My ex-fiance was Muslim. He wasn’t devout, but he wasn’t too liberal either. He loved me unconditionally. How do I know? He accepted me for who I am. My ex wanted to marry me, and religion was not even a concern. His family was traditional. He would have faced objection to marrying a non-Muslim, but his love was stronger than this ‘pride.’ Thus, his love was unconditional. All the social stigmas that went against our union were ignored by him — he would cross any barrier to be with me.
On the other hand, with my love , the Sheik, religion has also not been a concern, ..yet. This time, there are numerous barriers to our union. The stigma of my profession. The stigma that I’m not Muslim. The stigma I am not Saudi..and even the stigma I’m not of the same tribe! I wonder, will he be like my ex? Is our love conditional or unconditional? For the present, it is unconditional…but what about the future?
I have always pondered that “if” question - how would I feel if my partner ASKED me to convert to Islam?:
If a man does not accept me for who I am (which is not easy considering the social stigmas attached to me) then the relationship will die. I can compromise for simple things, but not who I am. I have felt unconditional love, and therefore I will never accept anything less. If the day comes when someone asks me to convert my beliefs to conform to theirs…..I will be gone.
The arrogance of patriarchical customs. It reminds me of a cheesy Bollywood film (Mission Kashmir) I watched which depicted an Indian Muslim man who married a Hindu woman. An outsider ridiculed the Muslim husband because he didn’t convert his wife. Defending himself, the Muslim husband said something along the lines of, “Why should I ask my wife to give up her faith for me? If anything, I would convert to her faith if that meant being with her” I found that scene very empowering. It reminds me of my Sheik, because he says, “I respect your beliefs just as you respect mine.” In essence, nobody (nor any faith) is either right or wrong.
Similarly, a woman I met preached constantly on how this is ‘haram’ and that is ‘halal’ while at the same time contradicting her own sayings. She went to the extreme of saying she wanted to revert to being a ‘virgin’ again, so that it would make her more ‘appealing’ to a ‘good’ Muslim husband. I don’t think she understood the concept of unconditional love, or somehow she convinced herself that she was unworthy of it. How can one love another who has set conditions for their love? If only we could seize judging others, and reflect on ourselves and what works for us. Rather than judge her, I actually felt bad for her. She, like myself prior, is too concerned with how others judge her…and in the process she forgets who she is. I hope she can stop worrying one day, because there is nothing bad, or ‘haram’, about the real her.
I have noticed that many non-Muslim women embrace the idea of converting to Islam for their Muslim partner. Are they really doing it for themselves? Or are they doing it fearing rejection if they don’t. For the ones doing it on the advice of their partner, I ask again, how can you love someone who has place conditions on your love?