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I am seeking a wife between the ages of:
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I would like a wife who agrees to relinquish the following rights:
___Right to housing
___Right to financial support
___Right to time (spending the night especially)
___Right to children
___Right to public announcement of the marriage
___All of the above
I would like a wife to meet the following needs:
___Owns a home or lives with her family
___Has her own job
___Open minded (to do the things my current wife will not do)
___All of the above
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Sound too absurd to be real? ItÃ¢??s not. Matchmaking is a booming business here these days. In addition, marriage in many Arab countries has taken on some new forms and shapes. Among the different types especially popular in Saudi Arabia is the Ã¢??misyarÃ¢?Â (i.e. visiting marriage). This means the man is not required to provide a home, financial support or to spend the night. He can just Ã¢??visitÃ¢?Â whenever he pleases. Another form of marriage is the Ã¢??misyafÃ¢?Â (i.e. summer marriage). This means the couple is together only in the summer, usually when traveling and is meant to avoid the temptations of forbidden sex Ã¢?? or in the case of the woman, have a Ã¢??mahramÃ¢?Â around for social purposes. A third, even more outrageous marriage is the Ã¢??mityarÃ¢?Â (i.e. flying marriage). In this one, a man marries a second wife solely to accompany him on his frequent business trips. In this case, the man usually wants a very attractive, open-minded woman who speaks good English.
If none of these three types of marriage meets your needs, then feel free to come up with your own. There is no limit to imagination and our scholars are only too eager to satisfy you by issuing fatwas legalizing all types of marriage. Recently, only Ã¢??misyarÃ¢?Â has been given the stamp of approval but if there is any consistency in their decision, the others will soon be approved as well. The only obstacle they say that makes the marriage illegal or invalid is intent to divorce Ã¢?? as if all those different boxes to check are not enough to show just how temporary they believe the marriage is going to be. The strange thing is that many of those same scholars have criticized the Shiite practice known as Ã¢??mutÃ¢??aaÃ¢?Â (i.e. pleasure marriage) which is a temporary union simply for sexual purposes. While I reject such a marriage as well, I must say I respect them for at least calling a spade a spade.
The reason some people defend the legalization of these travesties of marriage is large number of unmarried women in the country. I wonder how legalizing marriages that deprive women of all their basic marital rights will solve that problem Ã¢?? that is without creating even worse problems.
First, we will inevitably have an even higher rate of divorce (currently we have a divorce every 44 minutes or 33 per day). And studies by the Ministry of Planning have shown that 65 percent of marriages through mediators and matchmakers end in divorce.
Second, we are creating a generation of fatherless children. Even if it is a womanÃ¢??s choice to relinquish her rights to a full marriage, she does not have the right to relinquish her childrenÃ¢??s rights to a father.
Third, we are making polygamy that much easier for men and, by doing so, are ruining existing marriages.
Many people defend these marriages by saying that they are a consensual agreement between two adults. My reply to that is: Why do you think any person would give up all his or her rights? Is it a case of the lesser of two evils? Cowardly men seeking a Ã¢??misyarÃ¢?Â or Ã¢??mityarÃ¢?Â marriage are merely doing so to satisfy their selfish needs while having to give nothing in return. They are playing with the emotional, physical, financial and social needs of women who have no other choice.
Statistics show there are over 1.5 million unmarried women in Saudi Arabia and even more divorcees and widows. Many of these women are under social pressure to get married Ã¢?? to anyone, even the shadow of a man. Other women who agree to such marriages want financial support (a bare minimum) or children to fill up their lives. They have no choice but to relinquish their rights in order to get married.
In conclusion, I would like to ask just one question of these scholars and other men of religion: How many of you have daughters who are living with you while married to a man in a Ã¢??misyarÃ¢?Â marriage? I would say none. I challenge any of you to tell me that you have done that to your own daughters. As usual, fatwas are made without regard to the victims of such decisions. Correct me if I am wrong. I am waiting for your e-mails. [source]
Mody Al-Khalaf is a Saudi writer. She is based in Riyadh
This is probably one of the best articulated articles I’ve read concerning this topic of temporary marriages. The problem is of course much deeper and one of its root causes seems to be these fatwas by clerics who can be Ã¢??boughtÃ¢?? (i.e. have something to gain). We’ve heard of many ridiculous fatwas in the past few years from these people who find some sort of justification for their rulings in religious texts. And people eat it up if it serves their purposes. The irony is that the religion that sought to protect women is now being used to abuse them. Religion is the weapon and Culture is the culprit. All of these “halal” marriages are an insult to the dignity of the Quran and Islam. Of course no one will do anything to stop any of this from happening, generally but particularly in Saudi Arabia. You just can’t argue with “God”. There are some who have spoken out against it but this is one of the disadvantages of not having a central authority.
Another irony I suppose is that the institution of marriage in Islam is so fundamental that it’s considered half of one’s religion. And the criterion the Prophet Pbuh mentioned could be best defined as spiritual companionship; the observance of commitment and partnership. Nothing remotely close to the transient notion of a wife fulfilling a man’s sexual appetite on a business trip!?! If you canÃ¢??t keep it in your pants for a few days while on business or during a summer or while studying abroad, then you should seriously reconsider ever getting married at all. Are people that mentally incompetent that they believe God will be fooled by documents that made it Ã¢??halalÃ¢?Â or by blaming it on some fatwa? Will they not be asked by God what they did with the brains they gave them to judge for themselves?
I think those that get involved in this are either looking for religious justification for what they do, or really donÃ¢??t care about religion and just need a way thatÃ¢??s legal. Both groups are absurd in their judgement.
But if you’re reading this I would suggest you do write an email to Mody Al-Khalaf as a show of support for this article. I figure it’s the least that can be done these days.