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Relationship Dilemma; my family can't allow me to marry a Muslim I love, help

On Wednesday, May 18, The Standard received, on Facebook inbox, a relationship dilemma from one of its readers. We sample some of the advice shared by Kenyans, and also an expert’s opinion on how the reader can come out of the confusing situation.

Every Wednesday mid-morning, The Standard will be publishing on its verified Facebook page (Standard Digital) a relationship dilemma sent to us via our Facebook inbox.

If in need of relationship advice – from an expert, or are seeking to get Kenyans’ opinions on a certain confusing relationship situation – send us a message via Facebook, with the title ‘Relationship Advice’, and we will escalate the message to the appropriate respondents. We guarantee you dignity by hiding details that could lead to your identity being known or exposed.

Hi-Standard
My name is Naima from Mombasa. I am 29 years old. I’m in love with a man who isn’t of my religion.
I’m of the Islam faith and he is Christian. My family tells me that I can’t marry him because of our religious differences. My father said he’ll disown me if I continue with this relationship. I have known my boyfriend for five years, and I’m sure he is the right man for me. I can’t convert to the religion, and my boyfriend says he too cannot change religion to marry me. He proposed to me in March this year.
I’m at crossroads. What should I do?

KENYANS’ SAMPLED ADVICE:

Aadil Fazal: Let me first clarify to you that this postwar was made up for the sole purpose of getting social media engagement and having a religious debate. Whoever posted this. Please grow up

Daniel Muchiri: Love isn’t enough to sustain a marriage, break that relationship as early as now.

Paradise Bird: You cannot marry someone you cannot agree with especially on a serious issue like religion! If neither of you is changing their religion, then break up

Abdirahman Mohammud: To my understanding love is not enough to sustain or continue your marriage later in life, a girlfriend or boyfriend doesn't exist in Islam, and is completely prohibited, so young lady am so proud to hear that you're Muslimah, I for the sake of Allah, your father & your family as a whole, please sister forget about this guy. simply start a new page of your life. Coz you can't marry that guy is not allowed it is forbidden. I'm sure in a few months you will get what you deserved. May Allah will guide you to the right path insha'Allah tacaalaaa.

Aysher Mak’Ouma: In my world, A woman has no tribe nor religion. Finding love in this day and age is not easy. Follow your heart you'll never regret it. I know two Muslims and two Christian married but unhappy. Best Matches are made by two people in love, you'll figure out the rest

Abdi Lio Lama: Breakup would do you a great favour Madam. Otherwise, you'd lose your family and cry alone once you start having conflicts because he knows nobody is behind you. Besides, you are a Muslim for a reason. Follow your religion and stay away from what Islam prohibits you to do

Dalmas Barasa: Go ahead and marry the dude, it's you who will live with him and not your parents, they're very mean in fact.

Peshi Makula: Jesus Christ came to this world so that we may have life and life in abundance. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. Oh, how I love Jesus Christ Son of the living God/ singing loud. We are blessed differently. The key is commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, respect and in everything put God first.

Gerald Makamba: If you cannot connect spiritually you cannot connect physically.

C Kalimbo Mweru: Religion is overrated. Marry that goon. Find a common religion. Practice Buddhism. All these concepts of religion were brought about by European and Arab colonialists. The African way has been forgotten after the major brainwashing of your ancestors.

EXPERT’S ADVICE:

Dr Karatu Kiemo is a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Nairobi.

Hello Naima, it is clear that you are torn between religion, family and self. In the journey of life, you need religion and family and so do not abandon any.

Yet while religion and family mean well for you, none can, or should, topple yourself.

While you can convert from one religion to another and can harbour ill feelings against family, you cannot abandon yourself and be alive and well.

Now that you have found good love, trust and follow your feelings and accept the marriage proposal.

Neither you nor your boyfriend needs to change your faiths.

World peace is still holding on despite differences in religions.

Your world is likely to hold together more so because Islam and Christianity are, as Abrahamic faiths, quite close in their moral prescriptions and rituals.

Indeed, you have survived the 5 years of friendship because the faiths are to some extent compatible.

If your marriage flourishes, you will be celebrated as a good example of inter-faith marriage.

If your marriage should get into problems, remind yourself that incidents of family chaos including brutal violence are often in couples sharing religious faiths, ethnicity/ race, or social class.

Will your parents disown you? They could. Could they harm you in the name of family honour?

Perhaps not. While I could be wrong, honour-related violence is in Kenya extremely rare and that's how your friendship has held.

If my guess is true that your only hurdle is your parents, let me repeat that almost always our parents want the best for us.

I could be wrong but their threat of disowning can be diffused by the promise they see in you and your boyfriend.

I doubt they will be hostile to a daughter or potential son-in-law in a successful career.

So, make yourself 'hard to disown', and help each other in that mission.

Finally, it seems to me that every human endeavour is an experiment.

Out of such experiments, we have a better understanding of how the world works and solutions to our problems.

Since there is no magical pill for human relationships, I think it is worth the try. Wish you well.