Marriage: One that cannot be sanctioned

Q360 :As my parents refuse to sanction my brother's marriage to a girl who follows the Muhavira faith, the two of them have been living together for sometime. We have been trying hard to persuade the girl just to say the kalimah, so that she becomes a Muslim and the marriage can go ahead, but she refuses saying that she does not want to cheat us. The two of them maintain that they will continue to live together until we are ready to get them married. This has caused much bitterness in our family and my parents feel guilty as a result of what my brother is doing. Is there any possible solution to this problem? Should we boycott our brother and his friend.

A360 : One thing to be said for the girl is that she is honest. She does not want to indulge in an exercise of self-deception, appearing as a Muslim when she is not. You and your brother have been trying to make things appear so easy for her that if only she would say the declaration which is known as the kalimah, everything could go ahead. I am afraid that your attitude is wrong, while hers is at least honest. A person does not become a Muslim as a result of making a simple verbal statement. That is not how beliefs are found. A person becomes a Muslim only when he is convinced of the basic principle of Islam, then he makes a declaration of his conviction, stating that he believes in the Oneness of Allah and that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah's last messenger. Conviction comes first. It is then followed by the verbal statement which describes an existing situation. Obviously the girl is not convinced of the truth of Islam. Therefore, even if she makes the declaration, she is not a Muslim. In this case, you may technically assume that she is, since she has made the declaration, but it is your brother's responsibility to make sure that she is a Muslim before he marries her. Obviously, your brother does not care much about all this. This is the core of the problem. He does not seem to have had enough religious education to persuade him to live as a Muslim. Your repeated attempts to make him bring his action in line with Islamic teachings have proven futile. It is the hard fact that he values his relationship with this girl as more important than observing Islamic teachings. Well, your brother may know enough about Islam but, deep at heart, he does not believe in it. In this case, you are wasting your time when you quarrel with him over his relationship with his girlfriend. On the other hand, he may be a person who hardly knows anything about Islam, he cannot see much wrong with his action, because he has not learned enough about the Islamic faith to make him follow its teachings as every Muslim should. In this case your attitude towards him should be a gentle one. You should try to explain to him the basic principle of Islam and how, as a Muslim, he must try hard not to deviate from the Islamic code of living. At the same time, you must make it absolutely clear to him that his present attitude is totally rejected by you and your family. You should give him a period of time to formulate an adequate understanding of Islam. Perhaps in this process of re-education you should resort to someone who is well versed in Islamic principles and who is broad-minded enough not to condemn your brother at the outset. While your brother's attitude cannot be sanctioned, a polarization of the situation is not the appropriate method to deal with it. However, if he persists in his attitude, rejecting everything you say and insisting on his attitude of disobedience to Allah, you should think very seriously about boycotting him. That is the last resort. May be, when he sees that he is boycotted by his family, he would start thinking seriously about what he is doing is wrong. You ask whether there is any possibility of his getting married in an Islamically approved manner. This answer is in the negative. There is no person or institution which is empowered to give exemption from Islamic rulings or to modify these rulings according to individual cases or situations. According to Islam, a Muslim may not marry any woman who is not a follower of Islam, Christianity or Judaism. Since this girl follows the Muhavira faith, she is not lawful as a wife to a Muslim. The only way this marriage can go through is for her to become a true Muslim, fully convinced of Islam as the true faith. Your parents should not feel guilty, because they are not responsible for the actions of their adult son. Everyone bears the burden of one's own deeds.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )