Conversion to Islam where a Marriage already exists
In today’s fragile society scores of people from all walks of life and of all ages search for meaning and purpose. Many of these have been married for considerable years and have watched their children grow, hoping that they will eventually build their own homes and contribute positively to society, in the same way their parents did. Others often observe society from a distance, feeling the loss of strong family values, an overall lack of respect and the general principles which stood the test of time in their own and their children’s upbringing. Others mourn the loss of a faith born into and which, though is has lapsed over the years, its tenants have underpinned parenting skills and general perspectives on life directly or indirectly throughout the intervening years. Others actively seek spirituality.
It often occurs that one partner in the marriage may seek meaning more actively than the other. This often results in one choosing a path which may be distinctly different from the normal terms of reference applied to life and its various trials and tribulations previously encountered. A growing number of ‘seekers of truth’ have embarked on the path of Islam to provide them with direction and purpose they long for. While the choice in itself has provided great comfort and satisfaction to the individuals concerned, some confusion based purely on cultural and traditional interpretations, has arisen regarding their marital relations and whether such relations are allowed to continue in the event of one spouse accepting Islam and making their declaration of faith – the Shahadah.
Islam encourages all Muslims born into the faith, and indeed all those who have converted to Islam before contemplating marriage, to marry from within the faith in order to preserve and propagate family life in all its facets. Certain clarifications are required however, when one is dealing with the particular situation of those who were already married, before either spouse choose to embrace Islam. After considerable discussion followed by a legal ruling issued by the European Council on Fatwa & Research the following has been deduced:
• There is no textual evidence on this issue and therefore any previous responses to it have no basis in the Islamic sources and must therefore be relegated to customary practices rather than authentic sources.
• There is no scholarly consensus on the issue.
Note: If you would like to discuss this issue further may we suggest that you contact Sheikh Abdullah Al-Judai directly at the Islamic Research Centre, Leeds 0113 23015143
The European Council of Fatwa and Research
"The objective of this Council is to promote a uniform Fatwa in Europe and to prevent controversy and intellectual conflicts regarding the respective issues wherever possible. In its endeavour to achieve this objective, it will use means of consultation, joint research as well as group Ijtihad, which has today become an Islamic obligation and necessity. The Council is also designed to become an approved religious authority before local governments and private establishments, which will undoubtedly strengthen and reinforce local Islamic communities."
Tuesday 25th of April 2017