MARRYING OUTSIDE THE BOX – RACIAL HIERARCHIES & MARRYING THE INFIDEL

For those across the pond.

MARRYING OUTSIDE THE BOX – RACIAL HIERARCHIES & MARRYING THE INFIDEL

Panel discussion with Imam Abu Eesa Niamatullah (Prophetic Guidance),
Sister Humera Khan (An-Nisa Society) and Ustadh Ayman Malik
(Muslim Marriage Coaching)*

Date: Wednesday 13th May 2009
Time: 6.15pm – 8pm (prompt start)
Venue: Idea Store Canary Wharf, Churchill Place,
Canary Wharf, London E14 5RB

In his Farewell Sermon, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “All mankind
is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor
does a non-Arab have superiority over an Arab; also a white has no
superiority over a black nor does a black have superiority over a
white, except by piety and good action.”

Why are so many “born” Muslims obsessed with marrying “converts”?
In particular, why is it that white middle class professionals are
sought after while black Muslims are often not considered? Have we
really got over our post-colonial mentality where a hidden racial
hierarchy exists, especially amongst Muslims from Asian and Arab
backgrounds?

Sadly the opposite also holds true. Why are some black male converts
to Islam so insistent on marrying sisters of Arab or Asian origin,
sometimes erroneously believing that it is a litmus test of their
acceptance in the wider Muslim community? Why do they ignore our
black sisters?

How about the issue of marrying non-Muslims? Let’s face it, a lot
of Muslims, both male and female, have been dating and marrying
non-Muslims for some time.

“And do not marry the disbelieving women until they believe, and
indeed a slave woman who believes is better than a disbelieving
free woman, even though she may allure you. And give not (your
daughters) in marriage to the disbelieving men until they believe,
for verily a believing slave is better than a disbelieving free
man, even though he may allure you. The disbelievers invite you
to the Fire, but Allah invites you to Paradise and Forgiveness
by His Leave, and makes His signs clear to mankind so that they
may remember.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:221)

With a growing number of sisters frustrated in their search for
a so-called compatible Muslim man, the question begs – why can’t
they marry a non-Muslim? If I am a Muslim woman in my 30s and
have had little genuine interest shown by Muslim men, why can’t
I marry a “kafir” who appears more chivalrous, honest, caring,
and could even support me in ensuring that my offspring remain
Muslim? A similar argument could be applied in the case of a
non-Muslim woman.

These discussions will be interactive and questions will be taken
from the audience. This is your chance to seek honest answers to
questions that have been bothering you for a long time but which
organisations and movements are often too afraid to address.

All are welcome and entrance is free. However, spaces are limited
and seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Islamic Circles will be raising funds for its different projects.
Note that this is an Islamic event, so perverts or those trying
to undermine Islam need not attend.

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18 thoughts on “MARRYING OUTSIDE THE BOX – RACIAL HIERARCHIES & MARRYING THE INFIDEL

  1. Why is that the white converts are considered to be “professionals” and not the “black muslims”? In my opinion regardless of race and gender, the number of professional middle class converts is small. Inshallah i will go to the event.

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  2. I find this event a bit disturbing and patronising. It suggests that Black Muslims in the UK are slavishly wanting of anything EXCEPT a black woman. In my experience there is some truth to this fact, but to air this dirty lining in public is deeply embarrasing. This is the problem of not havin a community. Cos we don’t have a community we can’t talk about or deal with this stuff amongst ourselves in the way that Pakistanis, Bengalis and Arabs can do amongst themselves. This whole Morocco wife thing has it’s benefits and downs. One of the benefits is that many of our kids will speak arabic and have a good muslim family example. Inshallah in years to come if we started building a community, brothers wouldn’t have to look outwards and we could seek our own. I’ve married a black sister. Alhamdulillah we’re all one ummah so it shouldn’t make much difference who we marry anyway.

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  3. Abdullah

    “I find this event a bit disturbing and patronising. It suggests that Black Muslims in the UK are slavishly wanting of anything EXCEPT a black woman”

    as salaam alaikum
    Apologies brother perhaps this isnt what the event is saying. The vast majority of Muslims in the UK are of South Asian (Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi) origin and that is who is being addressed here. As someone from that background I can say it is a sad fact that they much prefer white converts over black. This is truly a sickness.

    This whole preference for “white over black” exists not just between communities but WITHIN them – fair skin is synonmous with beauty in South Asian culture as it is in Arab and indeed even Black culture (lighter skinned black women preferred over darker skinned)

    Sadly many people cling to their culture or are influenced by a colonised or media mindset and forget:

    “All of you descend from Adam and Adam was created from clay; The most honourable amongst you in the sight of Allaah are the most pious. There is no preference for an Arab over a non-Arab, a non-Arab over an Arab, a coloured person over a white person or a white person over a coloured person except based on piety” (Al-Bayhaqi, Ahmad and others) and

    Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty and her religion; so try to get one who is religious, may your hand be besmeared with dust (may you enjoy welfare).

    Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: The Prophet said, “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers.

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  4. Salaam Aleikoum,

    What if it was just a question of physical attraction. Many people as some commenters, mentioned are more attracted by light skin than dark skin. Can we blame our brothers and sisters for that? I don’t believe that it is systematically a question of colonial mentality. Indeed, in our own cultures (Asian, african etc.) far before colonisations, the women tried not to get darker. On the other hand, I know many black brothers and sisters who can’t imagine themselves with whites or Arabs because they don’t feel attracted (I mean physically) as well. Even though it is a recommandation to marry a man or a woman for his/her religion, as humans we can’t really enforce our feelings, we can just put the religion as a priority.

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  5. ‘your brother’-
    One thing i was always interested in is if the attraction was about the skin color or the “convert” part. I know a lot of muslims have a thing for light skin color, but also ive seen a lot of muslims who think that converts are “religious” because they were not born into it.

    So it would be interesting to see if Bosnians, Albanians and Tatarstanis are as “hot property” for marriage as western converts.

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  6. Quite frankly I know a fair number of non-practicing Muslim women who have married men who are also non-practicing members of another religious community (mostly Christian or Hindu, and often it is in interracial or intercultural marriage, too). These women are from various backgrounds, desi, Yemeni, and a lot of Malays from either Singapore or Malaysia married to guys of various backgrounds. None of them are religious. They are fine people, kind, generous, friends of mine, and I accept them as individuals, but somewhere at the back of my mind I have that voice that tells me “this is not nikaah,” so do I really fully accept them and their life choices? At the same time it is hard for me to imagine that a religious, actively practicing, praying, fasting Muslim woman would want a non-Muslim spouse. I do know of religious brothers who have married non-Muslim women and this is slightly looked down in the general community, it is for the most part accepted since it is “halaal” from a normative standpoint. This post is just helping me to examine where I stand, and perhaps some hypocritical thinking on my part. I dunno.

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  7. I would like to know the results of this discussion. Will it be recorded via video or audio?

    Many Muslims in the West, young and old, are seeking some advice about these issues.

    I would like to know about the acknowledgment of class in Islam. I’ve read books where the Muslim/Muslimah is recommended to marry within his/her own “class”. What are the parameters of “class” within Islam, and how does one encourage the consideration of “class” while steering clear of racism?

    How can we discourage the use of “class” as code for “race”, within the Muslim community when choosing a spouse?

    Wa salaam,

    Dynamite

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  8. Ms. Hill

    Would you agree to calling a non-Muslim person an infidel/kafir? For me that demonstrates another form of hierarchy or religious chauvinism. But then again, if we can’t show those among our community some respect and kindness then how can I expect us to give respect to others of different religions?

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  9. Salaam Alaikum,

    They prefer white skin, yes. All the better for the children, at least that’s what they think will happen.

    But would they actually want their children to marry a white person as opposed to someone suitably ‘wheatish’ from their own community? No.

    White women are viewed as promiscuous, bad house keepers and not loyal to their families and white men get a similar bad rap.

    If black skin was viewed as desirable, it would be the other way around. It’s colourism, not class at play here.

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  10. huh? you quote the qur’an where muslims are instructed not to marry disbelieving men / women, then you ask “why can’t i do it” ?? the answer before the question… or is the qur’an irrelevant to you in this issue?

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  11. Salams,

    While I’m glad there will be a venue and open dialogue I’m saddned that it needs to even be discussed in such a manner. Why can’t people marry whoever and however they see fit as long as it’s within Islamic guidelines. The problem isn’t that most Muslims don’t know the answer to their questions it’s that they don’t like the answers to their questions. But, what we all forget is that this life isn’t up to us, and we don’t make the rules. Muslim women are forbidden to marry outside of Islam for a reason not for kicks and giggles. Though I’m a 20-something yr old with a decent amount of proposals I’d like to think that there is someone for everyone and I’m just not buying the ‘unmarryable’ or ‘its cause I’m black isn’t it?’ ploy. Be the change you wish to see in the world, find your man. I intend to marry outside the racial barrier and for more reasons than shocking daddy. We wouldn’t be different colors if someone hadn’t broken the rules.

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  12. In a perfect Muslim environment women wouldn’t have such problems like you mentioned. A Muslim man is supposed to be honest and chivalrous by definition. If someone claims to be Muslim but is not, he is just at the beginning of his education in Islam (a stage that lots of “Muslim” men are stuck in).

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  13. Assalaamu alaikum all,
    The prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: My ummah will follow the jews and the christians ….. down the lizard hole. So we should not be too disheartend as to this scourge than has come upon his. Those who admit to and adhere to this idiocy have their own fears to deal with and I expect are using Islam as an easy to expound this disease. Allah (swt) is clear in the Qur’aan about the signs of a believer and the signs of a disbeliever. If we want this world then we can only attain it if we behave like them. We should hate what Allaah hates and love what Allaah loves. Allaah hates injustice no matter who or where it is coming from. Muslims have the chance to change the society they live in but prefer wealth, status, dunya etc. Thats why we are not affective at this moment.

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