A man can be from East and his wife from West yet you will find love between them, this is a sign from signs of Allāh.— Imaam Muqbil Raḥimahullāh [فتاوى النكاح]
Interracial Relationships are a blessing and a test from the Most High alhamdullilah ala kulli haal. And Quran 94:5-6 always comes to mind when things get testy. Any relationship is hard enough and when you add more variables, the result is very challenging. People of the same backgrounds have many issues, but they also have many common grounds which is an advantage for them. People of different backgrounds don’t have many common cultural and societal backgrounds and that is why this brings us to the topic of interracial marriages or relationships. Marriages and relationships like these usually have a lot of chemistry because of the uniqueness of each partner. This is because without a doubt, each partner brings to the table a unique set of minds, culture, manners, religion, individuality and much, much more. While these things played a superficial role in the pull between these obviously culturally different individuals, they can also be a subject of clash and disagreement when the novelty of the superficial fades off and more challenging subjects need to be faced and addressed. So, check out five things you need to watch out to better sail through your couple interracial life.
- Social Issues
Racism is not new. It wasn’t particularly new 1400 years ago in the nascent ummah. There are countless reports of it happening among the sahabas and the ansars many of whom were slaves and freed slaves. The irony is that many non-Blacks who are Muslim sport the names of such slaves and freed slaves but yet fail to be anti-racist.
Test: Gauge your non-Black interest on his/her point of views regarding police brutality towards Blacks in our age. Then, watch your interest’s reaction when another Black person is slaughtered or assaulted in the streets. Is your love or marriage interest compassionate? Is s/he standoffish? Do you see care toward the Black community in their actions? This actual reaction will tell you if this interest is the right person for you or will be on the same wavelength with you when these traumatic experiences occur.
How does he/she feel about other cultures’ food and customs? Is s/he comfortable with the strong smells of your delicious food?
Test: Cook a strong smelling dish for him. For instance, one with curry in his place of dwellings. If your parents have agreed for you to be around each other before marriage, tell them you would like to cook for them. Don’t tell them why. Watch him and his family during the cooking process. Are they intrigued? Are they frowning because of the heat or the smell of what you are cooking. Pay attention to silent cues. These things will tell you if their home will be a safe space for you if you get married. If they can’t handle this challenge, perhaps cut your losses early on and save yourself a headache.
Does your love interest practice the same brand of Islam as you? What madhab and scholars do each of you follow?
Tip: Make sure you know your religion well as to not be imposed a point of view of a different school of thought as the only truth.
- Body Image
Is your marital interest fetishizing you? Does your interest care if you put on weight? Ask these questions. Don’t be afraid to offend the other party. It’s your happiness on the line here. Non-Whites are usually thick. There are of course some lean Blacks but if your love interest will only have eyes for you because of the idealized skinny body image they worship unknowingly, make sure you agree with that shallowness or not. While body image plays in chemistry, in Islam, it’s not wise to make it the primary reason one picks a partner. In other words, ponder carefully before making your final choice.
How is your love interest with money? Frugal or stingy? There is a difference between the two. If you are a woman, will your love interest agree with you working? If not, will s/he support you and not blink when you ask for money for yourself or for your family when you deem it’s necessary and not an expense that can be overlooked.
Test: Propose that s/he treats your family. Watch for signs that this is nothing for him or that it is a chore for him. That said, he may not be wealthy but make sure he will be willing to spend on you if he can afford it. Better yet, remain independent so you have your own money! Do not fall for “I will take care of you” schemes.
Never. Never Ever. Never.