Intercultural Marriages: A Qur’anic Reflection


http://www.flickr.com/photos/katiedee/4285282225/in/photostream/By Eyad Alnaslah

In Islam, the concept of diversity and tolerance is found many times in the Qur’an and hadith (records of the words of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him). We find diversity in all our mosques and Islamic functions, with Muslims from different parts of the world, and of different cultures and backgrounds. Accordingly, as Muslims in America, it is only natural that we have inter-cultural marriages in our respective communities. However, it is unfortunate that many brothers and sisters that would like to get married to someone of another culture experience many hardships. The following is a Qur’anic reflection from Surat Al Rum (Qur’an 30) I had while reading a few verses pertinent to one of the signs of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He): marriage.

20. Among His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you were human beings dispersing [throughout the earth]. 21. And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. 22. And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (Qur’an, 30:20-22)

Verse 20 reminds the reader of one’s origin, that we were all created from dirt.

Verse 21 is a verse quoted oftentimes during a marriage ceremony, or found on a wedding invitation. It is an extremely nice verse.

Verse 22 highlights that the creation was given different colors and tongues (i.e. skin color and languages).

Many people focus on love in Verse 21. But we see that this verse comes in the middle of two verses: a verse that reminds us that we are not better than one another, regardless of our backgrounds, since we are all from simple dirt (verse 20), and a verse that explains the blessings of Allah (swt) creating us all different, with varying looks, colors, languages, perspectives and cultures (verse 22).

When I read these three verses, I think of the society that we are in today; where cross-cultural marriages are discouraged or even forbidden in some of our Muslim households. Why? Because some families may think they are of a higher class than other families, or their culture is better than another, or their language supersedes all. It is a very arrogant and ignorant outlook, one condemned by Islam.

But at the end of verse 22, Allah (swt) distinctly mentions that these verses are for people of knowledge, people who think, and people who reflect on the signs of Allah (swt).

Therefore, it is a sign (ayah) of Allah (swt) that people from different ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures get married and live their lives with a new person. A relationship is formed between two families that do not have the same language or skin color, but have the same origin (and of course, have the same faith too insha’Allah, God willing).

I think these three verses speak to our society today – where brothers are having a hard time getting married, largely because of the ignorance rooted in the cultures of some Muslims. I am sure it is just as hard for the sisters as well.

We have a beautiful religion. One aspect of it is the institution of marriage. But as Sh. Suhaib Webb says, “marriage is the easiest chapter in the books of fiqh, but the hardest chapter in our society today.” This is because of the barriers, conditions and requirements many Muslim families put forth that are Islamically baseless. In my humble opinion, these verses refute such mentalities that complicate our youths’ marriages at a time where our youth are clinging on to their religion with their fingernails. Unfortunately, there are several cases of practicing and guided brothers and sisters that have left their religion behind after being denied the opportunity for marriage based on the cultural ills of our Muslim society.

May Allah guide us all to the correct understanding of Islam, protect our youth in the Muslim community, and allow us to live and breathe the sunnah (tradition) of the the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in all aspects of life, including marriage.

Indeed, putting a verse about marriage in between two such verses is not spontaneity on the part of Allah (swt). Allah is Most Wise.

 

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110 Comments

  1. Donna says:

    I think an even bigger issue (according to the young people I talk to) is the lack of eligible male partners for Muslim girls. The boys tend to feel able to date and/or hook up with non-Muslim girls while the Muslim girls live under a microscope and are left with the prospect of marrying men from “back home” whom they are not compatible with. We have seen quite a few young ladies in our community end up divorced from (often much older) men that their parents coerced them into marrying. We need to allow our young people to know each other and teach them how to interact appropriately instead of pretending this isn’t happening.

    • Lost Cause says:

      This is an excuse, I know sisters who go after those types of brothers because they are usually wealthy, physically attractive and popular. There are plenty of brothers who aren’t dating but these sisters don’t want them and unfortunately a lot of those brothers have some of the same poor priorities.

      • IK says:

        Actually I ahve to agree with you Donna. In my community and from mine and my sisters’ experience, that is exactly what we go through. Lst Cause, it can’t be denied that the situation you mentioned does exist today, but the above one is a much more prevalant issue due to many factors such as culture.

        • JG says:

          This is funny! I thought it is hard for boys to find a good practicing match.It seems sisters also think the same way towards boys.But I agree with Lost Cause, religiosity of of Muslim brothers are not the main criteria these days. If you are not from the same cultural background, it is even harder.

    • Jag says:

      I disagree (partially). Many Muslim sisters are pushed by their parents to get through school FIRST before getting married. Or through the girls own choice. She loses out on opportunities when she is 20-25, and ends up not being able to find anyone until she is 32 (as an example). The hook-up equation, goes both ways, but, you are right in that, Muslim males have much more of a free reign…however…

      I have been rejected twice on the SOLE basis that the girl’s family demanded she marry a man of the same culture…I live in Houston btw, and I don’t date… Both women as well, were interested in me, but the cultural issues were far too great. I don’t want to end up having children, and be unable to take them to my wife’s house!

      It is absolutely ridiculous. I know there is a double-standard for men (ironically in BOTH cases, the sisters’ parents held a double-standard for their respective brothers). However, there are lots of brothers who have not been able to marry because the sister’s parents are so adamant about their daughter’s marrying into the same culture.

      This is a SERIOUS issue that needs to be addressed in our communities.

      • A. says:

        ‘However, there are lots of brothers who have not been able to marry because the sister’s parents are so adamant about their daughter’s marrying into the same culture.’

        I completely agree to that, its around 3 threes I am wanting to decently marry a religious man, with whom I think I can lead a happy and healthy life, but the same has been repeatedly refused by my parents because of the cultural diversity.

        Here in Pakistan, indian migrants (i.e. Urdu speaking people) consider themselves much more cultured than the local people, they have harbored a strange resentment against them, and are delved in the superiority complex. Hailing from such a family, its too tough to have my parents consent for this inter-cultural marriage.

        There might be bias on their side too, I might be unaware of that – but well, i can completely relate to you.

        requesting prayers!
        May Allah swt soften our hearts for others, fill our hearts with love, respect and kindness for our community and accept our efforts from us.

        Amen.

        As Salam Alikum vr

    • Umm Naadirah says:

      That’s because parents and their daughters look at the education and wealth of a man instead of what they should be looking at – his character and deen.

      When women demand the above, they wind up with older partners who are incompatible with them.

      To blame this on parents alone is a bit disingenuous. I’ve yet to meet a sister willing to marry a janitor who reads salaah 5 times a day, fasts all of Ramadan, and believes in respecting women by the Prophetic tradition. Yet ask them to marry a doctor who fasts and prays sporadically and they are sold.

      Religion is not the opium of the masses. Materialism is.

      • Muslimah says:

        You don’t have to have met a sister who’s willing to marry a janitor, who’s religious and a good man, for them to exist.

        I personally came across a lot of troubles because I wanted to marry a man other people saw as “uneducated, poor, different ethnic background, etcetc” and people look down on the woman being educated while the man isn’t. I was lucky to have open-minded parents, who like me saw the man for who he is not what he does or where he came from and alhamdulilah we are now engaged. That doesn’t mean we didn’t go through a lot of hardships and judgmental people before we got here, but women like me do exist. I couldn’t careless if he owned a mansion or a studio flat, i just care how he treats me and his faith.

      • Sherifa says:

        As a mother who raised her son to respect people based on their character instead of color or wealth, it grieves me to acknowledge how widespread discrimination/racism is in the Muslim communities. The questions usually asked by prospective matches are about nationality and profession, income, etc. While those are important things, it still surprises me that the first questions are not about imaan.

    • T.L says:

      I think when Muslims are born or raised abroad, they want to find someone of the same interest as them. To marry someone who knows nothing of you is hard to live for the rest of the life with. I think here the issue lies for the people that aren’t in there homeland,and are trying to find partners of the same religion as wel as same culture, which might be hard. In this case I’ll give an example or a man, if a Muslim man is born in the US, lived there for most of his life, is a good Muslim, and is now looking for a parter, it would be hard for him to find a Muslim girl, but he can always find a Christian and marry, cause there are many Christians there, and according to islam it’s not haram. Now if I talk about a Muslim woman in this case, it would be hard for her as well to find a Muslim guy, cause even if you find one, he probably is married to the Christian, cause they are easier to find, and she can’t marry anyone of any other religion. So here, there is a great difference.
      And as we all know, god has set a date on women getting married, which is before 32, after that its very hard to find someone. Even if they do find someone, most of the families are too conservative to let them even meet, so the only way she can get married is for her parents to choose someone from back home, and as growing up abroad, she won’t be able to go and live back home if her husband chooses not to go out of the country, he’d rather go out himself and let her stay back.
      So I think this is a real issue for most Muslim women

  2. M says:

    yes, so true. I am in that position myself.
    Life has dealt me with some tough hands and made me ineligible to get married in my community.

    I have to look out of Islamic community for wife now and it still tough b/c I’m still looking for some sort of religious wife. They are more accepting of my current situation but its tough in other ways- like no pig products or alcohol in the house; or they spiritual but not religious or atheist.

    Also very tempted to skip marriage and just wander out into women but when I think of diseases and Allah’s eventual wrath I back away. I don’t for how long. I ask for strength everyday. IA.

    • Sidra Mahmood says:

      Imam Suhaib Webb says that in his opinion, brothers should NOT be looking outside of the community when there are single Muslim sisters waiting to get married. I understand your struggle but it is so easy for brothers to “look outside of the community” but what are we sisters supposed to do?

      • M says:

        I think you should look outside too. Why be left alone? Look for decent guy who would be willing to convert; or have converted. And guys looking outside is usually b/c parents have rejected us because we not making enough money or not doctor, engineer i.e certified professional. Use e-harmony or lifemates etc…

        • Sister Mary says:

          …and another site is HalfOurDeen, which has a unique approach to helping people sort through values, practical matters, etc.

        • Abdullah says:

          @ sister Mary, Half our deen is a good site and good concept. I tried meeting people on that site and 98% of sisters say they want a brother from same ethnicity and culture. which goes to the same topic talked about. This is common and this oppression of sisters unfortunatly is common amongst the Indians, Pakistani’s, arabs and Northern Nigerian women. Am sorry if am a bit blunt however, this is only the truth. I am still optimistic in my search for a spouse however and pray i do not have to settle isA.

    • l.n. says:

      Please do not lose hope.
      “What has missed you was never meant to reach you. And what has reached you was never meant to miss you.”
      Allah created us all in pares. Remain patient & steadfast, pious & greatful. You will be blessed.
      My zawji & I were :-)

  3. Lost Cause says:

    Jazak Allahu Khair for this article but I believe that this is a lost cause.

    I’ve sent a guardian to approach several brothers about marriage, and as soon as they find out my ethnicity I get turned down without them knowing any further information about who I am. I used to look internally and think “What’s wrong with me?” then I realized that THEY are the one’s with the problem. I have a lot of great qualities that make one suitable for marriage, and honestly before I was Muslim I knew that some people were racist but I hardly had to deal with these race issues, I wasn’t nearly as self conscious about race and I think it says a lot about our communities, the fact that race wasn’t an issue until I became a part of the religion that is supposed to eradicate racism.

    I honestly don’t understand why people would think that “cultures” (whatever that is supposed to mean) wouldn’t combine considering that here in America, men and women of different ethnicities share a lot of the same interests and a common language (english). All of the brothers that I meet who are in their early to mid 20′s are just everyday American men and with international Muslims constantly trying to prove how American they are, how we are “all the same”, they reject the idea when it comes to marriage. I don’t see why it would be “difficult” for a husband and wife to teach each other about their food and languages etc. In the end, food, language, clothing etc. are such superficial things anyway.

    I also think that people have all of these stereotypes in mind when they think about certain ethnicities which is ridiculous, my family does not fit into any box. Nearly all of them on my dad’s side are college educated (two+ generations up). My family is filled with professionals and even some Muslims in my extended family, but I’m never given a chance to share my story because these “Muslims” won’t let me through the door because of the color of my skin. It’s arrogance and some people perceive unfamiliarity as a threat when in fact inter-cultural and inter-racial families are more diverse and can become rich in belief if everyone let’s go of their egos.

    Anyway, I’ve just dismissed the of the idea of getting married, which is really disappointing because I wanted to have a Muslim family in the future. I didn’t want to continue spending my Ramadans alone, but you just get sick of the rejection. Then you hear these brothers and sisters complain about how they can’t get married in the MIDST of turning people down for the most ridiculous reasons, and I’m thinking, it must be easy to get married if everyone can dismiss each other so flippantly, there must be a line of “suitors” outside of everyone’s door. I think a lot of people treat marriage like it’s a game, it is not the lottery and it certainly isn’t a Disney story so please stop with all of this “Prince and Princess” nonsense. We live in a democracy.

    These people marrying on the basis of nationality, skin color, language, income etc. instead of deen and compatibility are going to get exactly what they are looking for and after the looks and money they we find that they can’t connect on any other level and if these things fade the couples find that they have nothing in common at all. I’ve seen some of these marriages, and you get exactly what you ask for.

    • M says:

      yeah that’s true too. Shayak Webb talks about this too. He had had Stanford educated, rich, black male who wanted to marry a Muslim women in the desi community in San Francisco and was rejected by parents all over. Very disheartening.

      But it’s also true- that we limited by sect, employment type, unemployment(laid off and not able to find out for a long time), family politics( some families promises each other children for marriage when just born or very young).

      But on the point of looks. For the girl and boy; there must be a basic attraction. Yeah we all grow old and wrinkly but we all want some relatively attractive; I’m not saying Brad Pitt or Angelie Jolie but get our juices going a bit. Some one I can turn over say yeah and they to me. It’s all really anyone wants.

      Also women are more educated and successful because they are supported by their family and bear little or no actual financial costs for those educations. The boys have work and often education is hampered by other stuff coming into their lives; illness or death in the family and then they have to the breadwinner. Women may be affected emotionally by this but usually they don’t have to drop their focus of their education for these types of events.

      But Lost Cause, one the things Allah(swt) tells in not to give up. We must be accepting and keep on praying and believing in a better days and it tough with Travon Martin and that Iraqi women being bludgeoned to the death but we must strive for a better tomorrow. happier days lie ahead innshallah.

      It’s the only that keeps me going. Innshallah. Better days ahead. take care and my allah(swt) bring you a husband better than you could dream of and wonderful children and grandchildren. Allah Akbar.

      • Lost Cause says:

        I don’t live with my parents and I’ve been supporting myself completely since I was of legal age and like MANY of these unmarried brothers and sisters, I am not unattractive. I don’t know what you mean by “juices” but if that juice is “sweetened” by superficial priorities, greed, nationalism and racism then you are right, otherwise your generalizations don’t hold much truth.

        • Sidra Mahmood says:

          @M:
          I don’t agree with your point of ONLY men being the breadwinner of the family in case of a calamity. Perhaps you don’t know examples of women who have done the same in circumstances you mentioned. I don’t know if you live in America, but if you open your eyes, you will find plenty of such examples. Thus, it’s a very lame excuse of brothers that this is why they are not as “educated” as the sisters.

          @Lost Cause:
          I totally feel you sister but don’t be disheartened by Allah’s mercy. Sometimes He rewards us when we least expect it and you don’t know when are where your other half is. So keep making dua and don’t give up, please.
          However, as M mentioned, there is a level of “physical attraction” we are allowed to have even in Islam. When a companion wanted to marry a woman, the Prophet asked him to go and have a look at her. Yes, our perception of beauty is shaped through our cultural upbringing but real faith comes by seeing through it. But even within those confines, we’re still allowed to be “physically attracted” to the person we’d like to marry because after all, sharing a bed with someone you’re not comfortable with is not easy.
          But, what we CAN do is spread the true knowledge of Islam, especially within the Muslim community, and give them constant examples of people from the Prophet Muhammad’s p.b.u.h. time so that brothers and sisters can appreciate someone’s potential without getting lost in any kind of racial prejudice.

        • M says:

          What I mean by juices; that you have to feel some attraction to the person. If you believe you are fairly attractive and just not getting response from the bros in your area. Expand your search and eharmony and maybe try white guys & reverts who either open to converting to islam ; or have converted to islam. They tend to have less of hang up due skin color and other stuff. They also will want you to be very religious. Read about this Bapist Preacher who converted somewhere in East Texas (not yousuf estes); he married through a matchmaker a dark skinned Moroccan women and she was not that religious when she came to the States. She did not wear hijab or pray that much but through his influence she changed. But you carry a bitterness inside you; in urdu we called mai-yushi. It is an extreme level of bitterness combined with frustration. You need to pray more and ask for hidayah and guidance. It hard to get rid off. Prayer is the only way and with Grace of Allah(swt) this too will pass IA. Take care. Allah Hafiz.

  4. Ward says:

    22. And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.

    It’s really a wonderful verse that makes me say Subhanallah every time I read it.

    Brilliant article, jazakallahu khair.

  5. Perspective says:

    To be fair, this article is considering ‘arrogance’ as the cause of this restrictive mindset. However, that is not always the case; marriage is not simply between two people, you are combining families. It is not ignorance to consider the social structure of your family before making the decision who to marry. While I agree that race or ethnicity should not be the primary criteria, it is a very critical criterion in our society. If the family cannot understand the language of your wife or husband, it is difficult to build family connections.

    We can all claim that we should ONLY look at Deen but the divorce rates are increasing; even among very practicing, strong, and ethical muslims. Deen is not the only criteria for marriage while it may be the highest for some; and Deen itself does not require us to rebel against other criteria.

    “Because some families may think they are of a higher class than other families, or their culture is better than another, or their language supersedes all.”
    While this may be true, I think it also important to study further into these families. Because if we really discuss deeply, it isn’t so much a matter of superiority, it’s a matter of comfort. They look for their own culture and language because there is a feeling of familiarity and comfort; and with the scary divorce stories you hear these days, this seems like a more stable choice than ‘going out of the comfort zone’. I would suggest that people truly understand where their parents/elders are coming from and what their fears are, because no parent wants hardship on their children; this is their way of caring. You must comfort them and stabilize their fears because they are also building relationships with a new member of the family and that is not a simple process.

    • Lost Cause says:

      “While I agree that race or ethnicity should not be the primary criteria, it is a very critical criterion in our society.”

      I wonder where the world would be if everyone thought this way? If race was the “critical criterion” for what school you are accepted to, what job offers you receive, what country allows you citizenship, what friends you have, community leaders etc.

      What if you wanted to complete a task and someone told you…

      “Although your deen seems to be in order, although you have a lot of great qualities, Allah (swt) made you the wrong race…sorry.”

      I know an east Asian sister who is married to a south Asian brother and you are right, they face some challenges because their families create difficulties in their marriage, not because it is “their way of caring” but because they are racist. In fact, if they stopped “caring’ so much about her race their marriage would be fine. You cannot defend one person judging another person because of the color of their skin, or the language they speak, it isn’t right.

      What if Allah (swt) judged those who will get into jannah by their ethnic background and people of your ethnicity were not chosen? Not because of deen, but because some people just wouldn’t feel “comfortable” being around your kind. Get real.

      • M says:

        Personally, I think the black race gets knocked down the worst. I mean you can see in the Travon Martin case plus bunch of other cases as well. They suffer the most unemployment, racial slurs, lack of proper education, and just not restricted just the US. Look at other countries in the world; similar statics. It is not a coincidence the untouchable class in India is almost entirely black or very dark skinned. There are MBA’s in India who are dust sweepers because no firm will hire them as they belong to the untouchable caste. You can’t change people; you tell people what is right and wrong; but only Allah(swt) can change what is in their hearts.

        • A. says:

          ssubhan Allah indeed!

          May Allah swt soften hearts, may Allah swt make us more flexible, tolerant and people who are kind to accept others! amen

    • Abdullah says:

      @Perspective: i would have to disagree with you on your comment ‘While I agree that race or ethnicity should not be the primary criteria, it is a very critical criterion in our society. If the family cannot understand the language of your wife or husband, it is difficult to build family connections’ Your language and culture dies with you the moment you drop dead. I personally would want to marry a sister who speaks arabic because of the superiority of the language however i am not arab. Also,tribalism, ethnic profiling and rasism is a Jahiliya (ignorance) trait. These were the factors used by the Mushriks (Idol worshippers) of Kuraish and surroundings as the main basis of transactions. hence their reasons ‘This is what we found our fathers doing’ same reasons given to all the prophets. High iman is leaving logical reasoning behind you and accepting a verse of the quran or the hadith. If you have studied the biography of the prophet (SAW) you would realise he married women from outside his tribes. Our culture should be to emulate the sunnah of the prophet(SAW), dont you think? If i am black and attracted to white women the why should i not go ahead and do that rather marry out of convinience which i think is more crucial to divorce than the reasons you have given. May Allah give us greater understanding.

      • ahmad b says:

        @abdullah and lost cause. What the sister said makes perfect sense imo. The point she is making is that if the parents (on both sides) don’t understand their in-laws because of language barriers, then there will naturally be a distance between them and their in-laws. This distance will in many cases negatively affect the marriage . It’s not difficult to realize and understand this really.

        I’ve seen this type of scenario play out in the lives of many couples who married outside of their culture; obviously, this is not always the case but from my experience, it happens more often than not. Also, a person who preaches to ‘just sticks to the Quran and Sunnah’ and ignores these factors then, in my humble opinion, he’s not really following the Quran and Sunnah’. I remember reading a hadith about the prophet (SAW) discouraging a sahabi from marrying a woman because he (SAW) felt the two weren’t compatible. InshAllah I’ll try to find the exact hadith and post it here.

        • Hanaa says:

          Salamualaikum.

          Good points on both sides. I also married outside of my culture (just sticking to Quran and Sunnah) and ended up divorced. This was due to incompatibility, not due to cultural differences.

          I hope others will learn from my mistakes and educate themselves before marriage about the criteria for determining compatibility.

  6. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah khair for this very impoortant and much needed post! We should also remember that the best in the sight of Allah (swt) are those with taqwa. So we should seek a partner who has this very important characteristic!

  7. M says:

    @Sidra,

    I don’t mean women don’t have left their education to work and become a breadwinner. I mean generally for the most part that does not happen. If out 100 time I happened even say 20 times. That still 80% not. A significant minority have to but the majority does not. And it not to say a significant minority of men due the wealth of their family or proper insurance coverage don’t suffer the same fate but a majority of men in that position do so.

    • Sidra Mahmood says:

      I do agree with you on the statistics but if you see in today’s world, some Muslim men find excuses to not push themselves hard enough and then they blame the sisters for being too over-educated. See the Prophet’s example: he was orphaned, left by his own family, experienced the death of his beloved wife and sons etc. He never made his calamities an excuse for not working hard. Brothers need to start getting real!

      • M says:

        yeah, bros can be lazy. And sometimes it easier to get paycheck than go back to school and work at the same time.

  8. Aziza says:

    My parents are from two different ethinic and racial backgrounds and I think it is beautiful that Allah has created us so differently, yet, at the heart of it all, so much alike. We may have our different cultural values, customs, and traditions, as well as struggles. But we all are striving to please our Creator, we all long to be loved, and we all have gifts from Allah to offer to the world around us.
    I personally do not understand why such things should be an issue in marriage. It may not always be easy to assimilate into new cultures, but there is so much to learn and so many oppertunites for growth that it brings for the husband and wife, the families, and the children. And of course, ultimately, what matters most is what’s inside…the piety and good character.

    • JG says:

      As Sheikh said once, we have a knowledge, but the issue is we don’t really believe, in true sense, in what we know. The 1st generation Muslim immigrants feel more comfortable with people of the same background, because they feel they may face difficulties with “American Muslims”. I am happy that your family doesn’t have this issue.

  9. found hope says:

    insha allah, may we all be blessed with wonderful spouses soon. please never give up or lose hope as allah (swt) does indeed provide when you least expect it. this is our test and we as an ummah should make dua’s for each other. keep trying as the beauty of islam is that even when we fail in our attempts, we are still rewarded by allah (swt). i love diversity this is reflected beautifully in inter-racial marriages. shukran.

  10. UmmZara says:

    Mashallah! A great reminder for everyone. Im myself married to somebody who comes not only from a different culture but also from a different race. It is not as hard as it sounds. A lot of people in my family got married in the same year as me and honestly I think ours is the most successful marriage so far alhamdulillah. Even though sometimes it gets tough with all the cultural differences, I try to remind myself that this is just a test.

  11. Umm-Ayoub says:

    Jeezakumullahu khairun for posting this article. I think this topic is a much needed topic that needs to be discussed openly in every Muslim community. I honestly think Muslims are the most racist people on the face of the planet. Recently I went to a weekend seminar taught by a scholar I very much respect but I was blown away by his respond to intercultural marriage which was, if the father of the daughter wants his daughter to get married to someone from his own culture then he has the right to reject any other marriage porposal(paraphrasing). I thought to myself what happen to the person having good manners and good religious etiquette.

    I am in an intercultural marriage to a wonderful man who does his best to follow the sunnah of Rasool(SAW).

    My advice to those who want to get married is to make sincere dua to Allah(SWA)and be patient then Allah will give you something far more greater then what you had in mind inshaAllah.

  12. Hallihamdulilai robihallamino

  13. Yaman says:

    My jaw literally dropped after realizing the the verses that precede and follow this popular Ayah … I’m honestly in a state of shock at how ignorant we are of the context of this verse

  14. A says:

    Jeezakumullahu khairun for posting this article, I can personally relate to this article. Having to go through this now is very hard as i feel like i am so lost and not going with the decision my parents have made for me makes me feel disrespectful to my parents. It is very hard to explain it to your parents because for some or most its about what people have to say and not what their child feel about their decision. In our community we seem to forget who we are and where we are going
    May ALLAH swt guide us all
    ameen

  15. Call me a pessimist or a cynic, but I’m in agreement with Lost Cause, sad as it is. I feel as if it’s an exercise in futility if our physical attributes or our social standings or our culture are liabilities rather than things to be lauded. I don’t see the point in partaking in a community where we are judged upon the dimensions of our being that we have absolutely NO control over whatsoever – skin color, language, culture, gender, etc (as if they were somehow pejorative anyway); and honestly, I really don’t see too many Muslims pioneering any efforts to the contrary.

    I myself have tried to get married to slake loneliness and to fulfill my religious duties and all that jazz, but at the end of the day, all the really mattered was my skin color – if I was fair and handsome – whether or not I was from a “good family” (I have no idea what this means to this very day), and my class. Unfortunately, I learned through Muslims a painful lesson my mother taught me when I was child: that for Blacks, your character, your education are not what matter; all most people are going to see is your color – how right she was. Welcome to America, Muslims included.

    I opt for celibacy now: I vehemently refuse to be a part of a community where everything I am is construed as a social liability in some form or another: in this way Muslims are no different from the broader society at large; in fact, they even be worse to some degree. This may be an unorthodox solution, but I feel our leaders and our elders and our so-called communities have failed us miserably. If this is so, it should come as no surprise when people begin to seek unorthodox solutions seeing that orthodoxy provides them little to no recourse.

    • ZAI says:

      Brother,

      I’d agree with the observations of the reality of racism within the various Muslim ethnic communities.I’m glad Imam Suhaib and his staff, as well as guest authors are willing to bring up the subject and provide a place for it to be discussed.

      That being said…I’m somewhat confused as to why you’ve decided to punish YOURSELF? I don’t understand your decision to “consign” yourself to celibacy as it were.

      Are there no eligible Black Muslimah’s available for marriage? You’re just going to practice celibacy until those Muslims of other ethnic groups who are racist come around and learn their lesson? Surely there are both Black Muslim brothers and sisters who are also looking to get married…

      Again…I’m not denying the existence and repugnancy of racism within the Muslim communities. I’m just somewhat confused as to your decision to simply swear of marriage. Black Muslims are either the largest or second largest group of Muslims in this country. Is it really that hard to find a marriage partner in that community?

      I’m just somewhat surprised at some of the black Muslim brothers and sisters here who are saying it’s impossible to get married.Impossible to get married…or hard to get married to one of the more recent immigrants? ….and why would you put off marriage and your own blessings/happiness to wait for racists to come around and have some sense?

      • Lost Cause says:

        Most black Muslim brothers do not want to marry black Muslim sisters, they would rather marry non black immigrants for status in these racist Muslim communities.

        I question the racist “Keep with your own kind” tone of this comment.

        “I’m just somewhat surprised at some of the black Muslim brothers and sisters here who are saying it’s impossible to get married.”

        “Are there no eligible Black Muslimah’s available for marriage?”

        “Black Muslims are either the largest or second largest group of Muslims in this country. Is it really that hard to find a marriage partner in that community?”

        • ZAI says:

          I have nowhere advocated a “keep with your own kind” tone. I’m not against intercultural marriage and I recognize the racism in Muslim communities.

          What I AM commenting on is the logic of forswearing and avoiding marriage altogether due to the situation.

          What purpose would that serve for the brother? Why should he punish HIMSELF due to the racism out there? Will racists care that he has chosen to stay single to make a point or is only he going to suffer the loneliness of not being married and face temptations?

          If there is a large black Muslim community is it not better to get married therein rather than wait who knows how long for racism to diminish?

          Sorry, but I do not see anything racist in those questions. In this culture/environment where there is constant temptation to sin, I think it’s wise to get married regardless of what community one happens to find a Muslim spouse in.

          I don’t see what the brother gains by imposing bachelorhood on himself. As if racists will care. What purpose does this serve except to leave him single?

          Be careful throwing out the “racism” charge sister.

    • Sidra Mahmood says:

      I empathize with you brother. Try to ask around, even in the black community. You never know that some sister might be looking for a husband. Plus, I’ve heard (not tried myself) that lots of Muslims are seeking their spouses online now. Try websites like halfourdeen.com before losing hope completely. Remember, hopelessness is equivalent to kufr (disbelief) and you don’t want to go near that.

      May Allah swt make the path of seeking marriage and marriage itself easy for all of us. Ameen.

    • M says:

      yes, i agree. But that’s why I feel tempted just to out and hook up. It’s easy… You may get shot down a couple of times but success rate is better 60% at least to what I seen. Being black or dark skinned is a liability in this world and that is a fact. Doesn’t matter if you are famous or not; a black man and white cop; sorry thought he was a felon coming after me and that’s it. Chris Rock said if you took an average loser of white and said I could make into a Black Millionaire; still no white man would take that challenge. And black can’t even disguise themselves. I mean light skinned blacks can not claim to be anything else b/c of their hair. Black people is different from all other races. Black women spent about 500-1000 dollars a month on faking their per month as per Chris’s Rock documentary “Black Hair”. And for black celebs’s it go high as 15-50K a month.
      Its ridiculous. Anyway I could go on forever on this topic.

      • Lost Cause says:

        If you are going to “go on forever” about the topic you could at least get it right, the documentary is called “good hair” and although some women (of all ethnicities) spend money on to change their hair there is an increasing amount of women in the black community embracing their beautiful curly natural hair, including myself, as my hair has been chemical free most of my life and I love it (although I wear hijab).

        I think you are forgetting to acknowledge that being black is an amazing and beautiful thing. Our brown skin is like butter, it looks great in the sun. I love being black, but what I don’t love is people trying to tell me that being black is less than, or worthless, that I am a slave etc. THAT’S the part that needs to change.

        I think that comments like these can sometimes come off as if being black is not a blessing from Allah swt, especially with comments like “I was born this way and I cannot change my skin” which should be “I was born this way and I cannot change my skin but I do not want to.”

        Just as I don’t agree when Arab/Persian brothers and sisters change their noses, or indo-pak brothers and sisters who obsess with skin lightening (which are signs of Allah swt’s beauty in diversity), I don’t agree when African brothers and sisters try to change their hair and skin (which is also a sign of Allah swt’s beauty in diversity). I’m just saying that we have to be careful with these types of comments, because if we cannot recognize how Allah swt has blessed us how can we expect others to?

        I don’t define my worth by the acceptance of these racist communities but I do want the racism to end because it is not only a form of arrogance and DELUSION but it is also a form of oppression and no human being wants to be oppressed.

  16. Jazeel says:

    Being in USA for couple of years, what I observed is that not only in marriages but in all other affairs Muslims here tend to stay within their culture/ethnic groups. We have many Masjids here where only people with similar ethnicity or culture attends. You can see all of them trying to stick to their traditions in these Masjids and even in their dressing, the way they greet etc. I guess marriage is not different and it will take time for different cultures to merge and fit in to one. I remember reading in ‘Even Angels ask’ (by Jefrey Lang) that it’ll take 3 or 4 generations for a migrated community to fully dissolve in to the culture of their new place.

    As sister Umu-Ayub mentioned above, there are people who comes out of this cultural bonds and hope over time more amd more people will come out of it.

  17. Seth says:

    Listen to those who have made the hajj. They find beauty in the great diversity there. One ummah.

  18. Actually, I have tried approaching Black sisters as well, but those attempts didn’t work out for reasons not involved with the discussion at hand. To be fair though, there are elements of intra-communal racism/colorism in the Black community as well, both from Muslim and non-Muslim: I do know of Black men who, for whatever reason (and there are many which I won’t elucidate here because I think they’re asinine), will not date/marry Black women. It’s an endemic problem in the West and in the East, I suspect, because the psychological effects of colonialism and Europeanization. Allahu’Alim.

    As for celibacy: that was more tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, though, in all honesty, I sometimes that way: as if my whole being is haram. As it were, I come from the Catholic tradition were celibacy is a virtue, so even I’m Muslim now, al-hamdu’ilah, I still carry remnants of that previous world-view. I therefore wouldn’t consider punishing myself. This path is unfortunately what many people resort too because they can’t find anyone suitable, Black or non-Black. And honestly, even if I did marry a Black sister, this wouldn’t solve the larger problem of the bigoted colorism/racism and cultural hegemony and whatever else you what to place here in are so-called colorblind ummah. If Black sisters can’t get married, then it’s not just a Black issue: it’s a Muslim issue, which means Muslims, both Black and non-Black, need to address it. I’m beginning to interpret this “marry within your own group” mentality as a form of tribalism. Again, Allahu’Alim.

    For Seth above, Hajj is an ideal; it is not necessarily a reality reflected in the lives which Muslims live here in the States, particularly for people of color or people of dark skin. If the ethos of Hajj were present in the world of quotidian affairs, I imagine we wouldn’t need to have this discussion at all. The reality is quite the contrary it seems, just based on the stories I’ve heard from not just Blacks, but also dark skinned Desis, Arabs, etc. True, there’s beauty in diversity, it must be managed something Muslims haven’t figured out how to do quite yet.

    • Sidra Mahmood says:

      Keeping your tongue-in-cheek hyperbole aside, I do know that you recognize the strength of dua. So keep making dua to Allah swt because there is always someone special out there for all of us…in this world or the next.
      As for the power of dua, I quote you here:
      “…never underestimate the power of sincere supplication accompanied with appropriate action because God does answer them, maybe not in the way you had in mind, but He answers them.”

      • Touché, though I don’t despair of Allah (which is a mortal sin); I despair of most Muslims (which isn’t a mortal sin). :)

        • Well, at the end of the day the Muslims are Allah’s creation and are in fact puppets controlled by the Almighty Himself. Knowing that everything that afflicts you is coming from Allah, why despair about anyone especially when you have faith in their Creator?

      • Because, to my understanding (which I admit, could be faulty), I’m not obliged at all to be pleased with everything Allah decrees (though there is wisdom in everything He decrees), but I am always to be pleased with what Allah COMMANDS. I DO NOT like being a second class citizen among second class citizens, and I don’t think trend will change in the near or far future, by the hands of Muslims or anyone else really. Allah knows best, but I seriously doubt it. The despair is thus serves as a shield, helps me keep it real, as we say, about what is going in this society and what has been going on for centuries.

        • Well, my point was just to make you realize that resentment without action isn’t helpful. For ourselves or for the community. Of course we can’t change the world on our own but there are little things we can do here and there that can make a difference.

          Even in the Muslim community, imams like Imam Siraj Wahaj and Imam Zaid Shakir have made a difference. If they just sat back and complained about the racism, they would have never made the huge contributions to the Muslim world they have mashaAllah made to this date.

          As far as the spouse is concerned, she will come to you no matter what the circumstances. You just need to make your own efforts – no matter how little they are.

      • I agree with you, believe it or not. It’s as I said though: it’s more like a shield against an optimism not grounded in reality. Just because I despair (not resent) of Muslims it doesn’t mean that I don’t do my part: it just means I don’t believe my efforts will amount to any substantive change in the long run. I may reach a few people; the problem, however, is deep, systematic and rests in people’s hearts, where I obviously can’t access.

  19. Sarah says:

    I will share my story since it applies here very well. I am a white professional woman and converted a couple years ago. I met an Indian Muslim man at work and we got to know each other very well and became friends which turned into love after a year or so. He was very nervous about telling his conservative family about me and introducing me due to these cultural issues. However, they were more receptive than he thought. They liked me and we got engaged/married. There were some cultural things to work out especially with parents. But alhamdulilah things have worked out well and we are happy.

    I think many men now want a woman who can contribute to the household who is educated with a good job. I have seen some Muslim women expect to be taken care of and it shows that they place a man’s net worth above all else. Who wants that kind of woman?

    As far as Muslim men dating non-Muslim women and playing around before marriage, yes this happens I have seen it. The women on the other hand are expected to remain at home and be celibate. Double standard is there but the religion says it is not allowed.

    My advice to women: get educated, a job, and be INDEPENDENT. Get to know someone very well before even thinking about marriage. This can be done in a halal way. Take your time and see if you are compatible. Go to Muslim dating websites if you have no luck at the masjid.

    • M says:

      Yes, I agree with all your points. But just imagine the reaction if you had been black. They would still accept you eventually and you would be accepted after they got to know a bit; Most desi families don’t do complete rejection of their kids. Even they do, they crumble within months to a year. My point is once you get know a person it changes how you think about him/her. Case in point: In jr. high school- this white boy kept bullying me for a while; I finally complained to the guidance counselor. The counselor complained to his Dad. His Dad made him come to my house and apologize to me. My Mom invited him in; we played video games on the my commodore 64 and had a surprisingly good time. He never bullied me again and never let anyone bully me either ever again. But he never came back to play either. I never found out why. But this is the biggest problem; whites do not want to get know blacks. They are either ashamed of the slavery era that they would rather not see or hear of black people or they are raving maniacs, loons of people with serious racist family heritage. Even whites who are so called liberal with tend have few black acquaintances; rarely have dear friends who are black. Whites(US & Canadian Only- Europe is totally different story) tend mix with other minorities(Hispanic, Asian, South Asian etc) more for some anthropological and sociological reason that I have no knowledge of as I am not student of these disciplines; just a fan.

      • Sidra Mahmood says:

        @M: Don’t be so pessimistic. I have some African American friends and I’ve seen even “whites” co-mingle with so-called “blacks” at Imam Suhaib’s mosque. See, any kind of empowerment comes with knowledge and by reading your comments, I am kind of upset that even though you HAVE the knowledge but you’re still not trying hard enough to expand your horizons. According to you, if whites are racist and tend to not have close friends who’re black, why not black people try harder?

        Join a community with which you share a common purpose. I’ve made my friends at the mosque because everyone comes there with the same purpose in mind and no matter what your background, once you start talking, you realize how common our problems are. I am still in college, so I may have a utopian view of the world but join some sort of club where you meet people who share your same interests. Like a running club, or a community service organization. It’s only a matter of finding those commonalities when you realize that the color of the someone’s skin never mattered.

        @Sarah:
        Can I say that I looooooved your last paragraph!! SubhanAllah, we women need to get real before we complain about being “oppressed.” May Allah continue to bless you in your married life. Ameen.

        • M says:

          I not saying knee jerk all whites are racists. But the problem is media indoctrination, white society rules etc. Did you know white kids around the US were pissed off that the characters in Hunger Games were black. That they were tweeting on the blogesphere that they didn’t feel sad when they saw a black kid die. These are white from the ages of 13-17. They are from all the USA. NY, NJ, GA, CA etc. Kids who see black kids around them and go to school with them. Kids who are not really raised to be racist(maybe some but not all). Some of them got they were being racists and other didn’t. Like one said “sorry if I being racist but Rue being black ruined the movie for me.” Now you can not tell me these white kids will not turn in cops, lawyers, politicians, citizens tomorrow and affect how black and other minorities are affected. I mean if today we can not fix this race problem in the kids today I fear for tomorrow. And Imam Suhaib Webb circle is the exception than the rule. I truly wish Suhaib Webb circle would be the rule… I wish you the best in College utopia; it’s fun there. Miss it…

    • I’m not so sure if that same choice would have been available to you if you had been a woman of color. Given the racial dynamics of the Muslim community, I highly doubt it.

      Being raised by a poor woman of color in this country, I was given the following perspective by my mother: when it comes to us, the level and caliber of professionalism, academic or economic success, independence, or even quality of religion observance ultimately DOES NOT MATTER because we are such-such (fill in the blank – “too dark” and “not from good families” are my favorites). You saw the thread above: if a Stanford educated Black can be denied solely on the basis of him being of dark-skinned, then what does that say about the rest of us non-Ivy league educated Black people? How you get more professional than Stanford? My mother, who wasn’t a Muslim, once told me that she disliked Muslims because of how exclusive they were, that only there own kind was ever good enough for anybody. Unfortunately, she was right, and I’m sad to say that I think her never coming to Islam might have been a mercy for her given how people of color, women especially, are treated in the Muslim community. This, I think, is Lost Cause’s point, though I don’t want to speak for her nor do I want to put words in her mouth.

  20. Mohammed says:

    I have a question for you brothers and sisters, and especially for sisters. I am a person who lives in Saudi Arabia. I am studying here at U.S. and I will be back once I finish studying. The problem I will go back to work in a city different from the city where I was born. this means the wife I am going to marry has to move with me to the new place. My mother is looking for a wife in my original town. Many families do not want their daughters to leave the town especially if it is Madinah.I am thinking about looking for marrying someone from here(U.S.) . But is there any sister who is ready to travel overseas and live there for the rest of her life ?

    • Nida` says:

      @Mohammed. My personal opinion from experience and talking to other sisters is no. Unless you find a sister who has decided before that she would like to move to Saudi Arabia or to an Islamic country. I am born and brought up in the U.S. and married my husband who lives in another country. Although I never saw myself marrying anyone outside the U.S., let alone leaving the U.S., I am currently living abroad for a few years under mutual consent for both of us, (something which never thought would happen, but alhamdulillah Allah does everything for the best) but we will move back to the U.S. eventually, which was one of my conditions for marriage. The reason I’m sharing this is because my situation seems to apply to what you’re asking. However, Allah knows best, you might inshallah find someone who is okay with permanently moving abroad, although I know it’s very rare to find this with sisters raised in the U.S. like myself. Best of luck.

      • Mohammed says:

        Jazaki Allah Khaira for the response.
        I already talked to one of the brothers about this topic. He told me he thinks sisters in general should not mind moving with their husbands. I wanted to hear other peoples’ opinions about this. You said you do not prefer to do so but you did not provide the reasons.
        I will consider this option for me in two cases . If it is going to continue to be difficult for me to get married. Or if I find an amazing sister to get married to if she is willing to.
        Based on your experience now, What do you find difficult living abroad with your husband ?

        • Donna says:

          for most non-Saudi’s moving to Saudi Arabia requires giving up most of your rights and relying on your husband and/or his family for everything. Should your marital situation have problems you would be placing yourself in a very precarious situation. Most of the Muslim women I know would not put themselves or their daughters in this situation, including myself. In addition, men often change their disposition and behavior when influenced by their family members, this can cause major problems and the restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia make this particularly risky.

  21. Sarah says:

    @Mohammed,
    Since you wanted to know, personally I would not move there. But I am American born, white, and just converted a couple years ago. Others may feel differently and I do know people who would move mountains for the right man.

    @M,
    I have also seen blacks, whites and asians conversing at the mosque. Its not fair to say that whites are racist. You would be closest to people you grew up around, often times that is white-white, black-black and so forth depending where you went to school. It doesn’t mean anyone is racist. When it comes to a spouse there are certain ethnicities people are just not attracted too, this is true for everyone and it is individual taste. But if people are simply saying not interested just because of culture difference or income then that is not what Islam teaches us. I agree this happens and I hope you are able to find someone who you are compatible with.

    • Lost Cause says:

      Don’t be mistaken, racism is against Islam just as it is to measure a persons internal worth by “culture” and “income”.

      See, you chose to be against the two issues that might affect you in terms of marriage (culture/income)but racism may not have a substantial effect in your life so it must be a matter of “preference”.

      This is what we call racial privilege. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’re racist I’m just saying you think that this type of exclusion is simply a normal everyday idea that people just have.

      Sometimes you don’t grow up around a certain type of person?

      That doesn’t just “happen”.

      I question anyone who can live in America in 2012 and only surround themselves around people of their own ethnicity. It doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t occur coincidentally.

      I encourage you to read the Autobiography of Malcolm X if you haven’t.

      • Sarah says:

        I think you misunderstood what I meant. Where your parents chose to buy a house and live is where you grow up and there is no “choice” in the matter for kids. My town was probably 99% white so therefore the school was white and my friends were white. I then went to a different school for the last 2 years of high school and had non-white friends because the school had non-white kids in it. This is what I meant. It does occur in America now especially in small towns and suburbs (where I live) but not to as great of an extent.
        And when I say preference, I mean that I think a couple needs to be physically attracted to each other at some level. I think personality and attitude can contribute to this if given the chance. That is why couples should get to know each other first. My intent was to be practical and a realist, I didn’t mean to sound heartless or racist. Imam Suhaib’s mosque had a matchmaking event where questionaires were given etc…These kinds of events could help others get that great personality out and stir some interest with the opposite sex.

        • But what does it mean to be attractive? We live in a society and many Muslims hail from societies where the forces which determine what “attractive” or “desirable” means would define some of us, namely those of us of dark skin, as unattractive. Don’t be me? Go watch a Bollywood film or even a Hollywood film. Do you think this hasn’t had a psychological effect on the people’s perception of beauty?

          That’s the problem: no one is arguing that couples shouldn’t be have some degree of physical attraction: the issue resides in the regimes that determines what “attractive” means. Muslims have unfortunately bought into these regimes, unconsciously or otherwise, to the detriment of their very religion. In this case, personality and attitude, or the “content of one’s character,” won’t be allowed to contribute anything because that initial barrier can’t be surpassed. That, unfortunately, is the realism and practicality of America and really most places that where under the yoke of European colonization.

        • @Ra’shaan Muhammad:
          I agree with you on that that our perception of beauty is shaped by the media and unfortunately it comes into play in our daily lives too. Last night I shared my views with my roommate that some African American are really good looking and despite the cultural barriers, I don’t see a problem why desi women should dismiss them from the pool of potential spouses (my roommate and I are from Pakistan).
          Her answer was, “It’s good to see that you’re multicultural but I have my preferences.”
          I asked her, “Why?” Why is her preferences the way they are? She had nothing to say in response…

          However, media can change our perceptions too. TV shows like Criminal Minds have African Americans playing positive characters, so I am sure that even if the impact is slow, it still will materialize some day. Plus, where does our Islamic knowledge come into play then? Indeed we can surpass our upbringing and environment by stepping beyond the European colonization and following the sunnah in its true form.

        • @Sidra Mahmood

          This is not an optimism I share with you sister. Not at all. The negative portrayal of Blacks, in this country, hasn’t changed all that much in the past 400+ years. And if we’re talking about the so-called historic “Muslim World,” some of the same stereotypes and prejudices of Blacks were entertained even back then: just consult the “Thousand and One Nights” to see my point. These are VERY OLD prejudices, even from a point in time when Islam reigned supreme. Given these issues, what makes you think this change will occur in this generation, or even the next one, and so on and so forth? I reckon most Muslims would conflate prejudice with predilection. How can we even have a conservation about this if this is the case? You know the French adage, right? – the more things change, the more they remain the same.

          As to our knowledge: knowledge can liberate just as much as it can become the pathway to Hell, all depending on what you do with it, the ends it serves. Our “Islamic” knowledge is absolutely and utterly meaningless if we can’t find a way to make it relevant for realities here in America – NOT change Islam but make it RELEVANT. Allah placed us in the environs that He did for a reason, so I see no need to transcend them necessarily: this is what gives each of us a different story to tell, “so that you may know one another”. The problem, however, occurs when the story of one group drown out the stories of others, for whatever reason – skin color, class, culture, etc. The story itself becomes a deity besides Allah.

        • Lost Cause says:

          Excellent points Ra’shaan but i’ll have to disagree on your statement concerning how things haven’t changed much in the past 400+ years. They’ve changed significantly, the only issue is that after 400 years of change people of color, particularly people of color with deeply colored skin, are still considered unequal and are oppressed in society…which is sad considering it’s been well over 4 centuries.

        • ZAI says:

          I’ve gotta agree w/ Brother Ra’shaan and “Lost Cause” here. Lotta folks here are trying to instill some optimism and hope regarding the issue,I’m sure with sincerity, but honestly it’s not an easy issue to remedy. Anecdotal evidence from one’s personal experiences doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.

          Let us be brutally honest, “Lost Cause” is totally correct citing racial privelege. I have NEVER seen nor heard of white converts having trouble getting married due to racism. EVER. They might have problems getting married due to OTHER factors such as being isolated from Muslim communities, unfamiliarity w/ the chaperoned marriage process if they choose to get married in the “traditional” manner or other superficial personal traits…but they’re NEVER rejected for their RACE.

          I have seen, with my own eyes, 1st or 2nd generation Muslims, from more recent immigrant communities, trip over themselves at the prospect of marrying white converts. I mean, they’ve barely finished saying the shahadah before someone is trying to hook them up.

          There is zero racism directed at them for what they happen to be. Political, cultural,habitual, compatibility or personal diffrences…yes. Racism…never.

          So, the sister is right…racial privelege exists and “attraction” becomes a form of exclusion when the standards of that attraction exclude an entire group of people by an entire group of other people. For those of us who are not affected by that exclusion or who are not discriminated against by that standard to say it’s simply a personal choice is disingenuos.

          It’s obviously not something relegated or restricted to individuals but to and against entire communities.If it wasn’t a society wide issue and there WERE plenty of intermarriages between black and non-black Muslims, THEN we could simply chalk it up to a personal choice or attraction issue. As it stands though, most non-black Muslims ARE acculturated to and inculcated with a certain defintion of beauty that excludes blacks…so there IS racism, whether conscious or unconscious, at play there.

          Aslo must agree with Brother Ra’shaan that optimism that places this racism squarely within the constructs of colonialism, post-colonialism, or “media” is naive at best. Sorry, but the problem is MUCH more deeply entrenched and historical than that.

          Simply blaming the parents for “cultural baggage”, citing colonialism, or railing against media perceptions is too easy and a flimsy foundation for optimism. The issue is much more prevelent and metastasized within our community than that:

          1.) Leaving aside immigrant parents, plenty of our 1st or 2nd generation Muslims THEMSELVES have not only clung onto backward thinking from “back home”, but we have ALSO adopted many of the aspects of AMERICAN racism. Things like “fitting in”, unspoken American racial “heirarchies”, Euro-American standards of beauty that reinforce the discriminatory standards we’re already bringing with us from overseas which leads us to:

          2.) The half-truth that Western imperialism and colonialism are responsible for racism or colorism in the Muslim world. Sorry, but our societies have had this disease forever. Plenty of hadith and Quranic verses dealing with the matter attest to that fact, which wouldn’t have been needed if it wasn’t a problem.

          I know in the South Asian community, these issues predate even Islam, going back to Aryan-Hindu concepts of caste and colors correlation to social standing. Arabs also have similar notions of beauty and desirabilty, as do Afghans, Turks, Iranians, etc.

          This problem has ALWAYS been there. Can’t just blame it on the West. Sorry, but that’s an easy cop-out. Afghanistan, for instance, has never BEEN colonized by the west…neither has Saudi Arabia nor Turkey nor Iran. Yet the racism is there in those communities. Im Afghan and I’ve heard it myself in my community.

          I remember as a child actually watching Farsi programs from Iran called “Siah Bazi”, lit. “Black Play”, where Iranian comedians would don “black face” and put on a racist minstrel show…and it is something that dates back CENTURIES, before nary a Westerner stepped foot in Iran.

          A view of Hajj as described by Malcolm X or Shaykh Hamza is also naive. With all due respect to the Brother and the Shaykh, both of whom I respect, one is a white convert who happens to be a scholar and the other was a semi-celebrity. I gaurantee them both that the average Bangladeshi or Nigerian does not have Saudi friends or gets invited to a Saudis house to experience the beautiful hospitality.

          So, honestly if this problem is going to be tackled we all gotta be bluntly honest about the roots of the problem. It is a GROUP/COMMUNITY wide problem, not only an indvidual one. It is very widespread and entrenched. It’s multi-faceted and not very hopeful at the moment.

          If optimism is going to be prescribed then frankly there has to be a REAL foundation for that optimism. Just citing Quran or sunnah in a khutbah or blaming the western world/media or blaming the parents ain’t gonna cut it any more.

          Gotta come up with real solutions. How many of us will try to live in diverse communities? How many of us willing to have the moral courage to be the first in the family, community or whatever to buck the naysayers and face the social “consequences” of marrying out of the community?

          How many of us gonna put in the hard work to make sure our kids have a diverse set of friends? That we monitor what the kids watch, hear, see, read or experience to make sure they don’t embibe racism or stereotypes?

          All hard, time consuming work. But that’s what real hope and optimism is built on. But if we just stick to spouting some Quran or hadith saying “it’ll take time” or “it’ll get better”, sorry but then Brother Ra’shaan is right…things will just stay the same and there is no real optimism there. Just some nice politically correct words to make ourselves feel good while we hope OTHERS do the actual hard work and the status quo goes on.

          At some point we as a community have to start DOING and not just talking…or it’s all just empty words and our complacency or unwillingness to personally make a change is a type of enabling.

        • @ Sarah

          I get what you mean, but as you say, “the only issue is that after 400 years of change people of color, particularly people of color with deeply colored skin, are still considered unequal and are oppressed in society.” That’s the problem. Does this inequality translate in the portrayals of Blacks or even other “problem peoples” of color (here I have in mind the “Illegals”)? Of course it does. It’s not so far-fetched to imagine, even today I claim. Think about the how Muslims are portrayed today. Has it changed all that much since the Crusades? Be honest with yourself.

          Time has elapsed but somethings NEVER change. I will tell you, and really any Muslim or non-Muslim, Black or non-Black, what my eighty-five year old grandfather told me just recently, sans the expletives: “Don’t let yourself be fooled by ‘progress.’ They still do the same stuff they’ve always done: these days they just hide better is all.” Is there still slavery and Jim Crow? I would argue yes: it’s called the prison-industrial-felony complex, operated by a healthy relationship between privatized prisons and state governments. Anti-miscegenation laws? You betcha, though now they’re informal. The fact that we’re even having this discussion proves this one – and this concerns Muslims, not even non-Muslims. Apartheid? Sure. Walk into any ghetto or project IN THIS COUNTRY or into any low-income school and tell me it doesn’t reek of racial apartheid. I should know: I hail from this portion of society.

          Please believe me sister, I’m not trying to be antagonistic or disrespectful by any means. I’ve been Muslim for seven years and all I’ve EVER seen from Immigrant Muslims and even some White Muslims (who coincidentally marry Immigrant Muslims) is an avoidance of these issues, a phony, baseless optimism which isn’t grounded in American reality but rather in some fanciful, idyllic, romanticized vision of the past.

          @ ZAI
          You made a good point about Immigrants adopting the prejudices inherent in America WHILE maintaining their own from back home. They compound and make things much worse. Excellent points bro. I’m glad I’m not the only one who took the crazy pill.

        • M says:

          @Ra’shaan Muhammad

          So is the black man was doomed since time of Noah? Forever to be put low until the end of time? I mean I agree the black guy has been brunt of everything for very long time. Several thousands of years. I would argue the reason Jesus(PBUH) was rejected by the Jewish leaders of his day was in part because he was from Gailee where the poor black jews lived. Remember at this time black jewish tribe still existence but as usual they were poor and took the burnt of things. It never explicitly say it in the works I read but it was inferred very thoroughly. But I’m cheered by the hadis that states. ” A man who had no happiness on this earth will be taken to heaven and after moment; he will be asked if he ever suffered and he will deny it. And the man who never suffered a day in his life will go to hell and after moment they will ask? Were u ever happy? and he will deny it. ” May Allah(swt) guide and lead to us heaven so we can deny our misery, suffering and sorrows but no more than we can bear. IA.

        • Lost Cause says:

          Brother Ra’shaan Sarah hasn’t responded to your last comment yet that was mine.

          Zai, dear lord all I have to say it…”yes.”
          You hit it right on the head.

        • Lost Cause says:

          Zai I’m saving everything you wrote on my computer.

        • @ Lost Cause

          Opps. My bad. I apparently can’t read worth a dime. How embarrassing… :D

        • @ M

          Nah. I’m pessimistic but even I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t recall saying the Black man is forever doomed, and I moreover don’t recall ever mentioning the word “doom” in any of my posts. I’m just trying to keep it real here: this is America and these are the realities we face. Just as a side note, I for one think the Curse of Ham myth is a load of cesspool garbage, for obvious reasons. As another side note, growing up, we had pictures of Black Jesus throughout our home, complete with dreadlocks and all. I think he’s better than White, European Fabio Jesus, but that’s just my humble opinion. :D

          As for the hadith, though these words may have come from the Prophet himself, in this case, I honestly don’t find much solace in them whatsoever since they pertain to the Afterlife, a totally different realm of being from the one we are experiencing. How does this provide an appropriate response to injustices we see today? Are we suppose to just tell the down-trodden and suffering – the Syrians, the Egyptians – “don’t worry, it sucks now. Things will be better when you die, though. In fact, you’ll even deny your earthly suffering, so don’t worry about it.” I’m all for forbearance and patience – don’t get me wrong – and I fully believe our entire lives are for Allah’s pleasure, but you have to understand this ethos has been used as a tool of subjection, for Blacks and others: “just suffer silently then wait till you die, and THEN you’ll have your slice of Heaven,” all the while the forces that be are making Hell for you on earth. I’m simply not buying it. Just read Malcolm X’s Autobiography or listen/read some of his speeches to see the point I’m trying to make.

  22. Sarah says:

    Ahhhh I see. I did hear about this when reading about people overseas, Bollywood, India, etc… In fact when I went to Dubai I learned that many women use products on their faces to make them whiter or makeup for the same effect. I was surprised to hear this but I imagine it was true.I ahven’t heard about people doing that here in the states but maybe it happens.

    • Lost Cause says:

      I don’t understand why people use those creams, they ruin your skin.

      There is nothing wrong with brown skin, it looks amazing, ages well and feels great. This is why I believe people should stay away from mainstream media. The media, advertisers etc. are paid to make people feel dissatisfied with what they have so that they can trade it in for something that will give them status.

      They make you think:
      “If I have this job I will make lots of money, buy cool things, then everyone will love me and I will be happy.”
      “If I have this wife, everyone will be envious, she will make me look good because she is mine and I will be happy.”
      “If I get a husband, he will give me everything I want, I will be desirable and if he is rich, everyone will see my lifestyle and I will be happy.”

      “If I own this car, I can park it in front of the masjid entrance, and my wife who looks like that lady on the cover of that magazine will get out and I will have on expensive clothing, and I can pass out my business cards and be elected to be on the shura and I will be living the dream.”

      This is not a dream, its an illusion of shaytan, a rat race that has nothing to do with Islam and will leave you unhappy on the day of judgment.”

      There is nothing wrong with what Allah swt has blessed you with now, how you were born, the color of your skin etc. we are just being taught that it is either “not good enough”, or “better than everyone” else and both of these ideas are completely untrue. People are letting lies shape their perception of humanity and shackle their minds.

      If you have one life to live, if death and judgement day are the two constants in everyone’s reality why in the world would anyone allow themselves to perpetuate this lie, this illusion?

      Racists often forget that racism is a form of arrogance. A person with one ant’s weight of arrogance in their heart will not get into jannah.
      That sure is a lot of people.

  23. Mohammed says:

    ^^ Donna .
    I do understand your point. These are really important things. But why do think women in Saudi Arabia loose most of their rights? Do you think this statement is fair ? could you give examples ?
    and why do you think women should not rely on their husbands ? I think this is something normal .

    • S says:

      Assalam-o-alaikum brother,

      I can go on and on about this because I was engaged to a man who thought that relying on one’s husband completely was completely normal as well. Relying on someone is normal but depending on them for EVERYTHING is not normal. He wanted me to go back with him too and live in a household which strongly believed that “a woman’s place is in her house.” Alhamdolillah, I can’t be more grateful to Allah swt for getting me out of that commitment.

      Here in the West our career options are limitless and we have certain rights that men do (in Saudi Arabia women were not allowed to drive until recently – I don’t even know what the current situation is now). Women may still be paid less than men on average in the US but we have the law that we can go to and it does not favor men like it does in most eastern countries. We have a voice here that can be heard outside our houses.
      As I said earlier, the list is endless and I hope I was able to get my point across.

      • Mohammed says:

        Of course depending on a human being for everything is not normal. I agree with that. However; I believe that the women factory and main place in the house. I will tell you this story from a non-muslim born American female. She is my academic advisor and after I was done with meeting with her once , she told me how she is away from her only daughter and she wants to stay with her. She told me she knows in Saudi Arabia most women do not have to work and then can raise up their children and stay with them. She said she wishes she can go to Saudi Arabia. I felt she was going to break in tears. I think women loves to raise their children and be with them. Thus stay at home for most of the time. That is reason I said home is the woman’s factory .Note: that does not mean women can’t go out of their home at all because I did not know any evidence saying women can’t go out home at all. Regarding driving, you are right women can’t drive there. But even this is true, do you think it is going to be fair to say women in Saudi do not get (most) of their rights just because of this right ? In addition, there are some scholars in Saudi who oppose the idea that women can’t drive.( btw, women are still not allowed to drive)
        I do not think this list is endless. I did not say women in Saudi get all they want. There are still wrong things that go in there. But I think it is just a similar case for what goes in many countries. I think people have to be careful media in many countries exaggerate the wrong things that happen in Saudi for some reasons.

        Lastly, some women have their voices heard in Saudi. Some of them write in newspaper and even some of them post their pictures next to their articles. And I think they can write about the same topics men can write about.
        And Allah knows best,

        • S says:

          I am not of the opinion either that women should sacrifice their children and choose their careers over them. Even though alhamdulillah I have a career path outlined for myself, I am willing to take a break in between when insha’Allah kids come into my life. I personally know non-Muslim women and even Muslims (Shaykh Wissam Sherif’s mom is a great example who changed her medical practice when her kids were young – now she’s a counselor masha’Allah) who have decided to become stay-at-home moms when they had kids. A professor on our campus decided to take a sudden year-long break when she got a baby through the adoption list. It was kind of crazy for all of us who had registered for her class but that’s what was important for her and the school let her do that.

          I don’t know what your academic advisor’s financial circumstances are, but if her partner/husband is financially stable, she does not need to work because no one is forcing her to. It’s her choice.

          Hence, my initial point was to indicate the importance of choice. Muslim women would like to make these choices for themselves because men need to trust them that they probably care more about their kids as mothers. In the US if a woman decides to be a stay-at-home mom, she has tons of recreational activities she can do with her children. I know of several Muslim homeschooling mothers who are very dynamic – they take their kids horse-riding, swimming etc. I am not going to make any reference to Saudi Arabia because I don’t live there but at least in the Indo-Pak region where I am from, mothers don’t have that liberty. It’s fathers who take up these roles when it comes to outdoorsy stuff.

          As far as driving is concerned, it is kind of a big right, don’t you think? Alhamdulillah due to environmental reasons I don’t even think that all of us should own cars unless it’s extremely necessary but what if the woman likes to get away for a while to clear her mind? She can go in a car with her driver who is not even a mahram but she can’t go alone?

          Hence, women who have been raised in the West and who have spent a considerable amount of time in the West may not be very happy about shifting elsewhere. I know women who have been brought up here and then moved to other places in the world after getting married but their numbers are very few. I was just trying to explain through a personal narrative why “generally” you may not be able to find an American Muslim woman agreeing to move to Saudi Arabia with you (my own dad works there – I don’t mind visiting him for umrah or hajj but can’t imagine living there). Of course there is no denying that there are some sisters who may not have a problem moving to your country. You can find a lot of sisters in the US who want to be stay at home moms (not everyone’s a career-fanatic as I am). Thus, good luck finding them!

  24. Bro K says:

    Basically we Muslims need to get it together on this issue. We all come from Adam & Adam(as) came from “Dirt”! The whole issue of culture particularly in the 2nd gen american Muslim context is getting a little old. Most 2nd gen. Know very little of their parents culture & more or less can put a full in tact sentence in Urdu, Arabic, Pashto, or Somali & this is not mention the next generation. My wife is Somali & I’m black american. She had the fortitude to stand respectfully to her parents even against the backlash & in the end they acquiesced because @ the end of the day that was their daughter & I was Muslim. Now her parents love me alhamdulillah and they encourage others in their community to being open to African American Muslims because we don’t carry the same cultural baggage.

  25. @ZAI
    JazakAllah khayr for your deep insight. You’re so right that we need to action on this cause as opposed to losing our focus through these discussions.

    @Everyone
    Let’s brainstorm about what we can do from today onwards. Even small actions count.

    • Zai pretty much outlined the solution so far as I can tell. People are going to have to vacant their comfort zones and move beyond their own respective ethnic, cultural communities if this issue is to be resolved; people are going to have to become critically engaged in American society and start challenging notions of acceptability, racial-hierarchy; people are going to have to be proactive in seeking about relationships with the variegated peoples of the American Muslim complex instead just saying things like, “Look how diverse we are! Al-hamdu’ilah!”

      This might mean invoking the ire of parents and relatives; however, as a convert, I can say their emotions should matter very in this process: when I converted, my mother did not like it AT ALL, but I persisted because I believed it was the right thing to do. She wouldn’t speak to me for three months. Eventually, she caved and actually began to respect me MORE for sticking to my guns. This involved changing and challenging world views and views on the ultimate metaphysical reality, i.e, God Himself. I figured so-called Born-Muslims owe it to themselves and the rest of the community to engage their cultural traditions and prejudices in the same way as converts do their old world and/or religious views. I can assure you changing cultural views on marriage is going to be MUCH easier than changing views about the ultimate metaphysical reality, God, and religion. Muslims, especially Immigrant Muslims, need this same persistence if they actually care about solving this issue.

      I am reminded of this instance in the Seerah of Muhammad when he first arrived in Medina. He paired the native Ansari Muslims and the Muhajir Muslims, made them brothers. Blacks (and other indigenous Americans, Whites, Native Americans, Hispanics) are as the Ansari Muslims by and large and the Muhajir would those who immigrated or whose parent’s immigranted. Here we have an example of how this process SHOULD HAVE worked from the very get go; it’s illuminated in our past and I think it’s a travesty more of the learned souls, men and women both, haven’t seen this parallel within our tradition. Nevertheless, it can be done. It will require energy, not just empty rhetoric…and we have a WHOLE lot of empty rhetoric.

      I’m pessimistic about the outcome; yet I’m always ready and willing to be proven wrong. I’m hoping the Muslims actually prove my cynicism and pessimism wrong here. I, however, am not holding my breath.

      • I am finally revisiting this article after 10 months in a defeated state of mind but after rereading my comments, I do realize that I accomplished something: the primary one being my own personal fight against racism.

        Being a woman of Pakistani origin, I proposed to a black brother and we almost got engaged. It was indeed a tearful and awful struggle to have my parents on board with my decision who finally agreed but guess what? The racism did not come eventually from my family but from the brother’s because his mother clearly told me, “I want him to marry someone from the same culture.” My response? Utter silence and dejection.

        As a woman, I fought as much as I could but there’s only so much I can do. SubhanAllah! I started thinking about our conversations here and realized that it’s not only the blacks who get subjugated to the perils of racism. Injustice is done by all those who take pride in their culture and traditions and feels insecure about losing them if their kids marry out of their ethnic and cultural background. This may not be as applicable to the converts but definitely for born-Muslims it is an issue and I seriously don’t know how it could be addressed? Sigh! :(

        Anyhow, I still am determined to have an intercultural marriage insha’Allah because I see so much beauty in it as there’s a reason why Allah swt asked us to be united despite the colors of our skins. May Allah swt grant us spouses who are the coolness of our eyes and allow us to raise families on the true values of Islam. Ameen.

        • ZAI says:

          Sidra jaan,
          Assalamulaikum.
          Saddened to hear about your recent experience. You’re right that it’s become a complicated situation, especially because we Muslims have ignored it for so long.

          Yes, racism indeed exists even amongst Black people. If you will allow me though, let me say that we should examine this issue with some nuance.

          #1. What happened to you is horrible, but it is still the exception rather than the norm. Overall it is us more recent immigrant Muslims who direct racism towards our black brothers and sisters. It’s very lopsided.

          #2 There is a phenomenon in the black community wherein many black sisters, both Muslim and Non-Muslim, understandably have resentment that some black brothers DO marry non-blacks, but black women do not have the same opportunity with non-black men. Basically it is a one way street and they develop an understandable hurt or resentment that “outsiders” are coming and taking away their “best” men, but offering the Black sisters nothing and leaving them with nothing. Perhaps your prospective grooms mother felt this way and thought she was sticking up for black women.

          #3. Maybe she knew the racism her son would face with non-blacks and that he’d never really be accepted and she wanted to spare him that hurt down the line…or any prospective grandkids. You have transcended racism, but have most Pakistanis? She might have just been being protective.

          Again, I’m not making excuses for the behavoir…I’m just saying this issue is complicated and some nuance is required. Unfortunately this has all gone on for so long it has created bad feelings, mistrust and severe identity/psychological issues on all sides.

          I know it hurts. I’ve been through it myself. No Afghans in Chicago and has left my marriage prospects at zero. I have been told “no” by an Arab family despite the girl wanting the marriage and I’ll give her credit for trying her best…God bless her, she tried but her father wouldn’t budge. The South Asian aunties don’t even give me a chance…they think I’m gonna give their daughters a Talib beating for a mahr.

          Through all that rejection…I’ve sat and watched as Arab and South Asian guys line up for my sister though. So she’s good enough for their sons, but I’m not for their daughters? Yeah…it all hurts. I know where you’re coming from.

          Ultimately we can’t control or decide what other people do though. All we can do is do our best to act as WE should, as Allah or Rasulallah would want. Remember that if no one else cares or appreciates what you do, they do and that is worth more than the rest of the world.

          I commend you for trying. Don’t give up hope and just do your best to live up to the deen. One thing to keep in mind tho: don’t make intermarriage so important that you become myopic about your objective.

          Being stubborn about intermarriage can become just as shallow as being stubborn about marrying within your ethnic group. Both things are ultimately superficial. What’s most important is the brothers deen and akhlaq. If that happens to be someone outside of your ethnic group…great. If not…that is also great. It’s enough to be open to both.

          God bless you and feel better!

        • Ra'shaan Muhammad says:

          Sister Sidra,
          I’m revisiting this article only after I received a notification that you had posted a comment, and, after having read it, I have to say I’m impressed with your honesty: I imagine it must have taken much fortitude to come to grips with your own personal racism. Moreover, I was also quite taken aback that you actually proposed a Black Muslim. Kudos for being so reflexive and much more kudos for making an attempt. For what its worth, I can say that’s way more than most Muslims would be willing to do…

          As a Black Muslim living in America, it is easy for me to perceive myself as the quintessential victim of racism or maybe culturalism (a neologism I coined a few years ago to describe this phenomenon). I sometimes forget, however, that this ignorance has the potential work in the other direction. I still believe, though, that Blacks, particularly Black women, are the chief victims of discrimination within the Muslim community, and there’s not much anyone could say that would make me believe otherwise. A few anecdotal accounts isn’t going to be enough to sway me from this position. Yet, perhaps, after reading about your experiences, I’ll be much more keen to the privations of the people who do have the desire and the courage to live up the Quranic aspiration of unity through diversity. Unfortunately, many of previous generation – and apparently not just Immigrant Muslims – entertain these vain hopes of keeping their progeny culturally and even ethnically pure, when, in point of fact, such things are totally untenable, totally unrealistic, and/or totally bogus, especially in a place like America. Addressing this issue will have to be a trans-generational endeavor, as I see it. Looks like it’ll have to start with us…

          In any case, I pray to Allah you find what it is you’re looking for. I think inter-cultural and inter-racial marriages are beautiful and certainly worth the struggle and hard work needed to acquire and maintain them. In reality, we’re not as different as we may appear at first glance, as many would have us believe. I pray Allah opens up our eyes so that we can both see and experience this, first hand.
          ~Sabian

        • JazakAllah khayr to both of you. It hurts but subhanAllah! Allah swt is the Healer of the hearts and no hurt can compare to the hurt of the aakhira, so I’d rather be hurt in this world than the next Allah forbid.

          Her reasons were clear: she was afraid that if he didn’t marry someone from the same culture, he will never go back home. Obviously, I personally don’t think he ever will because children of immigrant families do consider the US as their “home” and even if they were to go “back home,” they always will long to return to the States. But of course I won’t deny that such fears are also deep-rooted in the desire to not accommodate unfamiliarity and differences in culture, language etc. Anyhow, what’s done is done but I am so glad that alhamdolillah I did pass my test and lived up to my words. Now, may Allah swt bring in what’s best for me insha’Allah.

          But I totally agree again on discrimination against black sisters. I see this in the community all the time and even Imam Suhaib acknowledges it that how hard it is for him to find suitors for the amazing black sisters in our community. What should we do to knock sense in the brothers’ heads? Sigh!

          @ZAI: I am not being stubborn in pursuing an intercultural marriage ONLY. Certainly not. However, I must say that it’s one of the ways that I consider raising a color blind family that respects, honors and lives the diversity of this beautiful Muslim ummah. May Allah swt grant us all spouses who are the coolness of our eyes in this world and the next. Ameen.

  26. RCHOUDH says:

    Good post and comments Mash’allah. Racism/ethnocentricism is definitely an age-old issue that we know has existed for a very long time (just think of the way ancient Egyptians treated the Hebrews during the prophet Musa’s (AS) time). While it may never be completely eradicated from the world (since we can never hope to create a perfect utopian society in this Dunya), it can be managed and controlled, much like other isms can be too (sexims, classism, colorism, etc). In terms of marriage I think that for those of us already raising the next generation, we should all pray beginning now for Allah to help us find righteous, God-fearing Muslims/Muslimahs for our children, no matter how young they are now. And we should pray to Allah to keep us away from wrongly rejecting someone who is otherwise suitable for our kids, based on the color of their skin, culture, educational or material status, etc. Even practicing Muslims can fall prey to making these mistakes unfortunately so we must pray starting now for Allah to keep us away from committing haraam and to make it easy for us to marry our children off when the time finally arrives. As the Rasul (SAWS) advised his Ummah, it’s good to make lots of du’a for what you want at the time when you don’t necessarily need to (eg. keeping us away from poverty even when we’re not poor, keeping us healthy even when we’re not sick).
    As for the brothers and sisters who are looking to get married, one option could be to take advantage of the ease and ability to travel to different parts of the US or even abroad, making connections with other Muslims, and then having them help you look in their vicinity. That can help broaden your choices Insha’Allah. May Allah help us all to find good righteous spouses for ourselves and our future generations Ameen.

  27. Donna says:

    the issues of cultural differences and/or language barriers should only matter IF it is a problem for the husband and wife. The hadith quoted pertains to incompatibility of the couple, not the in-laws. Language and culture is only a barrier if the family makes it one. If the family comes together with the right intentions and a good heart, the rest can be overcome. My husbands family lives half a world away, and I love them dearly. We married young (21) and just celebrated our 25th anniversary. The family treated me with respect from my very first visit. My father-in-law speaks NO English, yet we found a way to connect. They went out of their way to welcome me to the family and to make me comfortable. I am raising our four children to be observant Muslims and taught them to love and respect the positive in BOTH of their cultures, I think my in-laws appreciate that.

  28. HN says:

    brothers and sisters..sit back and relax. Remeber nothing happens without a reason, this is a form of test and Allah swt is with the patient..Innallah Ma-As Sabireen

    May each one be blessed with the best of spouses.Ameen
    Remember dua is the weapon of a believer and nothing but DUA alone can change Qadr (destiny)..so keep strong as what awaits you in the Hereafter is the best for us..SubhanALLAH

    FeeAmanillah

  29. muslim girl says:

    salaam brothers and sisters i would like to remind you all that recisam is the result of weak iman and people who are not fully practicing islam commit this sin it proofs there ignorance and there arrogance it endangers them as being racist towards another human being means belittling them and that is arrogance we know that anyone who has arrogance will not inter paradise as mentioned in the hadith of the prophet peace be up on him so the racists of this world are the true losers as they live with a corrupted heart and lose paradise in the here after
    as for people who suffer from being oppressed , ill treated for there skin color i advice you to invest in patience and ask allah to reward you for this insha allah and keep in mind if all human beings come together to stop you from marrying someone for racist reasons they can not do it unless allah ordained this and if allah willed that you marry someone you will regardless of what others wish or think or do so everything is in the hands of allah
    if you want to get married ask allah pray to him seek his help keep hoping keep praying dont give up those ignorant people do not hold your destiny allah dose
    the prophet peace be up on him said [ "Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds ]
    in the holy quran allah says { O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted } so the best one among people is the pious one regardless of his color
    bilal the companion of the prophet peace be up on him was a blak man who used to be a slave to the disbelievers he married the sister of abdil rihman ibn awf another companion who was from quryish the tribe of the prophet peace be up on him and one of the richest men of his time
    in islam men and women should choose according to good deen and manners if people are not do that dont be like them implement islam in your life seek allahs help and trust that everything is in his hands life is a test and we should be in our best conduct and please allah those who fallow the wrong way will know the error of there ways
    i am a black sister and i love black and white and yellow and red people of all color are beautiful as allah has made them but to keep my peace of mind i like to avoid ignorant people and keep good company

  30. anon says:

    Allah in His infinite wisdom and mercy to mankind created the earth round. Yet with man’s fretful desire to know and see everything- we haven’t spared a single effort in rendering the earth and everything in it flat for our eyes to gaze over. Allah made it so clear; the only reason we’re different is the same reason a cyprus tree looks different from a conifer- so you can tell where it’s roots are planted! Imagine if everyone looked the same- what a flat+boring reality! The earth is round, reality too twists and curves unexpectedly away from logic and the norm if left in His hands- hence we find in the Quran, moses, a child of israel, a ‘dark slave’, marrying the daughter of a(some say prophet)- whatever that tribe was, it was arab. Thousands of years ago, the quran captures a fantastic union between arab and israelite. Fast forward to jerusalem 2012 and you’ll find mizrahi (arab) and ashkenazi (european) jews at one another’s throats about who’s a real jew and who’s a traitor. Which is why our ummah follows the ummah before us like a hand to a glove. That’s what happens when we leave the guidance of God for the guidance of man- Hitler died 50+years ago yet the jews of europe are still giving their own people grief for looking too jewish. India was freed 300+years ago yet out of shame and subjugation indians are rejecting their own for looking too indian. A football kicked by several feet in every direction. Lucky are those that use this confusion and opportunity as a chance to escape and find their real Master- these tests are all opportunities given by the most merciful to find Him in His entirety. I find it very interesting that this is a heavily post-modern interpretation of the Quran, as it should be- subhanAllah one can never separate oneself from the collective outlook of their time. The dream was beautiful; but we will only be able to live it in its entirety once we are united as One, back to the source from which we came- and maybe we will hear the collective memory ring amongst us; ‘free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free, at last-’

  31. ahmed says:

    it is possible for a girl or woman to get married to a Christian ayah or hadith I need answer

  32. Hyde says:

    Oh the marriage fodder. Would I like to be married , sure. Who would not want to ? With a brood of little ones…but unfortunately the current times point elsewhere.

    Few pointers:

    -Most people, yes men and women, are not chaste by the time they hit their 30′s anyway. Women may not have lost their chastity but they been around the bases. And men, while I find it incredibly hard to believe that a 35 year old male has been chaste, if he has a job and is well off, etc. Of course these days chastity and what not does mean much even when you are 19, including if you are in the MSA’s.
    -Then there is pornogrpahy addiction, and occcuisonal dating, and of course zina.
    -Financial and family disputes
    -The alarming rate of divorce. (People can fall in love, but also fall out of love)
    -The divorce taboo, especially for women.
    -Liberal/conservative point of view clashes.
    -People change over time from what they were before.
    -Lack of interest in children rearing.
    -Health problems.
    -Unemployment/Income/Housing
    -New phenomena of “coming out of closet” after years of marriage.
    -Suicide, etc, etc.

    Any comments ?

  33. kali says:

    enlightening article but such pessimistic comments

  34. sarah says:

    you mention that brothers are having a hard time getting married. could you please write an article on this. you’d get a lot a lot a lot of shares. most ppl. believe it’s only sisters who are having a hard time. if we find out brothers aer too, hey, great, that means there are brotehrs out there who WANT to get married, and we can get to it! b/c right now most scholars and others think that there aren’t enough brothers out there for the many poor sisters who want to get married.
    what are the obstacles for brothers, other than the culture issue?

  35. Sofia says:

    Oh seriously. I’m a victim of this thing. It happened so many times to me. My parents always came up with excuses just because the boys are of a different race. Sometimes I really doubt Life. Really. I don’t know what is the Truth. God says one thing but human does another. Now I’m so disappointed and heartbroken that I think it’s better for me not to get married at all. I don’t know. Haha.

    • Hyde says:

      I totally get your self mock “haha”. Completely get it sister. What really is the point of marriage ? Intimacy, kids, home ? As with all things, sexual intimacy will decline eventually more so now than before, since I find it incredibly hard that there will virgin girls in their 20′s[ haha ] and kids ? really? Look at the environment where we live in [another haah] and home…where, what part of the world ? When I think of family, wife and kids…the last scene of the film Gladiator comes to mind…just an image, a fictitious imagery.

      At least you had some prospective partners(all halal I hope! ) but what you don’t even have that :(….’a fool: called life’….

  36. Abdullahi says:

    Salam aleikum everyone. Masha’allah I can see that we are passionate about marriage. I sincerely believe that if we follow the Qur’an to the letter and take the Prophet (peace be upon him) as our guide to success, Allah will open a lot of doors for us in sha allah. I know I did not say much but keep collecting good deeds and next thing you know, you completed half your deen by the permission of Allah. Salam aleikum.

    P.S I am single :P

  37. mel says:

    Wowwww…nice insight!! I think I have never seen those three ayahs were discussed in this perspective. I really like what you said to end it: “Indeed, putting a verse about marriage in between two such verses is not spontaneity on the part of Allah (swt). Allah is Most Wise.” Indeed!! Thanks for writing this article. May Allah increase you in guidance.

  38. I was just thinking, if anyone found their better half here in the comments ;) lame joke, I know..

    I live in the southern part of India and lately I had been talking to my mom on the need for the intercultural marriages and she was saying an emphatic NO to marrying someone outside the culture. She insisted on the language being the same. Though I have not been seeing anyone outside my culture nor inside, I seriously gave a thought for a multicultural relationship and had been trying to present it as an option to my parents. But they seem not to have understood the crux and my mom have been saying that, you would go away with your wife and wouldn’t even remember us in the future and thus you are going to be unislamic in not looking after your parents and things. These kind of worries are also a part of the NOs is what I wish to opine.

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