Marriage in Islam Between Cultures: A Recipe for Success

By guest author Rafia Tahir

Islam values marriage very highly. It is a sacred relationship to join a Muslim man and woman equally in good faith. In an Islamic marriage, the couple helps and encourages each other. 

Almighty Allah (SWT) compares each spouse to an item of clothing.

Describing wives, Allah (SWT) says: 

  هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ

They are a cover or screen for you (men), and you are the same for them.

Surah Al Baqarah 2:187

The ‘cover‘ refers to mutual protection and to the fact that a husband and wife can be intimate and have sexual intercourse, especially during the nights of Ramadhan. 

My Purpose

In this article, I will explore the idea of Muslims marrying people of different cultures and ethnicities and show how such unions can be a recipe for success.  

Table of Contents

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Muslims Prefer To Marry From Their Own Culture

It makes sense that most Muslims wish to marry from their own culture. They know and like the familiar, have the same food, tastes, and languages, and share similar beliefs, customs, and social etiquette.

Same-culture marriages are permissible if the decision to marry is by mutual consent of the spouses.  However, some Muslims choose to marry outside their race and culture. 

Intercultural unions offer diversity and harmony, but they are not without their own set of challenges. 

Getting Parents To Agree 

For good reasons, many traditional parents oppose multicultural marriages. They fear the unknown and wish to make a safe choice for their children.   

Parents hear but often fail to consider their wishes and desires. In the long term, ignoring children can lead to emotional distress and divorce.

Many Muslim children want to please their parents, but unquestioned obedience and compliance bring little benefit and only long-term dissatisfaction.   

The parents must reconsider their decisions and demonstrate love and concern for their children.

Parents should choose a spouse only after consulting with their children and making a decision in their best interests. 

They should also ask Allah (SWT) by performing the Istikhara prayer.  

In a well-known Hadith, Prophet Mohammed (SAW) instructed:

A woman is married for four things: wealth, family status, beauty, and religion. So you should marry a religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser.

Sahih Al Bukhari 67:16,

Faith (Iman) is the main guiding factor in choosing a partner. And, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) urged his followers not to over-emphasize culture, race, attractiveness, and income.

Love Knows No Boundaries: The Attraction of Multicultural Matrimony

With increased travel, the internet, and online connectivity, more and more Muslims choose to marry someone outside their race and culture.  

Intercultural marriages bring men and women together from different countries and cultures, promoting social acceptance and ethnic diversity.

The Reasons For Intercultural Marriage In Islam

Traditional societies may object to such unions, but often the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

1. Novelty And An Escape

Intercultural marriage is different and helps bypass negativity and cultural and social expectations. Marriage to an outsider means the couple can start afresh and abandon long-held cultural obligations.

2. Avoidance of Pain

Some Muslims love their families but have negative experiences concerning cultural norms and stigmas. 

For example, in her society, an Arab woman must marry her parent’s choice of spouse according to fixed standards of behavior and treatment.

She may not want her marriage to be like her parents and argue with them for change.  

In this case, a woman will prefer a prospective spouse from another ethnic background, not caught up in the web of social obligations. 

 3. An Act of Rebellion 

Some Muslims choose to marry people from other cultural backgrounds as an act of rebellion. They object to traditional marriage in their culture and yearn for variety and change. 

For example, in some countries, parents continually pressure their sons and daughters to take a spouse from the same culture and of a particular profession, such as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.  

This type of pressure exerts a disturbing psychological effect.

These children decide to act against their parent’s wishes and marry someone of their own choice from another culture.

By doing this, they assert their independence and establish married life on their terms.

Story: A Pakistani Muslim Woman Chooses An African National

A Pakistani Sister who married an African Muslim wrote, 

I am grateful I did not encounter any significant obstacles. My husband and I are committed to Islam and desired to raise our children in the most Islamic setting possible.

Mutual Respect – The Bedrock Of A Successful Marriage

Getting married on your terms with a foreign partner makes it easier to sidestep cultural expectations and produces a happier marriage.

Openness, mutual respect, caring, listening, and acceptance of the other for good and bad characterize this type of marriage. 

Practically this means considering opinions, sharing decision-making, showing interest in their life, career, interests, and other pursuits, and making modifications when necessary. 

Long-term benefits only come from conscious efforts to treat your spouse respectfully.

7 Tips for a Strong Intercultural Marriage

Before saying I do, here are seven helpful tips about marrying someone from a different country or culture to make your marriage successful. 

  1. Understanding Family
  2. Getting Marriage Education
  3. Learning Love Language
  4. Honor Cultural Heritage
  5. Marriage Networking
  6. Adaptability And Flexibility
  7. Affection And Esteem

1. Understanding Family

Accept and respect family differences. Relationships and expectations will differ according to nationality and customs.

For example, a Western spouse will not expect a partner to help and support their parents. However, traditional Asian families require it.     

2. Getting A Marriage Education 

The basis for a successful marriage is to follow Islamic principles concerning living a married life.

Couples can resolve conflicts or disagreements by consulting Islamic law and marriage guidance counselors. 

Get advice and knowledge BEFORE offering or accepting a marriage proposal to help you make the right decision.    

3. Learning Love Language 

If you speak different languages, learn your partner’s language. It will improve communication, aid proper understanding and help bridge the cultural divide.

Speaking the same language gladdens the heart and increases love in married life.  

4. Honor Cultural Heritage      

Honor and celebrate your spouse’s national and cultural festivities.  Heritage includes public activities, holidays, and events.

Your effort will help bridge the cultural divide between you and your partner by demonstrating respect for their way of life.

5. Marriage Networking

Read online stories and testimonies of Muslims who married outside their own cultures. Join Islamic forums and discuss intercultural marriage issues with other married couples.   

You will learn about the importance of compromise and understanding. 

6. Adaptability And Flexibility 

Be open to change and living differently.  Do not insist that your partner behaves according to your societal expectations. 

They may have different ones. You should always compromise and remain flexible.    

7. Affection And Esteem 

Respect your marriage partner, and show love and concern. Accept their distinctive cultures and be willing to adapt. See it as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

The differences that make your intercultural marriage unique should be celebrated and cherished.


When addressed with an open mind, sincere respect, and a dedication to learning and embracing variety, marriage between cultures in Islam can be a recipe for success.

Couples will create a solid and healthy multicultural relationship by improving communication, getting an education, learning about cultures, celebrating similarities, introducing their communities and families, and exhibiting patience and compromise.

Walk in the path of Allah (SWT), and you will find it easier to be kinder, more loving, and more peaceful.

Ultimately, put your trust in Allah (SWT) and His wisdom.

Guest Author – Rafia Tahir

Rafia Tahir is a Quranic scholar and an Islamic blogger, dedicated to sharing the message of Islam.

Her engaging personality and deep knowledge make her a cherished voice in the Islamic community and beyond.

She occasionally writes articles for Muslim And QuranOpens in a new tab..

Contact Rafia

Salam Allekum! Hi there! Thanks for reading. Contact the Editor Mohammed Francis directly at with any questions or queries.