As an American woman who came to Islam and have been married to a Muslim Algerian for over 14 years, I always get worried when women meet Algerian men and consider marriage. From my own experience, some of the best Muslims are Algerians Masha'Allah. Algerians pride themselves on that. But I have also seen very unIslamic behavior from some Muslim Algerian men towards their spouses, especially if their spouse is not Arab or North African, especially if she is not Algerian.
Even if a man prays 5 times a day, has many people to vouch for his "Islamic" behavior, a woman needs to really get to know a man before marriage. Some men want their wives to be Muslim or behave Islamically, but then they do not want to apply those rules to themselves. Some men follow all culture and not Islam. Other men adhere to Islam as best as they can. But the best of men should be like the Prophet Mohammad peace be upon him who was never unkind to a wife, never hit a wife, and helped all of his wives in all affairs. He (peace be upon him), took their concerns seriously.
Islamicly we should have a muharam (male relative capable of protecting our Islamic rights) present even if a woman is not Muslimah, to ensure that we do not become emotionally involved with him before we are too in love to see a man might not be compatible with us. Yet at the same time, we need to know enough to actually make a good decision!
In Islam there is a wali (protector, usually a male relative like your father) in marriage that represents the woman so that she does not get emotionally involved and to advocate for her in marriage. This should be someone you can trust will represent the woman's needs, plus will be influencial enough on the man to help with problems should marital discord happen in the future. Some men (including some Algerians) take advantage of this by having just any old brother be a woman's wali so he can get married. Then when there are problems, the woman cannot even approach that person because it's her husband's friend who won't even hear her side, or he is long gone and no longer cares about her rights. Elhamdulillah, I once saw an Algerian imaam at a wedding in the US, he increased the mahr (bride gift) for the American woman because he wanted to protect her rights, masha'Allah! Remember, in Algeria, weddings are pretty expensive.
Whether you are Muslim or not, consider it carefully. Even if you are of the same religion or enjoy his culture, there will be cultural and religious issues in the future. And with children those only get worse.
Have your husband write out how he feels about money, your working (before and after children), raising he children, and his future plans. Where does he plan to buy land? Will his family back home have their needs and wishes prioritized before his younger family's needs that he is building (e.g. will he say that you can't buy those shoes your kid needs because his sister who has a job back home wants a second pair of high heels and expects him to deliver the money because he is back in America)? What are his family expectations? At some point does he plan to return to his country to live with (or without) you? What circumstances would he get a second wife? When he is angry, what does he do and how long does his anger last? Does he expect that you will always work, even if you have kids? What would he do if you were using birth control to space out pregnancies, and you became pregnant? Would he force you to terminate the pregnancy, would he be unhappy, would he accept Allah's will? Will he let you save money for your kids' education, or listen to your input about family decisions? Have him put on paper some of these beliefs, even if you have to get it in his native language and have it translated. That way you have written proof in his own handwriting of his promises and the way that he envisions building a life together.
There are Algerian men in the US that expect their American wives to pay their way and support them so they can send all their finances home to Algeria. It is an honorable thing for them to help their family back home, but understand the status of your husband's family...some men may think their family in Algeria (despite having a home, healthy Islamic environment, all their physical needs being met) as more deserving of their money than a wife that trying to be Muslim and can't pay for her basic needs back in the US. Does a man plan to give a balanced amount to his family back home, and also try to contribute to taking care of you and your (future) children's needs? What if his sister(s) or some other family dislikes you?
Some men may also look down on your American family -- even if your American family is not Muslim, they should be not just superficially kind to them, but they should take care to spend time helping your family (if your family is not financially struggling, they should spend time giving them kind dawah, helping them with tasks around the home or yard, and showing the pride and luster of Muslim-Algerian men who follow Islam). They should be genuinely kind to your family, after all their Algerian upbringing trains them to respect parents. Non Muslim family should not be listened to if they ask you to do something unIslamic, but they should still be treated with kindness.
There are other Algerian men who would be enraged by poor behavior because they feel men are supposed to be the supporters and maintainers of women and followers of Islam (these are the real men, elhamdulillah, the trouble is figuring out which yours is BEFORE you have been married to him with children so he is not threatening to take the kids and never return every time he is angry, reminding you that you can't even bring them back without his permission).
Before you get married, learn about Islam regardless of your faith. An Algerian imaam once told me, learn about Islam from good Islamic sources and not your husband's version of Islam because this too will have a cultural flavor. What are your goals in this life?
Pray for guidance from God (Allah). Even if you are not Muslimah, there is a prayer called istikhara and you can read it outloud and ask for guidance. There are no guarantees, and the tests of life may change your spouse for better or for worse. Some Algerian men are AWESOME husbands, masha'Allah, and I pray that you take your time making a choice so that you are certain he is one of those AWESOME husbands prior to marriage!
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24th April 2012 21:22 #1Registered User
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- Apr 2012
27th April 2012 19:31 #2
wish you a continues fulfilled marriage life
Thank you dear for sharing your thoughts to those who concern
8th May 2012 22:45 #3Registered User
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- Jul 2010
You have hit the nail on the head with your post. I wish someone like you you could have warned me about how algerian men can be because believe me I would never have gone through with it!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for your wise words
10th May 2012 16:45 #4Registered User
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- Apr 2012
I hope that you are doing well. Whatever the status of your marriage is, remember you always have Allah to hear your dua. If you have had a difficult experience, you might think of ways to help other women make a good choice in the future. Do you have any good resources on Algerian Men, Muslim ideals, etc. to share? That way, even with a difficulty, others might find solace in your experience.
I think people that are thinking of marrying an Algerian should check out the culture a lot, check out his family, and learn about Islam.
Some great resources might be:
Blissful Marriage: A practical Islamic guide by Dr. Ekram and Dr. Mohamed Rida Beshir. It even has a survey including good questions to ask men when considering marriage. A lot of men won't take the time to fill out a survey like this, but it will be nice to learn of their responses to questions like these. It can give you an idea of how they think.
You can also try Parenting Skills: Based on the Qur'aan and Sunnah by Dr. Ekram and Dr. Mohamed Rida Beshir. You can read them with your potential spouse and discuss the various parenting ideas and see where you both may agree or disagree.
Even if someone is not Muslim, since most Algerians are Muslim you might find it beneficial to understand what Islamic sorts of ideals are and the Islamic point of view insha'Allah.
I wish there were a good Algerian Men guide, maybe someone wants to create an ebook and have it available for a nominal fee via a squeeze page...
tanzil (dot) net is also a wonderful website that has many recitations of the Qur'aan. I also has the Sahih International (and other) translations of the Qur'aan in English.
"Certainly Allah is with those who exercise taqwa and those who do ihsan." Qur'aan 15:128.
There is a good online Course by Yasir Qadhi on Halal Intimacy
There are some lectures by Yasir Birjas on the Fiqh (islamic jurisprudence) of Love
May Allah put goodness in all you do and to everyone who visits this post, ameen.
17th May 2012 18:31 #5Registered User
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- Aug 2006
Assalam alikum every one,
Just to say being in a relationship with someone who has a different background and different tradition from you is a struggle. No matter whom you marry, Algerian, Chinese, or English, always will be some difficulties and it depends on how you interact with your man, as motherof3 said, you should study the person's background and culture before you get serious and tie the knot. I am Algerian and my husband is Algerian but our life together is not 100% perfect. The opposite I know an English women who is happily married to an Algerian man. I donít think every Algerian man is bad.
I pray to Allah to guide us to the right path in this life.
17th May 2012 18:52 #6Registered User
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- Feb 2012
Thank you for your post. You have given some good advice and made valid points. I especially agree with your comment that men expect their women to become muslim but do not apply the rules to themselves. I am currently considering marriage and any advice is welcome. I have been married before but not to a muslim. I am learning about Islam and learning Arabic and as much as I can about Algerian culture.
28th May 2012 15:46 #7Registered User
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- May 2012
Just be careful in your decision !