Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Sharing Group Discussion on Marrying a Mormon Girl

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Brother Kyle posted this, on The Sharing Group, on the 30th September, 2015: “Would a marriage to a Mormon be halal, or umm ‘valid’ according to shari’ah.  I am not sure if this ‘denomination’ of Christianity falls under the Ahl al-Kitab.”

Brother Adam Ahmed: I think it is.  Technically, all Christians believe in the Trinity, yet we say they are Ahl al-Kitab.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That is incorrect.  Not all Christians believe in the Trinity.

Brother Adam Ahmed: But most do.  Yet most scholars still say they are Ahl al-Kitab.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: All Christians are considered Ahl al-Kitab whether they are Unitarian or Trinitarian.  This is from the Qur’an itself.  That is a separate issue.  But it is incorrect to say all Christians are technically Trinitarian.  That is untrue.

Brother Adam Ahmed: Why not the Mormons then?  They behave more like Muslims than a lot of Christians do.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Please see my comments below.  I have explained how the basis of their theology is actually not Christianity.

Brother Adam Ahmed: Catholic theology is barely Christian either.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Really?  And what do you now about Catholic theology?

Brother Adam Ahmed: Their concept of god is Trinitarian and Christian.  That is what matters most.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Whose concept of God is Trinitarian?  Are you talking about the Mormons or the Catholics?

Brother Adam Ahmed: They have saints; sometimes the saints are prayed to.  Sometimes statues of Mary and saints are prayed to.  Maybe not all, but many do.  Especially in South America.  Does that not look like shirk?  Yet we consider them Christian and People of the Book.  As for Mormons, a lot of the ones I talked to believe in one God, and following the Commandments.  They behave more Islamically than most Christians.  We are doing to the Mormons what Christians and Jews do to us, denying the Abrahamic tradition.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother, you have no idea what you are talking about and are mixing up a lot of things.  We are addressing the doctrine here and I will break it down to a simple summary.

Firstly, Islam has saints as well.  We call them awliya’.  The intercession of saints is an accepted doctrine of Islam, based on the Qur’an and ahadits.  And the intercession of saints in Christianity, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or others is not the contention with Islam theologically.  Our contention with them is the Divine Nature.

Trinitarianism is a variation of monotheism where although there is a belief in one God, there is a conception of three forms to this One God.  The absolute monotheism of Islam and Judaism rejects it.  The Mormons are not Trinitarians.  The technical term for them would be polytheist since they believe in three distinct creator gods with one having primacy over the other two.  They also believe that every Mormon has the potential to become a god.  That is absolutely polytheistic.

Secondly, the reason why we call the Christians Ahl al-Kitab is their adherence, nominal or otherwise, of the Revealed Books, despite the alterations from our perspective.  The Church of the Latter Day Saints rejects the books of the Bible as primary Scripture and have their own ‘bible’ which does not draw from the established books of Scripture.  Therefore, they cannot be considered Ahl al-Kitab.

The belief in a Triune Godhead in and of itself does not discount any form of Christianity from being considered Ahl al-Kitab since they are still Addressed as the ummah of Jesus (a.s.) in the Qur'an itself.  The Qur'an Mentions their belief in the previously Revealed Books.

Putting aside the doctrine, which is the basis of our formulation of a hukm, certainly there are individuals who we may consider closer or further from Islam.  But the doctrines of Islam do not make a distinction based on something that is ghayb.  This is personal preference and is arbitrary.  And that is why we avail ourselves to dala’il, which in this case is their theological positions that are documented.

Brother Adam Ahmed: Christians say Muslims are not really from the Abrahamic tradition since we say the Bible was corrupted.  Does that make them right?  We do not make idols for our saints and shuyukh.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Our religion is not based on what the non-Muslims say; it is based on the Qur’an and the sunnah.  Whether the Christians create statues is irrelevant; they do not worship them.  Again, the doctrine and the dalil is the basis, not personal opinions.

Brother Adam Ahmed: The Qur’an is not clear in condemning Mormons.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No one is condemning Mormons.  You seem to have difficulty in comprehending the subject matter.  Perhaps comparative religion and theology is not for you.

Brother Adam Ahmed: No, you claim they are not People of the Book, when they are no sillier than a lot of Christians.  The main issue for people of the book is the concept of god.  Kolob or your blood becoming Israelite when you convert is beyond the point.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: And I explained why clearly.  I do not like to repeat myself.  The explanation is sufficient.

Brother Adam Ahmed: Not really.  It is just as subjective as my opinion.  Frankly, Christians often do not follow their books.  The Christians of the medieval period were different from modern Christians.  They adhered a lot more to Commandments.  Mormons may have their own books, but they look at God like other Christians.  They behave a lot like Muslims do as they follow Commandments.  Sure, they have some weird space age alien stuff, and other weird things like Satan and Jesus (a.s.) being brothers.  But again, the biblical account of Jesus (a.s.) as God in human form and Paul’s additions to the Christian teachings are just as absurd, and frankly even very different from medieval Christendom that the Qur’an talks about.  For instance, Christians never used to take interest.  They used to cover their head.  They even had a version of swalah.  I learned this in history class.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: What rubbish.  Just so you know, I was a Christian missionary before I became a Muslim.  I used to teach this subject for many years.  You are just making things up as you go along.

Sister Jennana Johnson: I am just guessing that their view of Joseph Smith and other prophets would make it not halal.

Brother Kyle: But all Christians are ‘wrong’ according to our beliefs.  Sure, some are more wrong than others, but they are all wrong.

Brother Justin Taylor: No, that is not correct.  If they uphold the Scripture as they are supposed to, they ‘will not fear the fire’.

Brother Kyle: Wrong does not mean they are going to Hell.

Brother Justin Taylor: Jesus (a.s.) was a prophet of Islam too.

Brother Kyle: Yes, but he is not a deity, which is something all Christians believe in.

Brother Justin Taylor: Not all.  So in reality, Christianity would be wrong or right depending on how it was done, as is Islam.

Brother Adam Ahmed: But what makes Joseph Smith any more wrong than the regular Christians?  They believe in an afterlife.  They believe Jesus (a.s.) was awesome.  They also believe in Joseph Smith as a prophet.  They have fancy underwear.  But their ethics are not bad, and they are monotheistic.

Sister Angela Marie Young: They believe Joseph Smith was the last prophet, although they sometimes refer to and use the Bible, their book is really the Book of Mormon, which they believe is another testament of Jesus (a.s.).  They believe God is a man, literally.  And that in the afterlife, the successful men will have planets of their own with their own heavenly children, given to them by their unlimited number of wives.  Although doctrine on earth changed to ban polygamy, they still believe in polygamy for the afterlife.  The respect for women and women’s rights, even her right to her own salvation hardly exist.  Her salvation depends on her husband.  And if she never marries, with her best behaviour, worship and intention, she can only make it into the lowest of the 3 levels of heaven.

They also believe in a trinity, not exactly as the Christians do, but similar.  And by the nature of their belief that men become gods, they are not monotheistic.  They have ceremonies where the children take on the persona of ancestors that have passed, and get baptised into the church to be ‘saved’.  This is baptism of the dead or proxy baptism.  God is also anthropomorphic; they believe we are literally made in His Image.

Do not get me wrong, I love Mormons.  I live half a mile from their temple in Salt Lake, Mecca for the Mormons.  I love it here and I love the effect the family togetherness they push has had on the community here.  But as for the People of the Book thing, I have a hard time with that.

Brother John Smith: Too far removed, I think, verging on cult-like.  Here are some of their apparent beliefs, according to Ex-Mormon Testimonies.  They believe that ‘God’ was once a man like us, that ‘God’ has a tangible body of flesh and bone, and that ‘God’ lives on a planet near the star Kolob.  They also believe that ‘God’, “Heavenly Father”, has at least one wife, our “Mother in Heaven,” but she is so holy that we are not to discuss her nor pray to her.  According to them, we can become like ‘God’ and rule over our own universe.  They believe there are many gods, ruling over their own worlds.  In the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, some men will have more than one wife.

They believe that Jesus (a.s.) was married, and that Jesus (a.s.) and ‘Satan’, “Lucifer”, are brothers, and they are our brothers - we are all spirit children of ‘Heavenly Father’.  They believe Jesus Christ (a.s.) was conceived by ‘God the Father’ by having sex with Mary (a.s.), who was temporarily his wife.  Thus, we should not pray to Jesus (a.s.), nor try to feel a personal relationship with him.  The “Lord”, “Jehovah” in the Old Testament is the being named ‘Jesus’ in the New Testament, but different from “God the Father”, “Elohim”.  Christ (a.s.) will not return to earth in any year that has seen a rainbow.

Before coming to this earth, we lived as spirits in a pre-existence, during which we were tested; our position in this life, whether born to Mormons or savages, or in America or Africa, is our reward or punishment for our obedience in that life.  Thus, dark skin is a curse from God, the result of our sin, or the sin of our ancestors.  If sufficiently righteous, a dark-skinned person will become light-skinned.  The Garden of Eden was in Missouri.  All humanity before the Great Flood lived in the western hemisphere.  The Ark transported Noah and the other survivors to the eastern hemisphere.  If a Gentile becomes Mormon, the Holy Ghost actually purges his Gentile blood and replaces it with Israelite blood.

Some other contentious beliefs include the following.  Not only will human beings be resurrected to eternal life, but also all animals - everything that has ever lived on earth - will be resurrected and dwell in heaven.  Mormons should avoid traveling on water, since Satan rules the waters.  The sun receives its light from the star Kolob.  A righteous Mormon will actually see the face of God in the Mormon temple.  You can identify a false angel by the colour of his hair, or by offering to shake his hand.

Brother Kyle: I know their beliefs are contentious.  I just really like this girl.  And getting her to convert would be rather difficult.

Brother John Smith: First, check out Kolob and see if you want to live there.

Brother Kyle: No thanks.  I prefer Jannah.

Sister Sara Beg: Well, your consideration of her has to go beyond merely knowing if she would count as among the People of the Book or not.  Does she respect Islam and support your practicing it, or is it possible she intends to persuade you to convert?  Do you want children in the future?  If so, does she know the children should be raised as Muslims and is she okay with that?  Will you, on your own, be able to provide a proper learning environment for your children's Islamic education?  As for determining whether she would count as Ahl al-Kitab or not, what are her individual beliefs like?  Does she agree with everything, or are there certain aspects that she agrees with and believes and certain aspects that she does not?

Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú: Think of your future children.  Are you okay with them being taught these beliefs?  There is a high possibility that your children will be Mormons.  Do not underestimate the influence of a mother, especially if there is also an extended family behind her.

Brother Kyle: Sister Sara, yes, she respects Islam, and supports me practicing it.  She makes it no secret she would like to convert me, but she and I both know that is not happening.  Of course, she knows the children will be Muslim, and well, naturally, conflict will arise from that.  But you know, we will cross that bridge when we get there.  I think I will be able to provide a proper learning environment for their Islamic education.  I do not know how to answer your last question.  That is why I asked.

Sister Brenda, my children will be taught about various faiths, but I will indoctrinate them into Sunni Islam during their formative years.  And it is only her immediate family who is Mormon.  She is Indian.  There are Muslims in her extended family.  Besides, family politics is something I can deal with.

Sister Hafizah Kareem: Are the Mormons and Amish the same?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No, the Amish are Mennonite Anabaptists, meaning that they believe in adult baptisms and voluntary church attendance.  They also reject the doctrine of transubstantiation, the changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (a.s.) by substance during the Eucharist.

This is my opinion as a former Christian theologian; others may differ.  When I was a Catholic, we did not consider Mormons, the Church of Latter Day Saints, to be Christian.  They are a sect that takes the veneer of Christianity but has radically different beliefs.

Firstly, the founder of this group is Joseph Smith, who claimed to be a prophet and dictated their ‘Bible’ as a form of 'Revelation.  In life, Joseph Smith was a charlatan and a con man wanted for fraud in several states in the US.  This means their ‘scripture’ has no relationship with the Old or New Testament and has no trace of Revelation.

Secondly, their conception of ‘god’ is not monotheistic.  They are polytheists and believe that God the ‘Father’, the ‘Son’ and the ‘Holy Spirit’ are three separate ‘gods’.  Their ‘gods’ govern in a council.  A summary of their belief is as Lorenzo Snow, their fifth ‘prophet’, said: “As man now is, God once was: as God now is, man may be.”  So they believe that when we die, we will all become a ‘god’ of our own planet, which later became universe.

If you go point by point into the Mormon doctrine and its evolution, you will find that it is anything but Christian.  It is a racist, misogynist ideology where the white man is supreme; ‘savages’, especially the black man, are to be damned; and women are only to serve men.  They have also practised paedophilia and have been censured for it.

Sister Lily Peters: I waited a long time for my husband, just over 7 years being single.  I was so sad I would cry in sajdah for Allah (s.w.t.) to Send me a good husband.  al-Hamdulillah, I was really given the best ever man I ever met.  Just sharing because I sincerely would not have found him if I went w a non-Muslim, which I was tempted to do.

Brother Faeez Nguyen: Brother Kyle, lucky you.  Not advising or anything, but if I found someone who makes me feel like you do now with this girl, even if she was the High Priestess of the Moon Temple, I will try to make it work.  Seems to me your mind is set anyway.  All the best and who knows?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: If she is for you, Brother Kyle, may Allah (s.w.t.) Make it easy for you.  And if she is not, then know that He has something better.

Sister Jan Ahmed: I am Christian, you know this by now.  My husband is Muslim.  My daughter and her husband are Mormon.  I am sorry I cannot answer your question.  What I can tell you is that interfaith relationships are hard.  Especially when one or both is secretly hoping to convert the other.  However, you do have some positives on your side.  She already has Muslim family members so that is a positive.  You are both from a sensually the same culture.  That is a positive.  I also want you to know that like Muslims, there are conservative and liberal Mormons.  To get a more liberal perspective, check out John Lund.  He has a podcast called Mormon stories which is pretty good.

Sister Connie Sunshine: Can a Muslim woman marry a Christian man; is that a sin?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Strictly by shari’ah, no.  It is against the religion of Islam.  I have explained it in some detail here: A Muslim Convert Once More: Mixed-Faith Marriages between Muslims & People of the Book.

Brother Jak Kilby: No, she cannot.  Yes, it would be a sin.  If she was already married to a Christian man and she converted to Islam, it would be a different story although not clear cut as there are very many differences of opinion on that.

Sister Jan Ahmed: I know many women who disagree with this interpretation.  But I tend to lean toward the progressive.  I could put you in contact with women who could explain their position more thoroughly if you would like

Sister Connie Sunshine: Yes I would, Sister Jan Ahmed.  Thank you.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: I think there is a difference between a marriage and a nikah.  The nikah does not seem to accommodate for this.  I do know one born Muslim woman who married a Christian.  She confided to me that according to the religion they are ‘living in sin’.  She must have found a willing imam, though, because they had both a Christian wedding and a nikah.

My case was like what Brother Jak mentioned above.  I converted well after marriage.  Joe and I were Catholic at the time of our wedding, so that is where we got married.  As far as I know, our marriage is considered valid.  At least, I have never been told otherwise by any person of knowledge.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Sister Colleen M Dunn, in a case where a person converts after marriage, there is no requirement to dissolve the marriage unless the other spouse converts.  But a Muslim may only marry another Muslim, with some exceptions for the Ahl al-Kitab in the case of the men.

However, if a Muslim women wants to marry a non-Muslim man, that is her choice and we live in a secular society.  But from a religious perspective, the couple would be considered to be engaged in zina.  As much as people would like to hear otherwise, I cannot change what is clear in the Qur’an.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: Brother Terence, yes, that is true.  I was not about to criticise their relationship.  That would be rude, and she is a friend of mine.  And I do understand that there is a difference between my situation and hers.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There is never a need to tell people this.  They know what they are doing and it is none of our business.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: I agree!  And that's the quickest way to end a friendship.  I have had so-called ‘helpful’ men approach me to say that I should divorce my husband because he did not also convert.  It would be laughable if it was not so godawful sad.  Needless to say, that ended things with such a person.  No one comes between me and my man!

Brother Jak Kilby: Just to mention, Sister Colleen, that many Muslims might not accept your marriage as legally valid.  It would depend on their madzhab and in addition, I would expect their degree of understanding of what might be a strange situation for them.  Another thing to consider would be location and what would be a social norm in your country, something many Muslims neglect and fail to understand.  I received criticism when in the UK as a man converted to Islam and already married to a non-Muslim woman.  He took me aside to ‘advise’ me that I was committing zina as my wife was not Muslim and therefore the marriage not recognised.  But this was a Shafi’i thing and most Muslims in the UK understood and accepted such situations.  But less so with ladies married to non-Muslims which is more of a case by case situation and as long as the husband accepts the situation and allows the wife to practice her Diyn.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Actually, using a difference in madzhab is not an excuse.  The religion allows it and that is all that matters.  What some Muslims think is irrelevant.  The thing is, this is a position found in every madzhab, even as a minority opinion in some.  It is only that most Muslims are unaware of it, because they do not check their books of fiqh.  That is their problem.

Sister Connie Sunshine: Well, if a woman can stay married to a non-Muslim man, then a woman should be able to marry a non-Muslim man to begin with.  The Muslim men that I have known and been married to, were abusers and criminals with no moral code although they acted superior.  It is disgusting!  They abused me far more than any American non-religious men I know and have seen interact with their wives.  Shame!

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Sister Connie Sunshine, my condolences for your pain.  I would suggest you focus on finding the right sort of man with the right sort of qualities and then worry about his religion later.

Sister Connie Sunshine: The funny thing is, sometimes you think you know someone, and terrible things can happen.  I am now left alone to decide my future.  I find good character and qualities are found in non-Muslims, but I am tormented somehow.  I am still feeling like I am split between different worlds, and making life changing decisions.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: It is why sometimes I think not being overly concerned with labels like ‘Muslim’ helps.  If you find a man and he is good for you, then that is the first priority.  Then worry about the other thing.  If he is Muslim, great.  If he is not, then decide if he is worth the extra challenge.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The truth is, we never truly know another.  We barely know ourselves. If we worry about what we do not know, there will always be anxiety, Sister Connie Sunshine.  This is what I suggest.  When you meet someone, observe how he treats the waiter, the help, animals and beggars.  If he cannot be civil with them, drop him.  How people behave when there is nothing to gain in a relationship is their true colours.

If we are looking at Mormonism from a doctrinal perspective solely, then it is clear that they are not Ahl al-Kitab, no matter how much certain people may wish it to be so.

What you should do, Brother Kyle, is ask her about her personal beliefs and influence her in that aspect.  We are not asking her to believe wholly in Islam.  But can she accept that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, as said so in the Bible?  Can she accept that God was never a man and always distinct from Creation?  If she can, then it is a start.

Brother Kyle: Thanks for the feedback, brothers and sisters.


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