Married to a Muslim

Brenda, a member of the Resurrection community has a child who is married to a Muslim. I saw her this past weekend and she asked about the best way for her faithful response. Should she witness to her child’s spouse? How should she react to the interfaith marriage?

These are great questions, Brenda. My first response is from part of the liturgy of the service of Christian marriage from the United Methodist Book of Worship:

  • Rejoice in their union and pray God’s blessing upon them.
  • Do everything in your power to uphold and care for them in their marriage.

As in any marriage, they will need your support, care and prayers. In regard to faith, I believe that it is extremely important that any couple be on the same page about their faith. This means having honest and open discussions about hopes and dreams of living a life of faith together. For some it may be a question of denomination, for others a question of whether or not to be a part of any faith community, for this couple it may be a question of which faith to practice in their lives.

I do not believe that it would be impossible for them to practice different faiths and have a strong marriage. However, I do believe that this may make their life together more difficult. What is your role? I think to be as supportive and respectful of them as you possibly can. No matter what their faith choices, I suggest that you pray for God’s guidance in their life and that God might bind them together in love.

Brenda, thanks for the question and hope that you enjoy this response. If you have a question to which you would like to hear my response or a topic which you would be interested in reading my thoughts – send me an email or ask when you see me.

How would you respond to these questions?

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3 thoughts on “Married to a Muslim

  1. Great response Andrew! The only other thing I would add is to be yourself in your Christian identity around them. It’s an old cliche perhaps, but I love it: Your life might be the only Bible that someone else will read. How might this play out practically? If they’re over for dinner, don’t be afraid to say grace, even in Christ’s name. If they’re with you for Christmas, don’t be bashful about encouraging them to attend church with you (or any other time you might go, for that matter). I think in this way you are faithful to your own faith, yet not ‘pushy’ or condemning of theirs. Yet at the same time perhaps doing some of these types of things might open up opportunities for the spouse to ask questions and for the two of you to dialogue.

    A question that just popped in my head: If Brenda were to ask the spouse to go with her to church, should she be willing to go with them to a Mosque or other Muslim event? I say yes, but I think it depends on a person’s comfort level. In that I mean that I am secure enough in my faith in Christ that I feel like I could attend a Mosque or other event, especially to show support to a loved one, without feeling like I am betraying my Christian faith, and without a need to criticize what I might encounter there. I know there are plenty of folks who would disagree, however. I think it’s a call every person would need to make for themselves.

  2. Andrew and Dan, I thank you both for you responses. I have attended Eid celebrations several times with Bassam and Jennifer. My husband and I were treated with such kindness by all the members. They never tried to “convert” us to their religion and they respected our differences. Of course, I should point out that Bassam is from a well educated family in Baghdad. At least they were prior to the war. Bassam is the only family member not in harms way. His family spent most of their savings to get him to the US for his education when he was 18 years old. His family is very much against religion promoting violence. Jennifer took thier child who was 18 months old to Baghdad in 1992 to visit his grandparents in Iraq. She was treated very well by all people including the government. They kept a close eye on her though. They flew a plan over the house everyday and after a few weeks they waved the wings to say hello. I have a soft spot in my heart for his family and their suffering. My greatest wish is that Bassam and his family might come to accept Jesus as their Savior. We hope by living our Faith our light will shine and the Ziada family will visit COR and decide to stay!

    Thanks for listening.

    Peace to you All.

    Brenda

  3. Dan – Thanks for your addition and response. I think that you make a great addition with willingness for reciprocity in visiting.

    Brenda – Thanks for sharing more of your story. It does sound as if Bassam has a fascinating story and family situation. I cannot imagine what it must be like for him to be here and for his family to be living in Baghdad. Thanks for your willingness to be a part of Jennifer and Bassam’s life. I am proud to be your pastor.

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