Friday, September 19, 2008

Islam, Nationalism, & Heritage

Being a Muslim abroad ,it is a common scene to see intercultural marriages taking place between Muslims. You know what else is common? Seeing reluctant parents when it comes to their child marrying someone who is not of the same ethnicity. I mean what is it with people who are against their children marrying someone of a different ethnicity or even someone who is from a different city of origin?

One may claim to be a devout Muslim, but how can one claim to be a devout Muslim if they are so quick to prejudge those who are different. It is contradictory to hold such a stance because marriage between different tribes and nations is seen as a way of strenghtening our Ummah. If an individual is a pious Muslim why should one reject them for marriage to your child? Shouldn't the top priority be the Deen of a man/woman when it comes to building up a criteria for prospective spouses?

This is a question we must ask ourselves. I've personally seen too many people not marry eachother because their parents will not allow marriage outside of a certain ethnicity. It doesn't even stop there, I've seen it go as far as a woman not being able to marry a man who is not from the same city as her parents. Another example seen too often is the 'Syed/Syeda' complex in which one may only marry the other.( I'll speak about this absurd nonsense in a future blog). If you're wondering what a Syed is , a Syed is someone who supposedly is a direct descendant of our Prophet PBUH or one of the Imams. The funny thing is that everyone claims to be 'Syed', but why can't we all just claim to be Muslims instead of some fabricated title?

Although blogs are suppose to be just statements and opinions I like to ask my readers questions also. And I want to know, whatever happened to one's faith being more important than anything else?


Zamzam Paani said...

subhan'Allah, i have been frustrated by these same absurd requirements set forth by many parents.

Unfortunately, I honestly don't know what can be done other than making du'a that Allah (swt) guides them and makes individuals who put nationality, ethnicity, and all the other junk to embrace Islam in totality. Changing the hearts and minds of some people, especially parents who come from certain backgrounds is nearly impossible.

JazakumAllahu khairan for this post. I wish some of our parents would take the time to read stuff like this.

Anonymous said...


I don't necessarily agree that parents who hesitate to let their children marry between ethnicity are being narrow-minded or prejudicial. Most parents love their children and want what's best for them, and out-of-culture marriages may not be the best idea.

I am not racist and I have nothing against inter-ethnic marriages, in fact being a teenager in Canada I have known quite a few people who are children of intercultural marriages that have failed - leaving everyone miserable. I cannot help but think that it is the fault of the different ethnic backgrounds of the parents. Having similar cultural backgrounds is very important, I think, to the success of a family. Inculcating religious beliefs and values is one thing, but cultural practices are also valued very highly and need to be passed onto children. Reflecting on my mixed friends' experiences, I have found that different cultural beliefs can become a significant barrier in a marriage.

Of course, this is only one perspective, it may be that in most cases intercultural marriages work perfectly and things end up happy. But I thought I would just add that parents don't necessarily have to be narrow-minded if they are against something that their 'modern' children want to do.

Kamranistan Clothing Company said...

Though culture is highly valued in our families, it is definitely not an element of Islam. So at the end of the day by our deen, culture is not suppose to be a barrier to marriage. If one is to bring their children to a foreign land, one cannot expect their children to marry within their ethnic background. That is part of the tradeoff when it comes to migrating to another country.

At the end of the day, such a prejudice is wrong and will eventually disintegrate as times go by because Muslims abroad will continue to naturally mix.