My life.. my story – Inter-Sect Marriage Woes – By Aida Ishtiaq

My life.. my story - Inter-Sect Marriage Woes - By Aida Ishtiaq |

I come from a fairly religious Sunni household where religion was always given top priority. Even as a child, the bedtime stories my Mother always told me were of Prophets and Sahaba’s time and time again. Growing up in Kuwait, we would go for Umra and Hajj every chance we got which was quite often I am happy to say. So imagine my family’s surprise when 2 years after moving to Pakistan I up and tell them I want to marry someone from the opposite Sect. Things like “You don’t know what you’re talking about, they are not like us” and “Shia’s are not even Muslims” were thrown around.

A couple of years later they consented and we got married. Yes, my husband’s family is extremely different than my own, complete opposites even and it would have been impossible for me had it not been for Azhar’s unconditional support and understanding. He understands that a good marriage requires being part of a team. It’s about give and take. Be it from serving your wife breakfast in bed, changing babies’ dirty diapers or even waking up in the middle of the night to put the crying little one back to bed. You need to be your partners’ better half and support them whenever they need it.  Our marriage works because both of us consciously make the effort to make it work. If at any point, either one of us stops trying then like every other marriage, it will all fall apart.

Over the past 7+ years I’ve been married I have come across different types of people. People who have congratulated me for ‘making it work’ and also people who, on the birth of my child called her illegitimate since I am Sunni and my husband is Shia so our Nikkah is not ‘valid’. Yes, really!

How would you feel if someone judged you on say, your relationship with your partner.. or your parenting style. You wouldn’t like it would you? It’s not so easy when the shoe is on the other foot let me tell you. I am Sunni and my partner is Shia and the amount of intolerance we face over our relationship is insane! Not from strangers, (you don’t really care when it comes from strangers) but from people you know and love. It feels like a hot knife going through your heart let me tell you. So how do you deal with judgmental people? You literally turn the other cheek just like Prophet Muhammad did. And if you are one of those wonderful people who, instead of focusing on your own life and your own flaws, waste time on judging others.. don’t! Just don’t. You don’t know how your words and actions are affecting someone; you don’t know whose spirit you are crushing. That is not the ‘Islamic way’ so just don’t ok?


So your brother is seeing a nice Christian lady? Mind your own business.

Your nephew wants to marry a divorcee? It’s none of your business.

Your neighbor’s daughter ran away from home with her driver? It doesn’t concern you.

If it’s not your own life then you do not have the authority to comment or speculate on it. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and mind your own business.

Over time, I have programmed myself not to care about what others think and I feel more comfortable and at ease with myself.

We, as a people and as Muslims seem to have forgotten what Prophet Muhammad spent his life trying to teach us. Islam is about peace, tolerance and acceptance. It is the epitome of tranquility and there is absolutely zero room for hate or judgment. If Prophet Muhammad forgave and prayed for the forgiveness of open disbelievers who hated him and threw stones at him then who are we to divide his Ummah into different sects? Who are we to judge anyone just because they sin differently than us? Are we really such perfect Muslims or flawless human beings that we forget our own sins and point fingers at others? Are our lives really so perfect and do we really have nothing better to do then sit around gossiping about/judging those around us? What gives us that right? Is that what Prophet Muhammad would do? No, he would be tolerant and the last thing he would do is judge. After all, that is the Sunnat way.

A change is needed and for my part, be it big or small… I vow to teach my kids to be more tolerant and less judgmental towards others. I vow to teach my kids not to point out the flaws in others but to look inside themselves and fix the flaws within and to strive to be better human beings.

We constantly look at the deteriorating situation in our society and we think “Why doesn’t someone do something about this?” Why can’t that “someone” be us? Why can’t we do something to bring about even a microscopic form of change? If this article will change even one person’s habit of being judgmental then I shall consider it a success. So next time, before you speak or act on something, take a second to think… “Is this what Muhammad (PBUH) would do/say?”


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