Saudi Arabia: Towards Understanding an Arranged Marriage

 

Many marriages in Saudi Arabia continue to be arranged marriages.  However that is not to say that the bride or groom do not get a choice in the matter.  They do.  But if a bride and groom are brought together through family it is rare for either to reject the match.  An arranged marriage in Saudi Arabia is usually made through the bride or groom’s circle.  Matches are generally arranged through women in the family and being a conservative society, matches will be made through families already known to the women.  First cousin and second  cousin marriages continue in Saudi Arabia.  In other cases marriages will be arranged through families who have married in to the women’s circle of contacts.

The women will be the ones to build up the prospective groom to the young woman.  Mother, Sisters and Aunts or a Grandmother will extol the virtues of the young woman to the prospective groom.  The young woman will think over what the other women have said and usually pray the istikara prayer for guidance.

The young man, if he likes what he hears, he will express his desire of marriage to his family.  His family will arrange to meet with that of the young woman.  The male relatives (father, grandfather, brothers and groom) will meet with the young woman’s father and brothers.  The female relatives (mother, grandmother, sisters) will meet with the young woman.  If the father is comfortable and satisfied, he will allow the young man to meet his daughter (chaperoned).

The young couple are given a short period of time they are allowed to talk.  Usually both the young man and woman have questions prepared they wish to ask.  By the end of the meeting the couple generally decide whether they wish to marry.  Most couples do agree to marry and are now engaged.

This part of the Saudi courtship is kept very private and closely held.  Therefore if after meeting either the young man or young woman do not wish to marry there is less of a loss of face.

A couple may be engaged for a period of several weeks or for a period of several years.  That depends on the families.  During the engagement period some couples may receive further opportunities to get to know one another; others may not.  How much contact or if any contact prior to the marriage is dependent on the families and how open they are.  Most young Saudi couples today do keep in touch via phone calls, text messages and email.  The more contact between a young couple prior to marriage the less feeling of marrying a stranger.

 

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76 Responses

  1. I am reading a book, how to avoid falling in love with jerks, and that was one of the topics they mentioned, arranged marriages. Mainly, there was a portion that discussed how some countries were steering away and were marrying more for love now days. Great article!

  2. Thanks for sharing Lakia.

  3. “Many marriages in Saudi Arabia continue to be arranged marriages.”

    99.9999% of marriages in Saudi Arabia are arranged and women are still being sold (maher) like commodities. It’s difficult to understand why American Bedu is presenting an extraordinarily perverted image of the Saudi reality.

  4. I don’t understand what is “perverted” about the image. You may disagree with the practice but it is an accurate image of what is going on. The society doesn’t allow for free mingling of young people and many young couples who arrange marriages for themselves usually find strong resistance with their families. In Saudi you are marrying more than an individual, you are marrying in to a family. Coming in without support is a huge burden for young people who try to marry otherwise.

  5. For the saudi women it’s a protection to marry from the family. Saudi women love to marry the son of their uncle, because in case of divorce or death the children will go in their uncle house, and their uncle will NEVER block them to visit and see their children. Children in Saudi Arabia are 100% for father and family of father. The mother only has the right to try to find an agreement with the father and family of father. But, if the father is her own cousin and the family of the father is also her own relatives, it’s much more easier to find an agreement.

  6. @Dana Islam.i thought.u had some really good points..all i can add is that marriages also take place based upon tribal links and to strengthen those, or to marry only within their particular sub sub tribe and usually they are all immediate or close family anyway.
    In general i think arranged marriages are fine as long as they are not forced and are done correctly which many are not.
    One point i wanted to add to American Bedu’s description of pre-marriage etiquette is when a potential suitor meets his potential wife she is totally uncovered including hair and is wearing normal clothing so that both can see if they are in fact attracted to each other in their normal natural state..this is common practise in saudi arabia and islamically acceptable.
    Although there are few very conservative families who do not allow the potential suitor to ever see the face of the future wife before the walimah and leave it to the wedding night for the big reveal..and usually this comes at a price and many have been known to divorce after this (no attraction/chemistry)..not to mention it is not part of islam to go to that extreme.

  7. @ Kinz

    “Many marriages in Saudi Arabia continue to be arranged marriages.”

    “MANY” is the issue. The overwhelming majority, if not all, marriages are arranged and most of them are against women’s will and and well-being.

    Women are still traded (sold and bought) like commodities. There is nothing more wicked than having someone force a woman to spend the rest of her life with a man she may have nothing in common with other than being created from the same mud.

    The four wives system is a nightmare designed to force women to compete over men’s attention and accept situations that would not be acceptable under normal relationship.

    This barbaric system must be de-ligitimized because it’s a form of slavery regardless of how it was invented, by whom or under what circumstances.

  8. Recently there was an article in the Arab News about the extremely high incidence of PKU in the Kingdom. PKU is a genetic recessive disease that causes mental retardation and a myriad of physical complications. Both parents must carry the gene and marrying within the family increases the chance that both parents will.

  9. @Ali – ‘This barbaric system must be de-ligitimized because it’s a form of slavery regardless of how it was invented, by whom or under what circumstances.’

    But that isn’t likely to happen because of what Linda was saying. There’s too many RETARDS in that country. 😉

  10. “pre-marriage etiquette is when a potential suitor meets his potential wife she is totally uncovered including hair and is wearing normal clothing so that both can see if they are in fact attracted to each other in their normal natural state..this is common practise in saudi arabia and islamically acceptable.”

    I didn’t realize this. But what happens if they decide not to marry because maybe her hair is not beautiful enough or she has fat ankles and there is not that spark of physical attraction? Is it bad that the lady was seen by a potential suitor and he now knows what she looks like underneath all those clothes? Will he talk? You stated that most of the time the couple marries, but I figured I’d ask.

    Thanks for sharing about this topic!

  11. Considering the high divorce rate I think arranged marriages do not work any better than ‘love’ marriages. The high divorce rate in KSA is somewhat alarming considering how many women do not file for divorce for fear of losing their children, family, support, etc. If they were not facing such antiquated divorce and family law one can only imagine what the divorce rate might be.

  12. @Dana, thanks for pointing that out.

    @Ali, why is it necessary to label this non-Western practice as “barbaric” or “slavery?” This is quite common in the Islamic world and even occurs in the West between other muslims. (I speak from experience). What is outdated is the idea that the woman is forced. Most of the women that AGREE to an arranged marriage are well-educated, and are willing to continue a “cultural/traditional” way of getting married. You DO realize that dating, although may be done on the down-low, is NOT permitted & is NOT a reason to bring a girl or guy home to the family. Do you KNOW what could happen to the girl if she were brazen enough to do that?!! Yes, the girl, of course!!! It is less common today to find someone forced into a marriage than it was just a few years ago. She has the right of refusal. I am not so naive as to think that there isn’t a small percentage that were forced into a marriage, but I would like to know the numbers.

    Naturally, there would be a contest between the women. That is a given!:)

  13. There is no society on this planet where half of its members, women, are more unjustly treated, blackmailed, disenfranchised and blamed for men’s failures, incompetence and insecurity than in the motherland.

    The participants in these exchanges have, by choice and financial gains, shunned the root cause of the Saudi numerous social illnesses: The absolute ruling men’s cannibalistic urge to exploit, humiliate and marginalize.

    It’s innate in human beings nature to control, to exploit and to take advantage of others when and if they could. Given these scientifically proven facts, Saudis do not differ from anyone else.

    The problem in S.A is the utter absence of binding social contract-constitution-where people’s rights and obligations are enshrined and implemented by a judicial system restrained by codified rule of law, accountability and transparency.

    These are the topics this blog and others like it should be focusing on instead of pointing figures at traditions, religion and issues that have no relevance whatsoever to the dignity and improvement of the lives and livelihoods of the oppressed.

  14. “Most of the women that AGREE to an arranged marriage are well-educated, and are willing to continue a “cultural/traditional” way of getting married.”

    Well educated women are very different from women who are free to choose or refuse and will still be accepted by family and society.

    Like any society, the people of that beleaguered land can adapt and move on. I grew up at a time and in a region where men and women mingle and knew each other from childhood. Most parents knew their daughters’ and son’s choices long before marriage most of the time. They rarely impose men or women on their offspring.

  15. Saudi royals win approval for £50m ‘super-home’ in Belgravia

    Saudi royals are planning a hi-tech “super-home” worth up to £50million by knocking together three houses in Belgravia.

    The 20-bedroom project includes digging to build two storeys underground to create an indoor pool, communications room, servants’ bedrooms, limousine-sized garages and dumb waiter.

    Plans for the 50-room house also include a security station, gym and large strong room for valuables.

    It will be one of the biggest homes of its kind in central London, estimated at more than 12,000 square feet.

    The house was formerly occupied by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain and the grandson of the kingdom’s founder, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, 56, his wife, Princess Fadwa bint Khaled bin Abdallah Al-Saud, and their children.

    The new owner is believed to be another high-ranking Saudi prince.

    Two mews houses will be demolished and linked via underground rooms to a freshly renovated Grade-II listed five-storey Regency house in the terrace behind. It will become a “single family dwelling”. The vacant site is owned by Eatonfields, aGuernsey-based property holding company which bought all three properties in 2005 for just under £4.4million.

    The street is a 10-minute walk from the Saudi embassy in Mayfair.

    A spokesman confirmed that the ambassador lived there but said the new occupier was “very private” and would not comment on their plans.

    Neighbours told Westminster council the house was too big and would block out light and overlook bedrooms, but the scheme was given the go-ahead last week after being scaled back.

    One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “They’ve toned things down a little bit but they are riding roughshod over everybody with the sheer size of it.”

    English Heritage gave its approval because the building was already “much altered”

    Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

    Family home: the former Saudi ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, is handing the property to another senior royal

  16. Yes, Ali, they knew their choices, but if we are talking about Saudi, then those were “arranged” marriages, as well.

    “Well educated women are very different from women who are free to choose or refuse and will still be accepted by family and society.”

    I don’t think I understand that statement.

    “These are the topics this blog and others like it should be focusing on instead of pointing figures at traditions, religion and issues that have no relevance whatsoever to the dignity and improvement of the lives and livelihoods of the oppressed.”

    I have to disagree with that statement because much of what a society does – whether it be Western or Eastern – is deeply entrenched in its traditions, religion and issues that have lots of relevance to the dignity(or lack thereof) and improvement of the oppressed.

    “Oppression.” Another abused and overused word when referring to the muslim woman. I wish we could just dig a grave and bury that one!

  17. While some (I’m not sure of the percentages) families will allow the girl to appear in front of the boy with her hair uncovered and wearing regular clothes, not all will follow this. For example, in my own Saudi family most of the girls wore their hijjab when meeting their groom.

    In fact my own very forward Western husband showed his conservative and protective father side when a young man expressed interest in one of his daughter’s. He had several meetings himself to get to know the young man and he had lots of questions for him too! He wanted his daughter to wear the hijjab and no make up as he wanted his daughter’s natural beauty to show.

  18. The problem in saudi arabia is that women have no choice, marriages ‘have to be’ arranged because of the segregation of sexes, marriages between cousins is very common since in case of divorce the woman gets a chance to see her kids! What people do not talk about is the fact that many marriages between cousins, result in having kids with problems. And as you know that country does not tolerate any type of human retardation, mental or physical handicap. Many women as treated as sexual slaves, and if they do not do what they are told, many men use physical violence towards them. It is very unfortunate that women in saudi live like that nowadays, and the saddest part is that most of them cannot leave the country without her husband permission. My sister went to college and one of her classmates was a saudi young woman that wanted to study abroad, when told her parents what she wanted to do, her parents immediately found her a husband, they did not wanted to let their daughter travel abroad alone, without a male companion. This girl was not happy, she was not allowed to go to any of the campus’ activities unless her husband was with her. After all she came to this country to experience a different life, little she knew, that she would still live a saudi life even thousands of miles away.

  19. “The problem in saudi arabia is that women have no choice, marriages ‘have to be’ arranged because of the segregation of sexes, marriages between cousins is very common since in case of divorce the woman gets a chance to see her kids! What people do not talk about is the fact that many marriages between cousins, result in having kids with problems. And as you know that country does not tolerate any type of human retardation, mental or physical handicap.”

    @Catalina where do you get YOUR information?! What does “not tolerate any type of human retardation, mental or physical handicap” mean? Do you mean the Saudis ‘dispose” of such individuals?!! That is a very careless statement to make and one that shows massivve ignorance! For one, it is NOT as encouraged to marry a 1st or even 2nd cousin as it once was. And that is ALL OVER the islamic world! People have “discovered” how risky this is in producing a mentally challenged offspring and numerous countries have put forth heavy campaigns in which to educate the public of this practice. Secondly, are you aware that many couples go thru premarital screenings to detect the presence of genes that may be incompatible w/each other’s?

    “Many women as treated as sexual slaves, and if they do not do what they are told, many men use physical violence towards them. It is very unfortunate that women in saudi live like that nowadays, and the saddest part is that most of them cannot leave the country without her husband permission.”

    Hate to break it to you, Catalina, but that is also VERY PREVALENT in the west. It comes under the monikers of “spousal abuse,” “human trafficking,” just to name a few. Human trafficking is alive and well in the west. Let’s see. Do Western women leave an entire country WITHOUT the husband’s permission? Yes, indeed, that WOULD be a sad commentary.

  20. Robin, Come on, why are you trying to sugar coat these LAWS by trying to make them seem civilized or normal? Hate to break it to you but there is a BIG difference btw a man who beats his wife because he’s a bully (like in he west where it is illegal)and a man who beats his wife because his religious text ADVISED it and no law would arrest him for it. There is also a HUGE difference btw the normal married couple discussing plans for trips whether they leave the country or not and the woman who has to show WRITTEN permission by her owner in order to travel.

  21. Lynn, not trying to sugar coat at all. A man can be a bully in the KSA, too by the same notion, but, unfortunately, those particular laws are too relaxed for comfort. It is illegal in the ksa, as well. There are the rare cases where the employment of a lawyer to see the spousal abuse avenged, so to speak, works to the woman’s advantage.

    Married couples discussing to leave the country together, was not the point Catalina was putting forth. (What is this owner/slave relationship the participants in these blogs insist on adopting?) She objected to what her idea – and that of many others’ – is of “normal.” But, what is “normal” in the KSA does not HAVE to be “normal” in the west, and that is the problem I have with those that want to “westernize” the world. With regard to the “beating” allowed in Islam. It would take too long to explain, and you wouldn’t be convinced there, either.

  22. “But, what is “normal” in the KSA does not HAVE to be “normal” in the west, and that is the problem I have with those that want to “westernize” the world.”

    If Saudi Arabia is Westernized enough, women’s rights and dignity would be protected and this discussion would not exist about this topic.

    Western civilization invented this medium and all means of convenience, life saving tools, the best and fastest forms of transportation, medication, foods, eradication of most diseases and above all bill of rights, checks and balances, accountability and transparency.

  23. My two cents-
    Abuse etc. against women can be found everywhere. That is true. However, KSA often BY LAW protects the abusers rather than the abused and BY LAW systematically grants women an unequal, oppressed status. Sorry that word “oppressed” isn’t ready to be buried yet. Especially here.

    HOWEVER, just because some women are forced into arranged marriages doesn’t mean that is the Saudi way. Many are not. There is a very wide variance in practice. Within my family while most marriages have been arranged, the couple spend time together getting to know each other. In fact, I have known many of the brides and grooms coming into the extended family because they start coming to family functions etc. well before the wedding.

    Also, in spite of attempts to fully gender segregate the youth manage to find each other. Many have friends of the opposite gender and they go out together in groups. Sometimes this leads to marriage, but mostly like young people everywhere they are spending time with friends having fun.

    The topics that THIS blog SHOULD cover are those to be decided by the person to whom the blog belongs. I think if anyone thinks the topics are not the correct ones they don’t have to be here and they are free to start their own blogs.

  24. ‘Married couples discussing to leave the country together, was not the point Catalina was putting forth’

    And it wasn’t mine either. I am in a committed, loving relationship with my husband. That means that because of that if I were to be taking a trip I would very likely have discussed it with my husband. Sure, that is a normal thing. What is NOT normal is for me to have to have his permission, written or not, in order to leave. I do NOT. I am FREE even if I am married, no law is going to force me to tell my husband I am leaving the country.

    ‘With regard to the “beating” allowed in Islam. It would take too long to explain, and you wouldn’t be convinced there, either’

    No, but I’m pretty sure that you are already aware of the fact that I do not need it explained to me because I already understand it and there is no way that you could possibly sugar coat the fact that the men are advised to beat their women, if needed, in order to control them. The amount of force that is debated is of NO importance to the issue of one spouse being automatically (by virtue of his penis) put in the position of power and dominance over what is supposed to be his partner and life mate.

    ‘What is this owner/slave relationship the participants in these blogs insist on adopting?’

    Huh? The only ones adopting a slave/owner relationship are the women who marry traditional Muslim men. 🙂

  25. @Strangeone
    As AB mentioned not all families are comfortable with showing their daughter off fully but it is usually acceptable and islamic as well..
    Before a suitor meets with the girls male guardians, his mother or aunts would have seen the girl already and talked up her best qualities to the young man (obviously knowing what he may like in a woman)..he then approaches the male guardians and asks her hand in marriage..They have lengthy conversations about the girls personality/religiousness/education…basically everything ..then her father also asks the same questions to the potential suitor and either agrees or disagrees that his daughter would like this man..they meet as many times as needed..then towards the end is when the man and woman meet face to face..and sit and talk to each other of course with family in the room (awkward lol)
    There have been times when men do not feel attracted to the woman and this is normal..so the man will tell her father of his reasons and it is understood between the men..
    I don’t think the male will talk only because he saw the woman in front of her father and brothers and so if anything was said the men in her family would intervene and kik his ass (excuse the french)..
    If the 2 are marrying from within the family..let say a guys want to marry his cousin..the chances of him talking about what his cousin looks like to others are slim as he would have to confront his own blood uncle and or other family members later and it would be a huge shame.
    sorry if that was confusing hope it helped a little to answer ure questions

  26. robinrocks- over 60 % of Saudi marriages remain consanguineous.

    Regarding the pre-marital screening, currently they screen for three genetical conditions only. Let me tell you there are HUNDREDS of others common in Saudi that cause for example mental retardation, chronic illnesses or fatal birth defects. Children are born with the most heart breaking conditions and some have little chances to survive. And its all because of this practice of “keeping it in the family”..
    Most shockingly from the screened HIGH RISK couples 90% get married anyway.

    I feel very strongly about this because every time I see an innocent patient suffer or die just because of the ignorance of their parents it makes me so angry! Especially if the parents already had 5 effected kids and kept on having more and more sick children that they KNOW will eventually die.

    Its heart breaking, frustrating and maddening.

  27. I hear you, Laylah. This deadly practice of arranged and relative marriages can be obliterated if women are free to choose not only whom to marry, but to be the author of their destiny.

    Solutions:

    1– Remove the gender segregation system
    2–Remove the male guardian system
    3–Transformation of all Saudi educational systems
    4—Transformation of the Saudi judicial system
    5–All schools’ curriculum must include classes to teach about the destructive impact of relative and arranged marriages, the right choices women can make if they were free to be in charge of their bodies, souls and minds
    6–confined religious teachings to religious schools and get rid of all Salafi instructors and their books
    7–Use the public news outlets to inform the public about the causes of deformities at birth, the pain and inhumanity they cause and how to eliminate unnecessary human sufferings
    8–Stop demonization of freedom of choice, democracy, social justice, rule of law and other people’s faiths, lifestyles and proven contribution to humanity through medicines, hygiene, diets, physical activities and tolerance of “the other”
    9–
    10–
    This can all be done peacefully, on timely manner and people will come to realize their other and better way to do this better, safer and cheaply.

    The Question I would like to ask of all discussants is why do you think that relative marriages are not discouraged by the system?

  28. In the UK arranged marriage is still the norm for muslims in my community (British/Pakistani). We are not so lucky as Saudi’s as most of us do not get to meet our future spouse beforehand. Most people I know are married to to cousins that come from Pakistan. It seems to be a way of backdoor immigration. Family promise a UK passport to another family member. There is no screening for genetical screening, as that type of thing is put down to the will of Allah. We get to see a video or photo of our spouse beforehand, but we don’t usually dare to object.

    Although we are not forced to get married, most of us don’t want to. Emotional blackmail and constant nagging will be used to persuade us. As well as threats of what may happen if we say no, we will most likely have to leave the family and not see them again as it would bring great shame. It’s all about family honour, this seems more important than love. My friend’s mother who was already very ill stopped eating until he agreed to get married, another friend was taken out of school to Pakistan, kept there for 6 months, and brainwashed until he agreed to get married.

    Most of these marriages are unhappy, with abuse and infidelity. I do not know a single person in an arranged marriage who is in love with their spouse. Yet only a few will divorce because that is still such a taboo. When my friend divorced it caused a huge scandal and a rift between two branches of the family. I think one of the reasons our parents make us marry cousins is because we won’t want to divorce and risk splitting the family. I hope the UK immigration laws change, making it harder for spouses to come here from abroad, as its obvious to me that marriages between people with such different backgrounds will never work.

  29. Hasna…

    Am I understanding correctly that a native born british (Pakastani heritage) female is forced to marry a native born Pakistani in order to bring the person to UK? Cultural problems can be a big issue especially if the man is coming from a patriarchal society and the woman is used to freedom.

    Aliyami…why do they marry cousins? It seems to me that there are plenty of non related Muslims around to choose from that could be both arranged and a love/attraction situation.
    My husband is from India…we were a love match but his brother was arranged and it is a very strong marriage and as far as I know happy. They were not related however…

  30. sorry forgot…

    In fact it was explained to me That the two families go to great lengths to make sure that the two have as many compatible points as possible and it is ESPECIALLY important that the couple not be related too closely. I far they go back but it is such a long way that for all practical purposes they are not related at all. That is how the Hindus do it…I don’t know about Indian Muslims.

  31. Oby,

    Yes native born British born male and female Pakistanis are forced/persuaded to marry native born Pakistanis in order to bring them to the UK. Although this reason is not the reason our parents give, they give reasons like “someone from back home will be more loyal and be better to teach children about religion/morals/traditions”. Parents like to marry their sons to native female Pakistani’s because they feel they will be more likely to stay at home and look after the family (unlike a UK born female). They don’t want a girl who may want to work or be independent.

    It’s very common for cousins to marry keep the wealth in the family and as a favour to relatives. Also, as children often live with their parents all their lives here, especially the eldest son (that’s a Pakistani tradition), his wife has to look after his parents when they are old and it’s thought that a blood relative will be more caring. And she will fit into the household better. Maybe that’s true, but still I don’t think its a good enough reason for marriage. Love and attraction does not seem important to our parents.

  32. @ Hasna

    “Although we are not forced to get married, most of us don’t want to. Emotional blackmail and constant nagging will be used to persuade us. As well as threats of what may happen if we say no, we will most likely have to leave the family and not see them again as it would bring great shame. It’s all about family honour, this seems more important than love. My friend’s mother who was already very ill stopped eating until he agreed to get married, another friend was taken out of school to Pakistan, kept there for 6 months, and brainwashed until he agreed to get married.”

    And Muslims want to introduce Shariah law to Britain.

    Why do you think India is the largest democracy in the world and Pakistan is among the most backward even though they are the same people, same culture, same color and same geography.

    Religion has become a tool and a cause of all negative things. Transformation of Muslim text books and separation of mosque and state is the key and Muslims in the West have the best opportunity to push for this change.

  33. @Ali, dream on. Have you presented these “solutions” to the proper authorities in Saudi? Seriously.

    @Lynn, the anthem of the Western woman: I am free. You are not. Would you REALLY leave the country – any country! – without communicating that intention to your loving husband? And what would be the response, may I ask? What if he had other plans and he decided now would not be feasible? Would you go anyway? If he said, “Not now, Lynn!” Are you still going to pretend that you would go?
    Not looking for a comparison, just trying to make a point.

    @Laylah: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
    Sad, for sure. But, to be fair, there can be genetically deformed children between unrelated married couples – as in the west – or in the east, so what does this prove besides the obvious. One, that marriages between relatives is high risk, and second, that Allah ultimately decides who gets “blessed” with these children. Only special people get “special” children.

    I know many arranged marriages that have lasted longer than those that supposedly married for love. It happens.:)

  34. Sorry, foolish people also get blessed with special children. When you willfully decided to go against reason and the knowledge Allah gave you- sometimes we have consequences to our actions. And the behavior of some of these parents indicate they are not really so special.

  35. Sandy, I only agree with your first 2 sentences.:)

  36. So the parents that abandon the “special” children in the hospital- are also “special”?

  37. Well, that’s why I only partially agreed. I wasn’t quite sure what you meant with regard to behavior. But, yes, those are “specially labeled.”

  38. Robin, as I said ‘I am in a committed, loving relationship with my husband. That means that because of that if I were to be taking a trip I would very likely have discussed it with my husband. Sure, that is a normal thing. What is NOT normal is for me to have to have his permission, written or not, in order to leave. I do NOT. I am FREE even if I am married, no law is going to force me to tell my husband I am leaving the country’

    Let’s say that I am married to an abusive man and I want to move to another country where some family lives and I feel I will be safe. I CAN!! THAT is the difference. And it is a HUGE one. Your ‘point’ is irrelevant. If a person is married to a decent person then yes, having the ‘law’ back you up does not seem at all necessary, does it? But to those who were not quite so lucky, freedom,and the laws that protect it, IS a big plus.

  39. Lynn, you doth protest too much. But, you didn’t answer my question. I am not talking about written permission. I mean your married, “free” intention to go purely because you want to. Is that gonna happen?
    “Married to a decent person” is all in the eye of the beholder. You don’t have to leave a country to get away from an abuser.

  40. Robin, you don’t have to leave a country- but if you live in the US you are ALLOWED to. In KSA you are a prisoner. Saudi’s laws oppress women. I think that is Lynn’s point- and it’s totally valid.

  41. @ Ali Alyami … you said “Religion has become a tool and a cause of all negative things. Transformation of Muslim text books and separation of mosque and state is the key and Muslims in the West have the best opportunity to push for this change.”
    Do you really think it will ever happen?

    Well, one positive step (that is if the men allow the women out of the house to do it) is that women finally get to vote and run for municipal office.

  42. Yes, you may be ALLOWED to leave, but, if we are still talking “plan B” escape from an abuser, you need spouse’s PERMISSION to take the kids. That’s WRITTEN permission!

    That is my valid point.

  43. ‘you need spouse’s PERMISSION to take the kids. That’s WRITTEN permission!’

    And that is the FATHERS as well as the mothers that need that. That law likely came about BECAUSE of those men from ‘Muslim’ countries that love to steal their children to take them back ‘home’ where the laws favor them, eh?

  44. @robinrocks,

    I don’t think both countries and situations of women in both countries can be compared.

    My SIL was in an abusive relationship in saudi, and it took much mor ethan her pleas for help to get her out of that marriage. even though her brothers wanted to help. so i tend to agree that women are not treated equal in saudi, however there are morons who abuse women inthe US too and women whose family won’t let them leave, however in the even she manages to escape and ask for help the laws will support her. that’s the difference.
    In the us i tell myhusband if i have a trip planned, when i book tickets, and that was that , being adult and all ..when we were in saudi my husband had to deliver me to the airport and give me permission to leave.( didn’t affect me much since i walked around with the permission at all times – safety sake)

    As for arranged marriages, most of my cousins bakc hom ein india have had arranged marriages and are quite happy, there is a diff though in the way it is implemented ( comparing ot the saudi way), here the couple meet and go out together and then decide. I gues sthat’s where the lack of segregation comes to play. It’s mpre like a blind date setup by you r parents ( after vetting the girl/boy ) .

    Either way if 2 people have no common ground thenthat marriage is bound to fail – family or not.
    and like oby says , it’s not lik ethey lack choices, the whole of ksa is filled with eligible muslim men and woman why court diaster by inter-marrying …

  45. Hey, Robin. if the woman is not married who signs her permission slip then? That’s right, then she still has her original owner or if her father is not alive that would be her brother even if he is a toddler, right? Go ahead, justify THAT and then talk to me about my false ‘anthem of the Western woman’ LOL

  46. Lynn, not owner, but father. Ok, for the sake of argument, what’s wrong with her father “owning” her? Call it what you want, but all parents “own” THEIR children in the sense that they are theirs! I don’t know about the toddler deal, but, I doubt it. LOL Anyway, I think it is speaks volumes that a society is so protective of it’s women. What is wrong with that? If the west were as protective, it would be a totally different story. Higher moral standards, for one. The west picks their fights and screams the loudest about the ones they really can’t defend.

    And, that law may have come about that way, I don’t know, but, it exists that YOU NEED PERMISSION of abuser to leave the U.S. Just like the KSA in that regard. Like it or not.

  47. NO, you don’t. You need permission to take your children. That is, unless you have sole custody which CAN happen here in the ‘Land of the FREE’ unlike in Saudi Arabia where you can lose custody of your child simply by having it’s owner (the father) die.

    What’s wrong with her father ‘owning’ her? Seriously?

    ‘Anyway, I think it is speaks volumes that a society is so protective of it’s women.’

    Yes, it DOES, volumes and volumes.

  48. Also, I think you are WRONG that you need the permission of the abuser. IF the person is an abuser his parental rights can be taken away and he has NO say in what you choose to do with your children. Have you ever heard of THAT happening in Saudi Arabia? In the case that it DOES happen, who would get the children? The mother? LOLOLOLOL

  49. The law is ONLY against women in the KSA for leaving the country. Men can do what they want. That is not the same at all.

    And we are talking about adult women being owned by their fathers (not parents. Fathers only)- or sons, or brothers. This society is not “protective” of it’s women. It systematically, legally, and practically oppresses them. As for Saudi being more “moral”- I see all the same wrong things happening here as happen in the west. Some happen less frequently because some of the population is essentially caged. But caging part of the population is also hugely immoral. And if the only reason people are behaving “morally” is because they are imprisoned in their homes- it’s not a very impressive type of “morality”.

    It seems you are not oppressed here by your specific set of circumstances. And I am glad- neither am I. But it is beyond me how you can defend a system that oppresses and hurts so many of your sisters here. Maybe you don’t know many Saudi women or don’t read the local papers. But MANY women are really suffereing with the way things are. And too many women who have it good close their eyes to the reality because they “don’t want for their sisters what they have for themselves.”- not if it means admitting to the truth of how bad it is. It seems “face” is more important than facing and trying to correct reality.

  50. Permission of the spousal abuser UNTIL you are divorced and who knows how long those take.
    So, they are no longer HIS children, but is it better for the child that there may be a revolving door to mommy’s bedroom until the next abuser shows up, because as you know, these women are serial in their choices? Is that better?
    KSA is a patriarchal society, so, yeah, the father GETS the kids and they grow up knowing who their FATHER is, at least. DNA/Jerry Springer not needed.

  51. Sandy, I have a habit of defending the underdog. My main point that I INTENDED to make originally, was that each society has its flaws. Why do people have to Saudi bash because it isn’t what the west adheres to? That’s what is unique about it, just as I can find the beauty in any society, by the sheer fact that it IS different. Although, I have never visited Somalia, Mexico, Peru and other rife-ridden countries, I realize they have their own culture and it is not my intention when visiting to Westernize, sanitize, or compromise that visit for my imagined need for creature comforts. I relish the time I am there and look at that civilization for what it is.

    There would be no need to visit Peru, for instance, if it were just like my own backyard, would there? But, at the same time, it is a proud, ancient civilization and you will find that its people – maybe not all of them – are happy the way they are and NOT seeking to live the American dream, but their own dream.

  52. Robinrcks…

    I don’t know where you are from but if you are from the West you should be ashamed of that last statement.

    ‘revolving door to mommy’s bedroom until the next abuser shows up, because as you know, these women are serial in their choices?’

    You know better or you should. I know FAR more women who, once divorced are very very careful in their choice of who they bring into their children’s lives, than the revolving door type. Perhaps you hung out with a crowd that was poorly educated or had some major issues such as drugs…but the ones I know personally are hard working women who in fact, DO NOT bring men into their house to sleep, nor do they abandon their children to sleep over a man’s house, precisely because they are worried about the emotional effect it will have on their children. Also if the former husband was not a drug user or had abused the children most mothers will work hard to keep the father in the childrens lives for the sake of stability.

    Jerry Springer? That is the dregs of tv watching….sheesh.

    As for permission of the husband to leave or travel,no one does not NEED legal permission. I travel frequently with my daughter on her school breaks, due to my husband not being able to get away from work. I never ask him if I can go somewhere. He knows we like to travel and I only have to tell him we are going to XYZ. 99% of the time there is no problem. Once, I wanted to go to my parents for Christmas which is a two day drive. He said he wanted us to stay here but I insisted as I wanted my parents to have a Christmas with my daughter. I told him I knew how he felt, but this was important and I am going…and we did. NO PERMISSION REQUIRED.And no problems in the end. Of course one consults the husband, but the difference is if he says I can’t go it weighs as much as I saying I am going….

  53. Oby, my point exactly! Everyone can NOT be lumped into the same category. But, I stand by my statement and you know its true!
    You, (not you personally) can dish it out, but you can’t take it. So ready to believe some of the worst possible aspects of Saudis, but, quick to sweep American dirty laundry under the carpet. It is a fact that women that attract one abuser, will attract another. Phil Donahue was more my speed.
    (Jerry Springer was trash that we are both guilty of watching at least once)

    My reference to permission was to leave the country, in which case, the permission would be for the passport application. Not permission to drive on the interstate.

  54. Oby, I will forgive your attempt to slander my background.:)

  55. @ Wendy,

    Yes it will happen because more Muslims including in Islam’s birth place are realizing, more and more, that religion or the way it’s shoved and their throats and used by men to legitimize and justify their atrocious behavior and practice is the major problem regarding their social, political and economic misfortunes. Saudi Arabia and its doctrine is the place to start and it will.
    ————————————–
    @ robinrcks,

    I am a dreamer, otherwise I would have given up long time ago. There is a difference between venting, armchair and coach dreamers and those who dream and work to make their dreams come true, or at least build a foundation for acts to follow.

    I have been writing, discussing and lecturing about these issues for many years. I know that authorities read my work and yes, I have discussed these steps with Saudi officials and will continue to do so. I am not the only one who promotes these ideas. I suggest you read Princess Basma Bint Saud blog.

  56. Robinrcks…

    I admit after I posted it I realized it sounded as if you wallow with questionable people. I actually meant it in a rhetorical way rather than personally and for that I do apologize.

    I watched about 5 minutes of Springer once and thought what barrel bottom did they scrape to find these people.

    It is true that one needs BOTH parents permission on permission to leave the country.It is not only the father. The mother can block it as well and that is due to kidnap issues. It wasn’t always like that. At one time neither parent needed permission from the other to travel with the children.

  57. OK, THEN!! Have we exhausted this topic yet? I’ll be bowing out now. Good night!

  58. robinrcks – I would love to know what part of the world you live in/come from. I am Canadian and I can tell you that NOBODY owns me! NOBODY has ever owned me. My parents looked after me until I could be on my own. They were responsible for my well-being.After that I was responsible for myself. My husband is not responsible for me either. In Canada if my husband so much as threatens me I can legally change the locks on my house. I can call the police and they will attend ask him to leave for the night or longer if there is trouble. I can go to a lawyer and get a restraining order. I can go to a women’s group and get a safe house and legal advice. I can get on a plane and go where I wish. I can leave the country with my children (unless there is a custody order). In short I have the same rights as a man. Can you do any of this is Saudi???

  59. @ Wendy

    Bombshell.

  60. You stand up for the underdog? You don’t even stay neutral when it comes to Saudi women- you stand making excuses and whitewashing the systematic, legal system of oppression. I may have no problem bashing the Saudi system- but I would never bash the women, or try to excuse the system that abuses them.

    Just because something is culturally different does not make it ok. Somethings are universally wrong- irrelevant of culture. And I am not bashing Saudi because it isn’t western. I’m bashing it for it’s lack of human rights. If you want to claim that Human Rights are only in the domain of the west I guess that’s your perogative but I don’t think so. I think Islam has room for them too.

    You however have no problem bashing western women. Which is interesting because I think you are one yourself. But whatever. I have no problem bashing women in Saudi who lead a good life and therefore don’t give a rat’s ass about all the suffering their sisters go through in life. Those to whom it is more important to give Saudi “face” and minimize or hide the oppression, at the cost of all those suffering. Those who have their life worked out in spite of the system and apparently think “too bad” for those who don’t.

  61. ‘So, they are no longer HIS children, but is it better for the child that there may be a revolving door to mommy’s bedroom until the next abuser shows up, because as you know, these women are serial in their choices? Is that better?

    Don’t you think that it is pretty ignorant to assume that these are the ONLY choices available? But, you know what? YES, I think that is CAN be better for the child to see a ‘revolving door to mommy’s bedroom’ over a ‘mommy’s continued marriage to someone who is abusive and/or oppressive’.

  62. ‘So, they are no longer HIS children, but is it better for the child that there may be a revolving door to mommy’s bedroom until the next abuser shows up, because as you know, these women are serial in their choices? Is that better?

    robinrcks…that is a very sad and generalized statement about divorced women. Being one myself after 20 years with an abuser…I take exception to your pointing such a f**ked up finger at me and others like me. Not only is my bedroom door not revolving…Im actually more choosy than I should I have been in the beginning, which let HIM into my life. You speak as if you have knowledge and insight into something you obviously have never had to experience…good for you. But dont resort to condescending statements like that to make a point…whatever your god awful point was.

  63. I believe that arranged marriages are okay, but should be up to the individuals involved as to whether or not they want this kind of marriage. I think the individual’s right to choose arranged marriage, love match, or anything in between should be respected. (And yes, I consider being able to choose your dating/marriage style a “right” of sorts.) There are no guarantees in life so do what makes you content and happy in the long run while letting others live their dreams, too. At least, that’s my philosophy.

    @Bella Vita,
    I enjoyed reading your comment, but am not sure why it was directed at me?

  64. Awww my mistake StrangeOne..it was directed at Susanne..i got al confused with my S’s lol.

  65. @Bella Vita,
    It’s okay. lol. Just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Thanks for commenting though! 🙂

  66. robinrcks … just you you don’t think it’s all one-sided for women in Canada here’s a few more facts about equality.
    In divorce situation where their are children the children are generally awarded to the mother or a joint custody/shared deal is worked out. Child support is awarded to the person who has custody of the children. If the mother has custody the father by law must contribute to their support until they reach the age of consent unless the mother is a very high earner.
    The man may also have to pay alimony to his wife if she was financially dependent on him or it could work the other way around – the wife may have to pay alimony to the husband. That’s called equal rights.

    I have been divorced. There was no revolving bedroom door after my divorce. I worked to support my children. I didn’t particularly want to marry again or even be involved but I did marry again and it’s a wonderful marriage. Most divorced women I know have a locked bedroom door rather than a revolving one.

  67. Bella-Vita, thank you for your reply! That makes sense.

    I can see why you’d think of me as a strange one! 😉

    I appreciate your taking time to answer me.

  68. Not to mention..with my fulltime night job and full time college schedule..the only revolving my door does is when i go through it coming from work and turning around and going straight to college and vice versa. No time for playing. Period. (even if that sort of lifestyle was a choice I had made at some point)

  69. An interesting article on Al Jazeera about the price of oppressing women ….

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011102133713539233.html

  70. Wendy

    Thanks for this article. It is common sense that empowering women empowers a country. They raise the children who then go on to empower their own children.

    I support a couple of women thru Women for Women international…I have one in Afghanistan and one in The Congo. These women learn to start a business which provides them with a livelihood. They learn about their rights and often use the money to educate their children. It makes a lot of difference in their lives and they go on to improve the lives for their kids.

    Everytime I see stuff like this I think that most Muslim majority countries are poor. Islam has to have something to do with this or at a minimum the way Islam is interpreted. If the faith weren’t so patriarchal it wouldn’t be so bad for women…but of course Christian parts of Africa have issues too.I guess that shows religion is not the answer!

  71. I think of India and Pakistan…essentially the same people…only religion separating them…as Indians educated their women more and more the middle class grew and I have no doubt it is due to women having the ability to participate in life.

  72. That’s a great article. I shared it on Facebook this morning after I read it. I especially thought this was thought-provoking:

    “Female oppression is a moral issue; but it also must be seen as a choice that countries make for short-term “cultural” comfort, at the expense of long-term economic and social progress.”

  73. Wow, I can’t BELIEVE al Jazeera ran that!

  74. Why Lynn? They are a really great news broadcaster and have an excellent website with a broad range of news and topics.

  75. In addition to Women to Women, check out http://www.peacexpeace for another great organization that believes in the empowerment and education of women.

  76. I’m saudi girl & I’m completely against arranged marriages specially in the traditional way where the girl know nothing about her future husband & I know so many girls who got divorced after 6 months or 1 year & so on its so simple how you get married to someone you don’t know if he is sick or psyco or terrorist it’s just so stupid for me being single for my whole life is better then being with a stranger

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