Photo Of The Moment: Mass Weddings Of Amman

AP Photo – Jordanian veiled brides line up as they prepare to take part in a mass wedding party in Amman, physician Jordan on Friday, July 24, 2009. Fifty eight brides and bridegrooms took part in the 16th mass wedding organized by the Al-Afaf Islamic charity association to encourage and help Muslims marry.


  • I don’t know enough about Jordanian culture. How does this “help and encourage” Muslims to get married?

  • @Bob: essentially, the wedding is paid for by an Islamic charity, probably one that flows through the Muslim brotherhood. In other words, it gives an opportunity to a large group of people who can’t afford the high costs associated with a wedding, the chance to get married.

    @Dave: hmm. i can see the humor at face-value but i pray you’re not judging these people in that context. just because their veiled doesn’t make them stupid.

  • 🙂 I have respect to the amount of logistics and coordination that would go into organizing such an event…

    Actually to build on what Dave said… I wonder how are things organized so that a man does indeed marry the right woman? do they give them numbers like in graduation ceremonies? i guess since men would not see women… the power is in the hands of women… they are the ones who make sure they are married with the right men… 🙂 Men would be at the mercy of women… interesting… sah?

  • to Dave and isam
    first i would prefared we had our hats up for all the brides and grooms,for the courage that they had to have a wedding with 57 other couples ,and not to be influnced by all these 5 stares weddings that are taking place in our lives .i had a 3 stars wedding and i knew some people that had a cheap weeding and a five stars wedding and take it from an expert(married for 10 years ) what really counts that what happens after the wedding .coz as soon as people go to the next party they will stop talking about your wedding its history for them and soon for next time grow up Dave and Isam and look deeper in these nice pictures that Nas posts for us .and sorry to ell you that but i will prefare giving away my daughter to one of these men in the picture with big minds rather than a so called man that judges and event with sillines and humor. and again thanks Nas/
    p.s To BOB iam ready to tell you any thing about jordanian culture .

  • to madas i dont know if you are really a jordanian or some forigner living here ,since you have a blog .or editorial or what ever you call it iam guessing that you are one of us ,so how in ——- do you not know how in jordan men choice thier wives or is just a comment that you thought that you are going to be funny in ,wake up and look around A COVERD HAIR IS NOT A COVERED MIND ,OR CLOSED EYES .

  • henno i don’t think madas is trying to insult anyone, just observing that it must be very confusing with 58 identical looking brides at the ceremony! which is absolutely true!!

    and considering some of the brides may not have seen the husband before… and most have not seen him very often… with the white lace over their eyes and being so nervous and excited it must be hard for the brides to know who is the right husband too!!

    i am also curious about the logistics of such an event, in all seriousness… does anyone know?

  • C, iam sure that they holding hands- action- took place befor the brides and grooms were out when every groom had the the chance to look his bride on the eye and lead her out,you are all missing the point out of it and looking at an unimportant details and iam sorry that your missing the beauty of it .just a question to you if the wedding was to be held in the states would we have heared all these comments about it?i guess not .and truely i will try to contact the one who held the ceremony(al afaf)and i will ask them how did the men held hands with the covered ladied ?did you gave them numbers,or did you shout thier names out andill get back to you inshalla when i have an answer.ok

  • at face-value, I had the same reaction Dave and others did

    Yet, after a minute or two, I realized how the ingrained image of the “Western” bride has become in our minds and culture.

    not all brides have to look the same, and heck , if they were uncovered, I would be checking to see which one of them is the most beautiful.. shallow on my part, but isn’t that what we all do!

  • henno
    “just a question to you if the wedding was to be held in the states would we have heared all these comments about it?” what does THAT have to do with anything ?

    Lighten up no one attacked the VEILED brides
    as to the logistics who knows ..maybe they have each man hold a key and his woman holds the lock and that’s how they verify things

  • Is it by Islamic law that they have to cover the face too? I thought its only the hair, now really confused.

  • henno you don’t need t be defensive….

    No one is attacking anyone… I was wondering about the logisitcs of it… it would be as confusing when all of them are uncovered..imagine seeing 58 women all wearing white…. covered or uncoevered would require an equal amount of coordination… just like graduation ceremonies…

    Actually maybe i should call the organization and ask them about it directly….

    By the way… my comment had nothing to do with the hijab… and by the way and i am not one of anything you are part of…

  • Dear Henno,

    did you really think i am against the idea of a mass wedding ? its not my idea at all. my idea was about the marriage itself. i would rather not to discuss my ideas here as they might not be well received. short story might be that one who cant buy a suit ( assuming you saw the reportage on Aljazeera) cant raise kids , financially and intellctually speaking.

    be well

  • To all of you
    iam so sorry you got the idea that iam defensiv its just that i was seeing the beauty of it ,and i wanted you all to see that too,the half glass is full,
    Dear Isam
    i didnt see the reportage but i have heared of it and your question about raising kids with haveing no money is totaly another thing that i think will open discussion widely ,like what you say about your ideas about marrige .so we will leave it up tp here.
    take care all and peace out

  • As-salamu Alaykum,

    C, It is wrong to say that the brides may not have seen the husbands before. This does not happen in modern-day Jordan. It is much more likely that they are already married, probably for months, and are just “completing” the marriage process by having this party. This is what most people in Jordan do…get married legally and then meet/sit with each other regularly until the wedding party, after which they will go live together.

  • Revelation,

    The women are covering their faces because they are wearing make-up, which is not allowed in front of men. But some women prefer to cover their faces at other times as well.

  • Salam,
    Is wearing make-up in front of men not allowed by Islamic law? My question was not whether they prefer doing it or not (many people prefer doing different things, i tell you), but my question is if they are doing it because the Islamic law states they should. As from what i know it doesn’t, and this is more of some Arabic Bedouin tradition which has nothing what so ever to do with relegion, that’s what i wanted to find out, curiosity.
    Appreciate your response though.

  • nope they are doing it because of ultra orthodoxy … there isn’t anything in islam about covering the face and regarding make-up there are stict ruling about overdoing it and otherwise its fine…
    I find it really interesting how people became defensive of those veiled woman when the reality is while veiling in islamic the niqab (which is what is there) is clearly not required.

    Either way my reaction is more along the lines of “Yes that’s what jordan needs! more whole sale miserable couples that sprout children left right and center ………perfect! did they provide them an anti contraceptive pamphlet or signed them on the requirement that they are required to produce X children in the next 5 years …. oh sorry they don’t need to, the environment they are in will dictate that anyways”
    probably harsh and judgmental, so i’ll stick with best of luck, imwafa2een, and hopefully you’ll raise your kids well and not have too many 😀

  • Diala,
    Just noticed your following comment ” if they were uncovered, I would be checking to see which one of them is the most beautiful.. shallow on my part, but isn’t that what we all do!” – end quote.

    What’s wrong with that though? Isn’t it natural and instinctive human behavior? To me it bloody is. And if it is, then why go against yourself and stop behaving like natural people? (deep inside you still do that, even if on the outside you pretend not to, or try pretending, or just say its shallow)….whats wrong with looking and admiring beauty? and don’t tell me that is forbidden by religious law as well….

    Cheers for the reply and clarification, as i also have not heard being there such laws in Islam.

    Be well.

  • Revelation,
    Muslim women are not supposed to beautify themselves in public (in front of non-related men). Make-up is considered a form of beautification, especially wedding make-up, which is usually very heavy/pronounced in the Arab world. It is okay for women to wear it at home in front of her close male relatives (husband, father, son, brother, uncle, grandfather, father-in-law…did I miss any?) or among women only, but not in a huge wedding hall in front of unrelated men and the general public. A lot of the women pictured probably do not cover their faces on a daily basis but did so to cover their wedding make-up. It is extremely common for brides in Jordan to do this.

  • lol salam …. you know there are two more common solutions for the brides.
    solution 1 they have a segregated wedding and the groom stays on the womens side and she takes her veil off …
    solution 2 she wears light or no makeup and doesn’t veil … why isn’t there a single one in that photo doing that ?
    so yeah saying that the option of completely covering the face is extremely common is an extremely misleading notion … IMNSHO

  • Salam,
    Appreciate your reply, but have to say that agree with bambam, as I have been to quite many Arabic and Jordanian weddings, but have never seen that the bride’s face was covered, and i second to the thought that if make-up can be a problem, then don’t put it on, or don’t put that much….
    But still, would you be able to say that there is a clear law in Islam which states that women should not put make-up (or make themselves look better, pretty, put nice clean clothes, iron the clothes?, etc, as all of that is beautification or not?), so is there a clear statement which says it is not allowed? If yes then could you tell me the Quran verse number for this? Or is this something that people just make up and say, and it just spreads along and nobody cares to check?
    Don’t get me wrong all, am just curious about stuff.

  • well let me try to simplify … the case for not putting make up is in quran 33:32-33 and the case for covering the face in the quran atleast follows closely afterwards in 33:53… but that is only if you consider that passage in and off its self without any context, anyways like they say
    “wanna malee (non of my business)”

  • bambam,
    Had a quick google for 33:32-33, but noticed that the verse is addressed to the Prophet Mohamed’s wives. As for 33:53, that is also very obvious about the prophets wives, as in there it is also mentioned that men are not allowed to re-marry the prophets wives.
    Your thoughts? Have you actually read the verses? 🙂 as they do not seem to yet answer my initial question.

  • Bambam,

    I am 99.999999% sure that the mass wedding in this photo was a segregated wedding but that the brides probably appeared briefly in the procession we see pictured. In this case, the groom cannot “stay on the women’s side” because there are 58 of them and the brides cannot take off their veils in front of unrelated men (the other grooms) or dance or do any of the other things people do in weddings.

    Regarding “Solution 2” most Muslim women, including myself, would consider it wrong to wear light makeup in front of men. Even going with your train of thought, wedding makeup in Jordan is not ever light. I don’t personally like wedding makeup in Jordan and am not defending the practice of heavy makeup. However, it is a fact that most brides in Jordan wear heavy makeup. So, light or heavy, I am sure that these brides do not want to appear in front of unrelated men in their wedding finery.

    Misleading…? No, it is not. I have been to dozens of conservative weddings in Jordan and some not “as” conservative and every single bride I have ever seen in this country covers herself when leaving the wedding hall.

    If you and Revelation have had different experiences in Jordan, it just means we move in different circles/environments.

    A Muslim woman’s “uniform” is plain and does not attract attention, yet it doesn’t mean going to lengths to make oneself appear ugly or unkempt. Clothes should be ironed and clean but not flashy, tight or overtly attractive.

    Googling the Qur’an is not sufficient to understand the verses as the Qur’an is a deep book with many meanings and which needs time to understand and contemplate. If you take a look at verse 24:31, however, you will see that God addresses all believing women when He tells them not to “expose their adornment.” There are also numerous hadeeths that discuss the dress of women, including one in which the Prophet’s wife Aisha sees a bride wearing a transparent head covering and tells her, “A woman who dresses like this does not believe in Surat an-Nur” (Surat an-Nur is Ch. 24 of the Qur’an cited above). Also, when God addresses the Prophet’s wives, these are considered to be models for all Muslim women and thus Muslim women in all generations will do their best to emulate their behavior.

  • Salam,
    Thanks for taking the effort and the details.
    I had a look at verse 24:31, but still that does not show to be a command to cover the face? or does it? By the way i had a look at the verse in google in Arabic, as in the original language “as is”, so i don’t think i will be miss understanding as it is quite clear. Not “exposing their adornment” and covering the face are two very different things, don’t you think? or are we not allowed to think?
    As for all women being as prophets wives, i don’t really agree, they can try of course, they can act as so, that should be no harm, on the contrary, it is quite good…. but again… you are missing my question, where is the direct law in quran which tells a woman needs to cover her face? i was not able to find one, including the one you have mentioned.

  • Revelation,
    I did not say Muslim women need to cover the face in normal circumstances (although this is a legitimate school of thought among some Muslims, who base it on the command to the prophet’s wives to speak from behind a screen). What I said is that Muslim women need to cover their adornment “except what ordinarily appears thereof,” which includes makeup, light or heavy. So, if a woman is going to wear makeup, then she needs to cover it in front of unrelated men. This means covering the face. If she doesn’t want to be in that situation, then perhaps she should not wear makeup. By all means, think for yourself as I am sure we all like to do. I know I do. But we should also be careful not to make assumptions or think that Google can always provide the best and most correct answer. These topics are interrelated in the Qur’an and in other sources and need some time to discuss and understand.

  • Nas,

    I am curious. Do you see a bit of a double standard in your reply to Dave? When you posted the cartoon of Tony Blair you defended it under freedom of press/expression. You had stated something to the effect that Christians should not be offended. That begs the question, its not ok for Christians to poke fun at certain Muslim traditions but it is ok for Muslims to poke fun at Chrstian traditions?

    Is that considered appropriate?


  • These pictures I’d classify as pretty but impersonal. Sort of like a Calvin Klein ad, minus chiseled abs. 😉

    The wedding industry is such a rip-off that I want to feel happy for these people, but it’s kind of hard to do that if you believe that marriage is hyped up to be something it’s not – something good and proper and necessary for human beings, when it isn’t always that way at all. And I think there is more pressure on religious people to be content is greater. But you have your moment – wear the veil or the suit, and then you find out that you don’t even know each other well, that he’s terrible with money and has a thick thatch of hair growing out of his ears, and she has a shrill laugh and a bad temper.

    If you don’t really love each other (not in the way that TV shows portray love, of course), you’re doomed. I know plenty of people who don’t love each other but still stay together for propriety’s sake, or for the children, or for fear of loneliness, and those are the people who yell the loudest about the virtues of marriage, because they need to yell to cover up a kind of internal silence.

    Human beings, religious or not, are such annoying creatures that it seems to me that the “decadent” secular world is a much better reflection of the reality of relationships. Relationships are tough. And I’m saying this as someone who actually wanted to get married this year, and after nearly six years of life together too. You think you have it all figured out, but you never do.


    Anyway. Um. Congratulations to the happy couples! 😀

  • Salam,
    Thanks yet again for the response.
    As for the command for the prophet’s wives to speak from behind a screen, is that thee only mention of such in the Quran? I think the answer is yes, and I do not think this is a good example, as it can be seen in many ways, it was addressed for the Prophet’s wives after all…. donno… but I cannot see how that verse commands women to cover their faces.
    I have been doing some research (don’t worry, not Google, but using ordinary books, and talking to people who lived in the culture) and it seems that covering the face is not something which Islam has brought, but this was a very common tradition in Mecca with the Arab Bedouins living there (that, amongst other weird stuff against women, such as burying the girls alive when they reached close the age of being mature), and to be honest, it seems that it has not changed much since then (at least in Saudi, I know it is a bit better in Jordan), as in Saudi they still have to cover the face (as they say by law, but you and me know it is just a tradition), for cryin out loud women are still not allowed to drive cars there, nor have most of the government jobs, and so on….. I don’t want to get away from the topic, but it seems that covering the face is totally not a religious thing, but it is the influence of your neighboring Saudi and the gulf…. what you recon?
    And yeah one more thing, you say other sources, but I thought that the Quran clearly states that it is thee only ever source for everything, and that people should never ever turn to other sources…. that also can be an argument, for example you can refer to the hadith as other source i assume, but the Shia Muslims will not use the hadith as other source, but they have another, then come few other “sects” as you call them, and each have a source, so I prefer we stick to one source, where it actually states that it should be only the one.

    Indeed, congratulations to the couples as Natalia has mentioned, Ура.

  • I am curious. Do you see a bit of a double standard in your reply to Dave? When you posted the cartoon of Tony Blair you defended it under freedom of press/expression. You had stated something to the effect that Christians should not be offended. That begs the question, its not ok for Christians to poke fun at certain Muslim traditions but it is ok for Muslims to poke fun at Chrstian traditions?

    Is that considered appropriate?

    the mahjoob cartoon (in my opinion and many others, including christians) was not mocking the “christian tradition” of baptism but rather two main issues: one, which was the government’s alleged polluting of the holy waters of the jordan river (sacred to both christians and muslims) as well as tony blair’s decision to pay a visit to the site shortly after, which hajjaj and many categorized as an attempt to cleanse himself of the war crimes he has committed in this region.

    i failed to see it, as you did, as a caricature that was mocking christianity or christians. and while this particular issue is long dead by now, i remain baffled as to why some people took offense to it, when the real life issues it was depicting were much more offensive to christianity. but the outcry i would’ve imagined coming from those people towards those issues went instead to a cartoon.

    as for my comment to dave: i was simply hoping that he or others were not judging the intellect of the women in the above photograph simply because they were veiled.

    i don’t see where your double standard is, but if it makes you feel better to call me a hypocrite than have a blast.

    but i’d rather not join that party.

  • Maha,

    as to the logistics who knows ..maybe they have each man hold a key and his woman holds the lock and that’s how they verify things

    That would hold a certain phallic symbolism, wouldn’t it?


    This is what most people in Jordan do…get married legally and then meet/sit with each other regularly until the wedding party, after which they will go live together.

    Thanks. That makes this much easier to understand.

  • I’ve been out of the loop for a month or so; it’s always nice to jump back into a controversial thread.

    While I’m not fond of these sorts of group weddings, I do understand their necessity. Weddings are astronomically expensive, and we have all sorts of 30 – 40 yr.-old bachelors in this country sitting at home with mama and baba, as well as very lovely young women who grow old watching soap operas with mama and baba, not marrying. This is sad.

    BUT, do these group weddings really help those in need? If the groom or his family cannot afford a simple wedding, what about supporting his bride or the children who are surely to follow soon? I feel like too many of these women are torn between getting married and suffering in poverty, or staying single and remaining in poverty. I am not sure which is better. Or worse.

  • to salam
    thank you for taking the time and explaining in a great way and knowledge ,iam proud of having and reading to people like you ,keep up the hard work.

  • @ Mitch Nellerson

    “That would hold a certain phallic symbolism, wouldn’t it?”
    i guess so but it is what it is. A wedding night in Arabic is referred to as “Lailet el dokhleh” meaning something like “Night of entry” cause that is the highlight of the night especially when a marriage contract could be signed in advance without “entry”.

    shin-eg-laileh shin-eg-laileh

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