Being a rebellious romantic like myself poses some challenges, especially for Egyptians in the relationship and family areas of life. That’s because as we all know, marrying someone of a religion other than that of your family’s is a big no no. It is something that will certainly be resisted by all family members.
Although I do not identify much with labels, society will categorize me as an Egyptian Coptic Christian. While my family may seem pretty liberal in the way they dress, speak and spend money and time, they are as conservative as can be when it comes down to choosing a life partner.
They are hooked on this quote in the bible that says:
2 Corinthians 6:14New King James Version (NKJV)
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Yet somehow, since I had this rebellious side to me, I have always attracted men of a different religion. My most ‘serious’ and longest relationships were with two Muslim men.
Since I was so head over heels in love with these boyfriends, I was fully prepared to announce to my family members that I desired to share the rest of my life with someone who was not a Christian and in fact he followed a Muslim upbringing and belief system.
However, I never came to that point, simply because both relationships frazzled out in the end. But in retrospect, I know that I would have been able to stand up to my family and address all their concerns in a mature manner.
Concern 1: If you have children, they will carry his name and they will have to be Muslim.
Answer: My partner and I will never force our Child to have any religion. What’s on paper is on paper. However, we have an agreement that our child will be exposed to all kinds of spiritual paths and they will have the final say.
Concern 2: If you get a divorce, the Egyptian Court will not allow you to keep the child because they require the child to be brought up in Muslim family.
Answer: In the event that my partner and I decide to separate, we have a plan. We will separate with loving kindness and respect. He will never drag me to court or try to take away our child, because he knows that such a traumatic experience would not bring any good to the child, me or him.
Concern 3: According to the bible you would be ‘yoking’ yourself with an unbeliever. This is not what Jesus would have liked. You will be going against the words of the Holy Scripture.
Answer: While you may perceive my partner as an ‘unbeliever’, I would much prefer to live with an unbeliever who treats me right, respects who I am and supports me, than to be in relationship or married to a ‘believer’ who does not treat me the way I deserve.
Even though you are family, neither you nor anyone has the right to label someone else as a non-believer just because they have different beliefs. My partner clearly believes in the existence of higher Supreme Being. And he strives to put to use all of his capabilities to improve himself and contribute positively into the world by serving people. And I see that as a good reason to ‘yoke’ with him.
Many years ago, I remember I had a conversation with my ex boyfriend. I tried to persuade him to become a Christian. I told him that believing that Jesus is our Saviour is his ticket to heaven and that our sins are washed through the belief that he sacrificed his life for us.
And he said, “well what about all the people in the world who do not know Jesus or believe that this is true, do you think they will all go to hell?”
I had no reply.
Today, I know that all that matters is the present moment. I think it’s useless to worry about the possibility of a heaven or a hell.
Wouldn’t you agree that it is much more useful to utilize our energies to focus on bringing good into the relationship we have with someone of another religion (or for those of us who are single, to serve the local community)?
By Sandra Shama Kaur
Founder Yalla Yoga
Kundalini Yoga Teacher