Many are willing to marry a non-Muslim provided that the person reverts to Islam from a paperwork point of view. The revert will declare the shahadah and signs the necessary paperwork, but is Muslim in name only. The indicators of the person's lack of believe in Islam are usually obvious, but often the intended spouse prefers not to see the truth. In some cases, the spouse is aware of the lack of belief, but is contented to carry on with the marriage – in short, selling the deen for the love of a man or woman. Such self deception continues for the sake of love, desire and material status, until a decisive moment occurs. For example, when children come into the picture, it calls into question how the upbringing will be. It could also be that the Muslim spouse feels that it is time to redefine his or her life and take Islam more seriously. How then, does one change the goalpost when Islam was never part of the original discussions, and the non-Muslim spouse never agreed to incorporate Islam in the household?
In such cases, the one proclaiming the shahadah is a liar, and so is the imam if he knows that something is amiss but witnesses the shahadah regardless. We have been in situations where the imam asked some basic questions on the Islamic faith to a potential revert, and even when receiving vague answers which indicated a total lack of knowledge and faith in Islam, still bore witness to the person's shahadah. Why did the imam not counsel the potential revert to study more about Islam and to only take the shahadah when he knew what he was doing? Why not advice that matters of the soul and a pledge with Allah are not to be taken lightly or as a game? Two years later, the same person admitted that he was never convinced by Islam all along and just did it to marry a Muslim woman. By this time, there was a trail of heartbreak, damage and hurt to everyone. However, the imam was not the only one at fault. The Muslim woman saw clear indicators of her fiance's lack of belief in Islam, but chose to turn a blind eye and pressed on with the marriage. At the end, the marriage collapsed and he renounced Islam. This entire mess could have been avoided if the Muslim wife had been sincere with herself and Allah.
If you have basic Islam, you would not even step into this territory. It is not just a matter of committing fornication, but it is bigger because you are denying what Allah ordains. Do not take your spouse's commitment to Islam as a joke, and presume that a piece of paper is enough to bless the situation. Allah knows what is in the heart and cannot be deceived by legal documentation. If you have started with a compromise on your faith, then how do you then change the rules when you want to be a good Muslim?
Some may point out that Rasulullah SAW married non-Muslims. However, his marriages were for the sake of spreading the deen and not for the sake of physical desire or status. The early Companions sacrificed everything they possibly could, and even their marriages were for the sake of propagating the call to Islam.
Today we have problems that never existed in the early history of Islam, because our intentions and motivations are totally wrong. Those who seek a new life in Western countries are doing it for the worship of money and creature comforts, not because they are in pursuit of Islam or spreading Islam. The value of the message is totally lost on them. Everyone is working for their own material needs, and have come to a point where they can't even decide if they want to hold on to their faith.
We have lost the quality of the early Companions, and do not choose the man or the woman who can support us in any Islamic mission or aim. With such mismatched goals, how can a marriage have any common objectives on Islam? Who are you choosing as your spouse and why? Priority was always for the sake of Islam and the message, not for personal desires.
If today someone offers a hand in marriage, the first question would be what university degree that person holds. The physical appearance. The family connections. The income. Where the couple is going to live. All the questions focus purely on the material. This massive distortion of the original objectives of Islam is intensified when the parents seek to personally benefit from the marriage – for example, pressuring their children to marry someone wealthy from abroad, so that eventually the whole family can migrate to the new country. The original intention was blatantly impure, and the end result will not be a good one.
It is said that whatever is for Allah will continue and bond, and whatever not for Allah will be vanished and broken. Apply this principle in everything. Anything pure to Allah will be perpetual. Anything otherwise will raise problems due to the corrupted intention and the goal.
The elders have already played their parts in destroying the ummah with their ignorance, materialism and selfishness. If we, as the youth are so blind and do not get the message then what is in store for the Muslims of the future?