RELIGION, FAITH, EMOTION AND INTERFAITH MARRIAGE

By
Babatunde Fagoyinbo

Introduction

Qantara.de – Dialogue with the Islamic

Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu was born September 1, 1940, to an Igbo father and a Fulani mother of Katsina. One of his cousins (would be about 5 years younger than Ike) happened to be close to me. He said his own mother was Ike’s mother’s cousin and his father Ike’s father’s cousin. He claimed that his father knew his mother through Ike’s mother. The cousin claimed that Ike’s mother is of the royal family in Katsina. Knowing the royalty in Katsina, these could not have been accidental marriages and to borrow the language of the Kara tribe in Ethiopia, the children could not have been mingi children.

It amazes me is that in the 1940s, when our literacy rate was lower than 20% Christians and Muslim could marry without any misgivings (even in the royal family in Katsina) but now that our literacy rate has gone up to about 50% we raise dust even on Facebook page about Christian-Muslim inter-marriage. Some of the pages include:

  1. Dawud AlBritaani on Wed 10 Oct “…why I consider it impermissible to marry a non Muslimin the West even though the Qur’an gives a general permission to …
  2. The Gospel Herald 15 AugustA Muslim … sentenced to death … shot and killed his son-in-law because … his daughter had disgraced the family by marrying a Christian man.
  3. Francisco Jimenez 16 September at 05:15Her mother raised her as a Christian, even though the father was Muslim. Married a Christian. Ordered to recant her faith or die.
  4. Islamic court permits pregnant woman to give birth before she is hanged Sudanese court says that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim who faces a death sentence for apostasy can have her baby
  5. Christian News Network 20 AugustA Muslim man … sentenced to death …engaging in two “honor killings” … his daughter … converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian.
  6. Muslim Immigrant Sentenced Over ‘Honor Killing’ of Christian Who MarriedHis Converted Daughter
  7. The Christian Post 22 September at 23:05Pakistan: Christian Girl Thrown Off Roof for Refusing to Marry Muslim, Convert to Islam
  8. Sharique Sharoshared a link to the group: Friends who like Mufti Ismail Menk.29 September at 12:28 A muslim man never marry a christian girl now a days
  9. COM Muslim man shouldn’t marry christianwoman nowadays #HUDATV
  10. Abdulwahab Ibrahim Kehinde‎ toThe World of Islam 3 October at 19:31 Is it good for muslim marry to christian
  11. com Breaking News 4 October 2017· … the perfect match for her based on the prayers they have done. 😍💞 Do you think there is any big deal in her marrying a Christian?
  12. My father said I would regret it if I marry a Christian – Muslimlady cries out after being threatened by her father for wanting to marry a Christian.
  13. Roberts Emmanuel‎ toIni Edo GossipMill 18 June Can a Christian marry a Moslem
  14. H Corede Adam‎ toI AM MUSLIM 14 September at 11:23 Pls, can Muslim marry a Christian…
  15. Itz Rhosheed Harkhintaryhorwas thinking about a lot of things with Oluwatobiloba Aribaba and 24 others. 24 September at 10:55can a muslim married a Christian,or …
  16. Joshua Lordrick Okoyeshared Taofeek HoluwaPelumi Soliu‘s post. 25 August Can a christian marry a Muslim?
  17. Taofeek HoluwaPelumi Soliuis with Olamide Adebisola and 3 others. 20 March
  18. Can a christian marry a Muslim?
  19. Friendly Atheist 15 AugustAli Mahwood-Awad Irsan was convicted of killing two people to punish his daughter for leaving home and marrying a Christian.
  20. PATHEOS.COM Muslim Extremist Who Committed Two “Honor Killings” Gets Death Penalty He won’t hurt anyone ever again.
  21. Winnie Thuku-Craig 2 October at 06:52Interfaith Marriages- Faith is a very personal matter and is of little significance when it comes to human relations. Two individuals belonging to entirely different faith systems can be an ideal couple. Faith matters little in the modern world and humans are judged by their attitudes and behaviour and not what they believe in!

Above are some of the posts that I got on my fb page within August and now (11102018). I shall neither comment on the posts nor edit them but examine what the scriptures say.

Religion, Faith and Emotion

Religion: Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organisations that relate humanity to the supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. The practice of Christianity and of Islam is a religion.

Faith: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith goes beyond trust and beyond belief.

You have a friend who you trusted very much and he invites you to a function. When you get there you discover all the seats carry name tags. You search out your seat and seat down. I’m sure you will not put the seat to structural test before sitting. That is belief. However, you are about waking up and you hear a voice that says “My son, take up your Bible and proceed to Sambisa forest, ask for Abdulwaheed Issah and ask him to follow you back to Kaduna.” You’ll need faith to respond positively to that.

The Bible allows you to test the faith. God was not angry with Gideon’s requests of confirmation that the messages received were from Him (Judg 6:17-18; 21-22; 36-40). Your faith must take into consideration the fact that God will do what would bring glory to His name. Shadrach, Meshak and Abednego were sure of God’s capability to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace but at His own will; not theirs “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan 3:16-18, KJV).

Emotion: Emotion is any conscious experience described by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. It is a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioural or expressive response. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. Those acting primarily on their emotions may seem as if they are not thinking, but mental processes are still essential, particularly in the interpretation of events.

Religious Practice

Both Christianity and Islam grew out of Judaism. It is true that Isaac and Ishmael were both from the loins of Abraham. So were the children of Keturah who were blessed with gifts but dismissed from the land of Canaan which God promised him in Isaac. Isaac remained in the faith of ONE GOD but Ishmael went into idolatry; his mother’s religion.

Christianity

Christianity grew out of Judaism still upholding the commandments of God. Christ said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt 5:17, KJV). However, man’s infusions were removed “…For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5, KJV).

Christ was born as a Judaist and every right, custom and sacrifice that needed to be carried out were observed, however, His mission was to reform the minds of the people and direct them aright to the path of salvation.

The Jews were awaiting His coming as their savior. The salvation they wanted was to deliver them from Rome, conquer Rome and appoint them as overlords so that they could revenge on Rome. Christ’s mission was liberation from the pangs of satanic forces. Their hopes were dashed. As far as they were concerned He was not like David that liberated from the Philistines; why should they accept this weakling who wanted them to continue paying taxes unto Caesar? They are still expecting their ‘Savior’ who would take over the administration of the United Nations Organisation, merge the world into one country and appoint them as clan leaders.

Islam

Prophet Mohammed had a pagan background. His grandfather was a chief man of Banu Hasim of Quraish and the guardian of Kabah but Mohammad grew up to believe he should not worship man-made god. It is claimed that Khadijah, daughter of Khuwaylid bin Asad introduced Mohammad to a Christian cleric who introduced him (Mohammad) to the gospel (muslimhope.com  (2008)). In his trade visits to Jewish land, he interacted with Judaists, with the idea of ONE GOD. He studied Judaism with all the infusion of their hearts and adapted it into Mohammedanism. Jews were astute tradesmen, so it suited him to relate with them. They would transact their businesses and relax with the religious practices of Judaism. He learned the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. The respective views of Christians and Muslims over Isaac and Ishmael are outside the scope of this article.

Inter-faith Marriage

Christianity

That a person bears Mary, Martha, Matthew or Moses does not make him or her a Christian. Christianity requires that you study the word and live by the word. Just this week a fellow declared at our House Fellowship that less than ten per cent of attendees listen to sermons. To confirm this view you may ask worshippers immediately after the close of service what the sermon was and you’ll hear “O, it was a powerful sermon, the preacher actually exposed the topic. He was eloquent. The Holy Spirit used him to deliver the message..” They may not even remember the topic. Majority carry their Bibles to Church on Sundays only. Many do not know how to access any of the books in the Bible. Many do not know which books the stories of Jesus, Abraham Moses, etc. are in the Bible

It’s immaterial if they attend such Pentecostal Churches as Living Faith, Redeemed, Greenlight, Dayspring, HighMountain, lowValley Churches. They are worse than those that attend the Orthodox Churches in accessing the Scripture books. They can speak in tongues and teeth. Their pastors fall people down in prayers. I am yet to come across a passage in the scriptures where Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc. made people fall in prayers

The Jews were given a set of commandments to distinguish them from the neighbours they would have by the time they would arrive at the Promised Land. God gave Noah to eat everything but the blood of animals (Gen 9:1-4) while there were prohibitions to the Jews (Ex 22:31; Lev 11; Lev 17:13-14). As to marriage “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly” (Deut 7:3-4, KJV) succinctly states why the children of Israel should not contract marriages with unbelievers for their offspring. Other passages referring to this include but not limited to Ex 34:16; 1 Cor 7:39; 2 Cor 6:14.

Abraham arranged for Isaac to marry from his own relation (Gen 24:3-4), notwithstanding the distance and “Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan” (Gen 28:1, KJV). We do not have records of Jacob marrying for his children but for Joseph who married the daughter of an Egyptian priest. He was isolated from his people and God knows how to take care of such situations (Rom 8:26).

Esau was a dissident. His marriage to Hittite women was “a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah” Gen 26:35, KJV. See also 28:9). But the consequence was that he had no portion in the blessing of Abraham. Other dissidents include Samson (Judg 14:1-7; 16:1-28).

Equally yoked

Even though Paul was a controversial figure, he shed some light in “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? “(2 Cor 6:14. KJV). Yoking requires that the bullocks should be equally matched, otherwise the work will be retarded, the stronger one overloaded and the weaker one strained to death.

Love can develop between a Christian and a Muslim but the issue of faith should be straightened out before marriage. The Muslim must convert as the Christian is barred from marrying a Muslim; either way, male or female.

This short story will lighten this matter. I have a couple as god-children. Both were newly converted. I noticed a strained relationship between them and it was heading for divorce.  They were just about seven years in marriage.

“What’s the problem?” I asked my god-daughter.

“He smokes cigarettes and keeps late nights.”

“When you were courting, what time was he leaving your hostel?” My god-daughter was a student during their courtship.

“About 3 am, even sometimes around 4 am.” She replied.

“Did you notice he was smoking?”

“Yes.”

“What did you do about it?”

“I thought he would change” her voice dropped. She was sobbing.

My verdict was that she had no right to leave the husband. She should be ready to bear the burden of praying for him to drop the habits, otherwise, she must live with them. For new converts, it was not easy but glory to the Almighty God they are still together and their third and last child is about finishing in the university.

Islam

Muslims have the same problems as Christians. Less than 5% of them understand the religion they practice; even the clerics. Majority of those that attended Islamic schools can recite the Qur’an without a single hitch but are ignorant of the contents. Mohammed had two Christian wives, namely: Ramla bint Abi Sufyan and Maria al-Qibtiyya. Muslimhope.com (2008) quoted “Aisha says that Khadija took Mohammed to a Christian convert who used to read the Gospels in Arabic” from Bukhari vol.4 book 55 ch.17 no.605 p.395.

Qur’an (2:221) and Qur’an (5:5) emphatically grant permission to Muslims to marry Christians. However, a true Christian cannot be accessed because he/she would stick to the Bible passages stated above.

What it means is that a Muslim can propose to a Christian if, and only if, he/she is ready to convert to the Christian faith.

Interfaith Marriage

Interfaith marriage is a marriage between spouses professing different religions and in this case, Christian and Muslim. In an interfaith marriage, each partner adheres to their own religion; this excludes a marriage of a Christian to a Muslim who has converted to Christianity and vice versa.

Christianity not only frowns against but prohibits interfaith marriage. It is known as unequal yoking. Islam, on the other hand, accepts interfaith marriages with “people of the book” who incidentally are either Christian or Judaist. Christianity and Judaism prohibit interfaith marriages for the preservation of spiritual purity.

References

muslimhope.com  (2008). Why Did Mohammed Get So Many Wives? Accessed 12 Oct 2018. http://muslimhope.com/WhyDidMohammedGetSoManyWives.htm

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