I am a Christian woman due to marry a Muslim man in the UK. We and our families have agreed to carry out a civil ceremony in the presence of over 100 guests. Without having previously agreed, my fiance’s father is requesting we carry out an islamic marriage and signing of the contract. I am uncomfortable with this because at present I do not feel I fully understand what this entails. I have several questions:
- does my fiance’s father have the right to request this?
- if we are expressing the acceptance of each other through the civil ceremony on front of all these witnesses do we even need to have a separate islamic marriage?
- if an islamic marriage is required do we need to sign the documents or can we simply verbally agree to the marriage?
- as a Christian woman what are my rights regarding religion with our children? I personally want them to understand their heritage and not to enforce religion on them.
- There is no such “right” in Islam. However, out of courtesy and respect for an elder there is no harm in fulfilling his wish unless there is some relevant objection.
- There is no such thing as an “Islamic marriage.” In fact, even the Nikah (i.e. marriage contract) is a matter of legality not sacrament.
- The legal documents signed for marriage are valid for a Nikah. If there are special matters, the Nikah may contain things that you may find in a prenuptial agreement; this is to protect the parties during and if divorce arises.
- Islam does not give any explicit teachings in regards to children of mixed-religion families. There is a widely accepted misconception that children must follow their father’s religion; however, this has no basis in Islam. While teaching children and giving them the proper foundation that will help them discover their Maker on their own, the concept of “no compulsion in religion” is applicable to children as well. We should prepare our children to know how to seek and give the proper tools – as best as we can – to formulate ideas and think for themselves. In the end, there is much more to the person who finds the truth because of a genuine search versus the one who simply goes about life because he/she was led into a belief without ever pouring any part of themselves in that search. Islam is the relationship between the individual and God; not between an inherited belief and God.
We recommend that you become a little more familiar with Islam because of the bond that you are about to enter. You will find, as with all other religions, a variety of opinions.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.