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  • Advice regarding intercultural marriage

    I am a man in his twenties and recently it came to me through mutual connections that a particular sister is interested in marriage. I inquired a bit about her and so far I heard only good things: she is very religious, she wears proper Islamic attire, is of good conduct, ... Since we also study at the same university, I was able to see (in passing) how she behaves and I have nothing to complain about. I think it's worthwhile mentioning that I never spoke to her or interacted with her in any way.
    I have two questions and I would kindly ask you to advise me, not only from a religious point of view but also as a parent would advise the son:

    1. I don't find her really attractive. She is by no means ugly, but my heart just isn't there, so to speak. I don't know if that is because I am so used to seeing women with makeup and inappropriate clothing around that when someone comes with proper Islamic clothing and no makeup, I don't find them attractive or is it just because she is not my type. Would that change once I see her without hijab or once I interact with her? Anyone had a similar experience?

    2. I spoke to my mother about it and she raised a valid question about the girl's background. She is from a very different culture and although she is religious I am afraid there would be many different expectations that would make a life together hard.

    Based on the above, how would you advise me in terms of the next steps: do I just say I am not interested or do I at least get to know her and speak to her wali and then make a decision?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mokara View Post
    I would kindly ask you to advise me, not only from a religious point of view but also as a parent would advise the son:

    1. I don't find her really attractive. She is by no means ugly, but my heart just isn't there, so to speak. I don't know if that is because I am so used to seeing women with makeup and inappropriate clothing around that when someone comes with proper Islamic clothing and no makeup, I don't find them attractive or is it just because she is not my type. Would that change once I see her without hijab or once I interact with her? Anyone had a similar experience?
    I should hope that your "heart" isn't into her attractiveness at all, especially at this point. Hearts that are "there" for attractiveness are marrying for the wrong reason. People should be sufficiently, physically satisfied with the appearance of their spouse, and that's it. A person's personality and character is what makes them attractive to the "heart".

    "Types" and "attractiveness" are not factors that should determine whether to marry someone or not. You're young and so maybe this is what you think matters. It doesn't.

    Originally posted by mokara View Post
    2. I spoke to my mother about it and she raised a valid question about the girl's background. She is from a very different culture and although she is religious I am afraid there would be many different expectations that would make a life together hard.
    Your culture should be Islam. If liking different food or having a different tribal/ethnic history is going to potentially matter in your marriage, then you're asking the wrong questions here. The real question is: should an attractive and religious woman be interested in you.

    Originally posted by mokara View Post
    Based on the above, how would you advise me in terms of the next steps: do I just say I am not interested or do I at least get to know her and speak to her wali and then make a decision?
    What is there to know? The path to get to know a woman is the Nikaah and the price is her Mahr. The only thing that should matter to you or anyone else about a young woman is her commitment to the Deen. Just because you're thinking about marrying her, it doesn't give you the right to "know" her. Her "background" is for your Walee to find out about. Her "culture" can't be that different if she's roaming around a university campus, just like you.

    I just can't get over the amount of presumption in most questions like this. If anyone finds my answers presumptuous, that's because of the nature of the questions.

    Most of us aren't mature enough to get married and we aren't equipped as human beings to stay married. The kinds of things we are "afraid" of and worry about are tell-all.

    Comment


    • #3
      Let me clarify some things. It was not my intention to be presumptuous and I am sorry if it came across that way. I shared my inner doubts with you guys, in order to get advice from those of you who have more experience in such matters. So I don't think you need to be so harsh in your answers.

      Regarding her beauty, I agree that it shouldn't be the main criterion (it is her deen), but aren't we allowed in Islam to choose those who are more attractive to our eyes? I was asking that question, mainly to get feedback from those of you who are married and how your perception of your wives changed before/after marriage.

      Regarding different cultures, again it is true it shouldn't really matter and my question was not about food or history. It was about logistical/economic issues of having mine and her families so far away from each other. That puts a strain on a couple from what I've seen around.

      Regarding getting to know her, I didn't mean it in a haram way. I specifically mentioned her wali, because by ''getting to know her'' I meant bringing families in contact and getting more information about her, in order to make a more informed decision.

      Comment


      • #4
        Iím replying in an attempt to give a different perspective from your own. Iím by no means an expert on the topic.

        Women that fit her description do not come around often, just based on the basics you noted.

        I would have a meeting with her (obviously with family present). The reason being that, as above, it might be difficult to find another woman of this caliber anytime soon. I would hate for you to be plagued by what ifs.

        Having said this, can you respect and appreciate a woman like her, one who doesnít adorn herself for the pleasure of others? She deserves this. I would hate to see her married to someone who pressures her to change.

        The time she saves not adorning could be spent on her children, studying, making a great household. I would think this would be valued, and these are the basics that I think should be discussed and major deciding factors (how to raise children, how to spend free time, etc.).

        Regarding culture, the bad parts of both cultures would be where potential problems exist. I mean, do people get fussed over food or language to the point that it affects marriage? Iím not sure, but itís not relatable. If there is bad, such as activities that donít align with Islam, then obviously that is a problem. Doesnít matter if itís coming from your side or hers; itís problematic.

        So, if you think you can appreciate her and the positive aspects, Iíd say itís a good idea to schedule a meeting.
        Last edited by Sister_2009; 28-10-18, 06:53 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mokara View Post
          Let me clarify some things. It was not my intention to be presumptuous and I am sorry if it came across that way. I shared my inner doubts with you guys, in order to get advice from those of you who have more experience in such matters. So I don't think you need to be so harsh in your answers.
          Sometimes children need "harsh" advice. They never think they do, but that's what separates children from adults. Children always want things easy and sometimes they need them hard.

          Originally posted by mokara View Post
          Regarding her beauty, I agree that it shouldn't be the main criterion (it is her deen), but aren't we allowed in Islam to choose those who are more attractive to our eyes? I was asking that question, mainly to get feedback from those of you who are married and how your perception of your wives changed before/after marriage.
          It shouldn't be a criterion at all. Sure, choosing a spouse based on looks is permissible. So is divorce. I've already explained about attractiveness and how it changes based on what you know about a person. A person who is sufficiently attractive, meaning you don't find them ugly or repulsive, will become beautiful if their character is excellent. A person who is extremely attractive will become ugly if their character is poor.

          Originally posted by mokara View Post
          Regarding different cultures, again it is true it shouldn't really matter and my question was not about food or history. It was about logistical/economic issues of having mine and her families so far away from each other. That puts a strain on a couple from what I've seen around.
          You asked about "culture" and now you say "logistic/economic issues". Those are two different things. Two people from the same "culture" will have differing views on "logistic/economic issues" or approaches in dealing with their family. Two people from the same culture may have different needs with regards to their families. One person may need to be far away from their family in order to give fully to their spouse and another person may need their mommy/daddy in order to function on a daily basis.

          Your question has nothing to do with "culture", rather it is a personal issue that differs among people.

          Originally posted by mokara View Post
          Regarding getting to know her, I didn't mean it in a haram way. I specifically mentioned her wali, because by ''getting to know her'' I meant bringing families in contact and getting more information about her, in order to make a more informed decision.
          A Walee will never be able to get know a potential spouse sufficiently to alleviate all the fears and doubts of a person.

          People typically get the kind of spouse they think they want and that's as a result of the kinds of things they are interested in and care about. That's usually not a good thing for a marriage. Looking for what you want often means waiting a long time to find someone who fits the bill, only to find afterwards that it's not really what you want.

          This is why we are recommended in Islam to look for the most religiously committed spouse. Why would anyone recommend anything else?

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't marry her if you're not satisfied with her looks. Period.
            You think you know more than my scholar's qiyās? He was more learned than you and all other scholars combined. Yeah, the devil was the greatest scholar too and look where his qiyās of fire being better than tīn got him. Sorry.

            You follow your scholar's qiyās, and I will follow the Qur'ān and Sunnah.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Linkdeutscher View Post
              Don't marry her if you're not satisfied with her looks. Period.
              Are you married?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Linkdeutscher View Post
                Don't marry her if you're not satisfied with her looks. Period.
                So true though people will be put off because it sounds shallow. Look, it's the face you are going to wake up to for potentially the rest of your life so it is better that you like it.
                The Prophet s.a.a.w warned when he said: "You will surely follow the ways of those who came before you, in exactly the same fashion, to the point were they to enter the hole of a lizard, you too would enter it." It was asked of him, "O Messenger of Allah s.a.a.w., do you mean the Jews and Christians?" He replied, "Who else?" (Bukhari and Muslim)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Linkdeutscher View Post
                  Don't marry her if you're not satisfied with her looks. Period.
                  Agree.


                  A woman can be naturally beautiful without make up, if you don't have that mutual attraction towards the girl, it's better you find someone that is pleasing to your eyes.

                  It won't hurt to meet her again just to see how you feel once you both actually interact (with her mahrams present). You might feel different.

                  we all know and have seen the amount of women that we pass by and it can be tough not to notice. Still, you should lower your gaze and say Alhamdullilah you have a wife at home NOT 'oh she's hot, I wish I married her'...
                  Or whatever it is you men think in your head

                  ​​​​​​

                  ​​​​
                  'Whatever it be wherein ye differ, the decision thereof is with Allah: such is Allah my Lord: In Him I trust, and to Him I turn.' The Holy Qu'ran Al Shura (Consultation)

                  So, which of the favours of your lord will you deny? ~ Surah Ar Rahman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ya'sin View Post

                    It won't hurt to meet her again just to see how you feel once you both actually interact (with her mahrams present). You might feel different.
                    ^

                    You like a lot of important things about her, brother.

                    You also say she's by no means unpleasant to look at and that maybe being used to seeing adorned women makes her seen plain to you in comparison.

                    Would those adorned women you happen to notice also not look a lot plainer if they weren't made-up, etc, and will/can this young woman not beautify herself when she's at home?

                    I have to say I agree with those people saying you ought to at least have a meeting, inshaaAllah.
                    LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH
                    -------------------------------
                    "And if you would count the graces of God, never could you be able to count them. Truly, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'aan 16:18)
                    NOTE: Please kindly do NOT rep my posts. (Jazaa'akumullah).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A man should find his wife appealing and attractive. If that's not there I would not pursue it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mokara View Post
                        I am a man in his twenties and recently it came to me through mutual connections that a particular sister is interested in marriage. I inquired a bit about her and so far I heard only good things: she is very religious, she wears proper Islamic attire, is of good conduct, ... Since we also study at the same university, I was able to see (in passing) how she behaves and I have nothing to complain about. I think it's worthwhile mentioning that I never spoke to her or interacted with her in any way.
                        I have two questions and I would kindly ask you to advise me, not only from a religious point of view but also as a parent would advise the son:

                        1. I don't find her really attractive. She is by no means ugly, but my heart just isn't there, so to speak. I don't know if that is because I am so used to seeing women with makeup and inappropriate clothing around that when someone comes with proper Islamic clothing and no makeup, I don't find them attractive or is it just because she is not my type. Would that change once I see her without hijab or once I interact with her? Anyone had a similar experience?

                        2. I spoke to my mother about it and she raised a valid question about the girl's background. She is from a very different culture and although she is religious I am afraid there would be many different expectations that would make a life together hard.

                        Based on the above, how would you advise me in terms of the next steps: do I just say I am not interested or do I at least get to know her and speak to her wali and then make a decision?
                        What is an intercultural marriage these days?

                        Someone is raised 2nd or 3rd generation in a western country, they have far more the same 'culture' as others in a similar situation no matter if they're family is from pakistan or bangladesh or somalia or malaysia.

                        I am not saying there will be no problems, but generally, culturally if you're raised in the west and so is she you culturally have more in common with each other than you do with your own parents. Not saying there are going to be no issues, but don't blow this one out of proportion. Usually the problem will be from your family to her, not between you and her.

                        But if you don't find her attractive, walk away. Don't do it. You have to have some degree of attraction to be married, there has to be some spark, that's kinda part of the point of marriage you know?

                        So intercultural marriage, yeah not a big deal unless your supercultural, or follow your parents in everything they say or do, but marrying without attraction no.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Musbah View Post

                          So true though people will be put off because it sounds shallow. Look, it's the face you are going to wake up to for potentially the rest of your life so it is better that you like it.
                          Looks change as people get older.

                          I doubt he will wake up to a wife wearing make for the rest of his life.

                          Last edited by Mintchocchip; 29-10-18, 09:53 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you're constantly looking at half naked women all the time, there's very little chance that you are going to find her attractive. You shouldnt be looknig at half naked women anyway, so stop looking at half naked women.

                            2nd, marrying a pious wife is one of the best things you can do and is one of the best pleasures in this dunya, so if you dont think you're compatible due to the culture differences, make a meeting and speak akhi. talk to her, ask her whats her favorite color. Dont let your mom brainwash you and dont let the opportunity go down the drain

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Attraction is a feeling that comes and goes, especially when combined with character and over the course of a lifetime. Anyone that marries based on attraction will eventually be unhappy unless both parties are shallow people. In that case, even shallow people need spouses.

                              For most people with healthy libidos, if they spend a long time without seeing the opposite gender, then attraction is rather instantaneous and spontaneous, almost regardless of "beauty". This is human nature.

                              For all the people who are over-exposed to women, especially in the West, "attraction" and "beauty" is more of an issue of concern to them. This is ironic because the birth rate is also lowest among them as well as marital problems in the bedroom.

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