5. Marriage fiqh of Marriage
Many Western converts in Muslim countries convert for marriage purposes as is quite evident in the surveys. In a number of cases, the conversion is not genuine, but merely a ritual conversion. Although this situation is abhorrent, one cannot refuse to convert others due to suspicions. The solution is to develop programs of study, which prospective converts must go through before conversion, to insure that the basic teaching have been learned. This approach was taken by the Muslim Convert’s Association in Singapore, where they were faced with the majority of its converts being for marriage purposes.
The factors leading to conversion are basically the same the world over. They are not limited to time periods, but can be found from the earliest of times until the present. Those involved in propagating the religion and inviting others to Islam, must familiarize themselves with these and other factors in order to develop the correct strategies to deal with them. Furthermore, Islamic organizations need to keep more accurate information concerning conversion so that researchers can analyze the material and benefit those in the field. Most organizations internationally do not have proper records. Some only have names and while others have little more than that. Follow-up programs cannot be effectively implemented without proper records. Perhaps the greatest problem facing converts is the lack of follow-up. In the Prophet’s time, converts were integrated into the Muslim community and way of life with the full support of the community. Today, converts are congratulated and left to fend for themselves. As a result, when many are faced with difficulties, they revert to their former faiths, if they do not find support from the Muslim community. In the West, there is a big need for institutions and Muslim social workers to cater to the needs of the new converts. Many who accept Islam in the prisons end up in their destructive life-styles and back in prison like their non-Muslim counterparts. Although their numbers are fewer, they are too many for the community to ignore.
The other major problem facing convert Muslims, especially in the West, is that without a Muslim community to support their families, their children often leave Islam by the time they graduate from high school. Consequently, among the da’wah strategies necessary is the development of Muslim schools to preserve the identity of Muslim children of the converts. Those children did not choose Islam, and they lack strong cultural ties to Muslim culture. As a result, every decade or two, a new wave of Westerners convert and during the same period, most of their children leave Islam. Those children sometimes go on to become major stars in sports like Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball), or Rocket Raghib (American Football), who have no allegiance to Islam what so ever.