Thursday, February 25, 2010

LOL, I couldn't help myself

So yeah, I couldn't help myself, I had to start a new section devoted to odd and (erred) Omani signage. This sign is first, because it reminds me of my Omani friends in general (when I first met them, and they never said anything bad about their country). LOL.

THE BOOK: prologue

PROLOGUE
from the sacred Qu'ran of my faith:

We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their due compensation and those your right hand possesses from what Allah has returned to you [slaves and captives]... in order that there be upon you no difficulty. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

Surah an-Nur 24:58

This is the story of a slave. A willful slave. A woman who believed in the right to choose whomsoever she willed to love, and to believe and act as she deemed best and true.

The human soul cannot be owned. Bought and sold as the body and mind may be, no man can own another man's soul, or tell a heart what to feel. Not even one's own. He can be a great lawmaker, 'Lord of all the land', call him 'King' or 'Sultan'... but... he cannot do that.

This is the story of a young woman who chose her fate with the conviction that on the day when souls are weighed and measured for their good and evil, she would not be able to attribute any of her sins to another master. She did what she thought was lawful, the only way that she could under the laws that existed at the time, and when you judge her (as you will), judge her knowing that she did so in a manner she felt she would be able to explain to her Creator, who she believes gives all men free will, and a soul with the purpose of living a life that is pleasing to God in equal parts, fullness and honesty.

Everyone is a slave to something. People of my nation have a false sense of freedom. They think freedom for me means driving a car in Saudi Arabia, and dressing up to please other people, wearing 'whatever I want' so long as it isn't a veil or a headscarf or loose fitting clothing. People are slaves to their jobs, slaves to media images, slaves to an idea of freedom-that if you choose other than that, you are suppressed.

I have left my country to have the freedom to live my life. If you believe freedom is being able to do what you want, I'm afraid to disappoint you, but no man is ever entirely free. In my country I had the freedom to change the law, to marry regardless my race, social position, religion, and family, and to choose to give that country in favor of another and still possess those same old freedoms upon returning. Here, I have the freedom to walk down the street-without everyone stopping and staring, no one needing the hours of my day for a life story dispelling their stereotypes. Here, I can get any job that I apply for based simply on my capabilities. Can I do the job? Yes. Do they need a person? Yes. So I've got it.

Now,mI might get paid by passport. Meaning, I make more money than someone of the same position and skill level from another country deemed lesser than my own by what I blame, some great social injustice, but I can get the job I deserve without having to fight for it. Yes, you can undoubtably argue, I could still get the same job back in the country of my passport cover with, albeit, a little effort on my part, but why should I have to prove myself based on anything, when another accomplishes the same, sans struggle, sans approval period? Is that not too, injustice?

The price of your high ideals, my father once told me. The only thing he and my mother agreed upon regarding the raising up of me was that the inclination of my temperament towards the fixed mark/mirage of 'fairness' would lead to trouble, and be the cause of great unhappiness and discontent in my life.

Life is not fair. I wish it were, but it isn't, so more often than not (and more often, I'll admit, than other people) I find myself fighting for something or fighting with someone; but I am torn no longer. It is immature to say that freedom is being able to do what you want, even if there is no harm in that for others. I know you can never gather up everything that you want and hold it all in one place. Go to every bounded border of the globe, and you will never find all of the freedoms you require in order to do everything that you want to do. If you are extraordinarily lucky, as I have been (you may laugh at this, it is your prerogative), than you may just find enough of those small but substantially integral freedoms, to do just what you need to do.

I needed to be with the one I loved, I needed to do so in good conscience, I needed to have a life of ordinary happinesses where I could support myself... I wanted to feel safe and happy and understood like every human being does, whose mind is not stricken with some depraved sickness...

I know the eventual expat audience will wonder: How could she be made a slave? In this modern day and age, who keeps a slave anyways? Only a tyrant would write such an indecent law that would drive men and women to even consider such an outmoded and barbaric practice as slavery is, even if the practice is partially condoned by-way-of-mention in 'some Muslim holy book'...

You can never gather up everything that you want and hold it all in one place. The best thing you can do is just find a place where most of your happiness exists, and try to live there.

For me, that place is Oman. Oman is a little Sultanate (that means, it is ruled by a Sultan) in the Persian Gulf. Most people have never heard of it, I find. It is not Amman, Jordan. Usually people just stare at me blankly until I say "it's close to Dubai." Most people, where I am from, think 'Dubai' is an actual country.

Oman is often called a Muslim country. I am a Muslim, so I know that means simply, that the population of citizens of said country is a majority, Muslim, and that a few of the principles of Shariah Law are enacted by the government there as a means of government. Once I was one of those so naive as to think an 'Islamic Country' would spell bliss. Now, I know there is no such thing as a 'Muslim Country' only a place with lots of Muslims. Neither is there such a thing as a 'Free Country'.

I left my country to have the freedom to live my ordinary life honestly in Oman, but have had to come to terms with the universal truth, that an honest life is not a freedom universally accessible to all. Human lives inevitably overlap in a dance of differing desires and imperatives, and some must sacrifice their personal freedoms for the sake of others.

Oman is a country ruled by a benevolent Sultan beloved by his people. Slavery is illegal in Oman, and has been since 1970 when an edict was passed by said Sultan freeing all slaves. Still, this story takes place in the Oman of today, and concerns the confused children of the Gulf as they deal with the complexities of a changing landscape revolving around nationalism, Islam, cultural familial obligations, and the eternal, and sometimes disturbing question of what freedom really is, and what it entails. It could easily be set in any other Gulf state, or even as far away from "The Girls of Riyadh" mindset as Australia. I have an Australian friend, who is actually quite famous via the blogging set, who can relate.

I am writing this because it is an important issue affecting my generation of Muslims, and because I love Oman as if I were Omani, and want to see the best for the Omani people. I admit to choosing the title and cover art to manipulate an Orientalist mindset into buying the book. I want the Western expat woman at the Saabco grocery in Qu'rum or Al Fair in Al Kuwair to be enticed by the veiled blue eyes of the woman on the cover, so that she chooses what began as a travel diary, over the Jean Sasoon "Princess" books in the stores' English-language section. My mother only having the movie "Not Without My Daughter" as a social reference for the region never benefitted me, or anybody else.

Everyone is a slave to something. As in the West, slavery as a state, is a result, not the actual issue in need of address. In Oman, personal freedom is often thought of as immature and non-descriptive. One's family comes first. Even the Sultan, who has the power to alter the course of his culture with the draft of a law and the revision of an edict, is a slave to his people. So maybe he can understand, better than anyone else, the reasonings of a willful slave.

I hope so-selfishly- and it is my very prayer. Pity, for all my philosophizing prologue, most of what you are about to read is most mundane to me, compared to the promise of intrigue and injustice conjured by the very first breaths of this story, when uttered by the syllable: 'slave'.

This story is about a slave. A willful slave. Emphasis being on the convictions of the woman, not her slavehood. Do I want pity for her? Not really. Do I personally condone the practice of slavery, that being the sale of human beings in exchange for money or goods? Of course not! But then, I do not think worldly goods is what Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala meant for us mere mortals in the provisions made for slavery in the Holy Qu'ran.

People in my country feel that freedom means being able to do what you want, or at least being able to vote for people who might be able to get you what you want. Some in the Middleeast agree, though I've never heard an Omani say he wasn't proud of his/her Sultan. Whether out of censorship or patriotism, this remains a fact. Like most Omanis, I disregard this view (or definition) of freedom as irrational, due to its frank implausibility for reasons aforementioned.

Muslims believe that God instilled in every human being the ability to choose good or evil, and called it free will.

It is my personal belief that freedom is the choice to do the right thing, nothing more, nothing less.

Sometimes it seems we have no choices and our paths are determined for us, and circumstance dictates where we are able to go.

I never wanted to come to Oman in the first place, and I had never intended to return when I left. When I bought my airline ticket five years later, for a return tour of the Gulf, my destination sure as hell wasn't Muscat, but that is where I ended up.

Muslims believe that God gave us free will, but that all our choices are preordained, with God knowing the outcome of those choices. If that is so (and I'm Muslim, so I believe it is) there had to be a reason He, subhanhu wa'ta'ala kept dragging me back here, to Oman, and to a certain Omani.

This started out as my travel diary, chronicling the adventures and misadventures of my friends and I for the amusement of our relations who begged us "make a book of it!". I require that is remain such (unless you personally want to undertake to task of editing my work free of charge) being that I am no great writer. The events themselves will make every intended point. One last point:

In my religion, there is no greater state to aspire to, that to be a slave to the will of Allah. I will never fully understand that will, but here in the following pages will be my best attempt to relate it.

Bismillahi Rahamnir Raheem...


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the book

So I have decided to start writing a [FICTITIOUS!!!!!] short novel inspired by the online travel diaries of four ex-pat friends of mine, two Omani girls, a rather stereotypical group of Omani guys LOL, and some common themes we've all experienced [love, the Gulf culture, marriage, race, country Islam, freedom] and I've set it in Oman. I intend to post a third of the story online, the first few posts on this blog and the rest continued on a private-invite-only one, and if you like it, LOL, and want to find out what happens to my cast of zany and stereotypical characters, you'll have to wait and buy the book.

*slavery was abolished in 1970 in Oman and I know no actual slave (this story idea started as a joke made by a group of friends)

Nothing is meant to resemble actual people and their lives, and if anything seems to, events have been highly dramatized, and several people combined into one another ect... for my delightful novella. Enjoy (inshaAllah).

5haleeji Makeup: Khaleeji Makeup

My post about formal makeup in Oman: OMIGOD!!!! LOL. There are two kinds of formal makeup in Oman, the expat sort which doesn't even make it for daywear for the Arab women who are serious about makeup, and then there is the 5haleeji style. As a girl who just had her makeup done professionally the other day, I can go, um, well, it is different than what I am used to painting on myself. And I am not shy with the eyeshadow, I had thought.
For the khaleeji look, they are absolutely strong on the use of different colours, and their aim is to match the colours to your outfit, not what suits you best personally. I'm a girl who looks good in purple eyeshadows, but the other day I had FIVE different colours of GLITTER pasted out past my natural browline. Concealer was then used to give the shadow a severe shape. I felt like an old Egyptian movie star (THE SHAPE)/ 1920s flapper (THE THICKNESS OF THE UNDERLINING---THIS I LIKED BTW)/ circus trampeze artist (THE GLITTER). With all that colour girls, why the glitter?????
Another feature is re-drawing the shape of the brows, either by bleaching the brows, or actually taping over and repainting the entire natural brow. Not many Omani women I've met pluck since to do is generally thought of to be a sin in most instances (unless you've got a mustache).
The next feature is that there is usually two kinds of eyeliner on the bottom of the eye, the dark black one, and then a white line at the corner of the eye, to create drama and shape.
Fake eyelashes seem to be a must, and also, painting your skin on till it is so cake-thick white. LOL, I am soooooo glad I am already white as ghost, so I get to skip this step, or I'd end up with the worst conditioned skin. I am one of those who is too lazy to wash off lastnight's makeup. As a result, I have no white pillowcases.
This is pretty much (a tamer version) of what my makeup the other day looked like. It kinda made me feel like a cross between a Geisha and a drag Queen.
This reminds me of a friend's wedding photo, where all I could do was stare, horrifies by how UNFLATTERING the eyeliners and shadow was to her face shape.
This one, to me, is actually pretty, because of the shape of the kohl, ad the fact the model kept her natural skin tone apparent.
What do you think about this style of Omani makeup? I don't think it is TRULY the original cosmetic culture of Oman, but was adopted, like black abayas, when Omanis used to be in other countries like Saudi and Bahrain and Kuwait, back in the day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

How to make Omani Coffee [Qhawah]

  • demitasse-sized cups water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed cardamom or 5 seeds
  • 2 tsp. Arabic coffee
Boil the water with the sugar and the cardamom. Remove from heat. Stir in the coffee. Then place over heat, while holding the pot. Let it foam up, remove from heat, and allow to heat to foaming again. Serve immediately.
Note sugar and coffee are approximately equal. Adjust to your taste. Cardamom should be enough to leave strong smell and fill the taste.



Omani Women's Traditional clothing


(top two pics from Omani cultural festival in Australia).
Since what gets me the most hits is people googling Omani women's traditional clothing, I'll post some more shots for everyone:





MashaAllah, what a beautiful home!!!!

I remember going to a Syrian friend's home and thinking, mashaAllah, what a beautiful home. Everything went with everything and was just sooooooo colourful without being tacky that I loved it.
Note, her walls and rooms weren't bare, despite the lack of living images (an Islamic concept) on the walls, and the prints and colours balanced against the traditional shapes of the furniture.
The odd accessories and light fixtures fascinated, and intrigued...
Everything smelt like bukhoor (inscense) ...
And even the cabinet had a detail, an ornament hanging from its hinge... a simple tassel.
Warmth. Who wouldn't want to wake up here?
The beaded fringe on the lamps....
To the curl of the dressing room.... MashaAllah what a beautiful home!

What I THINK about Niqab (the face veil) in Oman

*First off, let me say, I KNOW covering of the face (every part of it but the eyes and their rims) is a valid part of the religion of Islam. It is not merely a "tribal" aspect of Omani culture as some Omanis (without a valid Islamic education) might tell you. But it is only recommended as better for a woman by a verse in the Holy Qu'ran, and it is not cumpulsory, as there are many examples narrated from the Prophet Mohammed SAW's time of women who did not have their faces covered; and the Prophet SAW himself did not forbid this practice so obviously is is halal (lawful) for the Muslim woman not to cover her face. But from an Islamic standpoint, veiling the face is a part of the religion (not an integral, important point, but a valid point).

That having been said, this post will be about the niqab [face veil] in Oman, and the way the niqab is viewed and worn in Oman. Facial veiling in Oman is not a purely Islamic custom, but is often reflected upon from a cultural point of view.

Where I live in Muscat, I rarely see women with their faces fully covered. I mean, it is about as common as walking around in a big city in Canada. There are sections, groups of women, from time to time, but they are not the majority here. I know in places like Salalah, or if you go to the Mutrah Souq, it becomes more common, and you try to take in the different styles of face covering. Some girls simply pull their shawls entirely over their faces (brightly printed fabric or sheer plain black no matter), some buy a face veil with a single band that fastens across the brow and has a short veil that covers to their chin but no more, and others have the more encompassing layered flip niqabs (with or without a string at the nose) where the facial part of the veil falls to the chest or the hip [these are also common in Yemen and Saudi Arabia). There is also the gold, green, or purple painted birqa, or falcon shaped face mask, but I rarely see younger women wearing these unless for weddings with full-out cultural gear.

In Muscat, the opinion of most male Omanis I have asked, is that the niqab is a tribal/cultural norm, and not an Islamic need for a woman, since, it is not the most common precept in Muscat, it can make more people notice a woman if she happened to be off walking somewhere. Girls DO wear niqab though, as I have observed, in the city, when they don't want anyone to recognize them, out on a date, having an affair... LOL, yes, so certainly not for an Islamic reason. This is a generalized opinion BTW... As a woman who likes to wear niqab, I find, I get more attention wearing it walking around in Muscat, then if I didn't. And the attention can be negative, such as men thinking I want to go out with them because I am walking by myself and wearing the veil...

For those who wear niqab for dating purposes in Oman, they generally have fake eyelashes attached, and out-of-this-world bright or sparkly eye make-up (and perfume you can smell for miles). These women never wear the veil abroad in the West, and generally don't wear abaya or necessarily even hijab abroad.

Most Omani women I am friends with don't wear the veil, and the ones that do, do it for religious reasons, and they adore the privacy. They like imitating certain women from among the early Muslims that they admire, and they have found it makes the hearts of those around them purer, such as close male in-laws. There is no jealousy over, "your wife is prettier than my wife" ect... The women who I know here that do wear it, do it from their own convictions, and it ISN'T actually a norm for their families. A note to add unto that, the women that wear it for religious convictions, usually maintain the veil while abroad too.

Beyond them (and they are a small minority in my experience) the vast majority of women in Oman who I have spoken to, veil for their culture. It is a norm for the women in their family. They feel comfortable doing so because it is something they have always done, some girls from before a Muslim woman is Islamically required to even start covering at all. Others do it to please their husbands, as many husbands who come from parts of Oman where women veiling is common, think this is best for their wives. The thing that makes me the most angry though, about husbands that prefer their women to be veiled in Oman, is that these same men would prefer their women NOT TO BE veiled outside of a Arab environment. They are only supporting the idea of the veil for their own social standing and reputation, and as soon as the veil makes them look backward or less-of-a-man [such as in Europe, surrounded only by Europeans], they reject it. Hypocritical BEYOND measure!!!!

Some of the problems with veiling in Oman: if not done for an Islamic purpose, the choice of whether or not to veil is taken away from the woman, and is given to her family or her husband. In her religion, the right is her's, not anyone else's. The laws in Oman support this a great deal, but cultural acceptability (going beyond what is the norm for one's social circle) fails to make use of such support in the majority of cases where the woman as an individual would prefer not to cover her face but her relations are requiring her to.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WEAR THE VEIL?
For me personally (I am not claustrophobe) I prefer it. I like the privacy, and not being judged for my physical beauty. People are like, is it hot to wear in the desert climate of Oman? My response it always to say, no more so than jeans or stilletto shoes. I sweat in jeans and I sweat in certain shoes. I usually don't in niqab, except around the band wear it attaches closed at my brow [which is the same with any hat, lol]. I think is all about the fabric that the veil is made of, and finding a style that sits comfortable against your face (one that barely touches it). I find that the style has to not dig into your eyes or move a lot, and the fabric it is made of has to be breathable. If it flows away from your nose and doesn't move at your eyeline, it'll be unnoticeable, and very good sun-protection. Since a big brimmed sun hat can look stupid with a headscarf. It is TOTALLY different for those who are claustrophobic, or who have the wrong style for their face shape. Some people have difficulty wearing the niqab if their nose is one where the band or string isn't resting on it, and is constantly slipping, thus resulting in the veil digging into one's eyes or smothering the mouth.

For any Omani woman readers, what is your opinion of the veil? Why do you wear it? Do you find it to be comfy? If it isn't a norm in your family, would you ever like to wear it for religious reasons?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not that we have higher production values in Canadian TV, lol



A Post about Non-TV tv in Oman pt. 1

Has anyone noticed how there are four whole channels on Nilesat TV dedicated to showing pictures of camels? My roomie complains of how there are ten channels spouting men in thobes dancing with sticks and/or camel pics with some dude screaming Arabic poetry. But I like men in thobes dancing with sticks, LOL.
But I do not think this is so different than bad TV in my homeland. Back in my country we have a channel dedicated to a fire. 24 hour log burning on the fire. Every now and then you'd see an arm put a new log on the fire. And during Easter they had 24 hr bunny rabbits jumping on the grass, hopping about. Camels are more interesting than rabbits, in my humble, and wholly unpatriotic opinion.

There is also this Egyptian channels that plays music, but no music videos (no shame, Oman has a SOOOOOOOO many Arabic music video channels), just this spinning logo.

I watch OmanTV. Sometimes they play handball matches. Sometimes they talk about selling coal to Japan (or something like that---it waaaaas pretty boring). At four in the morning they have shots of Nizwa on repeat. I may BE THE ONLY PERSON of my aquaintance that does, and my aquaintances are of a large majority Omani. Omanis complain about OmanTV being boring.

I also watch random Kuwaiti soap operas and make up a story for what I THINK is happening. This isn't really non TV because I know a lot of Emerati and Saudi ladies who watched these shows back in my country off the net, but I do have a serious question to pose---- why do Arabic music videos have better production values than TV dramas??????

I also (I am a prude, so I am not being sarcastic) love how kisses are edited out of every show BUT those on Fox, but I am miffed how they can leave someone blatantly discussing sex (something far worse than a cartoon kiss) but then cut the scene from Shrek where the Princess kisses the Ogre. Which is sort of an integral plot point. Alluhuallim, LOL.

I also find the voice of the man that tells you what shows are about to be on in Arabic on Fox to extremely creepy. That is just me.

Traditional Omani Fishing Methods


One sport my Omani friends all seem to love unanimously (besides FIFA football) is fishing.

My friends tend to fish with a piece or styrofoam or a litre plastic pop bottle with fishing line and a simple hook, with squid for bait. They always seem to manage to catch at least 5-6 decent fish.

Yeah, since I don't fish (I tried, but got my abaya snagged) this is the extent of my post.

Perfume "Attar" for Al Mirhaad (the powder room)

Just a tip, it is traditional in most 5haleeji homes to keep a small collection of colognes and perfumes near the sink, for the discretion and use of the guest. Most homes have three or four bottles, an option for men, and an option for female guests. Having different kinds is important, as people have different tastes. Having at least one option with a spray, and one with an oil base, is the most appropriate.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Furniture Essential for Oman: the Wardrobe


I have been shopping around Muscat for the perfect wardrobe/armoire. Most of the nice ones are purchased in full bedroom sets I LIKE ranging from 720-1500 rials. Ones I don't like, are of course, and tragically, less. I have just started checking used, like the boards at Al Fair, and I found fair Al Fahmy wardrobe for 50 rials. I like but I am waiting for my friends to drive me out to Wadi Adai, a few places in Mutrah, and Seeb.

I am a fan of the ones from Morocco and Syria (inlaid, painted, ect). I also like dark wood ones. I am a more traditional girl, so I can't pull off those modern laquered things (which you can find at better prices here).
Few houses in Oman come equipped with closet space so buying a good wardrobe is essential. Since most of the clothes I wear day to day have to be hung (jalabiyias, party dresses, caftans, and abayas) I need a lot of hanging space so the wardrobe is perfect!
Unfortunately, I am picky, and everything I like costs a fortune, and some things are just waaaaay to tacky here. Pink sparkly glitter on dark wood????? WHY?!!!!!!

For Wafa, Omani Hair Styles

Most 5aleeji hairstyles involve alot of volume and hairspray (and often fake hair, yuck).
The hair raised at the crown is a usual feature, with jewels and hair accessories complimenting the style.
I like the use of hair bands.
From curly...
Too sleek...
From purposefully messy...
To refined...
Or dramatic..
...the key is always volume.

Day-Wear Hair style for Arab Women


I see SOOOOOOO many Omani girls wearing this hairstyle, day to day. If only I had time to brush mine...

Hours and Wages in Muscat

Many have asked me why I want to come to Oman and work when they are trying to come to my country and work.

Well, in general in Oman, expats with a passport like mine and a good degree get paid more than an Omani National with the same education. At LEAST $2500 Omani rials and above. LOL, I am one of those people who took off from college with certificates but no B.A. So I am not one of those. Everyone is like, it's just three more years of school OPNO, BUT I AM LIKE, I don't know how many years I have left to live (no, I am not dying, but you never know right?) and I don't want to spend my last days in school, LOL.

So I am left to work with the rest, 5-6 days a week (we get Juma off). We can work from 8-12 hours a day but have long lunch breaks. Slave labour! my father would cry.

I have more work experience than most Arabs and Omanis in my fields (yes, fields, I am one of those people who cannot make up their mind and get bored very easily) so I can make from $400 (don't want to take that)- $670.00 which is more than enough for the lifestyle I AM content with. If you wanna rent a villa and have no nice Omani connects to hook you up with one they don't happen to be using, well then, you gotta make more. The average salary for co-workers that are from other Arab countries is $320-$400. I have an Omani friend though, who only makes $260.00. Live-in maids from India get paid around $80 rials a month. Despite my low wage, my household still has a maid who visits six times a week, and I can afford lovely clothes and pretty furniture and good food. I have a few women as flatmates.

I don't know WHY the bloody work week is so long though, because I used to get just as much work done at a nine to five five day a week job as I do manage to here. I think people just use the internet more at work (free internet is great and no one kills you for facebook!---which was a firing issue back in MY COUNTRY). And I think, of course, that working more than five days a week is a crime. I like two days off in a row. It has been conditioned into me as my unconditional right as a North American. But I gave that right up to come here and work.

A friend visiting from another Gulf country was SHOCKED to see Omani men driving cabs, and Omani girls at grocery checkouts. This is unheard of in places like the UAE (unless they get a good discount at Gucci, LOL). It makes me happy because I think Omani people are more humble than some I've met from other Gulf states (nothing is worse than a Gulf-snob). But I despair for some, the young men who don't make enough to save for a house (at least $400 to rent waaaaay out of Muscat, and most families prefer that you own), two cars (one for the wife, one for the husband, the lowest costing $950 each), the maher (at least 500 rials but as much 40, 000), furniture, new clothes and gold gifts for the bride and her family, and food for the wedding. They have to take out HUGE loans to finance the marriage, then have to spend the rest of their lives paying their debt, just to fulfil their Islamic duty to marry, and take care of their children. Some work the day for their $125-300 jobs and then drive a taxi at night, all just to meet the basic requirements of marriage and children. So some cannot afford to marry, and end up staying with their families, and I find this just sad. The kids can end up having to work to help pay the debt (Oman has few Islamic banks), and for girls, this can be the additional pressure to make a marriage with money, which doesn't exactly involve prostituting themselves out, but it can pressure them into less-than Islamic means of meeting their future spouses for wholly good intentions of saving their family and helping themselves. It makes me sad for some Omanis!

My friends and I joke about pooling a sadaqah fund for the single boys we know to help cover their mahers, LOL. I know a lot of families do this.

This is really NOT a comprehensive article by ANY means, but its my most pervasive thoughts on the subject.