible in every way. I’ve been on my own after divorce, which I also got with much difficulty and I’ve refused to marry other cousins since, even those of my father’s side, because I never want to go through that same horror again which my ex-husband put me through all the years of our horrormarriage. I realise not all my cousins are as terrible as him, but I don’t want to take that risc, you never really know someone until you’re trapped in marriage. So I had accepted that I would never find real love in this life on earth, I’d have to wait until Allah would grant me Heaven in the HereAfter, since none of the Muslim males I know, has captured my heart so far.If would remarry, I would want my second marriage to be my own choice, I want to be in love if I marry a second time, someone who could give me the sense of being protected and who wouldn’t choke me with too much love, someone who would give me my Islamic rights (treating equally, no beating up, etc.). The kind of Muslim I would like to marry, probably doesn’t excist any more, you know, the ones we read about in stories about Sahaba (ra). If Muslima’s really would be allowed to marry outside religion, I would probably do it. But when one isn’t sure if it’s allowed, it’s better to stay away from a possible big sin. I’m not sure what to think about this topic. I do wish everyone happiness.

  • yasseryousufi

    Cynic,Im afraid honor killings is a bit complex for simpleton’s like you who just hate anything thats different from theirs. Honor Killings happen all over the world. Catholic Brazil is probably the country with most number of honor killings in the world, in Columbia (also Catholic) it used to be legal to kill your wife if you saw her with another man a few years ago and yes it happens in Europe too and not just by muslims.They are pre-dominantly a Cultural thing but the perpetrators often give it a religous angle to justify their crime. What I suggested was for the religous scholars (Mufti’s) to come up with a fatwa where these marriages may get religous sanction in non-muslim countries. So that would take away the religon part away as excuse. Dont think it would end honor killings though. They are as old as humanity itself.

  • yasseryousufi

    I too am someone who was brought up believing that only muslim men could marry outside their religion as long as they are from people of the book. But I can understand where Pamela and Anjali are coming from. This is a sensitive issue that needs to be clarified by forward looking muslim religous clerics. As far as I know, there is no clear restriction on women marrying people of the book outside their faith either according to Quran or Sunnah. We shouldn’t make religion more difficult than it actually is. Maybe this ambiguity is for a reason so that ideally one should marry inside his/her faith and statistically such marriages tend to be more successfull. But certainly as Islam expands to places that are traditionally judeo-christian, muslim women shouldn’t have to pick from the 1% pool of muslim men. If there is compatibility and common ground, why not marry outside your own faith. If there is a clear ruling on this, this could go a long way in minimizing honor killings of muslim girls in Europe and US. A lot of time these western educated girls are forced to marry their cousins (who may hardly speak any english) from pakistan and that almost always end up in creating a lot of friction inside families. So either the religous people come out with clear proof that this kind of marriage is forbidded in Islam or issue a fatwa allowing these marriages. That will go a long way in muslim families accomodating in alien cultures. PS: I do know that these marriages are allowed in Sufi form of Islam.

  • halozcel1

    Dear Panelist,COW chapter verse 221 says *Do not marry unbelieving/non-muslim woman until they believe(it means until she converts to islam)*Submission/Islam strongly banned inter-faith marriage.-Muslim Girl/Woman can never be taken by non-muslim/infidel males.In Submission/Islam,there is no any Mentality such as Inter-Faith Marriage.There is no any other Faith than Islam.

  • Tatler

    Pamela Taylor seems to be like other white converts ,particularly feminists , who accept Islam and then discover Islam has standards and rules practicing Muslims live by that converts are unable to keep up with. They engage trying to lower Islam to their own limitations and interjecting their own feminist ,homosexual and lesbian agendas into a religion that views such lifestyles an abominations. Interesting that Taylor sites Hasab Al Turabi to support here argument. This is the same radical Islamist Hasan Al Turabi who introduced a strict form of Sharia law in Sudan and who personally invited Osama bin Laden to Sudan

  • fenwayfem

    If he is a just man, he is a believer.Also, if he is a Christian, Jew, or Buddhist or Hindu, at one time or another all these and many more have been considered part of the extended community of believers in Islam–when we had a strong community in which the deen was those who are faithful to God , not to extrinisic compulsion by humans.When we have faith in the attributes of God, who is the sole source of all that is good in this world and the next, we are muslims. When our lives strengthen the attributes of God, and make real and visible justice, mercy, truth and beauty as demonstrated by our clean lives, honesty and generosity for the poor, kindness and help offered to creatures beseieged by starvation,sickness or sorrow, we are true believers.When we cease living in tangential labyrinths of legalism that, for convenience of the comfortable and well off, encourage grown men to drink breast milk from women to become family intimates while literally, millions of orphans in this world, all born believers, go lonely, thirsty, starving, and when we quit these hypocritical public avowals of faithfulness to Allah coupled with exploitive, brutal,and arrogant acts, secret or brazen,that only Shaitan could sanction, then we are a universal deen.Hearts are the ultimate arbiter of piety. God is their only judge.If God is your Guide, do not let the approbation of the legalists defer you from accepting any gift that helps you on the Path.

  • starjack

    The old rule — that a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man is clearly based on the notion that a wife will be obliged at some point to follow her husband’s religion. That’s not usually the case today. As the child of a mixed marriage that went bad, I saw how religion was abused in the divorce. Still, while the marriage was still harmonious we learned about both Jewish and Christian holidays, beliefs, and traditions. It was very cool, really. Alas, with the divorce-drama I learned to hate Christmas and Passover. (Hmmm…. maybe that’s why I became a Muslim? Hahaha!) When I became a Muslim my Catholic partner didn’t, so we became a mixed couple. We love and respect each other and with his heart trouble and blood pressure certainly doesn’t need to be eating pork, and I don’t begrudge him a bit of wine now and then. Religion is how we organize our lives around core beliefs, and even if we don’t share the religion we do share the core beliefs. I sometimes feel a bit lonely around Ramadan, especially at suhur, but that’s really a small problem, and more time and cause for reflection and meditation. We’ve been together 16 years and love each other as much as ever. I believe this one is truly “until death do us part.”

  • Secular

    Balanceds, & Yasseryusoufi, you guys are real pieces of work. You should really be living in 3rd century BC, not in 21st century America. Balanceds you think a grown lady like Ms. Taylor needs your 2 bit bigotry from you. And you wonder where us kafirs develop a wrong idea of you muslims. It is seeing such shining examples of bigotry and supremacists like you and the moderates who bend over backwards to accommodate such pond scums like you. You both living here in the 21st century, hold these views that a muslimah may not marry out of the faith, I can imagine what kind of views general muslims hold. Not only that there is no moderation of expressing your thoughts in public even. Given Ms. Taylor’s name, she must have been duped by an obscurantist like you into changing her faith as a condition for marrying her. Then you have the gall to advise her to wait and to turned down someone who is willing to share his life with her. And Mr. Yousufi, you are such a progressive minded, and magnanimous that you would allow her to marry someone of the book. But if he were an atheist, or dirty pagan Hindu, or a Buddhist it would be a totally different matter in your case too. So you all western credulous, naive and gullible western liberals take note, when you buy into the oft spouted mantra that islam is a religion of peace. If the so called moderates living in the west hold such Neanderthal views, I don’t have to elaborate these peaceful tolerant people are like in their own lands. And of course they we are the bigots to oppose mosque construction near the now destroyed WTC.And then comes Mr yousufi with this jewel “I am afraid honor killings is a bit complex for simpleton’s like you who just hate anything thats different from theirs. Honor Killings happen all over the world. Catholic Brazil is probably the country with most number of honor killings in the world, in Columbia (also Catholic) it used to be legal to kill your wife if you saw her with another man a few years ago and yes it happens in Europe too and not just by muslims”. Certainly you are the most nuanced fellow on earth. the complexity is that it used to be the law in that citadel of progressive thought Brazil also. Therefore, honor killings should not be condemn out of hand.

  • Secular

    You credulous, naive, and gullible western liberals who are ready to buy into the notion of islam being a peaceful accommodating religion note the writings of all the muslims on this blog. Sadya, your conclusions about muslims are very much on the money. You see the posts too of the obscurantist muslim men. You have been brainwashed since your birth about islam and muddled your head. You need to step out and look into this religion thing more rationally. All religion is silly superstitious nonsense and Islam is just a several more shades worse. My unsolicited advise is, you have come a long way, all you need to do is take that final step and walk away from islam altgether. Then you can feel the exhilaration of freedom. It is suffocating you. You have only one life live it as you see fit and not the way an illiterate narcissistic, bedouin had dictated his followers to live. Only credo anyone needs to follow is as Polonious’s advise to his son Laertes:” This above all: to thine own self be true, If you ask me there is moere wisdom in Shakespeare’s Hamlet than in all the books of Koran put together.

  • yasseryousufi

    Balanced,I saw your link and the surah you referred to. Here’s the translation from the link you provide;�Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire but Allah beckons by His grace to the garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His signs clear to mankind; that they may receive admonition�. ( 221). (See: Ma�arif al-Qur�an, 1/ 540).I have already made my opinions known on this subject. I am ready to change my views if Im shown clear proof of this restriction. But I have no idea where you draw your inference from. This Surah nowhere mentions anywhere that a muslim woman cannot marry someone belonging to what we call people of the book. Neither have I ever seen a Hadith that points to this restriction in un ambigous terms. So just because there is ambiguity, I believe in special conditions as in the case of muslims living in alien lands these marriages can be allowed.

  • TommyTstars

    Pamela accepted Islam well before meeting her husband to be. After she became Muslim, she moved to Indianapolis and began working for the Islamic Society of North America and met him at the mosque in Plainfield in that connection.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Beautifully put, Pamela.

  • abrahamhab1

    Secular says:This bigotry and supremacist attitude is not those two guys invention. It is a direct result of Islam’s tenants.

  • areyousaying

    Let’s see now…..if I were married to a strong Muslim woman, would I be concerned that her allegiances to her religion take priority over my allegiances to my Country?

  • Secular

    I reread Ms. Sadya’s post and i found it very sad and troubling. It appears that she has been too indoctrinated from childhood into the exclusivist club called islam. I suggest she should ask and answer these questions for herself.1) Why is it necessary to be a muslim? If there were an afterlife why would it be an exclusive club made of only muslims? Is the primary criteria for entry being a muslim? Why would Skydaddy be so exclusive thet he/she would make that the primary criteria? Don’t good deeds 7 good intentions count at all? Get this monky off your back.2) You claim islam grants females certain rights, that as non-muslim you don’t get. What are these rights that are granted? The very construction of that statement actually means that powers to be are to allow you those privileges. Then they are not rights, but some thing others give you and can take away. That’s what happened in your previous marriage your, ex chose not to allow even those privileges. In the end you had nothing. Get rid of the notion that you are granted rights, there is no such thing as granting. You have all the rights you want, as long as you do not jeopardize others rights. It is not islam granting you rights, it is you who is surrendering your rights. In US of A you have all the rights, it is not your husband’s prerogative to grant you rights.3) It is sad that you come to the conclusion that you will never find true love. You have been indoctrinated to believe that it is a sin to marry out of islam. First of all sin is a creation of religion, to control credulous like you. If there is no one in islam that can give you true love, isn’t that a fata indictment of islam. If islam turns all men into poor spouses, it cant say much for islam, isn’t it? So why cling to islam. Give it up and look for your love where you can find it.4) Lastly again, you don’t rely on your next husband to give you your rights. (the rights are not islamic, they are just rights) They are yours to keep. Do you really think non-islamic husbands beat their wives and don’t give them equal rights. Do women married to non-muslims constantly beaten or not allowed to have their own rights? So for your own well being walk away from suffocation you call islam. You sound to be bright, you have managed your life by yourslef, since your divorce. You can do it and find happiness for yourself and may be for someone else, as well.

  • yasseryousufi

    Secular.You probably think hedonism, lesbianism, gayism, incest, casual sex is the way to go in the 21st Century. I can bet most atheists dont even believe in the concept of marriage either. You din’t have to gate crash into an argument thats got nothing to with your religion or creed. I can understand your urge to bash Islam and muslims on every topic without even reading the blog, but i hope you understand how stupid you look with your unifocal hatefilled attacks devoid of any educated argument or understanding of the bigger picture.

  • yasseryousufi

    Secular,I believe you’re so puffed up with paranoia that you’re struggling to connect the dots and follow the debate. I agreed with Pamela and Anjali’s argument! Go read my post again. I do not condone honor killings. I was explaining to this cynical simpleton like you who was mouthing off against muslims, as if only muslims indulge in honor killings. Religion is not the sole motive for honor killings. Its used to cover up the crimes of perpetrators of honor killing. Try doing some actual reading on the subject. Now that you’ve heard my take on honor killings let us hear you elaborate on your Hindu/Secular version of Honor Killings. Why do they happen? Do you think its only us ‘evil’ muslims who indulge in honor killings?The topic being discussed is an issue among muslims whether its ok for women to marry outside Islamic faith, no one asked for a certified islamophobe like you to offer his comments. Nothing’s as worthless in this world as free advice. I dont think these women need your sympathy. Your obvious contempt of Pamela and others for converting to islam is also there for all to see. The big picture is that there are racists, bigots, Islamophobes and hatemongers on this blog and in the wider world who are easily identifiable by the contents of their posts. We need to call them out for their lies but shouldn’t really take them too seriously.

  • TommyTstars

    I hate this website. I have registered in my own name and tried three times to make a post on this blog. Apparently our computer cannot recognize my registration so I cannot say anything without having my husband’s name appear on the page. It must be a religious conspiracy against women! Nevertheless I am not TommyTstars. Apparently I cannot have my own name but can only be MRS TommyTstars!

  • cynic505

    Wow. I guess I am a simpleton. Thank you for clarifying that for me Mr. Ysrysfi.Of course honor killings are ” cultural.” Apparently Muslim Culture is quite susceptible.I just love this thing about “it’s OK for Muslima to marry a man ‘of the book’, even if he aun’t Muslim.”And how, pre tell, does the Muslima determine and certify that said man is Of The Book? Hell, how does she certify he is Muslim? You expose your utter fairy-tale religious nutcase logic right there. Faith is personal. Works are the only thing measurable–and even they can only be snapshots–=noone ever knows someone else’s history unless you grew up together (wow, that’s a novel concept–marry your childhood sweetheart. Worked for me). Muslims are ignorant of Christian or Jewish measurements and vice versa, and to be truly Christian takes more than works. It takes faith. And faith is personal and unknowable by *anyone*. So in the end, marriage is based on works. And to enforce this idea that Muslima can only marry a Muslim, or maybe, on a good day, a man Of The Book, is rubbish. In the US., marriage is a *civil* rite. We have all been decorously misled into believing it is a religious rite. The marriage license is the only official document, and that is a state document. Even in Christian Europe, the churchy aspect is very recent. Ordinary folks married secularly in medieval Europe!So what is Muslim Father going to do, if Pamela marries a non-Muslim? Issue a Fatwah? Or is she going to burn in hell, or miss out on Virgins in heaven (oh, I fogot–that’s for the boys…).

  • Secular

    Cynic505, just an aside, you should have taken the pseudonym Cynic666, just to get in the craw, of certain folks. I completely agree with you these people behave like, what I call, Sheeple. All religions are memes. Except that islam is a very terrible meme.The way islam has been organized is like a colony of bees. The only important member to protect is the Queen Bee in a bee colony, in islam it is the trinity of ialsm, MO, & allah. The individual has no other purpose but to further the trinity. They behave as though they have already speciated away from the homo-sapiens. With all the restrictions of not marrying across faiths. Or forced conversions into islam, etc, etc.From her previous posts thi, otherwise articulate woman, is totally stupefied into the notion that she needs to marry man who is a muslim. She had a terrible experience of marriage with her own cousin. Apparently without much comfort from the family. She is well convinced that there is no muslim man whom she can trust to treat her righht, according to the islamic way, even amongst the remaining cousins from both sides of the family. That pretty much is a strong indictment of all the men. Either she has a false concept or expectation of muslim man’s treatment of their wives or the mslim men are not capable of being muslim. She however, cannot countenance the possibility of marrying someone out of her faith. She is afraid she would commit some kind of unforgivable sin. Part of me feels sorry for this young lady, who has suffered so much so early in her life. On the other hand she comes across as such a narrow minded person that anything to do with non-islam is a sacrilege that she would avoid it like a plague. The situation is so pathetic that she realizes that muslim men that she knows are all not fit to be here husband, but then she has some glorious Utopian notions of islam. She is eager to find someone who is a non-muslim, because she feels they would treat her right, if only it was kosher for here to marry outside islam. She cannot seem to be able to make the connection, if here life depended on it, that the muslim men are the way they are because of the islamic injunctions. Actually here life depends on it.

  • sadya

    cynic505, marriage is also based on faith and trust in each other. If you have that as well, a marriage can work. I agree faith is personal, but when a husband or a wife says he/she believes, you trust and believe that person, what’s the use of marrying someone you don’t trust? In true Islam, your past is forgiven if you did make mistakes, which is human and allowed in Islam, but then you have to repent and try not to make those mistakes again. What counts is what happens today, how you behave now, how you live now. Unless the crime you commited is too horrible, like murdering an innocent person for example, that’s different of course and not a normal human mistake, but something terrible. In cases like that there are different rules for different situations, then it depends on why you did it and how much you repent, etc.

  • PSolus

    sadya,”In true Islam,…”Where, exactly is this “true Islam” practiced?How would one tell if a person is a member of “true Islam” or of “false islam”?

  • Secular

    How can something be eternal, yet needs context? How can something be eternal and yet be viewed in the context of the times? How come something be eternal and also be subject to subscription to it for it to remain to be true? Quite recently I had a long discussion with a friend who swore that in the entire bible, there were only 28 pages that mattered to him and was not ready to counter any of my arguments. To that my only counter was if one can pick 28 pages out of say 3000 pages, the s/he really does not need that book. On the contrary, when I take a book on physics, I do not pick and choose the pages I think are right and cast away pages I deem incorrect. If I were to do that, I really would not need that book. I use the entire book, with out me having to judge the topics where the information is accurate.This only betrays the credulity, gullibility, or outright mendacity, deception, capriciousness of the adherents. So what is a skeptic to do? When one claims he is follower of True islam, nothing concrete can be surmised. At least the other religions have undergone profound reformation in the past 4 – 5 centuries. There were huge battles fought in christianity during teh enlightenment period. In case ofjudaism, buddhism and hinduism centuries of subjugation has tempered the fervor amongst the overwhelming majority of people. You find qualitative and quantitative opposition to the more vile, & draconian admonishments of their scriptures. Where as in case of islam, the landscape is very different. Country after country in the islamic world the secular law follows the religious admonishments mostly the draconian stuff. So when someone brings up the notion of true islam, it absolutely informs me nothing and I am advised to assume the most draconian and the most so call recent revelations rather than the old Meccan revelations.

  • Secular

    Ms. Sadya:1) being taken out of contextContinued below:

  • halozcel1

    *your past is forgiven if you did mistakes*Can we say *Nobody is faultless,Love me with my mistakes*I may say,I love you with your mistakes.

  • Jihadist

    “Let’s see now…..if I were married to a strong Muslim woman, would I be concerned that her allegiances to her religion take priority over my allegiances to my Country?”*******************************************Nationalism trumps religion. Just ask the citizens of these countries (including women) whose side they are on during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; during the Iran-Iraq war; during the Indonesia-Malaysia “Konfrontasi” etc.

  • cynic505

    @Jihadist:@Sadya:You haven’t addressed the ludicrous concept of “she can marry a man ‘of the book.’” How is she supposed to know what that means? Because he said it?Don’t you see–all these prescriptions have NOTHING to do with faith or beliefe–they have to do with POWER and specifically, the power of a third party the IMAM or the MULLAH or the POPE or the BISHOP, to tell you you cannot marry so and so. They haven’t any more clue as to the suitability of his faith than you do. God, I am continually amazed at how sheep-like the human species is.