Muslim Dating 101: If you’re a Muslim woman, don’t even think about falling in love with a non-Muslim. Despite the fact that Muslim men are, according to the Qu’ran, are permitted to marry women of the Abrahamic faiths (i.e. Jewish or Christian) and there is nothing that explicitly states that the same is forbidden for women, interfaith love is a total taboo for Muslim women, which makes dating in western countries like America a nightmare. Since we at MissMuslim believe in being a voice for the voiceless, this summer we’ll be featuring a series of stories highlighting the experiences of Muslim American women who are in or have been in interfaith relationships.
Written by Ayesha Nava
With editing by Hedya Chibane
Adam and I met during a really difficult time in my life. And I wholeheartedly, 100% believe that he saved me. Prior to meeting him, I was involved in a two year relationship that tore me down emotionally, physically, and spiritually— I felt completely worthless. At first, I found it difficult to believe Adam when he complimented me on my beauty or intelligence. I honestly thought he was being mean-spirited and making fun of me. Until he came into my life, I had gotten used to being made fun of for being overweight and hearing how stupid and dumb I was for two years straight. But with the unconditional love Adam gave, I learned to believe in myself once again, and actually started to realize that I could be beautiful in someone else’s eyes. He helped me rebuild my self esteem back up to where it should have always been. I went from being a person who didn’t think this life was worth living to someone who now looks forward to spending the rest of my life with him. I love Adam for giving me back my zest for life.
Life is so much fuller when you have someone that adores you at your side. Everything in this world is more enjoyable. Eating, sleeping, taking walks, and even mundane tasks like grocery shopping feel like special occasions with him accompanying me. I truly wish that everyone on earth could feel a love like this. When you have someone who supports and encourages you endlessly, anything is possible.
It’s the fear of the unknown that makes people act so irrationally.
When you have someone who believes in you and your dreams, you begin to feel reassured; you start to realize your dreams are attainable. Adam is my best friend. He is there for me when I need to cry and his presence alone calms me when I get angry. He is always there to make me laugh. And although I sometimes get upset, I realize that I am extremely lucky just to have him in my life. He drives me to be a better person. Sometimes when I wake up next to him and see his sweet face, I have to pinch myself because this all seems too good to be true; especially with my traumatic past. I still feel like I don’t deserve such a sweet, loving husband. When I feel myself inching towards a negative place, I just have to remember how my life was before him. And then everything comes into perspective. I feel so blessed to be able to live my life loving him for the rest of our lives.
Now that we have two children, I often think of their futures. I pray they grow up to be open-minded, tolerant, loving people. Growing up, I was sometimes bullied simply for being Muslim. I was called a terrorist, sand ni**er, and towel head. I pray my children never have to encounter such dark hatred but I know a day will come when I will have to explain to them why some people harbor such ignorance in their hearts. I honestly think if more people were exposed to people of different faiths, it would help open their minds and eventually solve this ongoing issue. It’s the fear of the unknown that makes people act so irrationally; but once you meet someone different, you realize how alike we really all are. And at the core, we all want the same things out of life.
…Being in an interfaith relationship actually made me grow stronger in my own faith and spirituality.
Interfaith relationships are beautiful unions. My husband and I have so much compassion and empathy for each other. Our different upbringings have made us stronger partners and stronger parents. Sometimes we see things the same way, and other times we see them from different perspectives but I always love the uniqueness of our experiences. Our children are the future; and I’m proud to raise them with open hearts and minds, together.
While people argue that it’s impossible to reconcile two faiths, being in an interfaith relationship actually made me grow stronger in my own faith and spirituality. It has made me so much more open-minded as well. Although my husband isn’t Muslim, he regularly attends the mosque when we visit my family and always feels very welcomed. I thought being married to someone who wasn’t Muslim would be more complex, but it isn’t. We both believe in God, and have similar morals and values. While he eats pork and I don’t, we still enjoy our separate meals together. As our children grow older, they will be free to make their own choices regarding their beliefs and spirituality. We plan on sharing our love and our devotion to God with them, rather than forcing them to decide which religion they want to be a part of.