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Divergent paths

Sep 3, 2008 by glennji

A female friend of mine is considering becoming Muslim i.e. following “Islam” (which can be translated as “submission”). This mostly makes me worried for her, as Islam doesn’t have the best track record concerning women’s rights and domestic abuse. The philosopher Ibn Kammuna said in 1280CE:

“… we never see anyone converting to Islam unless in terror, or in quest of power, or to avoid heavy taxation, or to escape humiliation, or if taken prisoner, or because of infatuation with a Muslim woman, or for some similar reason. Nor do we see a respected, wealthy, and pious non-Muslim well versed in both his faith and that of Islam, going over to the Islamic faith without some of the aforementioned or similar motives.”

In this case I have to assume that it’s infatuation with a Muslim man which is driving this decision. Usually a smart girl, she seems to be avoiding investigation of the many criticism of Islam, and indeed religion in general. If this is the case, I can see it unfolding in one of two ways:rnrnIn the first, he accepts her, they marry (she would be the second wife, allowed to Muslim men, although it is considered “unseemly” at best to marry a non-Muslim in a non-majority-Muslim country. She has a full and interesting life, a “life less ordinary”, and one she would never have considered for herself. She accepts the religion and the first wife and is accepted in turn.

In the second he rejects her, as she becomes less attractive once she is attainable once and for all. He realises that he loves his wife and his life and that she was never anything more than a relatively “safe” bit of fun. She breaks away from Islam, heartbroken — although hopefully before she has become “fully” Muslim since the four major Sunni and one major Shia school of Islamic law agree the penalty for “apostasy” or “ridda” (formal renunciation of a religion) is death (for males) or imprisonment (at best for females).

Which do you think will happen? Or is there a third (or fourth, or fifth) option?

To Muslims reading and offended by my own prejudices shining through — this is a personal blog, I’m entitled to say what I like and you can always turn off your computer. Although I’d much prefer you investigate your own mind and consider why you’re offended, and what good such feelings do you or anyone, of course!

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