Marriage and Sex Patterns- Sociological Approach - Part Two
Hasan Yahya, Ph.D
In the Arab culture: Sex in Arab and Muslim countries is a taboo to be even mentioned. Sex is a part of maturity of the male and female to perform a husband-wife responsibilities. In such culture, women as well as men do not believe in having sex outside marriage. Those who had sex with partners are always afraid of getting pregnant. Such an act outside wedlock is prohibited and even punishable by family before court intervention. In many cases, depending on the social environment, women usually pay for that offence, rather than men. Arabic culture is a totally male dominated culture. The father, or the elder brother take the role of defending the family honor by killing the woman while others are witnessing. In most cases if they were convicted, they will feel proud of themselves, in addition, the court will not perceive the killing as a first degree murder, and a token sentence will be made, which is undermining women's human rights in this case. This is the general fear for most women who are in love with partners outside the family circle.
In the Gulf area and elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim world, women usually have sex . They are engaged when alone with partners embracing, kissing, and fondling, but not through organs which may lead to pregnancy. Therefore, women give permission to use the other methods but without intercourse. It is much safer in that case than real intercourse. Women, especially young girls are very sharp aggressors in this case, when they are fond of someone else older than them, whither they are teachers, drivers, or even sale people, The Gulf States women find their ways to have sex no matter dangerous that was. What they want is what is matter and rarely accept defeat in their multiple attempts. This is encouraged by parent absence, the availability of money in the hands , and the availability of cars.
The internet, these days increases the possibilities of having friends to have sex away from family house, several attempts of suicide usually committed by girls after the discovery of pregnancy, and the refusal of offenders to marriage commitment. Most of these suicide attempts are unreported and covered for the honor of the family which is practiced in all Arab and Muslim countries.
Sex and Marriage in the Arab countries: Marriage is encouraged in early years after eighteen years of age in most Arab countries, But the economic crunch, lead many young people to have late marriage after 24 especially when families cannot support marriage expenses which includes Mahr [dowry) or engagement parties which is high and reach in some places over thirty thousand dollars. Such obstacles have invented new types of marriage among young and old men and women.
Marriage types in the Arab and Muslim countries:
1. Normal marriage: which is widely practiced and common in the society, where the engagement and marriage ceremonies are recognized. This type of marriage is highly encouraged as a legal matrimony practice. Any deviation from such marriage which includes the principles of legal marriage in Islam, have less value and therefore, prohibited except in the following types.
2. ‘Urfi marriage: unannounced secret marriage, between a woman and a man, usually it is wider among university students and city employees. It does not cost much, and does not need furnished family home.
3. Secret Marriages: In Islam, marriage to be valid, has to meet certain requirements such as ishhar (announcement), the payment of the mahr (dowty), the consent of both parties, the permission of the wali (woman's guardian, a father or old brother or uncle), and the presence of witnesses. (Read box IV for a question answer dialogue between a woman and legal authority.)
4. Shigar Marriage: In Islam, this type of marriage is prohibited. It is a marriage is when someone condition to marry a woman, to let the woman's father or brother to marry the groom daughter or sister.
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) said that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) prohibited Shighar marriage which means that a man gives his daughter in marriage on the condition that the other gives his daughter to him in marriage with- out any dower being paid by either.
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) prohibited Shighar. Ibn Numair added: Shighar means that a person should say to the other person: Give me the hand of your daughter in marriage and I will (in return) marry my daughter to you; or merry me your sister, and I will marry my sister to you. [Sahi Muslim, The Book Marriage]
5. Mut'ah marriage:The wikipedia defines this type of marriage as: marriage for pleasure, or sigheh, is a fixed-term marriage contract according to the Usuli Shia school of Shari'a (Islamic law). The duration of this type of marriage is fixed at its inception and is then automatically dissolved upon completion of its term. Among Sunni followers, this type of marriage is illegal and prohibited. While Shi'a consist a little more than 5% of Muslims, Sunni Muslims constitute 95%. According to Dr. Gabriele Marranci, lecturer in the Anthropology of Islam at the University of Aberdeen, nikah mut‘ah as a fixed-term form of marriage is not mentioned in the Qur'an. The only mention of Islamic marriage is that of nikah itself.
Also forbidden are married women unless they are captives (of war). Such is the decree of God. Lawful for you are women besides these if you seek them with your wealth for wedlock and not for debauchery. Then give those of these women you have enjoyed the agreed dower. It will not be sinful if you agree to something (else) by mutual consent after having settled the dowry. God is certainly all-knowing and all-wise.(Qur'an 4:24)
The rules of Nikahu l-Mut‘ah marriage resembles a nikah ("permanent marriage") in many, but not all, aspects. It commences in the same way as a Nikah except that a date of expiration for the marriage is added to the marriage contract and the wife has her rights restricted to some extent. The duration is decided by the couple involved. There are no restrictions about minimum and maximum duration. If the period is longer than what can be reasonably expected to be a lifetime, it will transform into a nikah.
During the period of the marriage, the couple are considered husband and wife, just as in a permanent marriage. At the expiration, the marriage is voided without undergoing a Talaq "divorce". In case of sexual intercourse, the woman must observe the iddah "waiting period" before she can marry anyone else. Nikahu l-Mut‘ah is considered mustahab (recommended) by the Shia. The Shia also regard it as mustahab (recommended) to extend the marriage or to transform it into a permanent one.
The Nikahu l-Mut‘ah is used in Shi‘ah Islam in various ways: It is used in modern times when people move from one place to another, such as from one country to another. Thus students, workers, scholars are allowed to fulfill their sexual and emotional needs if they are in another country. It may lead to permanent marriage afterwards.
It may be used to satisfy one's sexual needs. There are no requirements of having a witness, a written contract or permission from authorities (Although some people might prefer to complete the contract in the presence of a learned Muslim).
It may be used to become mahram "unmarriable" with somebody with whom they do not intend to cohabit or have a married relationship, but with whom they spend a lot of time (for example, share a house). In order to ease the hijab "modest dress" rules, they engage in a nikahu l-Mut‘ah, specifying in the marriage contract that no physical contact is allowed.
Two people who live under the same roof but are not mahram (un-marriable) and must observe hijab may engage in a symbolic nikahu l-mut‘ah with the others' offspring for a minimal amount of time (two minutes or less). The Nikahu'l-Mut‘ah does not need to have any practical consequence, but it will make the parent and the offspring's husband or wife permanently mahram to each other, and thus no longer obliged to observe hijab rules.
Young unmarried couples may decide to use nikahu l-Mut‘ah as a permissible alternative to zina (Adultry). Thus in practice they engage in something very similar to western relations (that is, there is the potential of permanent marriage), but it differs in that there is a specified time as to how long the relationship is to last, with the possibility to prolong that period.
Some divorced men and women, disillusioned with permanent marriage, prefer to commit for only a few years at a time. In 2001, journalist Camelia Entekhabi-Fard claimed that some women earn money in Qom, Iran, by engaging in temporary marriage with pilgrims and religious scholars, in what she claimed was "a thinly veiled form of prostitution."
The 2004 documentary Prostitution Behind the Veil depicts women in Iran who engage in temporary marriages, which the film terms "Sighe."
Although nikah mut'ah is usually portrayed in the western media as a form of "Islamic dating", there are a few differences between it and modern western dating, mainly:A woman is required to observe an iddah (waiting period) after their breakup, if they have consummated their relationship. It is forbidden for women to "date" non-Muslims, and men are not permitted to "date" women of non-monotheistic religions. The two parties must have a verbal consent, although some Shi'as believe that implicit consent is also acceptable.