Sunday, February 25, 2007

Convertable Husbands

Convertible Husbands: The latest matrimonial craze.

I'm sure most of y'all know someone with one. BUT, for those of you that don't know, a convertible husband is a non-Muslim that converted so y'all could get married. I know a few sisters that have done this and it seems to be getting even more popular. In a way I can understand where they're coming from, especially the foreign sisters. Non-Muslim guys don't seem to have the same "issues" as a lot of Muslim guys. It seems to me that a lot (not all) brothers seem to have this thing wear they want this hot, willing to be freaky, vestal virgin. She doesn't exist. They don't want her too religious because then she's no fun but they don’t want her too worldly because then maybe he isn't the first man in her life. The problem with this mentality is that unless a girl is pretty religious chances are she's had some sort of romantic entanglement and I'm not even talking about dating or sleeping around. What about talking to prospects, falling for friends, broken engagements, and all of the things that make up life outside of a bubble? Heck, even a religious girl could have had one of these. In this day and age, in this country, there's only so much innocence a girl over a certain age can have. Frankly, too much innocence is dangerous. Anyway, I'm straying from the topic.

Non-Muslims are far more blasé about this type of thing. For most of them, simply being a virgin (or not too experienced) is good enough. To most non-Muslims, that implies that you haven't been in a too serious relationship and likely have no real (relationship) baggage. They don't worry over every little nuance. They take what you tell them and work from that. They don't delve deep into everything little thing you've ever done. A lot of sisters are telling me that it's a welcome break; that it's nice not to have someone worrying about you being in a car alone with a guy for 15 minutes during sophomore year. They also seem more able to be the type of husbands that a lot of sisters want. I'll let y'all read what you will into that last statement. I'm not going into all of the things my girlfriends said they feel our brothers are lacking.

That being said, I think a lot of us are too harsh on our brothers. Yes, there are a lot of them with serious issues but there are a lot of really good ones too. And are we so faultless? I think not. Besides, as far as I can tell, converting your own husband is not without its problems. First, there's bringing him around. It takes a lot to get someone to renounce their religion and/or way of life. Second, there's the whole family issue. He may be willing and ready to convert but they probably won't like it or the bride to be. There's also the issue of the girl's family, they probably won't like him or the situation. It may always be a problem. I've seen it go both ways. A friend of my older sister's did this with a guy she met in med school and both of their families came around in record time. They've been married for over ten years, MashaAllah. I also knew of a girl whose marriage fell apart in less than a year because everyone was so against it and it tore them apart. Interestingly enough, he stayed with Islam and she left. Third (and, I think, final), there's the culture shock. If you've come from Christianity or no religion at all, it's a huge shocker. There are so many things that are different and so much that you have to give up, not to mention the Muslims themselves. It's a lot to deal with and everyone doesn't handle it well. Little everyday things that didn't used to matter suddenly become a big deal. And let's not even get into something like planning a wedding. It's crazy.

I don't think it's for me but I can't say for sure. As it stands now, I don't feel like I'm having such a difficult time with Muslim men that I need to start pursuing non-Muslims and I work hard at making sure I don't just fall for one. And while I'm willing to concede that I've met far more non-Muslim men I could see myself with long term, I think that's because I haven't had the chance really get to know most Muslim men. That's the real problem with Muslim gender relations. We just don't get to know each other. It's so much easier to get to know non-Muslims of the opposite sex. Most of us are segregated growing up and then when we start college or join the work force, we wind up keeping that distance from each other. For instance, Muslim girls are not even on my 17 y/o brother's radar. He hasn't spoken to a Muslim girl his age since he was six! He doesn't know any so he doesn't think about them. As far as he's concerned, outside of his family, they don't even exist. His friends are the same way. The Muslim girls at school don't talk to them and vice versa and they don't interact at youth functions. What's even sadder than that is that the brave few that do interact are always being accused of having some type of inappropriate relationship.

9 comments:

Yusuf said...

Assalamualaikum

How would you know if he is converting just to marry the girl, or converting because he really studied Islam and was convinced? I agree, it could work, but there is a big risk involved.

bushraaa said...

Interesting post... a few points I want to address:

-I think any sort of generalization is unfair to make, so I would not say that my comments or observations are about 'all' Muslim or non- Muslim guys. I can only speak from my own experiences and from those of people who have shared theirs with me (and of course statistics always are handy to use).

-Each one of us has to be aware of our relationship with Allah(swt). I consider myself to be a practicing Muslim, and if my fiance had been someone who was not, we would not have gotten past the first 'hello' or 'salaam'. We should know the basics of what we are looking for in someone's deen, and if a candidate does not have it, why set yourself up for a potential life-long struggle?

-Granted, there are *always* surprises after the courtship and marriage, and you will never get to know anyone 100% until you live with them. BUT, that being said, if dating/ pre-marital relations were so effective, then the divorce rate would not be so high among those who indulge in such practices.

-One's past is no one else's business. Allah(swt) tells us to hide our sins, and in fact even when it comes to getting to know someone for marriage you do not have to divulge anything regarding your past. If you drank alcohol in your 'bad ol' days', and are currently a Muslim who repented from this sin, if someone asks if you have drank alcohol your response should be 'Alhamdulillah, Allah(swt) protected me from such a sin'. The reasoning here is that even though the straight answer would be 'yes, I drank alcohol', Allah(swt) asks us to protect ourselves and because one repented and found the straight path, Allah(swt) DID protect you. SubhanAllah.

-Lastly, I find it worrisome to have someone convert to a religion just for marriage. I believe that one's relationship with God is a very special one, and though people can help us find the truth and even inspire us to do so, the ultimate decision should not be for someone else.

Wa Allahu alim.

Atifa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Atifa said...

Let’s take a moment to step back and look at the big picture. When would a Muslima decide that she wanted to marry a Non-Muslim gentleman and ask/want/demand that he becomes Muslim? The answer: When she’s already fallen for him. They’ve already transcended the bounds of what is Islamically gender appropriate. So the solution to this dilemma is for the gentleman to become Muslim so they can get married. It’s about finding a halal resolve to a non-so-halal situation and has nothing to do with halal intensions and/or means.

I never really bought the excuse that well, it just happened. We’re not allowed to just hang out with each other, talk on the phone, chat, and we each have a responsibility to prevent ourselves from falling into haram. Remember that anything which can lead to haram is haram. As individuals we allow ourselves to take many steps, before we even come close to falling for someone. We are the ones who continue talking to this person; we are the ones who okay getting coffee, or lunch, or studying or whatever. Many times its just pure hubris that we don’t think we’d fall for a non-Muslim, so we allow are self to do all sorts of stuff, but then it happens.

The real problem, I guess, would be why aren’t these Muslimas considering the Muslims brothers? The brothers say we’re too picky; we say their too picky…I think all of those are just excuses. Seriously, when we’re ready and meet someone who is also ready, things just seem to fall into place. But it comes to having patience and trusting in Allah SWT. I’ve seen ppl with the most scandalized pasts end up marrying sweet and pious ppl and I’ve seen the opposite as well. It’s all about rizq. Allah SWT created our pairs before any of us entered this Earth. We will get who we were meant to be with. It’s written, done, and determined. What we get to decide is how we get there. How will we obtain this person, from the halal or not?

In the mean time we do need to improve our networking. We as a community need to stop giggling and focus on how to help our singles who want to get married, married. We need venues where we can meet each other in a halal manner and marry each other. We’re still a young ummah in North America. We have a lot to figure out. So let’s get to this, let’s start figuring this out.

Sarah said...

Religion will always be an issue. Sometimes it's a challenge just dating someone with *slightly* different beliefs than you. I am a Catholic. My boyfriend is a Methodist. Generally, we get along fine, and I've even gone to church with him several times...but he's made it pointedly clear that he will never convert to Catholicism. Given my own background and beliefs and the foundations we share, I'm okay with that, but I wouldn't be okay dating someone who wasn't even Christian (and I never have dated anyone who didn't at least come from a semi-Christian household).

In other words, I understand what you're saying, and it's best to stick with someone who shares your beliefs and values from the get-go, even if he is not making himself easy for you to find at the moment.

Ruby said...

*This is specific to the Muslim community here*
Any guy I know is not Muslim since any and all Muslim events are so gender segregated I wouldn't recognize a male blood family member most times. With Muslims its like you're only supposed to meet a Muslim of the opposite gender, in your age range, the day you marry them and getting married is supposed to be THE NUMBER ONE GOAL for Muslim girls...awkward much? Hence, my male friends are all non-Muslim. I couldn't imagine marrying a non-Muslim or asking someone to convert for me but whatever floats your boat.*shrug*

Umm Maariyah said...

assalam aleikoum. i am a woman who converted to Islam when i met my future husband. Hamdoulillah, I didn't convert to Islam to win his love but for Allah...Yes there is a big culture difference between us but it is not a problem at all for me, it opened my mind a lot and I thank Allah every day for this.Hamdoulillah!

singlemuslimah said...

Yusuf: There's really no way of knowing but I guess it isn't that different from women converting to Judaism. You just never know.

Bushraaa: I didn't generalize, did I? I thought I was careful about that.
"If dating/ pre-marital relations were so effective, then the divorce rate would not be so high among those who indulge in such practices." True, true.

Atifa: The networking needs serious work.

Sarah: You always get me.

Ruby: So true.

Umm Maariyah: I'm glad everything is working out for you.

AKA said...

I agree with Yusuf. I am in no place to judge anyone but I've always wondered if the person converting is doing it just to please one set of parents. I know that I could never live with that notion that I had someone convert just for the sake of marriage and not the religion itself. I'm working on better myself as a Muslim everyday and I don't think I could have it on my conscience that someone is just agreeing to convert because he doesn't really have much care for his own religion and might as well say he's Muslim.