Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Family Meddling in Marriages in Oman

Sometimes I am kind of happy that I am an Orphan in the Islamic sense, when I hear stories of horrible families, abusing their daughter's rights.

MOP was telling me a story about a girl from Jebel Akhdar whose family married her when she was seventeen to an old man who was 80. She didn't really have a say, unless she wanted to be cast out by the tribe and family.

From my friend, we'll call her Rayan: "If we Omani girls go against our families, even if we commit no sin and do something that is good for us, it is as if we have committed adultery, or worse. No matter how good and liberal you think our families are. My mother loves you, but if you were her daughter, she'd never have allowed your marriage to MOP. Wrong tribe. Wrong job."

And Rayan is from Muscat.

I always say to myself, if I was her, the girl from Jebel Akhdar, I would have stood up for myself and run away, but if you don't have a job, and your family keeps you from learning the skills needed to provide for yourself, what can you do? And she didn't have any skills, just barely her schooling, so...

One of her male highschool teachers apparently thought to save her from this fate because he felt sorry for her in this situation, by marrying her as a second wife, but he didn't have the money for her maher.

He was a decent age, only fifteen years her senior, and kind I suppose, but I mean, doesn't a young girl deserve some options in life?

So I ask my husband about our sons and daughters. Ours sons could marry as they choose he says, even though his brother did not marry a [very white] Zanzibari girl he loved because of the fact that she was not "A Real Omani" and it could bring shame to the family, and no one would want to marry their daughters to the family anymore, and that it would be worse for them men of the family to marry a black skinned woman than to marry an Omani woman who did not wear a headscarf or abaya.

I get angry, wallah. This is not my religion. This is not Oman as I love Oman.

"What of our daughters?" I enquire. One always should, before marriage, if they want to know what kind of man their husband is.

My husband relents that he'd possibly allow a black man who was a good Muslim of good reputation who was amazingly secure and wealthy marry one of his daughters, but it would be unaccepted by the village. But in this case wealth was important because no one would accept them.

And then MOP was an idiot for a bit and tried to tell me that the Prophet Mohamed SAW never married his daughters to an African man or non Arab.

"He said "Salman Al Farsi [a Persian] is of my family!"" I retort to such tactics in anger.

MOP nods in agreement and says that is why he loves me, that he WANTS me to change some things in his village, after I stop BEING the change. Right now he is the person bringing the change. I am scary CHANGE incarnate Bwahahaha. I am here people, and you can't scare me away with gossip, and fear that your husbands will all marry white women. Because don't worry, they won't. Most of your husbands have smaller minds than you.

Forgive the bitterness, it will go in time.

I just chant to myself. "I love Oman. I love Oman. I love Oman."

Believe me. One white woman is enough change for his village at this time I suppose. And they like white skin.

I've had to sister in laws ask me for whitening lotions already.

I say try sunscreen and eating lots of cucumbers. Honestly, I just want them to lay off the bleaches.

Apparently though, in case of some miracle, like the sky spells out his name, any future daughters of ours will be forbidden from marrying men of a tribe that is enemy to my husband's tribe.

I fight this. I say "races, tribes, and nations are a thing of Jahiliyia [not of Islam]. [The Prophet Mohamed said] Leave it. It is rotten."

My husband relents in case of miraculous perfect man from said enemy tribe who rejects his tribe.

To be honest, using my good judgement, I'll help my children to marry as they feel capable.

I feel I have to fight, because knowing my husband's luck, if we have a daughter, she'll take after me.

And what did MY father say when I asked him if there was anything I could do in this life that would sorely disapoint him?

"You could suppress yourself to wear a veil and convert to some strange religion like Islam."

Yes, yes, my father really did say that.

So if she's anything like me...

MOP allows he may have to make room for his bad luck;D


lala said...

I think this issue is prevailant in a lot of Muslim cultures unfortunately. My husband broke off an arranged engagement to marry me, and he went through soooooo much. Like you said, they would rather they marry un-hijabi girls than not, based soley on your origin. It sucks this kind of culture has tried to marr the face of Islam.

Anonymous said...

"This is not Oman." Unfortunately, yes it is -- you see it with your own eyes. They marry their daughters to cousins to keep money inside the tribe, the only time they don't is when the other tribe has more wealth/power. They're even starting to get genetic problems... If you really think that part of the world has anything to do with Islam, you are mistaken. I don't understand women that go to these places, I guess the Muslims where you were from just weren't contrary to Islam enough?

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

lala: I agree. It marrs the face of Islam, and also the culture, because commentators like the one below take it to BE part of the culture, rather than the tribe's ways.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Dear Anon: I kind of felt your comment a little too off base.

It is not Omani culture. It is tribal culture. It is also not part of the religion.

And you are wrong, has nothing to DO with money. Rich tribes do the same thing. I know people from rich tribes. It is to do with the last name, that's it.

The old man wasn't a cousin and he wasn't rich. He just had a respected name.

Oman is a beautiful country where Islam is practiced by a lot of people the way it was meant to be practiced.

Don't understand why women go to these places?

Ever come here? Ever live here among Omanis?

I do. And I love it.

Where I was from before, if I wanted to cover my hair I had to fight to get a job. I had to face prejudice everyday walking down the street. There were some good Muslims, there were also Muslims (not practicing ones) who drank, slept around, gossiped, and tried to tell me how to practice my faith because they were Arab or Iranian and thus better than Western me. Honestly.

I came here because there is true peace among the Muslims. Racism persists, but it isn't part of Omani law or culture. It is a family based thing, which Oman is trying to stamp out with laws. Anyways....

Come visit us and you'll see:)