February 28, 2010

What religion to raise your child?

In the name of Allah, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Peace be with you السلام عليكم

This is the story of a Jewish woman who married a Catholic man, he converts to Judaism, the marriage goes bad and they separate. Supposedly there is a marriage contract where both parties agree to raise their future children Jewish. Now that they are divorced the man is trying to raise his daughter catholic and took her to be baptized. The mother (a lawyer) got a court order banning the ex-husband from taking the 3 year old to church. (read here) I was actually surprised that a judge could pass such an order. It claims that it will bring irreparable harm to the child (I don't know how). I also understand the mother's need to raise her child in the Jewish faith as I would like to raise my son in my faith. I don't entirely buy the ex's story because the man got circumcised after his alleged conversion to Judaism and to me that is COMMITMENT. From an outsider looking in it really does look like the man is trying to get back at the mother for having an affair that she denies ever existing. Allahu alem.

But I also believe that the American justice system is biased towards mothers as opposed to fathers and the guy doing the interview seems to be biased towards the mother as well. Anyway I was reading this sympathizing with both parties but they both seem a little shady in their story. Even so I disagree with her trying to send him to jail for breaking the court order about not taking his daughter to church. This looks a lot more like a matter of revenge (on both sides) than over religion.

Anyway, I was wondering how parents who have different religions raise their child(ren)? Like a Muslim with (insert religion here) or any other combination.

I don't have to worry about it because both my husband and I are Muslims and we plan on raising our children (inshaAllah) with in Islam. Is anyone out there in a interfaith marriage? How did you decide which religion to raise your children?

Did the marriage work out?

am SUPER curious.


Mimisha said...

Ive been working 4 a family wher ethe mum is catholic n the man is muslim. he studyd islam so mcuh but sadly doesnt practise much ( though hes longing 2 do it). The kids learnreligiononly at school and before they met me they thought jesus is the son of god. I guess they will grow up without much religion and search religion themselves whenthey get older ( alhamdulillah they already have intrest intheir fathers religion)

Sarah said...

Well my husband has always been Muslim and I had a catholic childhood, i did think i would become a muslim, however we discussed our future childrens upbringing and said we would raise them as muslims, however, now that i have onverted it wont be a problem. I have seen with some other couples the mothers beliefs seem to have a stronger impact. I also think that most non-muslim women who are married to Muslim men who have a strong faith will convert, howevr those men who dont practice their religion very strongly will have little impact on their wife or childrens faith. Going as far as a muslim friend of my husbands whose wife is no religion allowing his son to eat pork!!

I love coffee said...

I am a Christian who is about to marry a Muslim. Although I am interested in learning more about Islam and maybe later converting, I had decided early in the relationship that our future children will be Muslims. I know religion is very important to my fiance and I know, though he doesn't say, that he wants them to be raised Muslims. I already bought Islamic story books for children even if we won't have one anytime soon.

Even before I met him, I was already interested with Islam because of some inter-faith gatherings I had attended. He rarely tries to start a discussion about religion because of fear that I might accuse him of brainwashing me. That's why when he shares something, he always ends with the phrase "hun, please don't think I'm brainwashing you." And he honestly does not. If anything, it's me who is very outspoken about my political beliefs.

I don't like the hypothetical scenarios of us ending up in divorce (I don't believe in divorce unless the relationship is abusive). But for the sake of discussion, suppose we divorce one day and I did not convert, I would still honor my word to raise the children as Muslims. Imagine a Christian woman raise Muslim kids. :p

.::Tuttie::. said...

@ I love coffee. actually I DO know of a woman who did just that. Her husband unfortunately turned out to be a scum bag and she decided to stay in the middle east so she could raise her children in their religion (Islam) surrounded by their culture.

I deeply admire her and she is such a great example mashaAllah.

good luck in your marriage.

Candice said...

It's a really bad idea to marry someone of a different faith unless you know the person is only that religion "by name" and is in reality non-religious. This was the case for me, that I was non-religious even though my family is Catholic (also not practicing though) and I had agreed to raise my children Muslim from the beginning. I still think it would have been a good idea to wait until I had things figured out before marriage, but at least this way it was relatively safe that we'd have no issues about which religion for any children.

In this case up there, I think they should be raised Jewish, but with a Catholic dad, they will of course get some Catholic ideas... I think normally they settle this by giving main custody to the parent who is of the original religion and so just by getting to see the other parent only once every 2 weeks, the children are pretty stable in their religious upbringing.

A friend of mine converted to Islam and had 2 kids with a Christian guy... She lost custody and has them 2 days a week. She's trying to get them more, but likely she'll have to wait until they are 11, at which age they can just decide for themselves.