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Info re converting to Islam please

(38 Posts)
MirandaGoshawk Wed 12-Aug-15 18:54:26

DD's friend - let's call her Emma (nhrn) - went on holiday to Morocco a few weeks ago & fell for the son of the people who owned the small hotel where she was staying. She's been back since and they are besotted with each other. They are both 23. They have spent approx 4 weeks total together but want to get married, but he has said that she must:

- convert to Islam
- wear a headscarf when she's out & about
- change her name to an Arabic one.

So my questions:

She is not religious and is prepared to consider converting, as she's not 'giving up' a religion, but can you convert if you don't believe?

After they marry, will she be 'his property' and unable to do things without his permission? (I may be totally off-beam here but need to know.)

If they have dch, she is living in Morocco and it all goes belly-up, would she be able to return to the UK with the dch without his permission?

My position is that I am fond of her and alarm bells are ringing. Please reassure me!

MirandaGoshawk Wed 12-Aug-15 19:26:24

I should also add, what does conversion involve?

5secondstilltakeoff Wed 12-Aug-15 19:42:22

OP you are right to have alarm bells ringing. It is too soon to consider marriage after just knowing this man for 4 weeks. I would be advising her to wait. She needs to find out more about him, his family, their lifestyle, Moroccan culture, views on women, legal rights etc. Im shocked she is considering living there with him. Surely 4 weeks is too soon to decide to abandon your life for a virtual stranger and have kids with him?!? You need to be the voice of reason and steer her away from the disastrous path she is pursuing. This wont end well.

MirandaGoshawk Wed 12-Aug-15 20:20:11

The thing is that she is not a child and I don't want to just stick my oar in. I'm sure her parents are doing what you suggest and that it is having zero effect. So I wanted to arm myself with facts before I say my piece.

MirandaGoshawk Wed 12-Aug-15 20:21:35

I have suggested that she lives with him without getting married but he says that she is 'the one' and they need to be married, her convert, etc.

RolyPolierThanThou Wed 12-Aug-15 20:31:55

He's lying. A Muslim man can marry a non-muslim woman, so long as she is of one of the Abrahamic faiths (so Christian or Jewish).
A false conversion is not accepted in Islam, anyway. You convert with your heart.

Islamically she does not become his property, no, though it depends how Moroccan law and custom are as to whether that makes any difference in a practical sense.

She needs to do her research on moroccan family law and marriage law before committing. She also needs her head examining If she thinks she's wise to marry soneone after 4 weeks.

If probably wants to rush a marriage so they can co habit (a taboo out there if unmarried) .

RolyPolierThanThou Wed 12-Aug-15 20:36:32

I would advise her to go on sine ex pat forums and talk to people to get a feel for the culture. Due example, how well is polygamy tolerated (because she could end up being a first wife If he gets bored of her, or she could be his second wife and not know it), what are her rights in regards to leaving the country, potentially with his children, what would being married to a Moroccan family (and you don't marry the man, you marry his family) involve.

NotDavidTennant Wed 12-Aug-15 20:47:14

If she has children with him and they are brought up in Morocco then that is where they have to remain unless both parents agree otherwise.

Hague Convention on International Child Abduction

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Wed 12-Aug-15 20:59:56

I married a Moroccan and I'm an atheist. I did count as a person of the book as I was christened but I didn't even have to state I was Christian currently let alone convert.
His expectations of her to convert, wear a headscarf and change her name are about his prejudices and personal beliefs, not a religious or cultural requirement.
She's being a silly billy but you can't tell her that! Maybe it will work out...

MirandaGoshawk Wed 12-Aug-15 21:14:40

Some very interesting stuff here! Thank you! Maybe I can get her to challenge his requirements... after all, with her, surely he has to accept there will be some differences, or he might as well marry a local girl.

malaguena Wed 12-Aug-15 21:25:55

I'm a convert to Islam and very familiar with Morocco. Roly is right that a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jewish woman, but that usually means women who actually practice their religion. That's up for interpretation I suppose. It wouldn't make sense to me at all to 'convert' nor to wear a scarf for someone; either you do it out of personal conviction or you don't. There's no obligation to take an arabic name unless the original has a 'bad' meaning. I do use an arabic name, but that's only for shopkeepers to not give me a 'tourist' price when I'm out shopping! Moroccan law protects women's rights in terms of divorce and custody, but I doubt she would be allowed to leave with children without their father allowing it, if the children were Moroccan and resided in Morocco (as anywhere else basically). Polygamy is extremely rare nowadays and while it is legal, a husband would need his wife's authorization to contract a 2nd marriage. And of course no, a woman doesn't become her husband's property at all! I love Morocco and found Moroccans to be very welcoming, open-minded and tolerant, but in that particular situation, I'd also think she is being a bit silly. What's the rush? In Morocco it's pretty common to have long engagements for young people to get to know each other. I'm not sure what you can do about it though.

malaguena Wed 12-Aug-15 21:38:34

I forgot to answer your question about conversion. She wouldn't need to do anything particular but testify that she believes in God and his prophet Muhammad, as in other prophets. That's called Shahada ('to witness'). Many people prefer to say it in front of others, in a mosque or elsewhere, but that's not a requirement. Basically anyone who has belief is a Muslim, but obviously if you recite shahada for marriage reasons, it's sort of void!

MirandaGoshawk Thu 13-Aug-15 12:56:00

Many thanks for all your thoughts. Defo some food for thought re the 'conversion'. I'm going to cut & paste this into an email for DD so that she can talk to her friend - hopefully she will listen.

Much appreciated smile

decisionsdecisions123 Thu 13-Aug-15 23:31:39

Oh dear. He has lied to her on all counts! I hope she comes to her senses and forgets all about him. I would love to reassure you but I cant. How does he expect someone to become Muslim if they don't believe? He sounds very silly indeed. I would be interested to hear further updates from you Op.

5secondstilltakeoff Fri 14-Aug-15 12:22:37

Her man sounds very entitled and demanding. They have only been together 4 weeks and he already thinks he has got her to heel that he can demand this many changes from her. Is he her first serious bf. Its just she seems incredibly trusting and naive like someone who has never been burned in a relationship before. I fear that appeasing him now would send the wrong message that she will cater to his whims. What sacrifices is ge making for her?

If she really thinks he is the 'one' and he is genuine about his love for her then I think she should continue a long distance relationship with him, with her living in the Uk and him in Morocco. Get married by all means via Moroccan law but dont live there and dont have kids. If they are still together in two years she should look in to moving him to the UK rather than the other way round. Then at least she has some protection and support.

I dont think she should convert unless she truly has made a considered decision and truly believes. Otherwise she is sending the wrong message. That she would do anything to keep him happy. That is not smart when you have only known someone for 4 weeks as you dont know what they would do with that kind of power.

MirandaGoshawk Fri 14-Aug-15 12:56:01

Yes, I know that's true (about sending the wrong message). But I suppose when you're in Luuurve you're blind hmm.
She's had bfs before not sure how serious. I know that she wants to get married young, but nothing else really. She doesn't seem naive, she lives & works in London but is from another city. A bit lost, maybe...

He does sound demanding. I suppose he wants the relationship to be perfect, hence the converting. I don't think he's lied, has just stated what he wants to happen.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 14-Aug-15 13:05:31

Get her to speak to the Morrocan embassy or some such to find exactly her legal position.

And you can't convert to Islam if you don't believe, altho obviously you can you shouldn't it's discouraged in Islam. 'There is no compulsion in religion'.

If she gets married she should ensure she keeps her UK citizenship and not have children till she is sure she is happy with the lifestyle out there.

Will she be happy with her children being bought up in a religion she does not believe in? Her son's will be circumcised, which she may not want, but she needs to consider it if she is converting to Islam and her fiancé, is already dictating to her about her dress and religion.

Also changing your name unless it has a bad meaning is not a necessity or an Islamic requirement. DP never changed his name, I supported him it would be hurtful to his parents.

MirandaGoshawk Fri 14-Aug-15 13:09:27

Yeah, the name change is an issue for her because she has a 'male' name - think Taylor type - and she wants a male Arabic name. I don't imagine that this will go down well with the BF! Or am I wrong? Can Arab girls have a male name?

decisionsdecisions123 Fri 14-Aug-15 13:18:55

So you think he didn't tell her it was necessary to become Muslim, cover her hair and choose an Arabic name by law, just that its what she MUST do to be with him? And she is happy enough to go along with his demands? What else is he going to insist on?

I noticed you asked if someone can convert if they don't believe. Well, how can they? Yes, they can go along and say that words (the shahada) but they wont believe a word of it. Whats the point? Does he know she isn't religious? He cant possibly expect someone to just become Muslim after such a short period of time and really believe in it! It really winds me up when people 'become Muslim' due to marriage reasons but don't actually believe a word of it or care and put nothing into practice, thinking that learning to cook the odd cultural dish or speaking a few words of whatever their language is will suffice. Its a joke.

If he is so keen on finding the perfect wife who practices Islam (or at least just wears a scarf and has a Muslim name) then why isn't he looking for one in Morocco? Sorry, but I cant help but be suspicious about his motives.

Someone earlier suggested that they keep it long distance to begin with and then consider moving him to the UK if it all seems good. I am sure he would be delighted with the second part of this!

decisionsdecisions123 Fri 14-Aug-15 13:22:08

So she is happy to consider changing her name just to keep him happy? Would she have considered it if someone in the Uk asked her to change her name to Claire or Stephanie just because he didn't like her current name? I'm sure she would find that a most odd request. She absolutely does not have to change her name! As someone earlier said, you only change it if it has a bad meaning (and you have sincerely decided to become Muslim).

I hope she comes to her senses soon.

5secondstilltakeoff Fri 14-Aug-15 13:24:56

I dont think he has lied either. Its just him and his family have probably formed an image of the type of woman he would marry based on the norm where they live (i.e. marry a muslim woman, with an Arab name, who wears a headscarf). He is trying to reconcile that with who he has actually fallen in love with by trying to make her fit that image either for himself or to appease his family. It doesnt make it okay of course. If its that important to him let him marry a Moroccan woman who already fits the bill without him having to reconstruct her.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Fri 14-Aug-15 13:27:00

It would be very odd and socially unacceptable for her to have a man's name.

decisionsdecisions123 Fri 14-Aug-15 13:40:31

Plus there's the fact that everything seems so much lovelier when you are on holiday and the sun is shining! Life might not be so great for her if she is there permanently. Would she work? What kind of pay would she get? Would he expect her to stay at home and have children and take care of him and his parent. It could all be a bit of a shock to the system.

decisionsdecisions123 Fri 14-Aug-15 13:44:15

And yes, as a Muslim female you are supposed to have your husbands permission to do things. So really, it depend on how decent a person the husband is. Plenty expect to be asked each and every time you want to leave the house and will want to know exactly where you are going, when you are back, who you are with, give you certain amounts of money. I have known someone who had to keep the curtains closed when she was at home to stop people from seeing her. On the other hand she may be free to go where she wants when she wants but from his current list of requirements I wouldnt be so sure.

5secondstilltakeoff Fri 14-Aug-15 13:46:23

It depends. If she has a blatant male name like Omar or something then of course it would be weird. Kind of like calling your daughter William. confused There are some names that can be for both men and women though. Iman/Eman (means faith) is a name that can be used for boys and girls. Aiman/Ayman can also be used for both but generally a boys name. Ihsan (excellence - not sure) and Malak (angel) is another. There are also a lot of names that have male and female versions e.g. Malik (King) for a boy, Malika (Queen) for a girl.

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