Save the Women!

Coupling in the West versus coupling in Islam

Posted in politics,relations with Saudi men,religion,Uncategorized,women by Save the Women! on February 6, 2010
This post is necessarily generalised.

In discussion on the web, and on this blog too, some commentators like to change the topic of the discussion by stating statistics about children born out of wedlock in the west, or people having extra marital affairs etc. This is to ”prove” that polygamy is better. And that Islam has a better solution to men’s ”legitimate” desire for multiple sex partners.

Lets get things into perspective.

  • First the situation in the west.
  • Second the situation in Islam,
  • And third a conclusion.

We can’t look at statistics because while western countries love statistics and have statistics on every little issue, Islamic  countries have very few statistics and those they do have are unreliable.

So let’s see, apart from the different religions most countries in the west and more specifically Europe is generally quite relaxed about young people experimenting with sex. And why not. I do not see why people should get riled up about two consenting partners having sex.  As long as both are consenting, both are responsible about contraceptives and eventual std’s I do not see what is so wrong about having sex. Especially not when you compare it with real crimes like rape, murder, etc.

”Coupling” and or having children in the west

(mostly north west Europe ’cause that’s where I’m from) , a list of the possibilities

  • single parent (because of accident, carelessness, rape)
  • single parent (out of choice, a personal decision)
  • single parent (divorce or death of other parent)
  • marriage, registrar
  • marriage, religious (coupled with registrar)
  • relationship contract
  • Co-habitation
  • ”open relationship” both partners agree to have other sex partners outside the relation (usually ends badly)
  • Men and women are equal partners in marriage
  • a couple meets, dates, gets engaged, and generally has lots of time to see if they are compatible
  • both men or women can instigate divorce
  • marriage is restricted to two partners only
  • there is a minimum age, usually 18 dispensation can be given by a judge if he considers the partners mature enough
  • a womans personal and public consent is absolutely necessary, nobody can give consent for her
  • un-consensual sex is regarded as rape, also in marriage
  • neither spouse is allowed to beat up the other
  • both partners remain legal persons in their own right
  • having children, and how many, is usually a well planned decision,  and  a lot of people wait a few years before they start having them

In case of divorce:

  • both parents share financial responsibilities for each other
  • both parents share financial responsibility for the children
  • unless contractually different, all assets are divided equally
  • Children usually remain with the mother both parents can agree to any other division.
  • the other parent always has visitation rights
  • Children can choose which parent they want to live with, the childs preference will be given great weight in court

People think very seriously about which way the want to live together. And make an informed decision. In my country many couple live together for a few years before they decide to marry. Some women are very clear in that they do want children but not a man. As long as single parents look after their children well I don’t see why not.

What all forms of relationships, except the ”open relationship” have in common that the partners are expected to be faithful and loyal to each other. In an open relationship two people have bonded but have made an understanding that both can have other sex-partners. These relationships very often end in misery because usually one of the couple isn’t happy with this agreement.

”Cheating” is regarded as a very bad thing. It is generally regarded as betrayal of trust.  So whatever your chosen form of bonding, people who ”cheat” have to keep it very secret. When they are found out everybody in their surroundings will be disgusted. Divorce may result, but also social repercussions.

In the west the one man one woman scenario is considered the norm and cheating is considered a very bad thing to do.
Now divorce is accepted quite easily. Marriage, or any other form of bonding, is supposed to be forever. But most people share the opinion that if a couple is unhappy together that they should split up and start afresh with somebody else. It has also been proven that this is much better for the children.

The conclusion is that people bond in different ways according to their own believes and wishes. And they have the freedom to do so. They are also free to split up if the relationship doesn’t work anymore. Cheating is always regarded as very bad.

Coupling in Islamic countries

(mostly saudi arabia ’cause that’s where my hubby comes from)
(these are not all stricktly Islamic rules, but they are the rules as practised in saudi arabia and in part in many other Islamic countries. These are the realities muslim women have to deal with)

  • Islamic marriage
  • Mutah marriage (temporary marriage)
  • Misyaar marriage (no obligations at all for the man, woman has to provide sex. A man can have as many misyaar marriages next to his official marriages as he likes, a woman can have only one misyaar marriage)
  • marriage consists of a contract
  • men pay a dowry for sexual access
  • a woman’s consent is nominal: her guardian can accept for her
  • there is no minimum age, 1 year old babies can officially be married off
  • a man can have up to four wives
  • a muslim man can rape all who ”belong to his right hand” aka slaves. This translates nowadays in saudi into foreign maids
  • a man can divorce any wife to make room for a new one
  • a man can marry multiple wives without consent of or even telling his other wives. This is frequently done
  • a woman has to provide sex whenever the man wants it; there is no concept of rape within marriage
  • a husband is allowed to beat up his wife,
  • children are the main goal of marriage, as sson and as many as possible
  • marriag is arranged by the family. Sometimes the couple are allowed to meet a few times and talk, sometimes they meet only once, and sometimes they never see each other until they sign the contract.
  • A woman in saudi is a legal minor. her husband, is her ”mahram” or guardian. He can: lock her up in the house, deny her education, deny her medical treatment, deny her communication devices, etc. Without a written consent of her guardian woman is not allowed to travel in saudi. Of course he can always allow her these things but that depends on the man.

in case of divorce:

  • a man can divorce a woman by simply saying so out loud
  • a woman needs a court judge to agree to give her divorce.
  • a woman is usually blackmailed to pay back her dowry even though the man has had the sex
  • a woman is often blackmailed to buy her husband off
  • a judge has to be bribed in saudi to give a woman her divorce
  • the man keeps the children. Because children are the ”property” of the man
  • except for three months maintenance a woman has no right for support after divorce
  • the mother is alowed to look after the children until a certain age, after that the father can take them away
  • fathers commonly blackmail the women to keep them from marrying another man by threatening to take the children away
  • a woman has no visiting rights to her children
  • a foreign woman will be deported from saudi if she is divorced, unless she has a job and finds another sponsor

In Islam there are other marriage options: mutah or misyaar. A mutah marriage is for a specified time. It is done in shiat communities For a year or a night, any time is allowed.  It is sanctioned by an imam and therefore halal. In reality it is of course prostitution, or a cover for the style of relationships which are openly done in western countries.
In sunnah it is misyaar, in which the woman is like a mistress. She has no rights, but the man has rights of sex with her. Usually a dowry is payed which makes the connection with prostitution clear. He may or may not provide her with a home. He has no responsibillities for any children which may result. It is used as a mistress- or western-style relationship. Except that, again, a man can contract as many misyaar marriages as he likes or can afford. The woman cannot. A man does not have to inform his other wife/wives.


There are a few other differences:
In the west you don’t get tortured or killed if you experiment with sex as a youngster. (unless your family is very fundamentalist Islamic) In the west you don’t get tortured and imprisoned if you get raped. In the west you are not stigmatised if you are an unmarried mother. You don’t get stoned or imprisoned if you are an unmarried mother. In Islam a woman is considered ”’used goods” when she has had sex and is thereafter pretty worthless. In saudi almost her only option is becoming a second, third or fourth wife, or Misyaar marriage. Or remain single.  This is not so in the west: a non-virgin woman still has all options open to her. Nobody expects women of a certain age never to have had sex. And nobody minds.
In saudi many men go to other countries to have sex with prostitutes as a common holiday destination. This happens but is rare in the west.

In an islamic marriage the wife, or wives, even if they are only misyaar wives, are expected to be absolutely faithful and obedient. Men however are allowed many different ways of collecting many different sex-partners. From other wives, to misyaar ot mutah ”wives” to having prostitutes. The concept of ”being faithful” is so stretched as to become meaningless.
Tell me: how is this better than a western marriage or relation?

There is no real safety for a woman in an Islamic marriage.
In a western marriage the wife can expect protection by the law. If the wife is in a bad marriage she can get out and get support from the court. A wife can claim alimony for herself and her children. A mother can keep her children, or have visitation right and the court will back her up.  In a western marriage the man cannot divorce his wive on a whim and by merely saying it. He has to go to court just as the wife has. There is no bias from judges to favour the men.
Assets of the marriage are divided equally. In an islamic marriage the wife gets nothing. None of the things she brought with her own mnoney are hers unless she has written proof.
Tell me how can anybody claim an Islamic marriage be better for women?

And a very important point, brought up by a recent comment on my blog: If there are single parents in the west who look after their children and educate them.
How is that worse than what happens in Islam?
What happens  in Islam is there are many instances of men having more wives and more than 10 children and  they have no money to provide for or to educate them.
How can that be better as an unmarried woman who does provide for and educate her child???
What about the men who, without feeling, divorce their wives to clear a slot for a new wife?
Some men have had 30 wives this way. That means 26 women thrown on the streets to be supported by their families or fend for themselves. Maybe they keep the children but the women are turned out without any means of support. And being used goods the only option they have is becoming a burden on their own family or submit to the denigrating job of being a second wife of a even a misyaar wife. (Having to provide sex, but with none of the few rights a wife has.)
How about octogenarian muslim men who marry 12 year old children, and beget children with these girls (if they survive) and then die leaving an underage, uneducated poverty stricken widow with children and no means of support and to educate them?
Except if his family take the children as their ”property” and leave her all alone and with the added  grief for the loss of her children?
What is so superior about that?

Susie of Arabia has written this excellent post about marriage in Saudi Arabia


10 Responses to 'Coupling in the West versus coupling in Islam'

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  1. Your lists are thorough; your logic is spot on. I would love to hear how Saudi women would respond, and whether they have experienced any of these points or know of other women who have had any of these things happen to them.
    A great post that leaves me asking the question: what am I doing here in Saudi Arabia married to a Saudi???

    • aerinndis said,

      I am sorry. But thinking that is good. You don’t want to stop thinking for yourself.
      Never forget you are always capable of looking after yourself. Even if in saudi you are dependent on your husband. This is an unnatural situation. The truth is you are a person in your own right. You can make your own money. You can drive your own car. You can live your own life.
      And it is a choice to live that life with your husband.
      Your choice.
      Which you can change, or you can keep to it. That is also your choice.
      It was his choice to go back. It was his choice to stay. He should have realised what it means for you and accomodate your feelings. But those are his choices.

      Just be aware of what you choose and why. It helps to deal with problems.

  2. Achelois said,

    Thumbs up!

  3. Escadabra said,

    Gee, finally found your blog again. Was halfway reading when my pc turned off for no reason. I went to sleep, next day sister used the pc and cleared my browsing history! I kept thinking you’re on blogspot or something… pfffttt… now i know you’re on WP. I’m not Muslim but I really like reading your articles – you write sensibly and logically unlike other ppl of the same faith.

    “Before gender, religion, race, citizenship, brotherhood, sisterhood, status or anything at all, WE are all human first.”

    P/S: Happy fasting.

    • @ Escadabra: That is funny, my first blog (other name) used to be on blogspot!
      but some friend told me wordpress is more easy to work with and they are getting more themes.

      I am not muslim, but I live with my saudi husband in Jeddah. I do fast out of respect and to support family and friends. I like breaking fast with traditional bread, milk and dates. It is a special time.

  4. zeinab said,

    please dont spoil the name of islam …..because all muslims are not the same as all religion there is some who practice and some not and by the way all this rules are there for something so search further ALLAH may help you……….and if you like that much the lifestyle of westerns so why dont yougo join them so that you will get all your rights…… a muslim and proud to be and am not ashemed ,i am a girl and treasure for my familly… pliz if u r unlucky dont put all the muslim man into the same bag

    • @ zeinab, salaam.
      If I report on what i see or think I am not spoiling the name of Islam. If I write things that happened in the name of islam, or under the rotection of islam, or which are claimed by muslims to beislam. I am not spoiling the name of islam. other people do so.
      Muslims themselves do so.
      The behaviour towards women in Islam is bad. really bad.
      I do not make it so. Muslims make it so
      You do not like?
      Change it.
      Don’t blame me.

      Because a warning to western girls is needed I ahve to write these articles to show how bad Arab men can be.
      I am warning women, who are prayed upon by Arab men who are brought up to regard western women as whores. And to abuse their trust, their honesty, their love. All the most noble feelings of humans.
      Ofcourse not all Arab men are so. My husband is very different. But he is of a very small minority.
      Western women need to know there is very little future with a saudi man. Or a very unhappy one.
      Yes there are some who are happy, but a chance of 10% of happiness against 90% of utter missery for the rest fo your life is not a good gamble.

  5. huda said,

    I don’t know about arab man, but some of the things u said r false bout islam like the men who, without feeling, divorce their wives to clear a slot for a new wife. that’s totally not islamic teaching but mybe that’s what happen in arab. In my country, having sex with prostitutes is clearly haram and classified as fornication. If the things u’ve said is true, then that’s just some uncivilized people who call themselves a muslim but instead are manipulating islamic true law for their own pleasure. By the way, i’ve live as a muslimah my whole life and didn’t experience any difficulty at all.Islamic law is nothing but a wisdom for men as well as women. God knows best.

    • @ huda. Salaam. Some Muslim men do divorce wives to make place for a new one. And they are proud enough of it to tell so in the media. As it is in the Arab papers regularly why deny it?
      All men all over the planet like to have sex with prostitutes. in some countries it is more hidden then in other.
      Islamic law is is very unfair to women as you will find out whenever you will be in trouble.

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