Hindu-Muslim Marriages

Hindu-Muslim Marriages January 15, 2023

Interfaith marriage is one of the most fundamental sins in Islam after shirk, rebellion against parental authority and killing a human being without legal reason. However, according to our research, 45% of Muslims in America marry outside their faith. It is common practice for this “interfaith” marriage problem to be resolved by converting the Hindu fiancé(e) to Islam.

Photo: Elaf Bint Fahad Bin Abdul-Flickr

Is Hindu-Muslim marriage possible?

Yes, “Hindu”-Muslim everlasting happy married life is possible. In most cases, the fault is not with the scriptures, but with the interpretation that the person has learned.

Is conversion for nikah a must?

The Quran states, “You shall not marry mushrik women (idolaters or those who ascribe God’s attributes to other than Allah) unless they accept the faith. A believing slave woman is better than a mushrik woman, even though she may please you.” (Quran 2:221)

Hinduism considers marriage a sacred union, but Islamic nikah (marriage) is a contract to obey Allah. A non-Muslim, especially a Hindu, is expected to take an oath of shahadah before the nikah.

Shahadah is the declaration that there is no god but Allah and Prophet Mohammad is the messenger of Allah. Associating partners (like Lord Shiva) with Allah, including worshipping idols (murtis), offering prayers or supplications to anyone, living or dead, is the greatest of all sins.

A Hindu marriage is not a valid marriage under Islamic laws. The union of a man and a woman without a valid nikah is considered adultery, khalwat or zina, punishable by stoning to death (Bukhari 6:60:79) or public canning.

In short, for a Hindu, conversion to Islam before nikah is a must. (Read Malaysian Marriage Laws)

Stricter rules for a Dharmic

Islam has very strict requirements for marriage. The requirements are stricter for a Dharmic (Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains or Hindus) than for Christians or Jews (People of the Book; Abrahamic).

In most cases, a Dharmic in a relationship with a Muslim does not learn some of these expectations until shortly before the wedding. After a romantic relationship that has lasted for years, reluctantly accepting the religious conversion may be the only way of averting a marital gridlock.

Conversion to Islam is a one-way street

The Muslim caliphates called on all Muslim civilians to participate in the defense of the Islamic State against attacks by non-Muslims. Religious conversion from Islam was therefore conceptualized as a serious criminal offense punishable by death. Mohammad said, “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, let him be put to death.” (Bukhari 9:84:57) This is because a former Muslim would endanger the existence of all Muslims if he or she allied himself with an enemy of Islam. (Source) (read also Hindus in Malaysia)

Reform in Islam

Practically speaking, there is no Imam in this world who would perform a nikah wedding without the Shahadah, the religious conversion of the Hindu. However, there are two exceptions. The Ismaili Muslim community does not require religious conversion for the nikah, but hopes that the children will be raised in the Ismaili faith.

Dr. Mike Mohamed Ghouse believes that Hindus are not Kafirs and that a Muslim girl can therefore marry a Hindu. He has conducted many “Hindu”-Muslim marriages. However, it should be noted that such marriages may not be valid when traveling to or settling in most Islamic countries.

It is hoped that the realization will prevail in the minds of Muslims that

  • more than 1 billion Hindus are not kafirs but equal citizens in the Kingdom of Allah, and
  • therefore, there is no need to convert the Hindu for the nikah.

Fusion of Hindu-Muslim weddings

According to anecdotal evidence and our experience with many young people in love relationships, most Hindu-Muslim marriages are performed only by nikah and in very few cases by a civil, secular wedding. The nikah is performed after the Hindu fiancé(e) converts to Islam and in the presence of a few relatives from the former Hindu spouse’s family.

In a very few cases, the Hindu vivaha is also performed after the Islamic nikah. However, after conversion, this Hindu wedding is totally superfluous,  as it is a Muslim-Muslim wedding performed by a Hindu priest in the presence of all celebrating Hindus. In general, Muslim relatives will not participate in the Hindu ceremony because gods other than Allah are worshipped.

At least until now, there has been no fusion of Hindu-Muslim wedding rituals.

A marriage is a union of two families

A marriage is not only a union of two individuals, but believe it or not, it is a union of two families and two communities. Historically, Islam and Hinduism have been at odds for more than 1300 years in India. Much of this history dates back to the Muslim invasions of India, the repeated destruction of Hindu temples (e.g., Somanath in Gujarat), the imposition of the jizya tax on Hindus, and forced conversion to Islam. This history will inevitably affect the lives of an interfaith couple.

Hindu-Muslim interfaith marriage with equality is possible only if both spouses and their extended families are willing to share two religious beliefs and follow each other’s practices without coercing each other.

Who will convert?

Hindus do not proselytize, and there is no obligation for a non-Hindu to convert to Hindu Dharma before marriage. In most cases, the Muslim can try to convince the Hindu who wants to marry to convert to Islam (through Shahadah), as this is required in Islam. However, the Muslim does not have to reciprocate as this is not prescribed in Hinduism.

Formal religious conversion to Hinduism is possible, and Muslims should be given this option to be fair and allow both spouses to have equal interfaith relations!

Love-Jihad

Keeping the expectation of religious conversion quiet for years in a love relationship should be a cause for concern. Read all the details about Muslims’ concern about this term and the author’s views on love-proselytism here.

What will be the religion of the children?

If a proud Hindu wants to avoid religious conversion, choosing not to follow the Islamic nikah is the only option. However, problems arise when raising children with two religions.

Young children can easily become confused by conflicting messages. For example, when they visit a Hindu or Jain temple, they are told to believe in, respect, and bow to different forms of God. However, when they visit a mosque, they hear exactly the opposite messages. When children are confronted with such contradictory ideas, they may lose faith in God or religion.

It is possible that the Hindu spouse may later be forbidden to practice his or her Dharmic religion, so that the children are unable to learn and follow it. Also, the Muslim spouse or his or her family may not want to participate in Hindu religious activities while they are in the Hindu parent’s home. When the honeymoon ends and transitions into normal married life, these issues become sore points in married life.

Legal consequences

Marriages are made in heaven, but divorces are very painful, especially if you have children. It is very important to find out what the persons’ expectations are and put it in writing to avoid later entanglements. It is extremely important to put in writing that the children are to be raised in the BOTH faiths.

Ten questions to ask a Muslim (who is dating a Hindu)

If you are Hindu, you should ask your Muslim partner these questions. Even if you do not care about some of these points, you should definitely ask him or her these questions to find out if this person is a religious fanatic. Sooner rather than later, inform both parents of your decision.

Do you (Muslims) concur?

1.  We will have a Hindu wedding.

          Agree                        Decline

Notes:

2. We will not have Islamic nikah since that requires conversion.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes

3. I will not accept a Muslim name, not even as a namesake.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

4. I will not eat cow or other animal meat. No one will pressure me about it.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

5. I will not put on a veil or any type of face cover. However, as a Hindu, I will put on a bindi and wear a sari on special occasions.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

6. I will worship Hindu Gods at home and have a murti of Lord Ganesh in our living room.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

7. Our children will have Dharmic names, and not Arabic once.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

8. Our children and I (a Hindu male) will not undergo religious circumcision.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

9. Our children will be raised in the Hindu faith, not the Islamic faith.

      Agree                            Decline

Notes:

10. When my child or I die, we will be cremated as per Hindu practices.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

 

Ten questions to ask a Hindu (who is dating with Muslim)

To help you (Muslim) make an informed decision, please discuss these points with your prospective Hindu spouse. Even if you do not care about some of these points, it is important to ask him or her these questions to understand if this person is willing to accept Islamic practices. Inform both parents of your decision sooner rather than later.

 Do you (Hindu) concur? 

1. For nikah, you will have to convert to Islam and accept a Muslim name.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

2. I (as a Muslim) cannot be a part of your Hindu wedding ceremony.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

3. After conversion, you (a former Hindu) are unable to attend your Hindu temple or celebrate Hindu holidays.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

4. You cannot have any Hindu god symbols, like Ganesh, in our Muslim home.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

5. You will have to cook meat and be a part of Bakra-Eid and other celebrations.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

6. You will have to perform namaz five times a day.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

7. As a Muslim, we must donate 2.5% of our joint assets every year.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

8. Our sons and you (a Hindu male) will have circumcision.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

9. Our children will have only Arabic names and be raised only in Islam, not Hinduism.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

10. Our children and you (a former Hindu) will have Islamic burial rights and be put in a grave.

             Agree                           Decline

Notes:

Find a middle ground

Hindu-Muslim couples should answer these 10 questions above. However, you may find that there are many irreconcilable differences, and a “middle ground” is not possible (e.g., conversion, child’s first name, circumcision, last rites, etc.). However, as uncomfortable as it may be, the main focus should be on these unresolvable points.

Many of these issues will come into effect later when you are fighting for custody of your child after the divorce. Some promises made with good intentions could work against you in court, so it’s important to think critically and be honest.

Find out who is expected to make the greatest sacrifices today and if this marriage will be one of equality.

Recommendations for Hindu-Muslim Couples

  • Interfaith relationships should be based on mutual respect for both religions, and marriage should be entered into without imposing a religious conversion on the prospective spouse.
  • After marriage, the faith of both spouses should be equally respected and taken into account in domestic life, especially in raising children.
  • Children should have the opportunity to make a decision about their faith on their own as adults. Children will eventually find their own solutions to their parent’s irreconcilable religious differences.

View these videos by Interfaith Shaadi

Hindu-Muslim Shaadi (in Hindi, available at Amazon)
About Dilip Amin, Ph. D.
Dr. Dilip Amin is a Director of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition of the San Francisco Bay area and a certified speaker at Islamic Networks Group. He is a Dharma Ambassador and on the Advisory Committee at the Hindu American Foundation. He is a jail chaplain. Dr. Amin has co-authored the book Hindu Vivaha Samskara. He founded the web forum InterfaithShaadi.org and guided 1200 youths and summarized his experiences in the book--Interfaith Marriage: Share & Respect with Equality. He is also the founder of HinduSpeakers.org. You can read more about the author here.
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