I regularly recieve mail from women who have been in serious relationships with Saudi men. Even married. They have been left pregnant or with a baby, and the saudi man suddenly becomes cold and disappears.
These women are left with no loving support, and no financial support. And they do not want their children to grow up without knowing their fathers. But those fathers are long gone, And in Saudi you will never get at them. They are protected there. Most women told me they pay for everything themselves, even the pregnancy and healthcare and yet they do not want to ask for money. Only for their children have a father.
But, to you women, I say you should insist these men pay their right share for their children. If they did not want children they should have worn condoms. ( It is very unwise not to always have sex with a condom, because of sexually transmitted disease, and babies.) You should come together. Form a group. You can support each other and help each other to feel better. And you can fight together. Together you will be strong, you will have power.
There is a facebook group allready: ”Saudi children left behind” this was started by a girl in \ohio. This is a good place to start from, but much more can be done!
You can also start a plan of action. of information. To inform other girls on campuses so they do not fall into the same trap.
What you women, those who write to me and those who dont, should do: is get together. \you should form a group. \you should get together and get a laywer and get media attention. Trust me it won’t be difficult. There are many ways to use the media.
7 nice girls with 7 cute abandoned saudi babies could be a good item for Oprah.
CNN will even be interested if you get a large group of girls with babies together.
Some people in the US are prejudiced, does not matter if you do not agree, use it! Go to FOX news and use a line about how these Saudi students get scholarships and abuse American girls, and abandone the babies. It is going to be an election year, these stories could get you a lot of media attention.
Now I have been told names some of which are from very well known important families. These families will not want a scandal. \the saudi embassy does not offer any help or support for you, but they won’t like bad reputation for saudi!
The Saudi government will not like this in the news.
With a good laywer you can get the financial support your babies deserve!
New blog for women who have been lied to and left with a baby by a Saudi man:
official facebook page, Saudi Children left behind:
Some of this was a response to a visitor to my blog. I really think I need to make a post about this. It is a harsh post, and there are exceptions but I really think girls with rosy glasses on need to realize the truth. Be VERY careful when dating a Saudi man.
Unless you really only want fun and have absolutely no view to a future life together.
Then you don’t need to read this.
There is so much wrong in saudi arabia you cannot have an idea until you experience it here.
If a saudi man really cares for you he should understand life in saudi is too bad for women to want to take you there. If you marry a saudi man you should make clear there is no way. no reason, you will ever move there.
Saudi Arabia is a completely disfuncitional society. It is like nothing you can imagine. Marriages between saudi men and western women fail almost 80 % . I will list them for you but before I want you to realise that if you are married and are divorced in saudi arabia your rights, even your rights in your marriage contract will be obsolete. No judge will give a woman rights unless she has huge bribe money or influential saudi family. and your husband can divorce whenever he wants.
no consequenses for him.
for you it means you will be kicked out of the country. you will loose your children (property of the male or the male’s family)
you will not get alimony.
you will not be able to see your children .
so why do saudi/western marriages fail? -as soon as your husband gets off the plane in saudi he is a completely different man. a man you never knew. -he will listen to his family, to his mother and not to you -mother comes first, family comes first, you are bottom of importance. -there is an 98% chance that his mother will not like you. she will scheme against your marriage and as she is more important thatn you she will win. -his family will urge him to take another wife. a real saudi wife. you will be behind her too in importance. your children will be second rate because from a western whore. 90% of Arabs really think all western women are whores. your children will be taught so at school and come home and call you a whore. -Your husband will most probably not stand up for you but he will defend his mother and his family -your husband will become much more fundamental in religion and maybe even insist you wear the niqaab. (insist means force: you have no choice to comply)
you will be expected to convert. Once you have learned about islam you will be expected to see it is the only true religion. If you do not that will be al;l the proof the family needs that you are a evil sinful person.
your children will be trained to be muslim in the most rigid fundamentalist form of Islam.
Their schooling will be substandard. if they are girls it will be worse.
Forget about ”belonging’to the family. You will never belong. you will always be untrusted, the foreign interloper.
life in saudia is really bad for women. you have no rights, you cannot go anywhere, you cannot have medical treatment, you cannot go shopping, you have no say about your children, all these things are decided by your mahram. -life in saudi arabia is segregated. you will never see other men, but because your husband will spend lots of time with his friends and family members you will not see him very often either. you will be alone a lot -You will never be accepted by his family. you will always be the freigner, you will never be trusted. -you wil have NO PROTECTION under the law. -you cannot protect your children. they will get a very bad education and your daughters can be married off as children. this is not for you to protest you have no rights. -many women have tried to become more saudized as the saudis, and it doesn’t matter; they are not saudis and will never be accepted as such -no woman saudi or western, is not hurt and lost trust and love when husband takes a second (or third or fourth) wife. these are some of the reasons while most marriages fail
When compromises have to be made it is YOU who will be making them. If he wants to live in saudi arabia it is YOU who will be leaving friends, family and human rights behind. He will think that much less important than if he were the one to make this sacrifice. Even though for him the risks are minimal and for you they are monumental, life or death.
For this reason alone you should break off the relationship if he insists to live in saudi arabia.
The culture is certainly to blame. The saudi culture is racist in the extreme, xenophobic, misogynist, bigotted in the extreme. People are to blame. many mothers and families have schemed -and schemed successfully- to break up the marriage to a foreign wife. saudi men are soft and weak against their family. they will very rarely go against the family. Saudi children are indoctrinated to always obey the wishes of the family. All the cards are stacked against the western wife.
Now there are exceptions, but they are EXCEPTIONS! and RARE!
The only Saudi man a foreign wife should think of marrying is one without any family, or one who does not care about what his family thinks. -also while with his family in saudi arabia- He should be a free thinker. Not religious, atheist would be best. He should make no trouble about living abroad. he should prefer living abroad with a foreign wife.
In the end foreign women should realise that there is needed government approval for marriage to a saudi man.
These approvals are very rarely given. At the time of writing this there is a real crackdown to stop saudi men from marrying foreign wives.
saudi women are almost never ever allowed to marry foreign men. their husbands will be denied saudi citizenship and their children will not get saudi citizenship either. Only women in the ”exempt category” may get allowance to marry non-saudi men. Those are women over 40 years of age, or disabled. In other words the women Saudi men don’t want.
This also shows you how saudis think about women: they are property and saudi will not part with property unless it is undesirable.
Foreign women should realize that a saudi man has to be at least 35 years of age to start procedures to marry foreign wife, and the process can take many years, 5 or more or never. In all things saudi you make better chance if you are very wealthy and have big wasta. Big bribes and influence will increase you chances. Without riches and influence chance at the moment is virtually nil.
foreign women should realise that saudi men know all this very well. if he hasn’t warned you of this you know he is taking you for a fool or lying to you.
So you should be ok to wait until you are 40 or older. and take the chance that you will never get approval. You should not agree to marry without approval first because then you will never get it. Also if he works and lives in Saudi and you live abroad it will be too easy for him to secretly marry more wives.
I also think that unless you are a salafi muslim, stay at home all day every day, and love restrictions and covering every cm of your sinful skin and being under total control of a man you will hate living in saudi arabia.
Also; if you ever have a problem with your husband you are in deep shit! He has all the rights and all the power. You will find out that you are indeed nothing but a slave.
Saudi Arabia is no fit place for a free woman and no woman should allow a husband to bring her to a place where she will be a slave and will risk all. A man who asks that of you does not love you.
A man who asks you to live in saudi arabia instead of opting to live abroad with you does not love you!
So many girls and young women are deeply disappointed when in a relationship with a saudi student or young man.
why is that so?
To tell you the truth, many saudi students just want to fuck girls and then go home to marry a proper saudi (virgin) girl. Virginity really is only put on women. They often have no serious plans but they are clever enough to keep that secret. They may be are swept off their feet as well. But truth is, they are seldom if ever honest about the relationship or future.
Again and again and again and again I get mails or meet or hear from foreign women who have been duped, lied to or abandoned by saudi men. Always saudi men.
So if you want nothing but a bit of fun, and have no plans for a future together whatsoever: yes. Date a saudi man.
if you do want to have a future you should think very carefully and be very strong. You should be ready to give up the relationship if he turns out to be a lost cause.
Things to think of when thinking of dating a saudi man.
* Women in saudi arabia have no rights. basically they are slaves. nothing, no single small decision can be made by a woman herself unless the man who has ownership over her allows it. There are no laws which protect women. Judges will almost always rule in favor of the man unless you have huge bribe money to pay to the judge
(btw you cannot go to court as a woman, the man who owns you has to do it for you)
*Women in saudi arabia are slaves. there is no other way of putting it.
* Saudi students can already be married or engaged. they will not tell you so, nor will their friends or family
* You cannot marry while he is on a scholarship. he will be send home asap if he is discovered
* To travel to saudi arabia as man and wife you will need government approval. you will not be eligeble for approval unless 35 years or older. It takes 5 years minimum, most people never get approval. You will need a lot of money for bribes and ”wasta” influence.
* the way he treats you now will not be the way he treats you when home
* if you have sex with him now he will probably secretly despise you and will not see you as marriage material
* Saudi students are allowed by a fatwa from Bin Baz to marry a foreign woman for pleasure and halal sex. to divorce her when they go home. This does and has happened.
* saudi men have mostly been brought up to consider women as weak and less capable than men. They have probably never talked to girls or women, they do not know how to interact with women. they deep in their heart have been brought up to despise women.
* Most , really most, people in the middle east consider western women to be sluts and whores. I am sorry but that is the truth. They do not cover, they can have sex with men: ergo: they are whores. Middle eastern people will never tell you so to your face but that is how they talk amongst each other.
* he can have secret extra wives, it is quite rare but it has happened to foreign wives as well as saudi wives. nobody will tell you.
All saudi student know they cannot marry while studying abroad. they all know they cannot get permission until 35 and even then probably not.
If they tell you they did not know they are lying to you.
Saudis are very private, keep all their own affairs secret. They are very good liars: the idea is: if you don’t know it doesn’t hurt you so it doesn’t matter.
All saudis are very heavily indoctrinated with a very harsh and unbending interpretation of Islam. They will forget that while abroad but they will remember when back home. Also, the look is more important than the truth in saudi arabia. you can do anything forbidden. If nobody knows it: it does not matter.
So how do you know you are on safe ground?
You will always miss out on a very important safety net: your family is not saudi, is not living in saudi, so you or they cannot verify if he is speaking the truth or even allready married. Even middle eastern girls and their families have problems finding these things out.
there are some points in favor:
* He will be very protective of you. he will not introduce you to males. He will never show your photo to males. So no males, either family or best friends.
* He will tell his mother aunts and sisters fairly soon and tell them to stop looking for a bride as he has met somebody
* he will ask his mother and sisters to talk to you and meet you
* he will have told you when things became more serious about the impossibillity to marry or get goverment permission
* he is not bedouin, does not come from Riyad or another conservative area
* he will not want you to live in saudi arabia
he will be working to be able to live in another country with you
considering the marriage restrictions and impossibillity of government permission this will be the only option anyway
* he will not want to have sex before marriage
* he will stand strong and without compromise against all of his family against all the pressure they can throw at you.
And believe me: they will!
If he fails on these points: cut off relationships!
have respect and love for yourself. Keep yourself safe.
Ask him how his female family members live in saudi arabia. have they traveled abroad? studied abroad? do they have cars and drivers? do they work? This is important because it is an indication if he and his family give women freedoms. Freedoms for women have to be given by men because woman have no rights in saudi arabia. Women are until death always under ownership by a man who is all powerful to make decisions for her.
Ofcourse you will not know for sure if he is truthful to you.
In the end I can only say to be very aware. It is fact that different rules and options apply to a saudi man to any other man you may meet!
The culture and religion in saudi is so extreme, and so unfavorable for women it compares to nothing else. and it makes saudis behave like no other people in some ways.
Of course they are people like everybody else. But the culture and religion -they are one and the same- how they are brought up and taught, make saudi men in the end different from other men.
Before you want to jeopordise your heart and future in the case of a saudi man you will need to be extra careful, keep your distance, and realise there is very little chance of a happy future, much less chance than with men from other cultures and religions.
And that is the real fact.
Don’t have sex with a saudi student unless you see it as a fling only.
Saudi ladies suffer a great deal. They suffer from depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. The reasons women suffer from ostheoporosis in such a sunny climate is because they hardly go out. If they do they are covered under abayaat, hijaab and niqaab.
There are gyms for ladies in the larger cities. They are mostly in umarked buildings for privacy. it is also dangerous to publicize because the religious police like to close ladies gyms because of their immoral character.
The gyms for men are of course out in the open and very nice.
State girls schools forbid any kind of physical activity.
By conservative people sport for women is seen as immodest. Even immoral.
Why are sports forbidden to women?
According to the grand mufti : ”Women should be housewives, there is no need for them to engage in sports.”
Other clerics argue that sports are absolutely off limits only for virgins, who could become unmarriageable if they were to damage their hymens through athletic activity.
And there we have the crux of the matter.
A woman has only value if she is a virgin.
After losing her virginity she is only good to stay in the house, provide sex and babies for the hsuband. That is her task in life. Nothing else.
And the backward thinking saudies still believe not only that all virgin women have hymens, but also that they all bleed on first sexual intercourse. And that a woman can damage her virginity with sports or even moving around too much.
You even see young women walk very slowly in a weird rolling way. they do so because they believe that walking with a normal stride endangers their virginity: their only asset for which they are valued.
and no sports which would make them strong and healthy. these things are of no importance the only thing which counts is the hymen. A woman has to cover and veil because she is a walking hymen.
The only value of a woman is an undamaged hymen.
When that is damaged she has no value: she is used goods.
You see, in Saudi Arabia all women are always a ”dependent”. no matter they are old, if they have a job, or if they are clever, they legally are only dependent children.’They are always listed on the family card as ”dependent”.
Women are default not capable.
So what happens is that when a slave woman, (or sponsored employee), wants to leave the country, the owner MAN gets a text message to let him know some of his property dependents are leaving the country.
The only reason for this can only be that the owners MEN are warned when their property dependents try to escape.
Just to make this clear: a woman is in essence a slave. and if she tries to escape her owner will be warned and will be able to stop her leaving the country.
she managed to forge his letter ”allowing” her to leave the country?
No woman can leave the Kingdom of Hypocrisy without a letter of her jailer stating that HE allows her to leave.
I wonder they don’t tag us, or clamp bracelets with gps on us. Or chip us. and maybe a tattoo or brand? To make sure our proper owner can always find us?
I see the future before me: Baby girls chipped at birth with gps and information on who owns her. That information to be adjusted when she is sold married.
Officially people will state that mahr is an expression of the husband of his love and appreciation of his to be bride.
In sharia law you will see it is different. I am sorry but Mahr (or faridah) is indeed money paid for sexual acces.
In case the wife asks for divorce she will also have to pay back the mahr, even though sex has taken place. Officially this should not be but in reality sharia courts will demand it. If they grant divorce to a woman at all.
Divorced muslim women will also loose their children to the father always. They are property of the father.
Also the father has to pay no maintenance for a divorced wife except the three months after divorce. These three months are to see if the woman is not pregnant. If she is she will have to give that child to the father also.
It seems to be expected that the woman will then be able to sell herself again for board and upkeep to another man.
If she does not manage to attract another man and she has no family willing to look after her she will have nothing.
The word niqah means only ”marriage” in the marriage document. In all other use of the word in arabic language it means ”penetration”
The fact that Mahr is meant as money paid for sex follows from the following:
– there should be no sex until the promised mahr has been paid fully, although some modern women ask for only part of their mahr, the rest to be paid in case of divorce.
Don’t forget that her mahr is the only provision a wife will have in case of divorce.
-Although some scholars say that the mahr should be paid after consummation.
-In case of death before consummation the widow will have to give back half the mahr to the family of the diseased husband.
-In case of no consummation her guardian can also forgive all the mahr
-It is haram to enjoy relations with a wife and then deny her the mahr when she demands (sounds very much like sex for money doesn’t it?)
One author of the Hanafi School defines the mahr as “the money, which is obligatory on the husband in ikd al-nikah (the marriage contract) for manafi’ al-bid’ (sexual pleasure). (See ibn al-Hamam, Sharih Fath al-Qadeer, vol. 3, p. 304, Arabic version).
The Hanbali School of jurisprudence defines mahr as “the money paid by the husband for the purpose of nikah (marriage). (See ibn Kadamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 6, p. 679, Arabic version).
The Malike and Shafi’i Schools defines the mahr as “the money due to the future wife in return for [the husband’s] haqq al-isstimta’ (sexual pleasure) in the marriage contract”. (See al-Hattab Muhammad bin Abdel Rahman al-Mughrabi, Mawahib al-Jalil li-Sharh Mukhtassar Khalil, vol. 5, p. 172-Maliki Jurisprudence). For Shafi’i School see al-Nawawi, Kitab al-Majmu’, vol. 18 p. 605). All these references are cited by Sheikh Mahmud Muhammad al-Sheikh, Al-Mahr fi Al-Islam bayna al-madi wal-hadir, published by al-Maktaba al-Assriyya liltibaa’a wal nashr, Beirut, Lebanon, 2003, Arabic version.
The Maliki and Shafi’i Schools of jurisprudence regard the mahr as “the money paid for the future wife in return for sexual pleasure is an integral part of the Islamic marriage contract and its source is prescribed in the Qur’an
The Maliki School regards a marriage to be legal if it was consummated. If the marriage was not consummated, then the marriage is mafsookh (a reason for separation); if he divorces his wife without any agreement on the mahr issue, then he has to pay her mut’ah (money paid to her in return for the sexual pleasure he had with her). But if he dies before any agreement reached between the couple, then the wife is entitled to inherit her share from his estate.
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
- ”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
2- The culture of façade:
In the middle east nothing counts but how things look. If they look ok it is ok, no matter how bad the inside is.
This means that as long as the look is good anything rotten which goes on behind the walls is all right.
How does this affect a western woman meeting a saudi man?
It means that you really cannot ever rely on anything he tells you.
It means that you cannot rely on anything his friends or relatives tell you.
3- There is the Saudi family.
Make no mistake, the saudi Family is like a superclan. If you are not born into the clan you are never ever part of the clan. You will never be accepted as part of the clan. One of the reasons parents want their children to marry their cousins. They like to keep everything in the family. This is also the cause that many hereditary diseases are common and well established in Saudi Arabia: the inevitable result of many generations of in-breeding. A saudi woman who marries into another family will also not really be part of the clan; she belongs to another family, another clan. And when she is divorced it is expected that the other clan will take care of her. If the saudi woman’s clan is powerful they can protect her from to much ill-treatment. In the case of a foreign wife she is completely on her own and without protection. If the wife is from another tribe she will be trusted less. If she is from an inferior tribe she will be despised. If she is foreign she will be deeply despised.
A family from the Hijaz might be more lenient towards a foreign wife, especially if the family is modern, has travelled, and has spend time abroad. But if the man has married the foreign wife without notifying his family, and without the blessing of the family, she stands a very poor chance of even the lowest level of acceptance.
Most foreign women do not realise how very important ”The Family” is in Saudi Arabia, and how much Saudi children are brought up to respect, honour and obey ”The Family”. A Saudi man will very rarely go against the wishes of ”The Family”. For a Saudi man the ”Family” will take precedence over his wife, who, unless she is a cousin, does not belong to ”the Family”, but to another ”Family” and is considered to give her allegiance to her own Family, not the husbands. She may therefore never be expected to belong to the husbands family. And again: in the case of a foreigner will never be trusted.
It is quite possible that a foreign wife will be treated very hospitable when coming to Saudi Arabia, bit as soon as the honours of hospitality have been paid, and the novelty wears off, she will mostly be neglected. She will certainly not been seen as a part of the ”Family” no matter how much she tries to conform. This mostly results in a very lonely existence for the foreign wife. In Saudi the wife is expected to have her own family to fall back on, and to protect her. In the case of a foreign woman, whose family is very far away and can do nothing for her, it means she stands alone.
If the wife isn’t fluent in Arabic the family will talk and gossip about her in her presence.
And if the Family doesn’t like her the foreign wife’s life will be hell. Really. Do not expect a Saudi man to stand up for his wife against his family, this is very rare indeed!
It matter very much if the Family is conservative or modern. In a conservative family a foreign wife stands very little chance of being accepted. The chances of a foreign wife being accepted are very small in any case. In a Saudi family the mother and sisters choose the wife for the son, Saudi families very often ”keep it in the family” and marry cousins. Maybe there was a cousin standing by already. So the son coming back having married a foreigner will encounter a lot of resentment. This resentment will be targeted towards the wife.
As men cannot do wrong in Saudi Arabia.
So it’s the foreign wife who is to blame. For everything. Once in Saudi Arabia almost all Saudi men return to their default programming of Obeying The Family.
A very bad situation for the foreign wife.
Let’s look at the points from my former post one by one:
I think the concept of honesty is an important one. We in the West have a very different concept of ”honesty” as somebody who grew up in the middle east. While a Western woman would consider a lie about, for example the man being already married, to be criminally dishonest, for a Saudi this is perfectly acceptable, for as long as she doesn’t know. If she doesn’t know it doesn’t hurt so it’s not a bad thing.
Why do I say this?
Because this concept of ”honesty” makes it impossible to trust you are being told the truth.
Now this is often really to spare the others feelings and keep them happy. No malice intended. It is often truly care for the other’s wellbeing. But in the case of a Western woman meeting a Saudi man who gives her all sorts of promises and assertions, and her life happiness and future dependent on them, it is a different matter.
In Saudi Arabia a man can have up to four wives, people usually marry early in life. It is entirely possible for a young Saudi student in America to be already married. It also happens that Saudi men lie about being married. Most Saudis wear wedding rings, some don’t and some are clever about hiding the ring in convenient situations.
For example: I have a friend from Europe who got married to Saudi man, making very clear her abhorrence for polygamy. She told him plainly and clearly, many times, that she could never accept being one of more wives. She said she would divorce him if he took another wife. He agreed he would never do that to her. They moved to Saudi Arabia. She was not welcomed by her husband’s family. She found out her husband had been married before but separated. The children of his former marriage hated her.
Her husband spend a lot of time away from the house and she was locked up in an expensive villa and lonely.
After three unhappy years and the birth of a daughter she was informed by a friend: ”Her husband was still married to his first wife”. My friend was seen as an interloper. A foreign whore who had stolen a Saudi husband from his real wife. And moreover, her husband had been married years before he had even met her.
When she confronted her husband she got the answers every Saudi man comes up in this situation: His first wife was an arranged marriage, she was his cousin but he didn’t love her. He only loved my friend but had to spend some time with is cousin/wife. My friend was kept out of family gatherings because his first wife did not want her there and as she was a family member her wishes came first. (certainly to a western interloper) When she asked him why he had lied to her he answered that if she didn’t know about it she wouldn’t be hurt. And that now she did know surely she would be alright with it.
All western women should know that this means my friend had two choices: she could accept the position of second wife and waste her life in a loveless hopeless ”marriage”, or he gave her the option of divorce. That meant giving up her daughter to be brought up by her in-laws, or the first wife who all hated her and her daughter. As a foreigner she would be deported out of the country and would never see her daughter again.
Western women must realise that a Saudi man will tell her whatever he thinks will get him what he wants. His friends, and even his family if he even introduces her to them, will collaborate his story. Even if it is a fabrication of lies.
There is no way a western woman can conduct research as to the truth of his assertions.
Once a woman is married to Saudi man and actually inside Saudi Arabia she has no rights. No rights at all. A woman in Saudi Arabia has only those rights her husbands allows her. Unless you have a lot of money of your own to pay the necessary bribes. Or have a family that is well-connected to protect you through Wasta (influence). Such a family would be Saudi. And you also need the cooperation of your husband. Without these it will be impossible even to divorce.
There is a constant stream of sad stories on the net by sad disillusioned women and girls being unceremoniously dumped by their Saudi boyfriends. They cannot understand what has happened, what did they do wrong?
If on the other hand the Saudi marries the western woman disillusionment usually comes when they get off the plane in Saudi Arabia. ANd there are also many women who tell of their horrible fate in Saudi Arabia
Why is this?
Now I have been talking this over with my husband who is quite unusual for a Saudi and has a very independent mind.
You see it is not impossible to have a succesful relationship with a Saudi man, but you need the right man for this. You need a very strong man, who will stand up for you, and they are very rare.
There are some lovely Saudi men around, but to become marriage material they need to possess several rare qualities, I will list them in a future post.
There is one major cultural problem: Saudi men carry a cultural burden so heavy, Foreigners cannot conceive this. Also: Saudi men act very differently abroad as when they are at home. As a result Western women and Saudi men have some very unusual and difficult hurdles to cross in case they plan a future together.
- the concept of honesty
- The culture of the façade
- The Family
- Culture, the proper behaviour/place of men and women: what to expect
- Saudi men abroad and at home
- Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia
- Getting permission for marriage in Saudi Arabia
- The children
There is so much to say on each subject that I will cut it down in portions and will post them one after the other.
I do want to warn every foreign woman who is contemplating getting involved with a Saudi man to read and remember these points.
The following blogs contain very good posts on the subject. Not only the posts are good, it is also very enlightening to read the comments and personal experiences of other women.