It is essential to be patient and maintain a line of respect and kindness with our parents. We are reminded, in Chapter 16, Verse 125 of the Qur’an, that when we are speaking with anyone in matters of faith, we must speak with wisdom, knowledge and must use the best of manners—this includes our parents.

Take time to understand that culture often precedes faith. During the time of the Prophet (PBUH),[1] some of the companions questioned leaving off previous cultural holidays and replacing them with the two Eids. Similarly, our parental generation may still be holding on to deep-seated cultural practices. To move forward, they need to learn about their faith and, specifically, to learn that adherence to faith supersedes adherence to culture. This is made clear in Chapter 2, Verse 170 and Chapter 5, Verse 104 of the Qur’an where it is demonstrated that following past cultural practices can prevent us from following Islam.

Regarding racism and interracial marriage, looking at the life of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) provides a solution and it will be very difficult for a believer to deny the risalah[2] and sunnah[3] after declaring belief in Muhammad (PBUH) as the servant and final messenger of Allah.[4] First, the second wife of the Prophet (PBUH) and mother to the believers[5] was Sawda bint Zam’ah and she was Black. Second, in the final sermon, the Prophet (PBUH) made it crystal clear that racism has no place in Islam, nor in the heart of the believer. Providing direct examples such as the above is a good method to shed light on facts when debating about faith versus culture.

[1] PBUH: peace be upon him.

[2] Risalah: messengership.

[3] Sunnah: the traditions and practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

[4] Allah: God.

[5] Qur’an 33:6