When considering marriage to a Muslim man or woman, faith and family expectations might prompt you to a decision to convert to Islam. According to Islam, a Muslim woman's marriage is only valid if she marries a Muslim man. This ruling was intended to ensure that Muslim children are raised in the faith via their fathers.
Muslim men are permitted to marry Muslim women or women "of the book," meaning practicing Jewish or Christian women. In all other cases, the non-Muslim fiance must convert to Islam before the marriage can be finalized in Islam, or before a nikah can take place.
Steps and Considerations
You do not need to attend a course or obtain a certificate to become Muslim. Becoming Muslim is an intention and declaration of belief in Islam. New Muslims recite the following in front of a witness: "I bear witness that there is no God (Deity) worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." In Arabic, the statement is: "Ash-hadu allaa ilaaha illaallaah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa Rasooluh."
Many mosques require pre-marital counseling before performing a nikah, regardless if one spouse-to-be is a convert or not. Demonstrating your intention to know Islam and attend courses offered by the mosque, as well as read the Quran and other books on your own will help the process go more smoothly. While a decision to convert is personal, embracing a religion for the long-term is helped by careful study and consideration of the religion's role in a marriage and future family.
If you are a man who will convert and marry a Muslim woman, keep in mind that once you convert and make formal plans for the marriage, you will need to pay a sum of wealth to the bride, called mahr, for the marriage to be valid in nikah. [Brill] The mahr must be agreed upon by both the man and woman. A women who plans to convert and marry a Muslim man should expect this mahr to be presented to her upon marriage. She has a right to the mahr in Islam, which is intended to protect her in the case of divorce or death of her husband.
- ['Access to Quran and other readings about Islam and marriage', 'Contact with a mosque and imam']
Visit your local mosque to inquire about new Muslim groups and marriage counseling. If you do not have a mosque in your area, you may receive some assistance and/or counseling online or by telephone. Open a dialogue with your family and your future family about your conversion.
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