Here is all you want to know about your Hindu-Muslim relationship. It covers scriptures, historical perspectives, practical issues, laws governing Hindu-Muslim marriages, important 10 questions to ask and real-life experiences from other youths. It is hoped that you will have a happy and long lasting married life, even that is a Hindu-Muslim marriage.
Interfaith marriage is one amongst the most fundamental sinful actions in Islam after shrik, rebellion against parental authority and killing a person without any legal reason. However, according to one recent survey, 45% of Muslims marry outside their faith in America. It is a common practice that this “interfaith” marriage problem is solved by conversion of the non-Muslim fiancée to Islam.
The Koran states "You shall not marry Mushrik women (idolatresses or who ascribe God's attributes to other than Allah) unless they embrace the Faith. A believing slave woman is better than a Mushrik woman although she may please you” Koran 2:221.
Hinduism views marriage as sacramental however Islamic Nikaah (marriage) is a contract to obey Allah. A non-Muslim is expected to take Shahadah oaths before the Nikaah. Shahadah is the declaration that there is no god but Allah and Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Associating partners (like Lord Shiva) with Allah, including worship of idols, offering prayers or supplications to anyone, living or dead, is the greatest of all sins. No imam will perform Nikaah without the Shahadah. Hindu wedding is not a valid marriage in Islamic laws. A union of a man and a woman without a valid Nikaah is considered adultery punishable by death. In short, for a Hindu, conversion to Islam before Nikaah is a must.
Shahadah is an oath required to be taken by a non-Muslim to irreversibly convert to Islam. Muslim Caliphates invited all Muslim civilians to be involved in defending the Islamic state from attack of the non-Muslims. Religious conversion from Islam was therefore conceptualized as a vital criminal violation that might be punishable by death because a former Muslim would endanger the existence of all Muslims by allying with an enemy of Islamr.
According to anecdotal evidence, most Hindu-Muslim marriages are performed by Nikaah only and in a few cases by civil secular wedding. Nikaah is performed after conversion of the Hindu fiancée to Islam and in presence of a very few relatives from the former Hindu spouse. In a few cases, the Hindu marriage is also performed after the Islamic Nikaah. However, after conversion, this Hindu marriage is a totally superfluous oxymoron, because it is a Muslim-Muslim wedding performed by Hindu priest in presence of all Hindu Gods! Generally, in the Hindu ceremony Muslims relatives will not attend because Gods other than Allah are being worshiped. At least as far now, there is no fusion of Hindu-Muslim marriage rituals.
A marriage is not just the union of two individuals but, believe it not, a union of two families and two communities. Historically, Islam and Hinduism were at odds for more than 1300 years in India. Much of this history records the Muslim invasions of India, repeated destruction of Hindu temples (e.g. Somanath in Gujarat), imposition of Jiziya tax on Hindus and forced conversions to Islam. This history will inevitably have some impact on interfaith couple’s life. Hindu-Muslim interfaith marriage with equality is only possible if both spouses and their extended families are willing to share two religious beliefs and follow each others’ practices without coercing each other later.
Islam has very strict requirements for marriage. The requirements are stricter for a Dharmic (Sikh, Buddhist, Jain or Hindu) rather than for a Christian or Jew (People of Book; Abrahamics). A Muslim may expect an intended Hindu spouse to:
Q? convert to Islam by taking Shahadah oaths before Nikaah,
Q? agree to name children with Arabic names,
Q? agree to have male children undergo Sunat (religious circumcision),
Q? agree to have children be raised in the Islamic faith only,
Q? not worship Hindu gods at home or have a murti of Lord Ganesh in your living room,
Q? not undergo a Hindu marriage ceremony,
Q? not wear Hindu symbols, such as a Bindi,
Q? (later on) put on a veil and
Q? undergo Sunat (circumcision) before the Nikaah.
The Hindu spouse in relationship with a Muslim will learn some of these expectations just before the wedding and most after the marriage. After years of being in a romantic relationship, reluctantly accepting the religious conversion may be the only way of averting a marital breakup.
If a proud Hindu wishes to avoid the religious conversion, choosing not to have the Islamic Nikaah is the only option. However, issues will come up while raising children in two faiths. It is easy for young children to get confused with conflicting messages. For example, when you take them to a Hindu or Jain temple, you ask them to believe in, respect and bow to several forms of God. But when you take them to a mosque, they hear just the opposite, exclusive, and intolerant messages. When confronted with such conflicting ideas, children may lose faith in any God or religion. It is possible that later, you may be forbidden to practice your own Dharmic religion so that the children would not learn and follow it. Also, your Muslim spouse or his/her family may not like to be part of a Hindu religious activity while at your parent’s home. When your fantasy love period ends and it transformed into a routine married life, then these issues will become sore points in your life.
Hindus do not proselytize and there is no requirement for a non-Hindu to convert to Hinduism before getting married. In most cases, the Muslim may try to convince the Hindu intended spouse to convert to Islam (by Shahadah) just because that is a must requirement of Islam, however, the Muslim does not have to reciprocate because that is not a requirement of Hinduism. Actually, formal religious conversion to Hinduism can be done and the Muslims should be given that option to be fair to both to demonstrate interfaith relationships with equality!
Interfaith relationships should be based on mutual respect for both faiths, and marriage should be solemnized without imposing religious conversion on a spouse. After marriage, both spouse’s faiths should get equal respect and consideration in home life and raising children by finding their own solutions to the irreconcilable differences between the two religions.
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Must watch Videos:
Hindu-Muslim Marriages (all that you wish to know in 7 min)
Sharia Practices and how it will impact your planned Hindu-Muslim marriage
More Reading Material and Youth's Experiences:
Akansha to Nusrat, are you ready?
Idol-worshiper: Who is and who is not? (talking points)
One God, Allah? (talking points)
I am a Hindu and in a relationship with an Islamic girl (in search of equality)
Indian Marriage and Divorce Laws (don't ignore laws!)
I salute a Muslim (a marriage with equality)
I am a Hindu now: A former Muslim's life story (120 comments)
Sikh-Muslim marriage with equality (why you will expect any thing less from your Muslim bf?)
Bollywood: Interfaith marriages (interesting reading)
Koran on Hindus? (a must reading by the couple)
Can Allah be the father God? (talking points)
Hindus, Abrahamics and Intolerants (Who is and who is not?)
Religious conversion for marriage (learn to say "NO")
FAQ on interfaith marriages (help make an informed decision)