The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Back to School - Women 

Let's see what our schools have to say on that most difficult of subjects, Women. It's clear that the rest of the world has a problem with our attitudes, so let's explain where we are coming from. First of all, let's go back to Grade 2 and look at their role.

My family is formed by my father, my mother, my brothers and my sisters… My father works, endeavors and toils for us, and my mother cooks, washes and keeps the house in order. I and my brothers help our father, and my sisters help our mother with the household chores.
Reading, Writing and Poems, Grade 2, pt. 2 (1999) p. 13

And even at Grade 10, we point out that they are exactly the same as men (as long as they are Muslims, of course!)...

The believers are brothers in Islam’s view. There is no difference between a black man and a white man, neither between the ruler and the ruled, nor between a man and a woman.
Biography of the Prophet and History of the Muslim State, Grade 10, (2001) p. 63

However, as all men know, women can be funny creatures:

Women have a strong innate jealousy, which may lead to strange attitudes, as happened to the ‘Mothers of the Believers’ [i.e., Muhammad’s wives]. That does not diminish their rank and dignity.
[Qur’an] Commentary, Grade 9, (2000) p. 148

So, because of their little failings, we need to treat them a bit differently:

O people, you owe your wives their right and they owe you your right. They are obliged to you not to let someone else into your bed, not to let someone whom you hate into your house without your permission, and not to commit an evidently vile sin. If they do, then God has permitted you to oppress them, avoid being with them in bed, and beat them – but not harshly.
From Muhammad’s last sermon, Arabic Literature, Grade 10, (1999) p. 51

"but not harshly"? - well, no bruises, that's a good rule of thumb. And also, because they are women, they are not worth as many camels as a man, when we have to pay "blood money".

Bloodmoney for a free male Muslim… is a hundred camels.
Bloodmoney for a free infidel is half the bloodmoney for a Muslim…
Bloodmoney for a woman is half the bloodmoney for a man, each one according to her religion, as bloodmoney for a Muslim female is half the bloodmoney for a Muslim and bloodmoney for an infidel female is half the bloodmoney for an infidel.

Islamic Jurisprudence, Grade 10, (2001) p. 46

Which is only fair when you think about it. We can't go giving away camels all over the place. Camels, especially good racing ones, are very valuable.
Because we can't really trust women (you know, "jealousy" and "strange attitudes"), we'd better keep them out of the courts.

As for women – their testimony is not accepted in [matters of] legal punishments [Hudud] and homicide cases [Dima’].
[Islamic] Jurisprudence, Grade 10, (2001)p. 74

And if we do let them out, then they must be fully covered, of course:

There have been many proofs for the command of the veil and the prohibition of beautification and unveiling… God has imposed on the woman the duty to cover her whole body in order to be safe because of her veil from the offenders’ insults… He has prohibited beautification and unveiling because of the scandalous deeds they lead to.
[Islamic] Jurisprudence, Grade 10, (2001) p. 65

Naturally, we want to avoid "scandalous deeds". See what happens in the West. Women go around uncovered, all the men follow them everywhere, dribbling and howling with uncontrollable lust. But talking about men, we don't want them inciting lust either, mincing around, looking like girlies.

The Prophet said: ‘It has been forbidden for the males of my nation to wear silk and gold, which has been permitted to their females’.
Hadith and Islamic Culture, Grade 10, (2001) p. 75

So you need to dress like these fellas . No gold watches or silk underwear there. The Muttawa certainly won't bother them.

Anyway, men aren't the real problem, it's the women, so let's get back to them. A potential problem is "mingling":

The presence in private of a man with a strange woman, as well as mingling with men , are two of the most serious things leading to adultery and the greatest harm. Therefore, God’s Messenger forbade such mingling…
Islamic Jurisprudence, Grade 10, (2001) pp. 67-68

But how do you stop them "mingling", especially if they want to go out? Well, don't allow them to drive, that's one way, we've got that covered. But then the wealthier ones employ a driver, which causes its own problems:

One of the manifestations of forbidden privacy nowadays is a woman who sits in the car with the strange driver with no male relative [mahram] present.

So in fact, the only way to keep them really safe is:

It is best for a woman to protect herself from going out from home whenever possible.
[Islamic] Jurisprudence, Grade 10, (2001) pp. 67-68

So that explains everything, it's really quite logical. So why is it that the West has a such a problem understanding us?

Anyway, if your wife is a problem, disobedient perhaps, and if all else fails, like refusing to sleep with her or slapping her around, it may be time to divorce her. But bear in mind that you can always pick up four cards before throwing one away...

One of the most difficult matters for a sensible woman is threatening her with divorce. The matter becomes more difficult if the husband replaces her with someone who is better than she is.
[Qur’an] Commentary, Grade 9, (2000) p. 151

...although you may get an even better card in its place. But, as the song says, you "have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them", and if it's time to chuck your hand in, at least our law makes it easy:

One of the good qualities of this Shari'ah Law is the permission to divorce when that is needed, namely, when there is no other solution, such as when conflict between the couple increases, living together becomes difficult and other means such as admonition, separation and attempts at reconciliation between them become useless.
[Qur’an] Commentary, Grade 9, (2000) p. 132

You just need to choose the right moment to break the news to her:

The usage sanctioned by tradition for divorce is that it takes place when the woman is not in her monthly period, no intercourse occurs between the couple, and he divorces her in a definite manner i.e., saying the phrase of divorce once, or even twice, but not thrice…
[Qur’an] Commentary, Grade 9, (2000) p. 132

So you just need to tell her, but only once or at most twice. If you tell her three times, it sounds as though you're getting obsessed, and making it personal. Also, avoid telling her during her period, because she'll be grumpy, and avoid telling her while having sex, because it might lead to a discussion and distract you from your enjoyment.

Now for the test. You need to comment on some recent newspaper articles:

Woman Placates Husband by Giving Him 2nd Wife

DAMMAM, 2 November 2005 - A woman teacher finally solved her frequent fights with her husband by providing him another wife, according to a report by Okaz. The report said the teacher noticed that her husband was trying to find excuses to start trouble, so she asked him if he would like to marry her friend who is also a teacher. The husband liked the idea and has stopped causing trouble after he took in the second wife.

1. If you were the husband, would you prefer your wife to give you:

- another wife
- a new Toyota Landcruiser
- an all-expenses paid month in the South of France

bearing in mind the maintenance costs?

2. Would you really enjoy being married to two schoolteachers?

Female Wrestling Match Over Shoes

QATEEF, 2 November 2005 - The general market in the eastern city of Qateef was turned into a virtual wrestling arena recently when two women fought over a pair of shoes, a report by Okaz has said. Instead of ordering new pairs of the shoe that was on display, the duo engaged in a tug-of-war that ended in a noisy wrestling match, said the report. Many shoppers attracted by the fracas came to watch but before the crowd could grow beyond control, police separated the wrestlers and took them to a nearby station for questioning.

1. Explain how this story proves the dangers of letting women out of the house by themselves.

2. Can you explain what it is about women and shoes, that might cause this type of behavior?

3. Many shoppers attracted by the fracas came to watch. Why is it that men the world over are seduced by the Devil into enjoying watching women wrestle? Why do they like it even better in mud?

After Daughter’s Refusal, Man Marries Mother

JEDDAH, 31 October 2005 — A 21-year-old girl refused to marry a man 35 years older than her because of the age difference, Al-Watan reported. The mother tried for six months to convince her daughter to marry him because he was a good person and financially secure. After all attempts to convince her failed, the man was told about the refusal, he came back again to the family, this time asking for the mother’s hand in marriage. Stunned at the man’s request, the mother agreed; the marriage took place this month.

1. What false inducements of the Devil might lead a 21-year-old girl to refuse to marry a 56-year-old man with money?

2. If the mother had also refused, is it possible that Granny might have got a special Ramadan treat?

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