Saudi Arabia: Only Technically Married

She is an expatriate and married to a Saudi man…or is she?  During our conversation she stated that now she’s only married technically.  What does that mean exactly?  When and how does one go from being in love, happily married and then to have a marriage that barely exists in name only?  This woman has agreed to share her story.  Due to the sensitivity of her situation, her identity is protected.

To begin with, please introduce yourself.  Where are you originally from?  How did you meet your Saudi?

Hello, first of all I want to thank you for giving me the chance to talk with you American Bedu…I am a big fan of your blog. You do a wonderful job. I am a 53 year old from the Midwestern United States. I met my Saudi husband in the city I am from while he was in his third year of University.

How many years have you been married?

I have been married for 31 years.

Do you and your Saudi husband have children together?

Yes, we have 4 children.

Are you a Muslim?  Were you a Muslim prior to your marriage to your husband?  Do you feel he or his family pressured you to convert to Islam?

Yes I am a Muslim. I became Muslim the day I was married to my husband. I do feel as if he pressured me into converting too quickly. I wish I had followed my inner feelings and had studied the religion deeper before converting. Even though, I am very happy that I am a Muslim. I just feel as if it was such a struggle to have a new religion and not know much about it. My husband was not very helpful in explaining the many questions I had about my new religion. It was always that “I should just accept everything about it and not ask questions”. That is not the way I was raised. If I didn’t know the answer to something we were taught to ask questions until we found the answer.

How were you received by your husband’s family?

I was received with open arms initially… I was very welcomed. The problems started right away though. They obviously had thought I had came to the Kingdom because I wanted to be just like them.. That I must not have been happy with my life in the US and wanted to change my complete mind and soul… That was not the case at all!!!!!! My husband had promised me and my family a stay of 5 years and we would return to the US to live. That never happened. Every couple of years it was a different excuse as to why we couldn’t.

At what point did you and your husband’s relationship change?  What do you believe attributed to the change in the relationship?

Our relationship started to change about 5 years in. I suffered from major postnatal depression with my second daughter and had to be treated with medication. He never really understood what I was suffering with and didn’t really want to try and understand. The hurt that I felt from him was very difficult for me. I agreed after 9 years to have another child. I was really happy with my two daughters at that time but he really wanted another child and I agreed..After the birth of my youngest daughter things seemed to be better but then I delivered my son after 3 more years and things went down fast. I again suffered with the post depression.  He seemed to be jealous of my relationship with the children. He wasn’t happy because the children were not close to his family and he blamed me for it.

How would you describe the status of your relationship now?  What exactly does “technically married” mean?

My relationship now is very lonely. I am married but have had no intimacy for over 5 years now. He gives me no reasons as to why he has no interest in me. I say technically married because it is a marriage of financial convenience for me and my children. I also feel the children need their father in their daily life.

What do you see as your options for happiness?

My options for my happiness are very few at this point of my life. I am planning to finish my degree and also do my TESOL certification. I feel as if I am at a brick wall with him ever taking any serious steps in making our marriage better. My happiness is with my children and my beautiful granddaughter. I plan on spending more time with my family in the US more as soon as my younger ones are a little older. I look forward to that.

Do you feel that your life has become empty without having a relationship with your husband?

Of course, my marriage is very empty with no relationship and companionship with him. I do have a wonderful life though with my children. I thank God every day for those children.

What is a routine week for you?

A routine week for me is I teach English as a second language five days a week in an English Institute and private tutor three times a week on average. I spend time with my family and friends on weekends.

If the magic wand could be waved, what would you wish for?  What would you like for yourself at this time in your life?

I would wish for happiness and fulfillment. I would wish for a man who treats me like he loves me and adores me. I love to talk (as my friends all know!!!) and I would like a companion who likes to talk.

How are you supported?  How are your emotional and financial needs met?  What about children?

My husband is a good provider financially. I cannot complain about that. He takes very good care of my children and I and also his mother.

Do you feel there are many women who have married to Saudis and now find themselves in the “technically married” category?

Yes, there are many in worse situations than mine.. I know it could be worse.. I have been in this country for 30 years and I have seen a lot of marriages fall apart.

What is your advice to the starry-eyed woman who has met a Saudi outside of the Kingdom and is convinced he is the one?

My advice is not to marry a Saudi. Definitely do not marry him and come to the Kingdom to live. Do not have children for at least 5 years. Marriage is difficult in our own countries with our own men.. The difficulty is many times over as difficult with Saudi men.

How can a woman know that her Saudi is not going to change?

She cannot possibly know. He will change! He will tell you everything you want to hear just to get you to his country. It is permissible in their culture for them to lie. They think it is harmless to get what they need.

Looking back using hindsight, can you see any kind of warning indicators that your Saudi was changing and pulling away?

Oh yes, many warning signs. I was just in denial and wanted the marriage to work so badly. I really did marry my husband for love. I was so in love with him. He was my knight in shining armor. I just never wanted to let go of that but he chose to pull away and now here I am.

Are there any additional comments you’d like to add?

I again want to thank you. I hope my comments will help anyone who is considering marrying a Saudi. I’m sorry my comments have been very negative. I have been very honest. There are some good ones out there for sure but I don’t believe there are many.

I want to thank you for sharing with American Bedu and discussing such a sensitive topic.  I sincerely wish you all the best and that you do find happiness and peace in your life.


98 Responses

  1. […] original post here: Saudi Arabia: Only Technically Married « American Bedu Share and […]

  2. Awww, my heart hurts for her! 😦

  3. I just wanted to say thank you to the interviewee. I imagine it is not easy to share such personal information, even if it is anonymous. It is a good thing to gain advice from someone who has “been there, done that”. I’m just sorry she has gone through such difficulties. I hope that things get better over time for her.

  4. Thank you for sharing, i have only been in ksa for a just over a couple of months. I wondered at your choice of your magic wish, but you seem to have lost all hope that your husband would be the ‘man’would ‘treat you like he loves you”. There was a statement that caught my eye and hoped you would clarify: ” It is permissible in their culture for them to lie”, can you explain how you reached that conclusion as to be a cultural one and not a personal one?

  5. how is this problem supposed to portray saudi men ONLY? excuse me, but ALL men seem to lose interest eventually.. I dont get the point of showing an american’s experience with her saudi husband when MANY women all over the world have gone through already! it’s about MEN in general.. not SAUDI men in specific. I believe it’s unfair to shed light on this story to point fingers againt men here exclusively! thanks for sharing anyway!

  6. A Saudi Woman,,,

    While it is true that men all over the world can and do lose interest, the reason Saudi men are being highlighted is because the chances of a marriage working out with a Saudi man/foreign woman are rather dismal. If the woman moves to KSA and it doesn’t work out she has not only a divorce/bad marriage to contend with she has absolutely no recourse to turn things in her favor because the laws favor the man. That is why when a woman gets involved with a Saudi man she puts herself at a MUCH higher risk than with someone from her own culture and the reason Saudis are highlighted…it is a whole other level of dangerous for her due to all lack of rights.

  7. “There was a statement that caught my eye and hoped you would clarify: ” It is permissible in their culture for them to lie””

    I actually agree with this statement somewhat. My father (who is arab by the way) used to always tell me that in the middle east honor and saving face is more important than the truth. And the overused “inshaAllah” just adds to it enabling people to say things that they absolutely know will not happen or is not true just to save face.

  8. Best wished to your future, never lose hope. you’re life will see happiness .

    This could happen to anyone almost anywhere, except elsewhere she would have probably had more family support or failing that would have called it quits, split child custody and moved on with her life.
    how can you move on when you know you cannot see your kids again?

    That’s wht i try and explain to the young girls going around with a saudi, it’s a good chance you will bedumped when he leaves, and that’s a good thing, he’s showing his true colurs early on,. failing that if you marry and move there you give up a piece of yourself, which is ok too, once you have kids, then you are toast. but …
    There are honorable men and loving men andkind men and respectful men who do support their wives and love them , the society there makes it hard for them to show that side of them.. if you land one such you are blessed. plus there are so many cases of saudi/western combos who reside quite happily away fom saudi.

  9. Carol please email me regarding visiting in mid feb! 🙂

  10. *sigh* sad, yet another story of the same theme. 😦 I feel for the lady. If woman/girls knew then what a lot know now (thru this blog alone) maybe her life would be different. While marriage is never a guarantee for happiness it seems it’s even rarer with Saudi men. Saudi culture is IMHO almost too alien to a Western born and raised woman. Unless you become uber-muslim or salafi I doubt that it will work unless you are prepared to sacrifice yourself entirely. Because you NEVER (no matter where) marry with the intent to change another person. Won’t happen and you will end up unhappy. If you are no Muslim to begin with run… run fast and run far…. There are too many men in this world to subject yourself to misery for a slice of happiness.

    To all those in good relationships with Saudis you are lucky and part of perhaps 2% of all we hear. The only time I MIGHT agree to western/saudi is if you are like Carol older and wiser.

  11. i have a question. you say you are lonely and there is no intimacy for five years, don’t you think he feels the same way? all men want intimacy! is he getting it somewhere else? i appreciate reading real life experiences so i can learn from them, i hope. and i hope you can learn something from the feedback here from others that might ignite a spark in your marriage. i know what you said in the story is just a small example of the many years of marriage to give readers the idea of what your life is like. i woud like to point out that he is a good provider, he takes care of his family including” YOU.” to my knowlegde and experience with saudi men, if the guy doesn’t love his woman, he will not put a penny into her, and boot her out. he did not do that to you, so maybe there is something that can be fixed in the relationship. he obviously wants you here to stay. think about that one.

  12. @gia,

    U have a very nice point. I am a man who always fight for the right of women and justice. However, I am a man. I know what men like.

    One should keep himself in other’s toe and try to compromise and fix issues for the happiness of both. Men also need companion, love and care from wife.

    My dua with u – the lady in the topic. U might be trying hard to bring closeness but try to find out why he behaves so and what he likes and what he doesnt like. And tell him in convincing way to improve ur relationship and what u expect from him.

  13. He probably has another wife.

  14. Nothing brings people closer than respect and seeing the best in each other. Assuming the worst also brings upon contempt ( the culture that promotes lying!!). I fail to see how can any relation be respected if one sees the other as a liar by birth. Maybe that is where to start. Who would accept to be treated as a liar essentially especially by a wife?… can one imagine any empathy and trust there? would there be no offense taken?? and if that happens, would it not be a barrier??
    @ lark.. you are probably right

  15. Is your husband now with another woman???

  16. Sorry I have one more question…what are the warnings to look for in the change of the Saudi???? Can you tell them on the phone? Like if he’s there and you’re here?

  17. Confused,
    I didn’t ever notice any major changes in my Saudi based on who he was around so I don’t know that all of them do. However, one of my friends acts quite a bit different when he is at home versus when he is in a Western country. You may want to find out what his family is like, how they expect him to act, and how important his family’s opinion is to him. How different does he act when he is away from home? Is he being reasonable in his expectations of the future? Does he not only treat you well, but listen to your needs and priorities in a relationship as well? When you have a major argument, does he want to work through the problem together or does he assume the relationship is over? How does his behavior change after an argument or when you do something he disagrees with?

    Peer/family pressure and differences in culture may cause differences in how people act, generally speaking. Speaking from experience, I can tell you I dress and act a little differently depending on who I am around because of differences in culture, values, etc. There are topics I avoid around certain relatives just because it causes arguments. I dressed differently in the UK than I do when I’m at home in the US, and not solely due to weather differences.

  18. @ Strange One

    Thank you for answering ^_^, Yeah he’s different now that he’s back in KSA but in a way that I like cause it seems like he’s more of an adult (not to sound harsh about it, but it’s been nice lol) and more serious about getting married cause he’s involved our fathers now in it…which has been interesting :-/ but even though he has made steps to prove he’s more serious I feel like emotionally he’s more distant, but that could be due to the fact he’s far away. I’m going to Bahrain as soon (like within two weeks or three) so I’m trying to see what I should note as being warning signs. My dad (who is middle eastern) says I’m over reacting and being racist (since my mom is American he thinks I’m acting like an ugly American) but I just want to know what I’m getting myself into. I just want to be happy. I was very happy with him here, but I just want to know he won’t end up “flipping the switch” and I get myself into something I could have avoided had I been better prepared.

  19. SAME thing happened to a friend of mine who is Honduran and she married a guy from Abu Dabi. they met in college and lived in the states for a few years. Went back then returned for his graduate degree. They both fought a lot (even in front of me). They have 3 girls. Very beautiful. However, even with the fighting they loved each other. Weird I know. Once they returned to UAE things were ok for awhile and then one summer she returned to the states to visit a sister…came back to the ME to find out her husband married a local behind her back. They are still married but in name only. She lives in her home, he in her’s with the much younger wife and new son. She won’t divorce him because he would then take the girls. I know there are good Arab men out there but seems to me irregardless of the culture…there are men out there who are as cocky and selfish as all get out and will do as they please irregardless if their actions breaks their wife’s heart.

  20. Confused,
    I hope I helped somehow. I wish I could help more, but I really don’t have as much experience with this as others on here, so I hope more people answer your questions. I am glad that Marianna was also able to share her experiences.

    Although I’m open-minded about being in a relationship with someone from another country, I am a bit more selective of where I’d want to live based on both of our personalities, priorities, and life goals. If yours aren’t important to him (or vice versa), then that’d most definitely be a red flag.

  21. So when asked it (Islam), It was always that “I should just accept everything about it and not ask questions”.

    Actually that was a good, honest answer. The Quran says “O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which if made plain to you, may cause you trouble… Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.” (5:101-102)

    The BIG thing here is children. The most important thing any woman marrying a Saudi and going to SA has to know and remember is that her children really are NOT her children, but her husband’s.

    Think about that.


  22. this is a very nice blog post.. I am in a relationship with a saudi man who is planning to propose to me this september. He’s very open minded. and we work in the same hospital. He is really a good man and I really wanted to marry him but after reading this post. I have second thoughts.. hehehe

  23. Thank you, Carol, for sharing a tear-jerker of an interview!!! My heart goes out this American lady and I wish her the best that one day she can escape from the gulag.

    On a personal note, our daughter was going out with a saudi student, about six months ago, here in Seattle, Washington. Her mom and I did online search and came across American Bedu website and shared it with her.

    She did a lot research on your blog, Carol, and it opened her eyes a lot. She started asking a lot of questions of the saudi and he was very evasive. But our daughter was very persistent in her questioning and won’t let go.

    For example, he wanted her to go to a local mosque on a saturday to convert and get married, to keep their relationship halal (whatever that means). She told him that she doesn’t wanna convert until she has studied it thoroughly. Since he had mentioned a pre-nup agreement, she demanded to see it.

    We made an appointment to see a muslim attorney since the pre-nup agreement was in arabic. He took one look at and said it was not a pre-nup agreement but a temporary marriage certiificate or missar, for two years or the length of saudi’s stay in the US.

    Also about the same time, a saudi female student who was a friend of our daughter, did some checking on the saudi through her contacts back home. What she related to our daughter was horrifying ,,,, that he had two wives back home with four kids!!!!

    Obviously, our daughter was hurt and angry. Not only she broke off the relationship, she wrote the saudi embassy. To be fair, the embassy was very cooperative and listened to her plight and pursued
    the matter because, as they told her, it brought dishonor and disrepute to KSA. Anyway, they cancelled the scholarship and deported him back to saudi.

    Thank you, Carol, for saving our daughter!

  24. @ Jay, i don’t know where that came from, your comment on Islam. However, the verse does not mean that we don’t question our lives or our spouses!! The Quran in so many verses urges for observation and thought.
    Not to ask questions is about matters of religion that God had left generalized and didn’t specify . It has no reflection on every day life. PLEASE do not take verses out of context. Thank you

  25. Harry Guggen, Waw! What a scary story! You did very well though, looking up stuff, your daughter was very wise not to be pressured, she did very well getting the ”prenup” and having it translated.

    ”Halal” means it is allowed. Haram means not allowed. Misyaar is basically the same as the Shia mutah marriage which can be contracted for a night or however long/short you wish. Actually in Sunni islam it is forbidden but the clerics have bended the rules a bit to give men the opportunity for more booty calls while keeping everything ”halal”.
    It gives a man all the rights and a woman none, except the mahr. Mahr is money which the husband on marrying has to pay to the wife for sex and children. As far as I understand in a misyaar marriage the man does not have to pay for any resulting children’s upkeep, but they are his property if he wishes so. He doesn’t have to pay for the woman’s upkeep either, all she really has a right to is the mahr.
    And he doesn’t have to tell his other wives.
    So you see it’s in essence a prostitution deal.
    But of course perfectly religiously halal.

    Did he stipulate how much mahr he would be paying? Because for a minimum of two years sex-service, that is a minimum of 730 nights… Plus cooking etc…
    Personally I would ask something in excess of 6 digits…

    And you were amazingly lucky that you knew somebody who could and did check for you in KSA.

    Oh I am just too sick to imagine it! The lying P*g!!!
    Waw, I am so happy your daughter got all this information and got out of it!
    It is really good to read that your family did some good checks on the situation.

  26. @Harry,

    Thank you for sharing your daughter’s experience. Washington state and Oregon have been popular places of study for Saudi students.

    I’m glad to hear that your daughter had female Saudi friends and last but certainly not least, parents who also cared and stood by to support her, allowing her to also do her research through love and encouragement.

  27. @Harry,
    I’m so glad your daughter got clear of that guy.

    Actually Misyar can work- however you are correct in your discription of how in practice it is working. The way it can work FOR the woman is usually if she is divorced and wants to continue to live in her own home. She would want to do this because she can keep custody of her children from a previous marriage (it does happen). And of course she doesn’t have to marry an already married man. She can marry someone single.

    But as I said- what you are describing is sadly what it has become. Except I’m pretty sure the man can’t claim the children if he isn’t supporting them.

  28. Dr Nassef,

    I got my comment (quote) from the Quran. Note that I even gave book and verse.

    The quote is not about “question(ing) our lives and spouses” but Allah saying that Muslims should not ask questions or even use their brains. It was a reference to the text of the post where the Saudi tells the girl who was asking questions about Islam, not to ask questions.

    So, the verse was not “out of context”. I do not take verses out of context, because I am old school and I have actually read and studied the Quran. You say “that there are matters of religion” that are vague (Allah has left generalized). What are these? I though Muslims believed the Quran to be perfect and complete but you say that it is incomplete and confused. You could get in trouble for these heretic views!

    Also, please tell me exactly where Allah urges people (Muslims) to critically think about the dogma and content of the Quran. I must have missed those verses. Remember, Islam is always about ‘submitting” not rationalizing. What ever she is, Allah is not exactly a goddess of reason or coherence.

    Anyway, you are welcome. Take care.

    PS: Harry, I hope you had a talk with that young man, and I hope he will not remember it kindly. I hope he has decided to leave Washington.

  29. @ Jay. You used the verse of the Quran out of context.

    The verse points to question for which the answers may be distressing, and are not required for knowledge.

    SECOND. which is the real issue of all above: In the QURAN there are multiple references for observing and using ones mind and directions to think and READ.
    Islam is about submission to the CREATOR only, but never to any individual, not even the prophet. AGAIN another exercise of taking things out of context!!..


    During the golden period of islamic rule, and european dark ages, there was a great boost in research and inventions from surgery ( Zahrawy in andalus) to anatomy , astronomy, mathematics.even philosophy with a great boost in translation.
    @ Jay… speak of your own faith, not of what you have no knowledge of… or.. have the decency to hide your chauvinist attitude. it is not welcome.

  30. @ jay…you say: ” Allah saying that Muslims should not ask questions or even use their brains.”
    where did you find ” not to use their brains??
    When in so many verses the quran speaks specifically to those who have minds and thought ” thawy alalbab” , and in your selves dont you look ” afala tanzeorron” , and in another, dont you reason? ” afala taqeloon”.. those are all repeatedly read in the QURAN for those who REALLY read.
    THE first words in the QURAN was the order to READ. but you would not know that,

    i thank you to be honest and refrain from ignorant selective prejudice.

  31. @ Aafke
    You are right that in the original islam (sunni) this one day marriage is not considered a marriage, but has appeared in persian culture in the SHia way.
    The sunni (literally meaning those who follow the prophets teachings), way is that a marriage has to be forever, and there is no ‘bending’ as you think. Some marry for a week and leave, that is their problem and not allowed religiously at ‘intention’ level.
    The dowry, which is to give the wife a gift, is a custom in almost all ancient cultures, it can be diamonds, money, even property like a garden. It is much payment for “sex and children” as a diamond engagement ring!!
    But you don’t call a diamond ring payment for sex do you? Only if it were a muslim who does it right??

  32. Dr Nassef, I did read in another blog, and followed the links, and it is fact that all four schools of Islam consider mahr to be payment for sexual access. Without paying mahr a marriage is not valid.
    I believe a lot of modern couples who love each other would see it as a custom only, I have Muslim friends who only wanted a symbolic mahr, like a ring, but in Islamic jurisprudence Mahr is payment for sex.

  33. @Dr. Nassef

    “During the golden period of islamic rule, and european dark ages, there was a great boost in research and inventions from surgery ( Zahrawy in andalus) to anatomy , astronomy, mathematics.even philosophy with a great boost in translation.”

    There is absolutely no evidence that Islam was the underlying cause of the boost in research and inventions in all of the fields. The fact that it took place in a Muslim society does not mean that it happened because the society was Muslim.

  34. Dr Nassef, the blog post where I read this, includes quotes from Islamic jurisprudence,
    It is not me who names mahr as payment for sex, it is Islamic law, of all four schools, which defines it so.

    Marriage gifts are widespread some cultures have to pay the groom to induce him to take one of their worthless children, a girl…
    Or girls are considered such a valuable asset to the family that the groom will have to recompense the family for the loss of their daughter.
    Or in matriarchal societies the man comes to live with the wife and her family.
    I don’t know all cultures and religions on earth, but Islam is the only one I know of where it’s laws specifically name a payment for sexual access in the marriage rules.

    I am amazed that you are unaware of this fact. Or do you just want to pull the veil over our eyes? Just one single google search for ”Mahr marriage sex” will get you a plethora of Islamic sites explaining Islamic law, mahr, and it’s function as payment for sexual access.

  35. Sandy, I know in Iran the temporal marrigae law is used for both prostitution and girlfirend/boyfriend relationships. In Saudi Arbia as well now that the sunni scholars allowed it. However I don’t consider it Islamic. It is a violation of the few rights women have in an islamic marriage.

    I read different stories too of a more decent use of the system, a woman business woman and her beloved, both wanted to keep their work and houses and it worked fine for them, but they were both older and well settled.
    Another was a young woman who agreed to become a misyaar wife to an older man so she could work and have her own apartment and be independent.

    Although I am not sure if I do not consider the last case a form of prostituting ones self for the basic rights of living on your own and holding a job. In a decent country no woman would have to sell her body to an older man in exchange for these freedoms.

  36. In the case of Harry’s daughter is was a blatant con-trick. Let the girl believe she is properly and decently married while all the time the man has deceived her.
    A very low dastardly trick.
    And I think she was lucky he tried it, because if it was a proper marriage he could also have gotten out of it very simply by telling her three times she was divorced while he was packing her bags, (I think Islamic marriage is almost a joke when it comes to the woman’s rights) but I supposed he did not even want to give her that much.

  37. I’ve got to defend Islamic marriage here….I believe that the majority of Islamic marriages, to include those among and with Saudis, are true, just and honest. Naturally it is always the exceptions and bad apples which make the news.

    I guess I should also add my own disclosure though in that I do not view a misyar marriage as an Islamic marriage.

  38. @ Aafke. The story above is a very dishonorable and dishonest one. Little wonder he was deported back to his country.
    In islam, marriage is called ‘nkah’, the word can also be understood to mean sex, for which there is yet another word. However, ‘nkah’ has always meant marriage which includes sex, but is not about it. It is not payment for sex like in prostitution, which your words not only implied, but explained it as such.
    As i did explain, it can be something substantial or very symbolic as a present to the wife. It can be to teach her a few Quranic verses. Would you percieve that also as a “payment for sex’ or as a dowry? Remember we are talking about marriage and not a one night stand!

  39. @ Aafke, just a correction in what i previously wrote. I wrote that in islam, marriage is called nkah. Correctly it should read: in arabic, it is called as such.
    I would like to add that to my mind, many misunderstanding between people stem from a problem in communication, and between cultures it stems from translations that can never depict the real depth of meaning of a word. In english the word “sex’ brings to mind the act, in arabic the word ‘nkah’ brings to mind the word of marriage.
    The problem lies with the perception of the word that forms the real meaning .

  40. @ American Bedu
    According to muslim scholars, any marriage should entail no intention of a time limit. The intention is a long life commitment, that is why they are against it (sunni as opposed to shietes). If a time limit is allowed, then it could end up to be one day or a few hours, which really would make it ‘payment for sex’ or ‘legal prostitution” as Aafke described. NO marital certificate will have this in writing, the time limit i mean, however hidden agendas are always there, and humans are no angels.

  41. @ Aafke i looked at the hatred site you posted to smear islam… i really am sorry that that is where you take your knowledge from. Not how i perceived you.
    It makes marriage a form of sex.. i think that is SICK!
    I dont know about you, but in eastern societies, marital couples do have sex… maybe they dont in yours?? Marriage is an establishment and it is pulling the veil over peoples eyes to restrict it to a petty sexual act. REALLY!!

  42. I was not going to comment on the topic of mahr because it has been discussed before and people still don’t get it and its not worth to talk on it again.

    However I would like to point out that the sites that Aafke mentioned are hardly an authority on the subject. One of them cannot be even called a Shia site (as it seems to be) but it is obviously false site. The other one by STW is anti-islamic. There are no references made at all. I remember she once said her source is her husband. And that is supposed to make it accurate?

  43. i have more respect for the one who at least tries to get married before the sex act, long term or short.

    and i have more respect for the prostitute, she, at least, got paid for IT.

    western girls give it away for free…one night, two nights, maybe six months…free free free. and she probably made his meals too…

  44. Gia, I never looked at it that way … lol!

    So does that mean western girls make sex cheap or maybe even themselves?

  45. lol…i don’t know….just keep legs

  46. Dr Nasser,

    I went back and read the text again. My position is correct. It is a clear reference to faith, even if not clear as to what kind of “questions” are referenced. Certainly many things relating to Islam may cause distress to Muslims, but does that mean that Muslims should not reflect on serious moral issues? If a thing causes distress, blame Allah for that, not me.

    As to your “SECOND. which is the real issue of all above: In the QURAN there are multiple references for observing… “ well, then please provide a few of these references. Don’t worry about causing distress – I can handle it.

    As to your statement “Islam is about submission to the CREATOR only, but never to any individual, not even the prophet” – you obviously have not read the Quran. Your prophet, for all practical purposes, is co-god with Allah. If you read down a few lines in the text (5.104), you find that Muslims are told to “Come to what Allah hath revealed; come to the Messenger”. In fact, as other regulars here at AmBebu know, I can make a pretty good case that Mohammad and Allah are a sort of partners, because the Quran clearly gives the same attributes to Mohammad that it gives to god (for example “to obey the prophet is to obey Allah”). There are also this: 1. Muslims care only about Mohammad – I have never seen a Muslim raise a finger to defend poor Allah. 2. When it comes to a choice between conflicting commands from Allah and the prophet, Muslims will always choose to obey Mohammad. Poor Allah!

    As to the golden period of Islam, in Andalusia and Bagdad, note that these were far from the spiritual center of Islam, Mecca – and these had the cooperation of Jews, Christians, Persians, Byzantines, etc… As soon as the traditional, salafi Islam became ascendant, theses culture went into decline. Islam, in its purist form, is essentially sterile. What we see today is a return to the teachings and actions of your prophet, as argued by Ibn Taymiya, a jurist greatly admired by radicals today. Note that since you like history, consider the case of the great polymath Ibn Rushd (called Averroes in the West). His ideas regarding freedom and reason were rejected by the Caliph and the orthodox Muslim establishment, and soon the golden age of Islam turned to iron, rusty at that. Any way, after him, it was downhill. So, Taymiya up, Rashd down – that is the story if Islam, particularly today.

    Don’t worry about my knowledge of Islam. I’m ok and doing fine. As to my right to have an opinion, or not, how typical of a Muslim to say that. Oh yes, lets not have an opinion – and then you wonder why the Muslim world is so full of repression, intolerance and corruption. Ibn Taymiya would be proud of you.

    As to being welcome here, that’s up to Carol. So far, she has put up with this old man. I think she like a good fracas. Anyway, she seems to be one level-headed, realistic, fair, independent minded gal (I will stop here because she is blushing!). Also, it may be that other commenters here don’t mind reading divergent opinions, even if they don’t agree with them. I certainly don’t.

    Tchau! JK

  47. Gia, I don’t understand how you can consider a marriage based on a lie about it’s intended short duration to be more honorable.
    The only thing it would have provided was a kind of easing of concience for the bguy. It would make the whole situation a lot worse for the girl. I see nothing honorable in that, I think a ”marriage” based on such a one-sided lie, just to ease the ”conscience” of selfish lying … and which we know would seriously hurt the girl, is a hundred times more despicable as having just sex where both partners know what they are up to.

    I think misyaar could actually be good for women if it was based on a more fair set of rules. Like women can divorce the misyaar husband by saying three times ”you are divorced” and why not allow more husbands like men are allowed as many misyaar marriages as they want? After all, there is nothing Islamic in the rules of misyaar marriage in the first place, so I don’t see why there could not be equality at least in misyaar marriage.

    Nr Nassef, Like I said: you google and you will find that in Islamic jurisprudence, mahr is literally understood as payment for sexual access.
    So I don’t see why you should get so upset about it.
    Except that it is rather sordid of course.

  48. Oh, Jay, the same topic comes again. After a detailed reply before, you completely ignored it and changed the topic. And now you are here back saying the same things. It gets kind of boring. What is the point of explaining if its not going to stick.

  49. ‘western girls give it away for free…one night, two nights, maybe six months…free free free. and she probably made his meals too…’

    gia, that’s hilarious! and very true!

    as for the original post here…i really feel for this lady. i can relate as i am suffering with the same problem but i have decided to leave my husband. it will be damned difficult and i don’t want to go out and work again, especially with young children but i’ve had enough. i cannot imagine spending the rest of my life with a man i do not love and who does not respect me. even if that means being alone for a while, perhaps a long while, until i find someone more suitable for me.

    allah does not want us to suffer. we make ourselves suffer. we often force ourselves to be unhappy just so we’re not alone.

    well, i’m not scared to be alone anymore. and i’m not scared to end my failing marriage anymore. i get sad and angry about the sacrifices i must make but i want to make the effort to improve my life and make things better for me and my children. i hope the author of this post can do the same, insha allah.

  50. all i know is that i have my laptop sitting on the couch eating bread pudding and enjoying reading everything going on in the bedu world…lol

  51. now i think her husband has another wife, because she is not responding/saying “he does not.” to bad, but i still think he cares for her.

  52. It never fails to impress me how nonMuslims have taken that extra effort to learn about Islam what Muslims couldn’t be bothered too.

    All this information is out there people…you won’t learn it at the Friday prayere where the status quo is worshipped. You won’t learn it at your halakas where the status quo is venerated. You won’t learn it at the foot of your most trusted imam…unless he/she has bothered to look beyond the iron constructed box of Islamic Doctrine…and went searching for the truth.

    Why so fearful of the truth? Muslims claim again and again that Truth is everything and that Islam has it. The beginning and end of Truth is in Islam…and yet…when an alternative look at history is shown..when an alternative translation of an “accepted” ayat is given…when an alternative understanding to even the smallest bit of “knowledge” is put out there…the reaction is predictable.

    Finger pointing, name calling, motives called into question….and and and.

    To all Muslims, and I say this with the most humble feeling possible, shut up and read. I promise it won’t hurt.

    Well maybe a little.

    I’m not saying that reading will make you give up being Muslim…I’m just saying that knowledge is a powerful thing (a quote I believe along those lines) and that your argument could be so much better when you know what the hell your talking about rather than resort too the usual list of those previously mentioned actions.

    Now if this doesn’t pertain to you…then don’t take it personal. If your a closeminded, proud, can’t be taught a thing cause you know it all Muslim…then shut up and go read a book on Islamic history. The easiest thing in the world to do to improve your argument (such as it is) is to read. Such an easy thing..and so little time spent doing it among the followers of the Truth.

    Now…let the battle begin. 🙂

    btw Jay…agree totally

  53. I hope they can still work things out although it seems it’s been going on for a long time..
    The thought of a second wife came to my mind also.

  54. @Gia

    “western girls give it away for free…one night, two nights, maybe six months…free free free. and she probably made his meals too…”

    It seems to be a point of honor with you that a woman must be compensated for providing sexual access. If you view your “it” as a commodity, then by all means, you should definitely hold out for the highest bidder. Ask for as much as you can while the bidding is good. With so much couch-sitting and bread-pudding-eating, I can’t imagine the goods will continue to fetch top dollar for very long – top buyers do ask for top quality after all.

  55. nn
    i was referring to the bedu blog and sitting with comfort food and reading…i like doing that when i’m alone. i don’t know what you mean by “it “being a commodity…? are you saudi?

  56. @Gia

    Let me break this down for you…You say you respect the ones who got married before sex – long or short term. You say you would respect a prostitute more – at least she got paid. Stupid western girls, in the meantime, give it away for free. Your view of sexual relations appears to be that a woman gives, a man takes. If he takes, he better pay, the more the better, with a ring or with money. Girls who “give” sex for free are stupid. Yes?

    Here is a really novel concept: a woman doesn’t “give” anything to a man when they have sex. The man doesn’t “take” anything from a woman when he has sex with her. Both people come together to have a good time. They both give and both receive.

    But then I live in the West where sexual experience in women is not penalized nor is it a barrier to successful marriage at the time of woman’s choosing.

    I am not Saudi, just married to one. Does it matter? Does being Saudi give you special insight into matters of sexual commerce?

  57. Actually gia, you do make the point that women have sex to sell as a valued commodity and that they are stupid for giving it away for free.
    A prostitutes is better for she gets money for her assets is what you said
    You also imply that ”virginity” is a valuable asset and should be kept for… what? the right price?
    So yes, you have made very clear that to you sex is for sale, and a girl better make sure she gets the highest price possible, because that is what women are, sex machines who have to sell themselves for money and upkeep.

    Thank you for sharing this enlightening insight in how some people can think about women and sex.

    You have to try and understand, not all humans consider sex something which has to be exchanged for money and goods or otherwise you are an idiot…

  58. thanks
    i really enjoy the comments. no offending/offended on my part just my thoughts/opinions coming out…

  59. NN, nice comment, I agree with everything.

    Sure gia. It is when people speak their opinions, especially about these kinds of subjects that one can understand them and place them.
    I am really sorry you have such sordid and mercenary opinions on women and sex, on the other hand it explains a lot.
    We understand each other better now.
    I appreciate you explaining your way of thinking.

  60. Gia, I understand from all you’ve written that women’s value is basically in their virginity and what they get paid for sex (either in money, stuff or marriage) However I have to take issue to your statement.
    “western girls give it away for free…one night, two nights, maybe six months…free free free. and she probably made his meals too…”

    I understand this is your view- and completely disagree. Some western girls don’t give it away at all. Some do. Some Arabs girls do, some don’t. Some Muslims women do- some don’t. Some women as NN pointed out are sharing an experience with the person of their choice.

    I don’t view “being for sale” as any sort of moral advantage over people mutually sharing an experience.

  61. Sarah, you are right about the off-topic thing. I’ll try to be more focused in the future. However, please be kind enough to advise your Muslim friends that the old “you don’t know nothing” and “you cannot have an opinion” comments really, really irritate me. If they start that crap with me, they will get it back. As you know, I think it very important that Muslims hear things they do not like to hear, and why. Maybe they will start to think. Maybe.

    I have been watching events in Egypt closely and have neither read nor responded to any, if any, comments below to my post above. If Dr Nassef has any futher comment about how we infidels are stupid and ignorant and have no right to do this or that, then I will repond . Muslims such as the good Doctor need to understand that they have no right to silence others or demand special treatment. They have problem and it isn’t non-Muslims or even “out of context”.

    As to marriage, it is very complicated. I do know that there are many things in Islam (quran and hadith) that devalue women and leave them exposed to abuse and abandonment. I see little of the valued man-woman relationship that comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition in Islam (or better, should come).

    And yes, the West has lost its mind and soul. By trashing the traditional concept of marriage and family they have done great harm to themselves and others. For 10,000 years the family unit has been the basis of civilization – from East to West, from Egypt and Mesopotamia to the 1960s, and our generation has flung this away. Mark my words, we will pay for this, we are paying for it. Was that on-topic enough?

    One last thing. Marriage is about a man and a woman. Mothers, fathers, religions, social experts and Hollywood should leave them alone to work it out as equals. Anybody – Christians, Athiests, Muslims, Hindus, Black, white, purple, Taxi-drivers, democrats, bloggers – can have a good marriage. All they have to do is put their spouse first, above themselves, above religion, race, politics, parents, and so on.

    If one must change a religion to marry, the other is marrying the religion, not the person.

    You take care. JK

  62. Coolred, thank you for your words. I share your sentiment. The close-mindedness of Muslims is beyond belief. It seems that at times they will believe and do anything as long as it is “Islamic”.

    My guess is because Islam is suppossed to be “perfect” they cannot concede any error, supidity or evil in any text, dogma or even in the life and actions of their prophet. So then they have to find some excuses or somebody to blame.

    By the way, Gia, where were all those Western girls “just giving it away” when I was young? I must have missed them. Darn it!

  63. ha ha
    come on now, you guys are to serious.
    here is a, if you guys have daughters and some are married to arabs, will you make sure that they don’t recieve their so called money/dowry even IF she wants it. or do you care if she is sexually active as a teenager. when i was in 8 grade we had two girls prego. in high school same thing..nowadays girls and boys are doing it more in that age range…
    i don’t see anything wrong with a dowry…gifts are wonderful to recieve…i give to my kids, friends, and family…i do know people who are not the gift giving type. ugh on them.

  64. @jay
    those girls were in my school…lol

  65. one more thing i forgot to mention.
    when a man goes to meet the girl for the first time that he is interested in or someone wants him to marry, he will take a gift. most likely a piece of jewerly, and if he likes her, he will give it to her then and there, and that shows he likes her.
    i don’t get why nobody likes the gift giving thing…did everyone here not recieve gifts as a child? candy from parents when they come home…something, anything, big, small??

  66. Gia,
    First, I want to say thank you for sharing your opinion. I know it’s not always easy to share an alternative/opposing point of view.

    If I had a teenage child that was having sex, I’d sit down and talk with her about all the possible consequences of her actions, forms of protection, etc. Exactly how I reacted would depend on her age and the situation. I would hope that I had raised her well enough over time for her to make wise decisions as a teenager.

    Of course I wouldn’t have a problem with gift-giving. 🙂

    It’s not the gift-giving thing that people were having problems with. It is the concept of giving goods/finances in exchange for the right to have possession of another human being. It may be more customary than anything else now, but this concept of dowry/bride payment is what people are having problems with. Although, in a lot of western cultures, there is the exchanging of rings and signing of the marriage contract, which is based off of a similar principle.

    Also, the concept of a virgin being worth more or less than someone who has had sex for whatever reason IMO is a shallow way to see it. I think there are much more important concepts to consider, such as how loving and respectful the person is, generally speaking. There are different opinions on the morality of this, which has been shown by the range of comments.

    I have heard of a couple that waited to have sex until they were married and wished that at least one of them was more experienced, although I’ve heard of couples that were extremely happy they waited to have sex until they were married. Different people will see things differently based on who they are and their experiences in life.

    For instance, I see marriage as being a legally binding, contractual agreement. Some people are in committed relationships for years and never legally marry but are more committed to each other than some married couples. So for me, sex should remain in the confines of a committed relationship. There is no guarantee that the relationship will work out long term whether or not it is legal, but the legality of marriage does tend to make people think twice before leaving their significant other.

    FYI: I’m an American that didn’t even date/court anyone at all until I was in my early 20s.

  67. Jay, I agree with you and understand how irritating it can be with some Muslims’ holier than thou attitude. It also works the other way, when non-Muslims read things with biased views and then attack Muslims with their (mis)understanding. How wonderful it would be if that bias can be removed with a Muslim’s proper response. First impressions do really make an impact. The first time you read on a topic, the impression that forms in your mind will stick and it will be hard to re-form the thoughts. But not impossible.

    I wasn’t talking about you being off-topic but that whatever misconceptions you or others have, when corrected, it does not seep in and they place the same misconceptions on the table again. So it makes me wonder if it really is a misconception or just a bashing tool or a weapon to be used when irritated. 🙂

    Some people understand things in different ways. Islam is perceived differently and it depends on the person’s personality, background, exerperience… etc. I believe we should be more open-minded so that we can share knowledge for the sake of understanding better and not to be biased or for bashing. This would be more productive in sharing thoughts and knowledge, yes?

    And right, marriage is about the couple concerned but getting help from other’s experience is not a bad thing; in fact young people can be naive or love-struck; they can’t think beyond that special person. The world revolves around them and they can make bad decisions. So what’s wrong with help from here and there. Yes people can change religion just for the sake of marriage and I agree that this is not right. I was at that point once in my life – well – someone wanted to change because of me and it did not work out. You see when you are so much in love, you can’t see clearly. Hmmm…

    Take care …

  68. Mahr is not different from a wedding band in that it signifies the bound, the acceptance, the assurance…etc. It is for the bride – for her expenses that she might need for the wedding. She can keep the mahr or use it as she wants. Mahr is not always money; it can even be knowledge, a verse from the Quran.

  69. Sarah,
    I think that knowledge as a wedding gift is a very sweet thing. 🙂

  70. Yes, StrangeOne, it is. 🙂

    BTW I meant “bond” not “bound”. Sorry for that.

  71. I think it is great that Sarah mentioned that the mahr (dowry) can be even a verse of the Quran. Islamically the man is to give whatever is within his means.

    I can see how the idea of giving cash in exchange for someones lifelong company does not sit well with some. It may seem as if it is a regular purchase anyone would make. But it really is just a gift. My mahr when I married was my wedding band and engagement ring, because that is what was good for us at the time.

    There are instances where the mahr is abused or is exorbitantly high. But in most cases it is just a gift for the woman to buy or to keep for whatever she would like.

  72. I have been told many times that I was not Islamically married as my ex never gave me a maher of any kind. Matter of fact…he never even mentioned that the giving of a maher was an essential component to Islamic marriages etc. Experience has taught me that not informing the nonMuslim gal that she is entitled, and is a legal requirement, that some form of a maher must be exchanged..and he MUST state that this is the maher (not pick something randomly later when confronted about it and say…oh that was that thing I bought you…whatever)…then the validity of your halal marriage may be questionable…if you give such things validity to begin with that is.

  73. I was told apart fomr being a wedding gift ,mahr is also in case you get divorced, there’s a nest egg for you, since all he has to provide is 3 months of alimony.

    I’d suggest those of you living in a western country with some semblance of equall rights, to get a civil marriage or something recognized by the courts. that way you are not stuck with 3 months support and nothing else, at the very least when you split you’ll get half of what you own together. I’ve seen many a woman married islamically jerked around by her bitter spouse and 3 moths of alimony.

  74. @gia,

    “if you guys have daughters and some are married to arabs” — good lord lets hope it doesn’t come to that , my daughters arab father would have a Fit if she moved away to saudi 🙂

    as for teens being sexually active, parents care, arab,indian,american,british .. you name it no parent want a sexually active 16 yr old girl/boy…. this is not exclusive to arab’s or middle east.
    A lot of their values comes from their home environment, i can safely say my daughter is not sexually active, and she is growing up inthe wild wild west. It all coems down to education, values and what they expect from themselves.

  75. “I think it is great that Sarah mentioned that the mahr (dowry) can be even a verse of the Quran. Islamically the man is to give whatever is within his means”

    Uhh, quite frankly if all a man can afford is an islamic verse or some other ridiculousness he shouldn’t be getting married in the first place.

  76. what about after the marriage has settled in and the couple have been together for two or three years…does the wife not want a gift from her husband at anytime..for some people gift giving shows the person is thinking of the other…i’m just hooked on the presents thing. i like it. hehe

  77. Look, this isn’t about gifts. Nobody claims it isn’t nice to give and receive gifts.

    You were very clear in your opinion: sex is a woman’s asset and men should pay for it. She should keep her sexual favors to herself until a man comes along willing to pay the right price. You said prostitutes are better than women/girls having sex with the men they love because a prostitute at least gets paid.

    The giving of ”gifts” is an entirely different subject.

  78. It was also never about the dowry. It was about your views that western girls just “give it away” for free in contrast to, among other things a temporary marriage where the man sets up a nice appartment for her, for their year together. That is called being a Mistress. It is not respectful. It is more respectful for non-married equals to have a mutual relationship based on respect rather than a man buying sex with a woman.

    This is something that I’ve noticed among pro-polygamy people as well (not all just most). Marriage seems to be about sex. Buying the bride or buying more than one bride. But there is nothing about a relationship. Very sad.

    Of course everyone loves gifts. Even men love them.

  79. I don’t know what I love better, getting them or giving them! 😀

  80. Since some of the talk has been on value of virginity I’m adding my own two cents worth. I believe virginity is the greatest gift a husband and wife can give each other outside of a child. For once virginity has been gone it can never be given again, therefore to me, it is meant to treasured and saved and given proudly at marriage.

    I disagree with the mahr be given as a promise to teach a bride the quran. The mahr is important ‘bride money’ for the bride which is to be her’s free and clear. In fact many Islamic marriage contracts the imam will reject if a ‘bride price’ is not listed.

  81. I am against the whole concept of virginity, it is a male concept, it has to do with ownership. It’s not both men and women! It’s about women
    It’s hung around women’s neck as a mill stone.
    And if something happens to that holiest of holy divinely worshiped piece of imaginary skin then she is as best valueless, and at worst has to be murdered to save ”honor”.

  82. Carol, You and your beloved Abdullah had both given that precious gift of virginity to others as you had both been married before. Do you honestly think that that took something away from what you shared together?

  83. I do think virginity is an important thing to give to a spouse- HOWEVER I don’t think it is nearly as important as people (usually men) make it. Lynn has a good point- what about second marriages? Some of those are much better than the first ones.

    Generally speaking, no one is a virgin after the wedding night so it is a pretty fleeting thing in a marriage. I think faithfulness is far more important- and much harder to give.

    The Mahr as a verse from the Quran is straight out of Hadith. Although I tend not to be very hadith-bound, it is an accepted orthodox Islamic view.

  84. o.k
    can anyone explain the purpose of the hymen.

  85. Sure gia, there is no purpose.
    A percentage of women do not even have a hymen. So or one which is very small.
    Only 43% of women actually bleed on first intercourse.
    So it can never be used as ”proof” of virginity.
    I suppose it could also depend on how bad the man is as a lover.

    In the normal course of life, the hymenal opening can also be enlarged by tampon use, pelvic examinations with a speculum, regular physical activity (particularly horseback riding), or sexual intercourse.
    Once a girl reaches puberty, the hymen tends to become so elastic that it is not possible to determine whether a woman uses tampons or not by examining her hymen. In one survey, only 43% of women reported bleeding the first time they had intercourse, indicating that the hymens of a majority of women are sufficiently opened.

  86. oh

  87. “Uhh, quite frankly if all a man can afford is an islamic verse or some other ridiculousness he shouldn’t be getting married in the first place”

    I see your point. I also believe a person should be able to financially support a family as well.

    Regarding mahr in Islam. There is a difference of opinion regarding the amount of mahr and what it can be, according to the different schools of thought within Islam. Some scholars defined mahr as a mininmum of 10 dirhams, others such as Ibn Qayyyim have defined it as, anything that has value, whether something material or not. In Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (narrations of Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) he said, “Search for something, even if it is a ring made of iron.” There are also instances throughout Islamic history which have shown the permissability of accepting other than money or property as a mahr.

    An example: Abu Talha Ibn Thabit wanted to marry Om Salaym (a convert from madina). She told him that she would only marry a Muslim man. She told him that if he were to truly accept Islam then she would accept his conversion as her mahr. You can check the story out if you’d like:

  88. “Generally speaking, no one is a virgin after the wedding night so it is a pretty fleeting thing in a marriage. ”

    I would also add that sex with virgins is awkward and unsatisfactory, a view with which my husband concurs. I’d rather receive them fully trained, if you know what I mean. That’s just my preference.

  89. In the normal course of life, the hymenal opening can also be enlarged by tampon use, pelvic examinations with a speculum, regular physical activity (particularly horseback riding), or sexual intercourse. Once a girl reaches puberty, the hymen tends to become so elastic that it is not possible to determine whether a woman uses tampons or not by examining her hymen. In one survey, only 43% of women reported bleeding the first time they had intercourse, indicating that the hymens of a majority of women are sufficiently opened.

    I wanted to remark on Aafke’s comment as I believe that the perspective is much more applicable to the Western world. The average Saudi girl will not ride a bike, have a chance for horseback riding, does not have PE in school and will never use a tampon. As a result she is going to have heavy and painful periods and likely a tight hymen.

    I’m old fashioned…unless a woman has been married before, I think she should remain chaste. Even if a woman has been married before, the physically merging of lives, in my view, is also more special with waiting although it is more of symbolism since it is unlikely the woman is a virgin then.

  90. Just wanted to respond to Jay’s remarks regarding Surah 5:101-102:

    The Quran, just like the Bible, must be taken in context. You cannot simply lift a verse from the text and make conclusions about it. I imagine Christians would not be happy if that were done to the Bible (i.e. when Jesus says that he comes not to bring peace but the sword and to turn families against each other).

    When reading the Quran (and the Bible), you need to always look at what was happening in history at the time when that particular verse or chapter was revealed in order to understand what is being referred to.

    In this particular verse, prophet Muhammad was being asked questions about people’s personal information (trying to test him) and about their futures. Some began asking him if they or their relatives would be in heaven or hell, and at this point the verse was revealed. The verse is telling people to avoid seeking knowledge about their futures, because it could cause them to become disbelievers. If someone knew now that they were going to end up in hell, or go through some hardship, they might just give up at that moment and proceed down the wrong path willingly.

    It’s basic common sense l to look at the context before passing judgment on a small snippet of information. If you want to know the truth about something, just be honest with yourself first. You’d want someone to do the same to you and your beliefs, no?

  91. Quote: “The verse is telling people to avoid seeking knowledge about their futures, because it could cause them to become disbelievers.”

    Hum? Does that mean that Muslims, when they find out they are going to hell, would leave islam? I would hope that a small matter such as a warmer climate would not cause them to lose faith!

    Sakina, I am just pulling your leg. Still, your explanation makes no sense and the quote is not out context. Also, watch out for Sarah. You are off – topic and she gets really, really upset when people do that. She will be looking for you and she will not be smiling. I learned my lesson so I am going to close this with the word ‘marriage’.

  92. I see that islam has been put on trial here. As a muslim, let me explain and this will be the last time, those who want to believe for self -serving purposes are totally free to remain bliss in their ignorace, but please.. dont impose it on others, if you really want to know, then read from sources not from haters:

    FIRST: islam is for seeking knowledge, using your mind and senses, as mentioned before. If you dont understand arabic then get a reliable (nonbiased view) from authentic knowledgable sources.

    SECOND: Dowry or mahr is a condition for marriage. it can be tons of gold or simply teaching the wife Quranic verses or even an iron ring. It is about giving the wife-to-be a present. It is as much about SEX as marriage itself is.

    THIRD: Chastity was considered all around the world as an essential trait, hence sex would only be considered under marital conditions, approved by the church and/or the community as witness. To be a virgin means that the person simply has not yet married (had sex). Religiously, this is of utmost importance. Sex in essence is having babies. Those are humans and have their needs, a father a mother and a family. To call for ‘free sex’ is to have babies with no reliability of their ancestry. Culturally and religiously in the middle east this is looked down upon and considered below human standards.
    @ Jay… you seem to enjoy your hate and ignorance…if you read you will find how many inventions and discoveries were achieved during the islamic era in all fields of science. Up to you to remain obstinate or to be open minded… either way i dont really care..

  93. Dr. Nassef…sex, in essence, is having babies???? I’m sorry but you are mislead about the purpose of sex. Sex feels good, releases pent up emotions, reduces stress, gets the blood pumping, makes one feel young….and and and. We crave sex like we crave water and food. It is a basic body requirement.

    The fact that sometimes babies result from sex is a consequence of it…but since not all sex leads to pregnancy ALL the time then, NO, sex is not essentially about having babies.

    Culturally and religiously, the middle east partakes in many actions that would not please God no matter how you try and stretch the mind around it…demanding women remain chaste is so men can claim ownership to that space between her has nothing to do with some higher moral ground about ensuring all babies know who their ancestors are.

    Personally I’ve never seen the importance of knowing who your great great so and so was…how does that affect your life NOW?

  94. Dr Nassef, actually it has not always been the norm to get all excited about virginity.
    In a matriarchal society a child’s heritage is based on his/her mother’s line, the father’s is less important. And you always know who the mother is!
    In ancient Egypt there was not even a word for virginity, as they were not obsessed with it as some religions/cultures are today.
    So while it was not really encouraged to be unwed and have a baby it didn’t render a girl worthless, on the contrary, it did prove her fertility, and the Egyptians were obsessed with fertility.

    In ancient Europe the church only started meddling in people’s marrying in the early middle ages. When the church leaders realized that that was the only important part of people’s lives they weren’t controlling, they started a propaganda campaign, that ”Only God can sanction marriage”. Of course this counted only for the wealthy, the church used their power to let them pay heavily and used it to gain control over alliances.

    Religions, all religions, are man-made and serve a religious elite and suppress the rest. Marriage, virginity, and their importance are not universal, but directed by the current religion and how far the constructors and leaders of those religions want to take their influence and power over peoples lives.

    Sex, as a recreational activity, is quite unique to humans and the higher primates. We have more sex drive than other animals. We can also beget children in any time of the year unlike most other animals.
    Actually, while a woman’s sex drive is influenced somewhat by her cycle, (which runs every month and not once a year) it does not prevent women from enjoying sex at any time of her cycle, or feeling sexy at any time of her cycle, and not only at the moment best suited for conception like most other mammals.
    In this way humans and their appetite for sex are quite unique on the planet.
    Most humans consider sex extremely pleasurable and really like doing it, actually preferably without children resulting from doing it, hence the centuries long inventions of methods to prevent it.

    There are cultures who consider an orgasm to be a gift from god, or the gods, that a really good orgasm brings you closer to the divine than anything else.
    One can look at sex in a very different way than the current Abrahamic religions want us to look at it.
    btw, I find the stance of the Abrahamic religions on sex to be extremely unhealthy and unnatural.
    Our nearest relatives, the Bonobono’s (a subspecies of Chimpanzee even more closely related to us as the Chimps) spend most of their time having sex, the say ”sorry” by having sex, they say ”I like you” with having sex, they have sex all the time.

    So it seems that if we were ”designed” by a God, this omnipotent being has designed us to like sex, to get enormous pleasure out of sex, and we even have been designed with the brains to invent stuff to prevent us from having too much children while still indulging in a lot of divine sex.

    So any logical conclusion would be that we are made to be very sexual beings, that we are meant to enjoy our sexuality as God intended, and that we are supposed to have lots of sex and enjoy it.
    And all these religiously inspired hang-ups and fobia’s over ”virginity” and which kind of sex is ”allowed” by god, and who has sex with whom, etc. is probably wholly against the intentions of God. and a big BIG mistake.

  95. I’m sorry, that should have been: ”…and who has sex with whom must be wholly against the intentions of God and a big BIG mistake”

  96. Dr. Nassef, why don’t you just drop it? You need to step back and look at things from outside the box of fanaticism and obstinacy that comes from submission to a dogma that can admit no error. You are a slave to Islam and a mentality that robs a person of their free will and intellectual flexibility. It really doesn’t matter what I say, because you have the absolute truth, and so if anything is contrary to your truth, it is either a lie or some other excuse is required.

    As to the hate and ignorance, here is a link for you.

    Read the comments, all of them. Your arguments are pretty standard stuff. Been there, done that.

    Red – religion is just a means of control. All of it – rituals, rules, dress codes, taboos – serve to put one group of people in control of another. Religion is not about morality; it is about blind acceptance of rules that are silly or contradictory. It is the antithesis of reason. Oh yes, and for Sarah, marriage.

  97. I have lived in Saudi for 30 years and can tell anyone thinking about marrying a Saudi. They should run like hell and never look back. Just because you are a muslim and your husband loves you does not mean he will not marry someone else as you start to age.

  98. In college I met a Saudi and was in love… head over heels, heart and soul. We were so connected that I knew when a letter was in the mail from him before I reached the mailbox. It has been that way for almost 30 years. We lost touch about 23 years ago, he told me how much he loved me and I believed him, but I could never understand why he would not marry me and take me home.
    I found him 4 years ago after my American marriage fell apart. During a shopping trip, the salesman asked how long we had been married.
    This brought the conversation up.
    I asked why he didn’t marry me and take me home. He looked into my eyes and told me “I loved you just the why you are, and I always have. I did not marry you and take you home because you would have had to change, and we would not have been married and you would have been miserable. I loved you too much to do that to you.”

    He has never been married, against the wishes of his family. I finally understood and understand the meaning of “UNCONDITIONAL” love.
    I love him more today then 27 years ago. I still “KNOW” why I have an email or facebook from him, and I can finally say I am happy that his love saved me from a life of misery.

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