Saudi Arabia: Distinguishing Sincerity Between a Smooth Tongue

The Saudi man, whether speaking Arabic or English, knows how to charm with his words and eyes.  He can easily convince a woman, any woman, of his words.  A non-Saudi woman who has not been exposed to the Saudi world will have no difficulty believing any and all he says is true.  It does not matter if the man is a mere boy of eight years old or an elder of eighty years, the charm is there.

A woman believing she has found her soul mate is especially susceptible to the charm and smooth tongue of the Saudi man.  Why should she doubt the words of one who is professing he has found his perfect love?  It is also much easier to believe the words when further afar from the realities of Saudi life and culture.

Of course family remains important where a relationship is concerned.  However, blood does remain thicker than water and never more so than among Saudi families.  A Saudi man may have the audacity to claim to a non-Saudi woman that he will be “disowned” from his family if he deigns to marry someone not of their choosing.  In most cases that is not the reality.  The man will always be loved even if not understood by his family for his choices.  His children will be loved coming from his blood and carrying his name.  It will be the non-Saudi woman who may remain scorned and unaccepted or viewed as a “shaytan” who led the man astray.

Be wary when a man lacks commitment citing his family as the impediment.  That’s not to say he is torn and conflicted in his emotions but it does speak volumes about backbone and intent.  If a Saudi man claims that a non-Saudi woman is the love of his life and claims he wants to have a life with her but then will not stand up against his family for her, what sign does that send in regards to the future of the relationship?  Does or should a woman remain in a relationship where the man continues to have one reason (excuse?) upon another where he cannot commit or make a relationship halal?

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85 Responses

  1. Praise the Lord

    She should understand that he is a Muslim and at very least insist that no non-halal activities will ever take place in their relationship. That means no touching, no spending time alone together without a chaperone unless marriage has already taken place.

    She should educate herself about the legal requirements for marriage in his country and about the cultural role of family. And put that all in the same pipe with her own cultural and religious conditions and smoke it. And see whether there is even any possibility of anything but an explosion.

    Women of the Book must be particularly careful, because while they will read everywhere that they can marry a Muslim, they must understand a number of things: first of all, Islam requires that the children of a Muslim man be raised Muslim, and if a Muslim man permits his children to be raised in any other faith, he will be reckoned as an unbeliever in some circles and possibly even subjected to the death penalty for apostasy – whether judicially or extrajudicially.

    And then they must understand that traditional Islam’s paradigm of marriage is in such fundamental conflict with the Jewish or Christian paradigm (which is based on the Bible and possibly on other traditional sources such as oral law or Church tradition) that there can be no agreement.

    For one thing, according to Jewish law, a Jewish woman cannot contract a valid marriage with a non-Jew. So that she will be judged to be fornicating in the eyes of her religion. Jewish law also stipulates that her children are Jewish, because religion is passed matrilineally in Judaism. This is a fundamental conflict with the Islamic system.

    And in the case of a Christian, many Christians believe that the Bible forbids marriage with a non-Christian. And even in those traditions which permit it, there is still the common problem which exists with both Judaism and Christianity, namely the definition of marriage. Traditional Islam stipulates that the most important woman in a man’s life remains his mother – even after marriage. The Bible states that he must leave father and mother and cleave to his wife.

    So the adherent of traditional Islam is not able to fulfill even the first condition for it to be a real marriage. And this is the problem Carol is speaking to here. If he is not willing to stand up to his family, then he is not capable of contracting a religiously valid marriage with a person of the Book. So the woman of the Book must realize this and refuse to get involved with him.

    But let’s say that he’s not THAT traditional. Let’s say he is able to leave father and mother. There is still the question of what place his wife will occupy in his life. Maybe there are people of the Book who would be OK with the idea of the woman being required to obey him and reckon with him in a way that he is not required to do with respect to her. And perhaps even that he is permitted to use force if she disobeys. But should she have an egalitarian understanding of the Bible, that he basically has to acknowledge her as his highest earthly authority and is not permitted to use force on her for any reason, then she needs to understand that it is culturally and religiously impossible to expect a traditional Muslim male to fulfill this condition. So that he is not able to fulfill the second condition either.

    And then there is the third condition: the implication of the oneness relationship stipulated in the Bible as being essential to the definition of marriage. In Judaism, divorce is permitted. But in Biblical Christianity, it is not – except in very limited circumstances. For example, if it is suddenly discovered that the parties have a common biological parent. Or that the woman has forgotten to tell the man that she has another husband. Or perhaps in the case of adultery. This means that the traditional Muslim man’s idea of marital commitment will, from a Christian standpoint, be essentially deficient.

    Which brings me to another point. At this time, neither Judaism nor Christianity permits polygyny. Which means that the traditional Muslim man is also deficient in this area, as he believes he is permitted to have up to four wives. Both Judaism and Christianity would view this behavior as adultery. So that here as well, the traditional Muslim will not be able to contract a marriage that will be religiously valid from the viewpoint of a person of the Book.

    Now, there are no doubt people who identify as Jewish or Christian who would say, ‘Oh, but I’m not so rigorous in my religion. I don’t take Scripture literally. It’s old-fashioned. Or whatever.’ Maybe such a woman will not have a problem accepting a husband who is a traditional Muslim. She will think, ‘OK, go with the flow.’ This kind of thinking bespeaks a not-very-serious attitude towards her Book, which to my mind poses the question of whether she qualifies as a person of the Book in Islamic terms. So that I always tell Muslim men not to be deceived – regardless of what their religion says about women of the Book, in practice they cannot marry them.

    And that is what I would counsel any non-Muslim woman to tell a Muslim man who approaches her for purposes of a relationship. And I would counsel her from the very first meeting, the very first mention of anything more than business or colleague type relationship, not to accept his attention. She will be making her life a lot simpler.

    Should she insist on accepting his attention, she must understand that any promises he makes to her which contravene traditional Islam will be unenforceable in any court of law in his country. If she sets foot in his country, she may find herself unable to leave without his permission. She may not be able to prevent him from taking the children to his country – and staying there with them. And the children will be unable to leave without his permission. The boys, until adulthood. The girls – until marriage. If their husband permits them.

    This is the reality of what she is letting herself in for if she accepts attention from any man who is a citizen of a Muslim country. Or indeed any Muslim man. For even if he is not now a citizen of a Muslim country, what is to prevent him from making hijra, moving to a Muslim country ‘for the sake of Allah’?

    Nothing. So this is why a woman must make it clear from the outset that she will not accept attention – in particular, she will not accept any touching or unncecessary conversation, much less any unchaperoned time together. Because of the requirements of their respective religions, in practice no halal relationship can exist between them. Ever. And if he doesn’t want to take no for an answer, call the police.

  2. Wow, this was good 🙂

  3. I know Christians in long time marriages to Muslim men. I’m just sayin’…

    And I know LOTS of Christians who are divorced who definately consider themselves practicing Christians and would not accept your definitions of what Christianity allows or does not allow.

    I know MANY happily married for many many years Muslim couples so apparently at least some of them have some idea of the sanctity of marriage.

    I see many Muslim men who are able to be close to BOTH their wives and mothers AND their daughters.

    I know Christian men who let their mothers overly interfere in their married life.

    Living in a foreign country- is a big risk and you should know what’s what. But all Saudi or Muslim men are not “unmarriagable”.

    Of course many Muslim men talk to women especially ones they are interested in. How will they know them if they don’t talk? There are many men who have no conflict with this.

    I just found that comment too stereotypical and extreme.

  4. it was to long…i jumped down to the short ones. hehe

  5. I agree with Sandy. You are assuming a literal / perfect re-enactment of what the Book(s) say, which I don’t think is possible, neither for the Bible nor the Quran. In fact, if Christians were to strictly follow the original recommendation in the Bible it would be to never marry at all, in fact to never ever touch any person romantically your whole life. And Catholic priests still do that (more or less sucessfully :-/) I actually once spun the idea to the end: If you really want to literally follow what either of the three books say, you most certainly have to leave modern society and live as a complete hermit; I’m serious. So that’s why I think the rules in the books are actually MEANT to be inspirational, guiding principles, but not literal rules, for it is literally impossible.

  6. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    First of all, none of what I wrote above has anything to do with stereotyping. It has to do with real life experience of mine, and the research I had to carry out in order to make decisions about what I would (or rather, would not) do with my personal life.

    Traditional Islam is what it is. There’s the Qur’an. There’s the Sunnah. There are ahadith. It’s all online, anyone can read it and find out the basis for it. And in Islamic countries, that – together with cultural interpretations thereof – *is* the basis of their legal system.

    According to traditional Islam, it is not possible to enforce upon a man that he forgo any right that is his as a husband, even if it is in the marriage contract. In an Islamic country, it is therefore not possible to, for example, sue her husband for breach of contract if he fails to fulfill such provisions of the marriage contract. The woman’s *only* recourse is to stipulate in the marriage contract that she reserves the right to divorce her husband without financial penalty – i.e. without forfeiting her mahr – should he fail to fulfill these conditions. And in the cultural setting of these countries, the man will face extreme pressure from his family not to agree to such a contract – even if he himself is willing to agree (which is unlikely).

    As for Christians… I am well aware that there are other interpretations. What I have given is an interpretation that is based on the Bible, with some reference to such things as Church tradition. Other interpretations are only possible if one brings in other criteria besides the Bible and Church tradition. Most probably these other criteria will be essentially non-religious/humanistic in character. I am not in a position to imagine any other type that could be brought in. And I do personally have serious reservations about such an approach. Furthermore, my understanding of Islam is that it, too, would find this type of approach problematic.

    I am also aware that there are people who identify as Christian and, for example, allow their parents to interfere in their marriage. Here I will speak more bluntly, and maintain that their behavior undermines the validity of their marriage. In a Biblical context, it is totally unacceptable. Even Church tradition does not countenance it. The only way a person could permit themselves to engage in such behavior is if they are allowing their own psychological attachments and cultural constructs to take priority over the words of the Bible and Church tradition in general.

    Aside from the requirement of no touching and spending time alone together only in the presence of a chaperone, a traditional Muslim man will not engage in unnecessary conversation with women outside his family. This means only what is necessary for business, giving da’wah, or discussing marriage with a given woman. Relationships are not permitted outside of marriage. If the woman clearly will not convert or it becomes clear they will not marry, and he has no other business with the woman, then in principle his religion teaches that he should not be conversing with her, and he will in fact discontinue their contact.

    Sure, there are Muslims who do not subscribe to this paradigm or practice it. But the Islam they are practicing is not traditional Islam. So what I am saying is that a marriage between a Muslim and a person of the Book is only going to work if at least one and probably both of the parties are basing their religious and moral decisions on other factors besides just Scripture and codified religious tradition. And no doubt that is what is going on in the relationships you mention that have in some way ‘worked out’.

  7. You are still generalizing and over-simplifiyiing. And your assumptions of what is “truly” biblical is your own interpretation- and there are many others and what you view as “the Church” is misleading. There are many churches and most of them allow divorce.

    You are also way over simplifying your understanding about where “traditional” Islamic practices come from. What you have found online seems to represent one strand of thought only- and true it is currently the predominant one in Saudi- but not the whole Islamic world- and certainly not all the Muslim people. Do men and women talk in Indonesia and Turkey? I mean come on. That they talk does not mean they are not traditional. It means they do not practice Saudi tradition. And there are Saudi’s that do not as well. That does not make them less properly Muslim. (of course some things are not allowed).

  8. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

    I am misleading no one. What I have said about the Church can be boiled down to the following. There are three types of churches:

    1. Those which take only Scripture as the basis for their faith (e.g. the Southern Baptist Church or the PCA – a conservative Presbyterian denomination)

    2. Those which take Scripture and tradition (e.g. the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, or the most conservative elements of the Episcopal Church)

    3. Those which take into account other sources in addition to Scripture and tradition (e.g. all but the most conservative elements of the Episcopal Church, or the FGC – Friends General Conference – a liberal Quaker denomination).

    And I think that that summary is an objectively true presentation of the facts. There is no simplification. A church falls into one of those three categories and that’s that.

    There are indeed many definitions of marriage. And they will break down in a similar way to the churches:

    1. The purely Scriptural definition to be derived from Jesus’ citation in Matthew 19 of Genesis 2:24: A man shall leave father and mother, cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

    2. A definition based on Scripture plus tradition – which will answer the question of, among other things, whether divorce is or is not considered possible, whether it is or is not considered permissible, and whether or not children are or are not considered part of the material of the marriage

    3. A definition based on other sources besides just Scripture and tradition. There are indeed so many of these that I don’t feel able to provide a good summary of the possibilities.

    My definition of ‘traditional Islam’ consists of the witness of Qur’an, Sunnah and ahadith. This definition does *not* coincide with the Saudi interpretation. For example, it states nowhere in any of those sources that women may not drive, nor that they still require a wali to contract a marriage even after they have been once married and then divorced or widowed. These are Saudi accretions and cultural interpretations of tradition which strictly speaking are not themselves Islamic tradition.

    It is my understanding that both Turkey and Indonesia are relatively liberal in their practice of Islam – in particular, with regard to relationships. Probably in both places, it is possible at least in some measure to have friends of the opposite sex. I do not know a lot about Indonesia, but actually I can tell you quite a bit about Turkey.

    In Turkey, such an opposite-sex friendship would have to take place essentially only online. For cultural reasons, the two parties cannot risk being seen alone together in public without a chaperone. God forbid the girl’s father hear about it from some chance observer. Both parties would be in deep doo-doo.

    The matter becomes even more complicated when a foreign woman is involved. There, even if it’s just online, an extra layer of discretion must be observed. They can even be Facebook friends, but they cannot comment on each other’s Facebook posts – especially, she has to avoid commenting on his FB page. Especially if the guy has more than one foreign female friend, if they God forbid both were to comment on his FB page, it would create social pandemonium for him. The scandal involved would be unimaginable in a Western context. Everyone would start gossiping that he has two foreign girlfriends. And that would *not* be viewed positively.

    Regardless of the female party’s nationality, if they are just friends and there is no discussion of marriage, the Turkish party/parties has/have to conceal their online friendship from their families. And precisely because of the circumstances of their meeting, it would be a very delicate matter indeed to effectuate an introduction should they begin to discuss marriage. They might well have to figure out some way of hiding the manner in which they got to know each other.

    It *might* be possible to allow a trusted friend to be aware of the friendship, in controlled circumstances. I even know of situations where a Turkish male has openly webcammed with an American female e-friend while staying at the out-of-town apartment of a male friend who lives alone – but let’s say it probably helped that the female in question was wearing hijab…

  9. PS The fact remains that if we take Qur’an and Sunnah and ahadith as sources, there isn’t really any allowance for non-marital friendships between members of the opposite sex. So yeah – in that measure, Turkey and Indonesia are in some sense ‘non-traditional’. They introduce some measure of… common sense? culture? – at any rate something other than those three elements. So you don’t misunderstand me – I even agree with adding a certain measure of common sense rather than just going only on the written word. But then again, I’m not a Muslim, and my religion does not forbid opposite sex friendships 😛

  10. Wow. I had no idea that Turkey was so much more conservative than Saudi. Saudi youth of both genders comment on each others FB pages all the time.

    Hadith have men and women talking to each other all the time- so I don’t understand why scripturally based Muslims would not.

    Since divorced people can remarry in the Southern Baptist Church- and they are a “scripturally -based” Christianity I am still confused. Especially since Catholics cannot, and they are not “scripturally-based”.

    You seem consistent in viewing the most conservative interpretations of both faiths as somehow the most valid ones. Something I strongly disagree with. You also seem to confuse “scriptural” Muslims with “traditional ones”. They are not the same.

  11. Praise the Lord

    Zue

    It is very true that I Corinthians 7 – the only passage in the Bible which discusses the point you bring up – recommends celibacy for those who are able to do it in a self-controlled manner. But that is only half the story. In fact, it says that one is not sinning if one does marry, indeed, that in general let every man have his own wife and every woman her own husband. Presumably so everyone has a valid outlet for their sex drive and doesn’t end up using it in an inappropriate manner.

    You are very right that the person who attempts to live according to Biblical values – and perhaps Qur’anic values as well – may very well find that there is little place for them in society, and little place for society in their life. They may feel like they are slowly being squeezed out of this world entirely. They may well content themselves with a few minutes a week of non-virtual human contact – for example when the grocery man arrives with food.

    And God knows that is not always an easy life. But it can be done. And for such a person, the question will be: what is more important – my family and friends or God? my livelihood or God? my life or God?

  12. ^^^^
    Damn, that what happen when people overindulge in googling….The fact remains if a man really loves you, he will marry you, PERIOD. Regardless of his family situation, this is not only applicable to Saudi men, it’s applicable to all men, Saudi men are no different. And as far as appeasing his family, many Saudi men do that, but this happen regardless of the nationality of the lady he wants to marry, even if she was a local and his family do not approve, then he is going to have a hard time. But thank God things are changing, slowly, but surely.
    All I can say is marry the one you love, stick to your guns, cuz after all been said and done, the person you will spend the rest of your life with and grow old together is your spouse.

  13. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    Yeah, it is pretty weird that Turkish culture is quite that conservative. Oddly, it is probably more tolerable for a Turkish woman to comment on a Turkish man’s Facebook page. It’s the foreign woman who will have to keep quite that low a profile. It seems there’s an element of xenophobia there. But I have a long-standing friendship with a Turkish man – which will barring some miracle never be anything but that – and so everything I wrote to you about Turkey here stems in some way from personal experience.

    The thing about ahadith is that most if not all of the talking between genders seems to concern discussions of some religious concept, or what the proper religious view of some particular situation is, etc. That is permissible even among the most traditional types I have encountered. It’s ‘chit chat’ – in other words, conversation that does not have a particular aim – which the traditionalists seem to find problematic.

    The Southern Baptist Church… is not as good an example as I thought. I had forgotten about the congregational nature of Baptist church government. Items 3 and 4 here (http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/faqs.asp) address in some measure the variety of views on the church discipline aspect of divorce, as well as this resolution (http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1205). Basically, there is a good deal more leeway for individual congregations to interpret the matter of divorce than there would be in, say, a Presbyterian church. So, yeah, I can see why you are confused.

    So let me see… Yes. The PCA is indeed a lot stricter. See here (http://www.pcanet.org/general/cof_chapxxi-xxv.htm#chapxxiv) – in particular ch. XXIV pts. 3, 5-6. The rule is that only adultery or irremediable desertion are considered grounds for divorce with right to remarriage. Also that one may only marry a person identifying as Christian whose beliefs are materially consistent with those of that church’s confession of faith.

    The Roman Catholic Church is an interesting case. I think it is possible to come to a view that is largely materially consistent with the Roman Catholic view just from reading the Bible. Basically, what happens there is you take that passage I cited from Genesis 2:24 as the definition of marriage, and view any sexual relationship that deviates from that – even if it is called by the name of marriage – as essentially non-marital. And then you will indeed come up with a huge list of possible reasons that a given relationship could be invalid as a marriage. So it is not necessary to adhere to any tradition at all in order to come to this kind of a view.

    The place where tradition comes in is that the Roman Catholic Church has its official list, which could in some ways differ from the one that would be derived only from Scripture (e.g. the extent to which children are part of the material of the marriage, or what effect the fact of a man’s having been ordained to the priesthood has on his ability to contract a valid marriage) and if you are a member of that church then you have to have the church authorities look at your situation in light of that list and evaluate whether your marriage is really a marriage – and if not, then give you an annulment. And here, indeed, a Biblical view countenancing annulment as a concept would stop. There is no Biblical mandate for the Roman Catholic *mechanism* for annulment.

    The other difference between a Biblical view countenancing annulment and the Roman Catholic practice of it is that the Biblical view is likely to be much more restrictive *before the fact* about whether it is permissible to enter the marriage in the first place. It will carefully evaluate the parties’ relationship with God, with their parents, as well as their willingness and ability to reckon with their partner in the manner that will be required of them when they marry, and their understanding of the binding nature of the commitment required.

    It will carefully screen the relationship for signs that it is being contracted on the basis of feelings – or indeed, anything else besides God. It will cover every possible pitfall. And only after that get married. It can lead to a situation where the parties have known each other for several years and have waited for the intense feelings to die down and be replaced by something more enduring before they even embark on a marriage. And all this without any non-platonic behavior.

    I think we can divide up the Islamic world in a similar manner to the way I have divided up the Christian world:

    1. Qur’an only. Qur’anists take this view and it is they whom I would term ‘Scriptural Muslims’

    2. Qur’an, Sunnah and ahadith. When I say ‘traditional Muslims’, I am referring to adherents of this view.

    3. Qur’an, Sunnah, ahadith and other sources. There are a lot of possibilities here. Many but not all of them are culturally dictated. And the results can range from extremely conservative (a la Saudi Arabia) to just plain humanist.

  14. Praise the Lord

    Anonymous Saudi

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but as far as Christianity is concerned, well, let’s say I’ve been a Christian since LONG before Google came into existence. So this is all information I have immediately at hand in my brain. As far as Islam goes, I admit to having investigated Islam in my time via the Internet. I have read the Qur’an, I have had a number of rather intense correspondences with Muslim e-friends over time. So if I did use Google, it was a LONG time ago and what I have written here was likewise taken from what I have immediately at hand in my brain.

  15. PS Anonymous Saudi, I agree with you 100% and am happy for you all that things are changing.

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  17. Lat all which breathes praise the Great Goddess from who all life on Earth sprang,

    The bible chapter of Corinthians is nothing more than Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and has not much to do with ‘the word of God” they are only in the bible because Paul’s faction took control over Christianity and shaped into a suppressive system where people are sheep.
    If one of the other, less aggressive, Christian sects had remained in control ”Corinthians” wouldn’t exist. So it’s all a matter of chance really.
    That is because all religions are made up by men. And the rules change as they go along.

    As long as people understand that everybody can marry everybody and be happy.

  18. There are sincere men and con men in every region and religion, Unfortunately it’s not easy to distuinguish between the 2 when oneis in love with blinders on. My 2 cents, saudi men are as fine as any other men and muslim men are as honorable as any other religious ones, As for stict interpretation, there are lots of cultural bull going on n saudi inthe name of religion, so if you live elsewhere and plant o remain elsewhere i’d ignore all that nonsense.

    The one big factor in a relationship with a saudi is not religion, it’s his family, If his family is dead set against you nothing will change that.. no religion,conversion,whatever.. so unless you have the spine to stand up to them don’t get involved. make sure you have a support system and don’t let go of that system.
    As for religion, some men are rigid some are not , has nothing to do with the religion, but everything to do with the man, he can use religion as a way out and i have seen plenty of them do it. that means he’s not serious inthe first place.

    Love, trust, friendship and respect comes before everythng, if you don’t have these, your marriage will fail no matter what.

    But i agree saudi men can be really really charming and so keep your eyes wide open 🙂 if your’e sure he’s the guy , enjoy your life, and trust me after mor ethan 2 decades with one, i consider myself blessed, loved and the luckiest woman onthe planet.. inspite of my in-laws hating me, they couldn’t do a thing , and are paying for mtheir actions with no contact with their grandkids…such a waste of our short time on earth.

  19. Yeah, because don’t you know that ALL Muslim men are cut from the same cloth, have their brains stamped out by the same assembly line and march to the same drum. Yeah, because there’s absolutely no variation between them. Yeah, and because there is no such thing as a Muslim man who thinks any part of his religion is outdated/inapplicable/pure BS. Because every single Muslim on the face of the earth is the same, Quran-readin’, hadith-quotin’ machine.

    Sarcasm on!!!!

    Surely you know that not everyone identifying as Muslim believes everything that exists in the fold of his religion? Surely you know that many of us decide that other things are more important than religion? Or is it that in your vision of the world no one takes a step without consulting his/her scripture? And no one ever says, “my family/husband/wife is more important than God”? Just because you can’t see yourself saying that, doesn’t mean other people can’t. In simple terms, we don’t ALL care about religion. Many of us don’t.

    On the actual subject of the post, family support is important, make sure family agrees, but enforce your boundaries too.

    P.S. Nothing wrong with non-halal relationships either.

    P.P.S. THe part about Facebook and Turkey is complete hogwash…an American friend is dating a Turkish lady in Turkey, met the family, etc., no one was shot.

  20. Aafke

    “Lat all which breathes praise the Great Goddess from who all life on Earth sprang”

    Lat indeed! (Or was that some kind of slip of the pen?)

  21. Praise the Lord

    Radha

    It is very true there are rats in every religion and good men in every religion. I guess my take on the Abrahamic religions is that only one of them results in a legal system for an entire country that requires a father’s or husband’s permission for an adult woman to travel or requires the father or other guardian to contract her marriage on her behalf. Quite aside from any doctrinal matters, it’s a matter of risk management 🙂

  22. i agree with anon_saudi.
    and i feel this article insults arab men….makes them all out to be cons. [the love con?]

  23. Praise the Lord

    NN

    I have a comment pending moderation at the moment because it contains links. If you had read it though, you would not think that I view all Muslims as the same. They are no more the same than any other people of the Book are.

    And there is indeed a category of people in any of those religions (including Islam) who bring other things besides Scripture and tradition into their spiritual life. I assume these are the people you are referring to in your comments.

    I must take exception, however, to your contention that my comments about Turkey are hogwash. I have as much right to comment on my own *personal experience* as your American friend (via your pen) does. The fact that he has a different experience is immaterial. It may be, for example, that his girlfriend doesn’t travel in the sort of circles where all the ladies where hijab…

  24. @Caraboska
    One can follow Scripture in Islam and talk to the opposite gender. Just to be clear.

    And not all Muslims belong to the countries that have codified Patriarchal practices calling it Islam.

    And I don’t think it is useful to compare Abrahamic religions and what they have done when they have ruled.

  25. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    Of course they can talk – the question is how.

    And it is quite true that not all Muslims are citizens of countries that have codified patriarchal practices. I even know one who for precisely that reason claims that the USA of all places is the most Islamic country on the planet – in that it is the place where it is in fact easiest to practice his understanding of true Islam.

    You are quite right that comparisons of the Abrahamic religions are of at best limited usefulness, especially in a historical perspective…

  26. Praise the enlightened mind of Darwin, who explained the mystery of life’s diversity.

    Radha, i agree with your post.

  27. Praise the enlightened brain of Galileo, who brought knowledge of the mysteries of the universe

    NN, excellent comment.

    Carabosca, ”Lat” should obviously be ”Let”, typical typo of course.

  28. Aafke

    Very interesting choice of deity on your part 😛 I’ll still take the Bible. And it does not require me to be a sheep. (Meeeeeh! I’m only making sheep noises because I think they’re cute :P)

  29. And I’m sure that person who find’s the US more Islamically correct is basing that on “Scripture”. Men and women reacted with each other normally in the time of the Prophet, Of course premarital sex is not allowed. And the obvious is pointed out that it is risky to be in seclusion with an unrelated male. But it is not criminal in any way. “Scripturally” speaking.

  30. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    If you are talking about a Qur’anist (i.e. Qur’an-alone) approach, yes. There, the rule appears to be ‘Don’t meet alone in secret – but if you do, be honorable about it.’ The bit about always having to have a chaperone, not engaging in non-purposeful conversation, not to mention that if two of opposite sexes are alone together, the third party present is the devil – that comes from ahadith and/or Sunnah.

    I don’t know the guy’s exact arguments, but he has written about them on this blog before, so if he’s here viewing this (and I’m sure if he is, he knows who I am speaking of), maybe he can give us a little shout?

  31. The Hadith says the 3rd party is Shaitan. It doesn’t even forbid doing it. What you are talking about is jurisprudence. How some scholars and jurists have made laws from Hadith. There are plenty of Hadith that show people behaving normally and interacting normally. So please don’t tell me that because some very conservative, Patriarchal men decided to pick a few hadith and build a law around it that is almost exactly the way Patriarchal society did things- that somehow that is the more valid “Scriptural” interpretation.

  32. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    I recall reading somewhere that in regard to most aspects of life, if Qur’an and Sunnah and ahadith do not forbid something, that it is permitted. But in regard to male-female relations, it is the opposite: if it is not expressly permitted, then it is forbidden. This seems to be the guiding principle behind the specific rules. Presumably this approach is a matter of risk management. Right at the moment, I am not in a position to figure out exactly where the concept comes from. If someone here has textual evidence of its origin (Sunnah, ahadith, jurisprudence???) maybe they can speak up?

  33. Praise human ingenuity and human achievements

    Carabosca, Darwin was a human, not a deity.
    Galileo was a human not a deity.
    If we give praise it should be to a human who has actually achieved something, not some invisible figment of the imagination.

    Praise means approval and admiration. It doesn’t mean you worship something or somebody.

  34. The concept comes from Patriarchal societies wanting to control women.

    My only point in this is that you are incorrect in your assessment of who is a “Scriptural” Muslim. Just as I feel you are incorrect about “Scriptural” Christians. The most conservative “interpretation” is not the most “scriptural”. And that seems to be what you are doing.

  35. Praise the Lord

    I only praise God. And He is not just a figment of my imagination. I’ve known Him personally for over 30 years 😀 And He has achieved a lot more than Darwain and Galileo put together. Neither of them actually created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them 😛

  36. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    I don’t see that it has to come from there at all. I do have serious reservations about that idea, but they have nothing to do with anyone controlling anyone, and everything to do with the fact that no amount of keeping rules will give one a pure heart. To the pure, all things are pure; to the impure, even that which is pure is impure. So that it seems to me to be a way of giving the appearance of a pure heart, without having to actually change on the inside.

    A Scriptural Christian is one who uses only the Bible, a Scriptural Muslim is one who uses only the Qur’an. I guess I don’t see how that wouldn’t make sense.

  37. Because you are claiming that certain behaviors in both cases are scriptural- when they are not. You think Muslims men and women can’t spend time together and be friends. You think Southern Baptists are scriptural when they can marry in the church when divorced and Catholics who are not Scriptural cannot.

    Based on all this you think a Christian and Muslim cannot be married to each other without one of them not being true to their scriptural faith. That is incorrect.

  38. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    I have a post pending moderation at the moment because it contains links, which talks about various views on divorce – among them the Southern Baptists, conservative Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. And then a view which I do not explicity identify as my own, but it will be obvious enough. In fact, I’m going to post it on my blog, so you can go on over there and find it.

    For clarity, I do not view the question of spending time alone together as material to a marriage. The matter of divorce – quite another kettle of fish.

  39. It comes from their because in Patriarchal societies they are all caught up with “honour” which really means the reputation of their women. To the point that they will sometimes even kill them if they believe they have brought dishonor upon the family. It is often the perception of dishonor rather than any wrong action. Being alone with a man, speaking to men outside the family, tribe, religious group etc. can all lead to “dishonor” and violence and/or punishiment. This sort of behavior is commen in the Patriarchal societies of the east. And it leads to seclusion of women. Secluding women is a form of control. You might want to look up “honour killings”.

  40. I already know about the different Christian views. So no need to read different interpretations or explanations. I know what is allowed.

  41. Many people DO view spending time together as something important before marriage. Luckily it is scripturally allowed for people to do so.

  42. ” he wants to have a life with her but then will not stand up against his family for her, what sign does that send in regards to the future of the relationship? ”

    A sign that if he breaks and happens to marry her she is guaranteed some entertaining in-law drama 🙂

  43. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    I bet you did not know that it is possible to come up with a view very similar to the Roman Catholic one – only minus the Church hierarchy’s input – based entirely on the Bible and nothing else. That is in fact my personal view. And I am therefore extremely careful about getting involved. Thus far, I have succeeded in remaining unmarried for over 46 years.

    My point about the view in use in some circles in Islam (that in our personal lives, whatever is not permitted is forbidden) is that there are other perfectly reasonable explanations for it which have nothing to do with anyone controlling anyone.

    I am no more in favor of control based or patriarchal relationships than you are. Indeed, many would call my views on them just plain rabid: that they are by nature non-marital and indeed idiolatrous.

    All that having been said, it appears it may not have occurred to you that there are people out there who completely voluntarily refrain from non-purposeful spending time alone with members of the opposite sex. Their religion does not teach that they should do this, they do not believe they are sinning if they live differently – but they just do not feel it is necessary. Not that it wouldn’t be enjoyable. But that there are more important things than enjoyment.

    They would rather spend that time either purposefully, or on the phone, or just sit down and pray for their beloved. They want God to be the foundation of everything they do.

  44. Praise the Lord

    “I only praise God. And He is not just a figment of my imagination. I’ve known Him personally for over 30 years And He has achieved a lot more than Darwain and Galileo put together. Neither of them actually created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.”

    Be that true as it may, I feel that the advantage of actual first-hand witnessing of what Darwin and Galileo have accomplished cannot be overlooked. Vs. you know, pure guesstimation of what God did. At least Galileo and Darwin did not thrust something at us and said, here, I did this, and you just gotta believe that I did. We got to see them do their stuff. You know.

  45. Praise the Lord

    NN

    We don’t have to guesstimate what God did because the results are on public display 24/7 😀 We don’t even have to go to the library to read about them ;;)

  46. PS I have an old friend who is a scientist and thinks there are more logical problems with Darwinism than Creationism. He says it poses more questions than it answers. I tend to agree with him 🙂

  47. Caraboska

    But you didn’t see him do it, did you? You just believe that it was him who did it.

    There are all kinds of scientists believing all kinds of stuff, so if you want to befriend one who agrees with your particular views, you should not have any problem finding one.

  48. Caraboska,
    “I bet you did not know that it is possible to come up with a view very similar to the Roman Catholic one – only minus the Church hierarchy’s input – based entirely on the Bible and nothing else. ”
    -if you mean that divorce is not allowed, sactioned by God- yes I am perfectly aware of that.

    I don’t care who people spend time with of which gender. If you are leading a normal life with normal interaction with people it is most likely that you will have friends of both genders. Some people do more one or the other or one exclusively. People can do whatever they want.

    My only point is that your original post inacurately described both “scriptural” Christians and Muslims. Substitutuing your own interpretation of what “Scripture” has decreed- in both cases for what is “true”. You are of course welcome to your opinions. I am merely stating mine and that I think your understanding of who is scriptural and who is not is not accurate. It is even not accurate based on some of your later posts describing the “types” of Christians.

    I was not intending to support or even not support Patriarchal practices. I was merely differentiating them from “Scriptural” Islamic practice. Because they are not.

    My final and over stated opinion is that conservative *interpretations* are not necessarily the most accurate Scripturally.

    I doubt I’ll respond more. We are going in circles and not adding anything new. You seem to see yourself as an authority on what is “Scriptural”. I see you as having opinions. And in the case of Islam, not very well-read ones.

  49. Praise the Lord

    NN

    I know God exists about the same way I know you exist, and I know He created the heavens and the earth about the same way I know you (as opposed to some spam machine) wrote your comments 😛

  50. Praise Kepler, who founded celestial mechanics and enlightened minds from the darkness of religion

    @caraboska,

    Did your scientists friend actually write a paper with peer reviews to support some kind of position?

    By the way I think Darwin created more questions with his theory. However that is not in the way you think. It created more questions leading to more discoveries. It is the way of science, questions are goodness, having unsubstantiated answer from an ancient book does not lead to any progress. Enjoy the clip 🙂

  51. Caraboska

    Thanks for making my point. You don’t actually know that I exist. You observe comments written by someone with a self-invented name and a self-told story, and you have no idea whether I am who I say I am. It’s all a story, a highly believable one, but a story still with no proof other than “‘coz I say so.”

    You also don’t know that I wrote my comments. Anyone could have done it and signed my name. You believe it was me. But you don’t know.So your comparison of this situation with God is entirely appropriate. Again, thanks for making my point. All you “really” know about whoever wrote my comments is that this person speaks English and has Internet access.

    And that’s way more than anyone can ever know for sure about God. That’s why they call it faith. Because it requires belief instead of proof. And that’s cool with me that you believe whatever you wish, just don’t go carryin’ on as if that’s immutable reality.

  52. Praise the Lord

    The problem with what you write is that I was not at all assuming that you have any particular identity (and especially not with a nick like NN :P). All I was assuming is that there is a person out there writing those comments – as opposed to a spam machine. Just like Creationists conclude that there is a Creator – not some primeval equivalent of a spam machine, the proverbial ‘cosmic goof in a mud puddle’, as my friend would put it.

    I wonder if, after 30 years of marriage, you would approach the question of whether you know your spouse with same degree of skepticism?

  53. @Caraboska,
    Your interact with NN supports my view that you have set yourself up as an authority on issues that are a matter of opinion. No one “knows” what God has or has not done. Or “knows” if he exists or not. A person of faith “believes” It’s called having “faith” not “proof”.

    As a person of faith I have no issue with anything Darwin has discovered. If there is an all-powerful, omnipotent being- then it is still all his creation and I can enjoy the human discovery of it.

  54. I wonder how we got from matters of the heart and lying manipulating men to GOD and the 3 major religions…

    I would like to know what prompted this blogging in the first place?
    I believe there is no such thing as coincidence so I am wondering…

    I will leave my views on major religions out of this discussion and focus on why do we think Saudi men are so different in the deceitful area…

    I am not agreeing one way or another on this, but is it because if they (men) fill or thoughts with love and or marriage, that they realized that they do have the perfect out…. My family won’t accept you and you can not get into the country with out being married?

    I am just asking…..

    Is it because as American women we long to be taken care of and these men are brought up and in their country would have to “take care” of us….
    and so we believe the words they say to us?

    It seems from this blog that many of you have married Muslim Men and many of them Saudis so it seems some of them are telling the truth…..

    I can’t wait to read the responses to my questions.

    Thanks.

  55. Praise the Lord

    b.sassy

    As I recall, it was a matter of how to react if a sweet-talking Saudi approaches you – should you pay attention to him? And then we got on the subject of why (or rather, why not).

    But I am interested by your thesis that American women long to be taken care of. I admit to being out of touch with American culture, having lived abroad for nearly 20 years.

    That having been said, I had read some sort of magazine articles or something to that effect, claiming that in today’s USA, it’s assumed that both parties have to contribute to the ‘caring’, and so both men and women will be examining each other for their ability to do their bit in providing.

    So I admit to being a little surprised to hear that American women are still interested in being taken care of. What gives?

  56. Going back to the original topic, I really think it depends on the individual circumstance and people involved. Although one can stereotype, what happens when neither person acts stereotypically for his/her respective cultures? Furthermore, there are so many sub-cultures, not to mention the individual family’s unique way of interacting with each other, that it is difficult to say there is one way that all of them will act.

    As for choosing to stay in a relationship, I really think it depends on the individual circumstance. What I will say is use your best judgment and do what is best for you. This might be a bit vague, but I honestly believe it really depends on the two people involved and the situation.

    Caraboska,
    I really don’t agree with a lot of what you wrote. It honestly sounds as if you have problems with perfectionism and trying to live a “perfect” life. Sorry, but there is no ONE “perfect” way of living. There are multiple paths that are good and multiple paths that are bad, with plenty of variation in between. Getting caught up in a set of very rigid rules without balancing it with the use of logic and reason can lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle. I’ve seen this type of extreme thinking destroy people. Ever heard of “obsessive compulsive personality disorder”?

    I do not see what is wrong with two people of the opposite sex spending time alone together as friends. I believe people of all ages, nationalities, cultures, families, religions, political affiliations, and genders have a lot to learn from each other and should not be discriminated against.

    As for your comment about Turkish relationships, I can tell you that what you wrote is NOT true, at least based on what I have seen and heard.

  57. Caraboska,
    Most people want to be cared for. We’re social creatures. We want to be loved and respected by others, especially by those that matter most to us. The human touch is a very powerful thing.

  58. Praise the Lord

    StrangeOne

    About Turkish relationships – unless someone is seriously pulling the wool over my eyes, my information is definitely correct, at least for certain segments of Turkish society. It’s from Turkish sources that I have been personally acquainted with for several years.

    There are certain basics – God, moral standards – which are absolutes. But over the years, I have purposely stripped down my faith to only that which is most important. To something that is free of cultural trappings.

    And within that framework, it is possible to live many different kinds of lifestyles. I voluntarily live my life with a certain set of cultural attributes which are not obvious for either my faith or the country of my birth or my adopted country. Other people do otherwise. That is their prerogative.

    These attributes probably have a very different meaning for me than they do for people for whom these cultural attributes – by reason of religion or place of birth – would be more ‘obvious’.

    What happens when we have to choose between love and respect? I have had to make that choice many times. And I have always chosen respect.

  59. What? You just posted it today and 33 responses already? Must have hit a nerve, or something!

  60. Ewrrr, I mean 55… or 56… whatever!

  61. I agree with what was said, in most cases the family wouldn’t disown the guy, but the guys usually are just too chicken to stand up against them or really prefers a Saudi wife.

    I know this one Saudi guy who is a master at talking in poor little white girls into marrying him. When he was here in Cali he converted and lived two different women, to the point they covered their faces and truly thought the religion was the Saudi culture (which isn’t true with any culture, an Italian Christian is different from a German Christian cause the culture is different, the religion is the same but it is different due to the effects the culture has on it.).

    Then the guy goes to KSA and marries his cousin and moves to DC without her…then marries this OTHER American girl and converts her to the point where she fully covers and tells everyone they are going to hell. He would eat with her family, they got a house together, you name it. The guy comes back to CA for vacation and cheats on her, then goes back to DC for another two years…and then he divorces her using the line that the Koran doesn’t allow him to go against the family.

    So he’s pretty much a class act.

    :-/

    My Saudi and I use to be friends with this guy, until he told my guy to marry me to get the greencard cause I was so in love I would do anything. Lucky for me my Saudi told the guy off, then told me about it. Now my Saudi is in KSA, told his family, and we’re doing marriage the correct way.

    But there are A LOT of guys out there who pull this kind of crap.

    And it’s so sad to watch over and over again, I know a lot of girls who go through this song and dance.

    I know a few girls married to Saudis right now here in the States, and out of all of them, I think only one is sincere about it.

  62. Praise to the people who made the Keppler telescope which has already discovered several Earth-like planets which prove that Earth was not ”made” just for us because there is a God who thinks we are so all-important.

    Moq, brilliant video. Really excellent. Says it all.

    Confused, that is really sad what you are sharing here. And last week we had a concerned parent telling us hoe he had found out that his daughter’s suitor had the same evil plans for his daughter….
    Seems that, although there are of course some extremely rare exceptions, this bad behavior does seem to be the norm amongst Saudi men.
    Why is that?

  63. Were these “girls” all married legally in the us? It seems to me if they were then this man would be a law breaker…

    I also know many stories of this type with American men, who although might not have “married” have convinced women that they will leave their wifes to married them… kind of the same.. sort of.

    Are you American …..

  64. b.sassy

    I think the issue is the men sure, but the women as well because they look more at the man being Saudi then the man being a man. They make the culture romantic and make excuses for behavior by saying, Oh it’s cause he’s Saudi, oh it’s because of the religion….when it’s not, it’s really the guy being mean.

    Yes they were all legally married, he divorced the American girls before marrying the other, however when he was married to the last American girl he was also married back in KSA. He never told his family about the American girls. But his story is EVERYWHERE so I’m sure his family has heard rumors about him living with American girls at least. He was friends with one guy who turned super religious and ratted out a lot of the guys studying here, my Saudi included, lol…

    I agree there are American men, and men in general that do this, but what makes it different is that this guy used religion and basically brainwashed these girls into a false idea of Islam in order to do as he pleased. And I see that a lot with khaliji men here, not just Saudis, because the American girls have zero clue most of the time about what’s really going on, and get too fearful to find out or to confront them.

    I’m Iranian American, lol…so I have a very good idea on how middle eastern families and men work because the gulf cultures are pretty close. I think that’s why my relationship has worked out so well because I can smell bullshit and I’ll raise hell about it, I don’t have a romantic view of a person due to his culture. He’s a man, period, and he’s a man with me so it doesn’t matter if he’s green, American, or Saudi, we both still have to have respect…respect can’t be pushed away due to “culture”. But that’s what a lot of these girls do. They give in, submit, when they shouldn’t. I know a lot of Saudi women, and they for SURE tell you exactly what they want, when they want it, and they aren’t scared to tell you or the guy they are with. The American girls should act the same.

    No culture is an excuse for acting like a jackass in a relationship. And these girls need to realize it. If he’s out partying “with the guys” and doesn’t bring the girl by using the excuse of “it’s our culture” then she’s stupid for believing it.

    It this case he was mean, and she was a bit dumb. Doesn’t make what he did right at all, but I for one, see a lot of khalijis use those excuses of “culture” and “religion” in order to do whatever they want in a relationship if they are in a relationship with somone who has no real idea of the culture or the religion.

  65. @Aafke-Art

    First off, I love your paintings!!!!

    I’m not really sure, it’s not just Saudis though, I think it’s any culture that’s isolated from the other sex a lot, cause I see that trend all over the Gulf cultures. It’s really sad…and really heart breaking to see women go through this kind of ordeal. A lot of them turn extremely bitter towards the race or culture or religion, but like I told Sassy, it’s really just the person…and I think since the guys tend to copy each other’s behaviors a lot that maybe that’s why there are so many cases of this happening between American women and Saudi men, but who really knows? I only know students here, so it’s really like they are kids in a candy store and the women just have no idea what is really going on. I think the biggest mistake most of these women do is not learn arabic. I learned arabic a few years ago and didn’t say a word to anyone, and man…I learned a lot listening to the guys…most of it was silly, but when it came to women…WOW. : – /

  66. LOL!

    Nothing is so much use to a person than learning languages!
    Thanks for liking my paintings!

  67. Confused…
    You seem to have a very good head on your shoulders for such a young age… I wish I had had such a good head at your age….

    I am sure that the stories you tell are true… they are the same stories that I heard when I was your age and in school and dealing with students….
    I am glad that you are having a successful result with your love….

    Some of us still believe in Fairy tales and I hope you find yours…

    It is very interesting hearing the views and experiences of everyone.

  68. @caraboska

    You seem to be saying that the only valid Christianity is one that follows a strict interpretation of scripture (and you are assuming that scripture can be interpreted literally).

  69. I don’t think it’s so much a fairy tale. The ones that come true have a great deal of common-sense and self-respect in them. And Standards. It’s not just about love people!

  70. @Caraboska
    I did read a bit at your website. The way you’ve interpreted things and all the ways that a marriage can be “invalidated” makes me think most married folk- by your standards are fornicating.

    In fact you seem to have reduced marriage to make it mostly irrelevant to the reality of the human condition. I really think God does better than that, and it is precisely what I mean about “Scripturally-based” still being a matter largely of interpretation.

  71. @Sandy

    “In fact you seem to have reduced marriage to make it mostly irrelevant to the reality of the human condition.” That’s the thing about marriage theorists…armchair spouses as it were.

  72. Praise the Lord

    @Confused

    What you say about learning Arabic reminds me of an old acquaintance whose dad was Polish, mom was Greek. Her folks used to speak Greek when they wanted to keep secrets from the kids. She was a young adult at the moment I met her, and her folks still had no idea that she could not only understand Greek, but speak it fluently…

    @Jerry M

    There are several different camps among Christians, as I have detailed above. Without even getting into the question of who is or is not right, it is very true that taking each view to its logical conclusion does make them all more or less mutually exclusive. So that any adherent of one camp is going to have serious reservations about the other views.

    I do indeed fall into the Scripture only camp. I am not an absolute literalist – I mean, I don’t believe, for example, that the Beloved in the Song of Songs really had two Bambi lookalikes on her chest, or that her teeth really looked like sheep. Nor do I believe that parables are meant to be interpreted literally. Metaphoric language does have its limitations. But that is a relatively small portion of the Bible.

    Then there is the matter that it does not suffice to just read the Scripture and intellectualize about it. Scripture has to be lived in order to be understood. One also has to observe certain rules of interpretation: reading the whole Book before trying to come to a conclusion about its message, proceeding from what is clearly phrased to what is more obscure, proceeding from the general principle to the specific case, etc.

    I have seen entirely too many ‘literalists’ come to various conclusions from using faulty hermeneutics. And the problem is nearly always that some person who believes themselves to be an authority figure is taking their own fears and ambitions, cloaking them in Scripture and then telling everyone else that they have to obey this ‘clear teaching of Scripture’ or else they aren’t ‘Spirit-filled’ (or whatever).

    I am sure there are people who think I do this. What they don’t understand is that I don’t believe in human authority figures to begin with – including myself. My understanding of this matter is essentially Quaker 😛

    @Sandy

    Indeed. I am quite aware of the logical conclusions of my present reflections on the matter. And even I find them deeply disturbing. The only practical use I make of this information, however, is when some friend of mine tells me they are thinking of getting a divorce – so that I have some frame of reference in which to comment – or not.

    Sometimes commentary turns out to be unnecessary – for example, when the person in question has discovered after several years of marriage (on their wedding anniversary no less) that from the very beginning, their spouse viewed the relationship as a financial transaction and nothing more, the object of which was to secure presumably lifelong financial support for themselves.

    Above all, however, I use this info in my own personal life to make sure that any relationship I get into meets God’s requirements. Let’s say I’ve learned the hard way – thank God before actually getting married – how tragic it is when that precaution is not taken in advance.

    I admit I am not sure what you mean by ‘irrelevant to the reality of the human condition’. Most people on the planet either are married, have been in the past, or will be someday. It’s one of the few things human beings have in common across the face of the planet.

  73. Praise the Lord

    NN

    This is not at all idle theorization. It is true I am not married. And the whole point is that I don’t want to find a man, have a marriage ceremony and then wake up someday and find out that I was never *really* his wife to begin with. So I’m being proactive to prevent that from happening before the fact.

    Sandy

    You mention the notion of standards, that it’s not just about love. There at least we agree…

  74. @ Aafke-Art,

    LOL! Yes it does 😀

    @ b.Sassy

    I had a really awful relationship with a Saudi before this one, so I for sure learned the hard way, LOL, but I’m still constantly shocked and confused by what people do looool! Thank you for you’re kind wishes…It would be nice to have a fairy tale, but I would even settle for a normal boring life at this point, LOOOOOL! Yeah I love this blog because everyone has an experince that in one way or another we can all relate too.

    @caraboska

    Smart girl 😉 LOL!

  75. @Caraboska,
    According to what I read on your site- so many humanly imperfect behaviors “invalidate” a marriage and make spouses “fornicaters” that is seems marriage as per your definition is impossible. Any time a man lets his mother interfere invalidates a marriage? It makes the spouses fornicaters? What if it’s just a phase? Does the marriage become valid again? Why is the wife a fornicater if her husband listens to his mother? All your conditions and the way a marriage suddenly becomes invalid is incredible and not at all like marriage throughout the ages and throughout cultures and throughout the history of mankind is about.

    According to you, or so it sure seemed by what I read. Any act of human imperfection in a marriage makes it invalid and the spouses fornicaters. No wonder you wouldn’t get married. Only perfection has a valid marriage and everyone else is living in sin. I don’t think our creator – who surely understands our natures, is such a perfectionist.

    Anyways, good for you with your “proactivity”. I think you’ve denied yourself even the possiblity of a married life- and that’s fine. It isn’t for everyone.

    @Confused,
    I meant to add to my previous post that I do think you’re keeping your head and self-respect. Good luck to you.

  76. Thank you Sandy that’s so sweet of you :”>

  77. Praise the Lord

    Sandy

    I have a hard time believing that everyone out there is fornicating. I certainly think there is a world of difference between the person who in one particular situation permits their parents to interfere, but then ceases to do so when they realize what is going on, and a person who thinks that their behavior is good and proper and wouldn’t even think of changing it.

    That having been said, the one who thinks their behavior is proper and wouldn’t even think of changing it is putting their marriage on very shaky ground to say the least. And I think that a spouse who puts up with the kind of behavior that can invalidate a marriage is ‘enabling’ and is therefore in that measure guilty as well. And that is another thing that I don’t want to be found guilty either. So that I must do everything in my power to carefully check out any potential husband before taking the plunge – for my own moral welfare as well as his.

  78. How blessed Radha, NN, Sandy and I are to have/had a marriage with a special Saudi who became a life partner!

    I think men and women both wish to be taken care of by a life partner and more so as we all grow older.

    Reading through all these comments, even the dialogues on religion just make me miss Abdullah more. But hey…I am okay and not depressed by making such a comment!!

  79. Praise Our Lord Carl Sagan, who helped generations learn the beauty of discovery and science.

    These discussion about the unique religious philosophy of marriage and relations were entertaining. As I read through it I could not help but remember one of my favorite SNL characters.

  80. Caraboska,

    I really don’t know what to make of you. That picture of you is, excuse me, weird, and I have serious reservations about people always praising the lord, particularly when there is no reason to ‘praise the lord.’

    I take issue with the ‘two Bambis’ statement. So what if she had buck teeth – a good rack more than makes up for it.

    By the way, where are you from, may I ask?

    J.

  81. Praise the Lord

    Jay

    You mean the little image that appears on each of my posts on this blog? That was randomly assigned to me when I started posting here. So I take no responsibility for it. If you mean the pic on my blog, yes, I am a Christian who wears hijab. That’s been public knowledge for quite a while.

    As for praising the Lord, if you don’t feel that there is reason to praise the Lord, then of course don’t do it. But I happen to feel there is always reason to praise the Lord (and I have not had an easy life, so that’s not why). So I do it. Free speech, ya know.

    You must be a very unusual man if two little deer faces peeking out of a woman’s blouse is your idea of a good rack. The point is that you could get the idea from an absolutely literal reading of the Song of Songs that the Lover was that kind of guy, when actually he was speaking metaphorically and no doubt meant that he thought his Beloved had some pretty cute stuff on her rack.

    I was born in the States but I have lived nearly half my life in Eastern Europe. No one knows what to make of me. Not even all the other folks who praise the Lord all the time 😉

  82. Praise to Nikola Tesla, the greatest inventor of all times, without whose inventions nobody, not even the devout believers of bronze age religions would have our current modern technology including the computers they are so happily using.

    Carabosca, don’t kid yourself we know exactly what to think of you.

  83. Praise the Lord

    Aafke

    Why don’t you just write ‘Praise Aafke the all-knowing’ and have done with it? 😉

  84. Praise the Holy Soapbox…we all got one.

  85. Hello all,

    I really enjoy this blog, with many thanks to Carol, and I rarely comment, but this time, I can’t resist. I see that a number of the commenters have mentioned Turkey, where I have lived for almost four years, and I see some ideas that are very contradictory to my experiences here. I have no doubt that the conservatism described by caraboska is present, but that view is presented as definitive, and it most definitely is not! Terms such as “traditional” and ‘westernized” seem to be such misnomers, and so reductive and useless, after four years of living here. Sandy, PLEASE don’t think that TR generally is anywhere near as conservative as KSA. I don’t think that the two of them are at all comparable. Turks appear, to me, to have a very live-and-let-live attitude, and although there is certainly social tension among groups which identify as conservative and liberal, Islam seems to be something that people are allowed to interpret and practice for themselves, as families and individuals see fit.

    I live in Istanbul, and I have traveled a bit in eastern TR and have been to small villages. There is too much variety of religious and cultural practice to be reductive about terms and attitudes. In the streets of Istanbul, I see women in black, and I see women in leather pants. I see covered women, in carsaf and turban (it’s not called hijab here!) arm in arm with their uncovered friends, hand in hand with their boyfriends, and even occasionally cuddling with their sweethearts on park benches, My students (mostly secular in attitude, who admittedly are of a high economic strata, with well-traveled and educated parents, and some of whom are believers in God) facebook madly and indiscriminately, and are even a bit offended when I tell them that as thier teacher, I won’t friend them. To my surprise, teachers, deans, and students kiss cheeks, across genders, for events such as awards ceremonies, graduation, and simply seeing one another after holidays. I have Turkish friends here who have lived with their partners before being married, who are divorced, and who have remarried. I know plenty of expatriate workers in TR who have married Turks. The variety and openness is something I love and appreciate about this country, and although I’m very late to comment, and my comments don’t refer to the post, I really appreciate the example that the Turkish people have presented of how any religion may be practiced here. I don’t mean to make it sound too rosy, and Turkish culture(s) and society(ies) are fantastically complicated, but my experiences definitely do not reflect the limited perspectives I’ve seen presented here. While I’m sure the conservatism described above exists healthily in TR, so do a wide variety of other attitudes, and I can’t read the comments here without adding my own.

    I realize that my post here is quite long and unedited, and I’m in a bit of haste, but if you’d like to read more about life in TR, please take a look at two of my favorite blogs, Istanbul’s Stranger, and erkansaka.net. They’ll give a much better picture of what I’m talking about.

    Thanks for your patience!

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