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In the Name of God بسم الله
GabrielWithoutWings

If I convert, would I have to abandon my wife?

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Hi all,

I've decided to deep dive into Islamic study and I've been reading both Sunni and Shia literature. 

I'm currently an agnostic. My wife is currently nonreligious. We've been together for 10 years. I wasn't really raised religious and neither was she. We have 3 kids, a house, and have been married for 10 years. 

If I converted to Shia Islam, what is the status of my marriage?  Am I unequally yoked, like in Christianity?  Am I committing Zina?

I've tried to find a consensus in Sunni Islam but there doesn't seem to be one. I've heard everything from my marriage is still valid and maybe she'll convert later to divorce her since she's not a people of the book.

I couldn't find an answer on a question this specific. 

Thanks for your time. 

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No, you won’t have to leave her. For converts, (who married prior to converting) their marriage is an exception. Even a Christian woman who converts to Islam may still stay married to her non-Muslim husband. 

Edited by Islandsandmirrors

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28 minutes ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

Hi all,

I've decided to deep dive into Islamic study and I've been reading both Sunni and Shia literature. 

I'm currently an agnostic. My wife is currently nonreligious. We've been together for 10 years. I wasn't really raised religious and neither was she. We have 3 kids, a house, and have been married for 10 years. 

If I converted to Shia Islam, what is the status of my marriage?  Am I unequally yoked, like in Christianity?  Am I committing Zina?

I've tried to find a consensus in Sunni Islam but there doesn't seem to be one. I've heard everything from my marriage is still valid and maybe she'll convert later to divorce her since she's not a people of the book.

I couldn't find an answer on a question this specific. 

Thanks for your time. 

Im new here. Been a Sunni all my 50 years and been reading about Shia Islam. Anyway I won't go into my story just now. I have a English/Christian revert friend came to Islam about 3 years ago. He initially struggled with his wife and she is none religious. Over time she has accepted his Islam. In a nutshell you don’t need to get rid of the wife. Islam is not so restrictive and remember you are worshipping the Al Rahman & the Al Raheem. Allahs mercy is infinite so don’t worry over these issues. Love Allah and he will open paths you never imagined.

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4 hours ago, Islandsandmirrors said:

Even a Christian woman who converts to Islam may still stay married to her non-Muslim husband. 

In some cases.

But yes, your current marriage would still probably be valid. Even if your nonreligious wife is "culturally Christian", I.e. she participates in Christmas and Easter, she would count as "people of the book". If you have doubt, you should discuss it with a scholar who you trust, but family is emphasized in Islam. I can't imagine that your family should be broken apart by your conversion. 

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19 minutes ago, Aragaia said:

Is this a Shia thing then? In my understanding the marriage becomes void.

I’m not sure if it’s just a Shia thing. But in Shia Islam, the marriage is still valid as far as I know. Not sure about Sunni Islam.

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4 hours ago, Islandsandmirrors said:

No, you won’t have to leave her. For converts, (who married prior to converting) their marriage is an exception. Even a Christian woman who converts to Islam may still stay married to her non-Muslim husband. 

 

3 hours ago, Aragaia said:

The previous marrige becomes void. But if your wife takes the shahada you can marry her. But she isn't advices to do that if she has no faith. The Qur'an condemns marrying an unbeliever.

 

See, this is what I'm talking about. If I'm supposed to "ask a scholar," how does a convert in the United States that doesn't speak Arabic supposed to find which scholars to ask?  Sunni Islam has 4 major schools and Shia have.... what are they called?  Marjas?

I know traditionally Islam has very diverse opinion on fiqh and aqeeda but this is very frustrating to a Westerner. 

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Even if you ask two scholars or ten, you might get a slightly different verdict from each. 

In general, a Muslim man cannot marry an unbeliever. "People of the Book" is not limited to those who actually practice Christianity or Judaism. If she believes in "something" and participates in Christmas and Easter, she is a believer, unless she has declared herself atheist or polytheist. 

Even if she has declared herself atheist, Islam places great value on family stability. Since you have children and a good, stable marriage, it's unlikely that anyone will say to your face that in order to embrace Islam, you must throw that away. 

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1 hour ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

I know traditionally Islam has very diverse opinion on fiqh and aqeeda but this is very frustrating to a Westerner. 

I understand how you’re feeling—I’m sure it’s super frustrating, but I don’t believe the person who disagreed with me isnt a Shia, anyway. 

Edited by Islandsandmirrors

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59 minutes ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

 

 

See, this is what I'm talking about. If I'm supposed to "ask a scholar," how does a convert in the United States that doesn't speak Arabic supposed to find which scholars to ask?  Sunni Islam has 4 major schools and Shia have.... what are they called?  Marjas?

I know traditionally Islam has very diverse opinion on fiqh and aqeeda but this is very frustrating to a Westerner. 

Is she is considering her self still as Christian and she has not rejected it then I am sure there is something to work on here ? Let's work on this step by step

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4 hours ago, Islandsandmirrors said:

I’m not sure if it’s just a Shia thing. But in Shia Islam, the marriage is still valid as far as I know. Not sure about Sunni Islam.

As Shi'a Muslims converts are smaller in number, declaring all marriages void which aren't to a Shi'a Muslim would be harder on them. Seeing how Sunnis are iffy about marrying Shi'a it doesn't leave the Shi'a much option in this situation of the OP. For a Sunni converts even if they were to leave their non-Muslim spouses for not converting, there would not be the same difficulty in remarrying. I wonder if this is why there is a difference in opinion generally? 

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31 minutes ago, Aragaia said:

Shouldn't affect it. You shouldn't change the Qur'an for small conveniences.

I completely agree, I was just trying to make sense of the different opinions.

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7 hours ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

I'm currently an agnostic. My wife is currently nonreligious. We've been together for 10 years. I wasn't really raised religious and neither was she. We have 3 kids, a house, and have been married for 10 years. 

If I converted to Shia Islam, what is the status of my marriage?  Am I unequally yoked, like in Christianity?  Am I committing Zina?

Hi ,if she believes in one God & considers from people of book even non practicing ones you can do Mutah (temporary marriage) that until she believes to oneness of God/Allah  you can be together & you don't commit Zina but if she denounces oneness of God/Allah your marriage (permanent or Temporary) will become void , for doing Mutah (temporary marriage) both of you must agree a limited time that can be from 1 minute to 99 years & recite a formulated words 

https://www.al-Islam.org/muta-temporary-marriage-Islamic-law-sachiko-murata/four-pillars-muta

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A lot of different opinions here in this topic, which can bring confusion.

The ruling on this is simple and every marja and scholar will say this: If your wife is either Muslim, Christian or Jewish, your marriage stays valid, even if she’s irreligious, but she must follow one of these faiths. 

Being a convert can be very hard at first and I’m sure you may have many more questions. You can feel free to ask us here whatever question you have or we can help you find a local Shia mosque in your area.

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She's not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. She doesn't do religion, agnostic on God, stopped celebrating Easter when the kids got too old to hunt for eggs, and does Christmas as a family gift-giving holiday with no mention of Jesus at all.  She's never been baptised and neither have I. 

I find this topic frustrating. With the spread of Islam in Europe, I find it hard to consider that there will suddenly be thousands of new divorcees who've abandoned their families because their spouse wouldn't convert.  

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14 minutes ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

She's not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. She doesn't do religion, agnostic on God, stopped celebrating Easter when the kids got too old to hunt for eggs, and does Christmas as a family gift-giving holiday with no mention of Jesus at all.  She's never been baptised and neither have I. 

I find this topic frustrating. With the spread of Islam in Europe, I find it hard to consider that there will suddenly be thousands of new divorcees who've abandoned their families because their spouse wouldn't convert.  

Just don't divorce her. It would be cruel and would hurt you, your wife, and your children. 

Sometimes traditions are wrong. 

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