Tariq A. Al-Maeena
or marriage of convenience within the country’s borders became a popular
variant of marriage after it was sanctioned by some of our religious sheikhs.
Essentially a license to have multiple partners without much responsibility or
expense, it was soon followed by the Misfar and other variations as
marriage refers to a union contracted so that a woman may cohabitate with her
foreign “husband” for the period of time he is visiting a foreign country.
These women are usually divorced after a short period which ranges from a week
to a month. It is natural that most of these women who are married off come
from deprived backgrounds, and for most of them, they have very little say in
the Saudi press have spoken of growing concerns over the number of children
fathered by Saudi males in their trips abroad, and abandoned for all practical
purposes. And while these overseas amorous urges and paternal distribution of
genes are not necessarily restricted purely to Saudis, the number of wives and
children left behind is of alarming proportions.
years ago at a conference in Egypt, Aiman Abu Akeel, chairman of the Maat
Foundation for Peace and Development, stated that the majority of men who
visited Egypt looking for Misfar (tourist) marriages tended to be
Saudis, followed by Iraqis, and that the women they married were predominantly
younger than them.
parents receive several thousand Egyptian pounds from the visitors for
sanctioning their approval for a limited time marriage. Most of these girls are
below 16 years of age, and do not understand that they are being treated like
not just in Egypt that such a problem exists. There are abandoned wives and
children in significant numbers in many countries. In Morocco, there were in
the past reports of over 5,000 wives and as many children who had been left
deserted by their tourist husbands without honor or gratuity.
India, Indonesia and the Philippines, similar numbers exist making it a growing
concern for the Saudi government which is attempting to make it obligatory for
such errant fathers to own up to the responsibility of parenthood.
years ago, Najeeb Al-Zamil, founder of the Back to the Roots Foundation, a
nongovernmental organization that helps Saudi children abroad said that there
were many such children in Arab countries and that men abandoned their
temporary wives and subsequent children for fear of discovery by their
relatives back home.
that many children lived in miserable conditions and turned to drugs and
illegal activities, deprived as they were of their true identity, although
there have been others who have grown up to be success stories.
In the past
in Morocco, a Saudi ambassador said the problem was compounded by the fact that
many Saudis married Moroccan women without their family’s knowledge, and blamed
the misery of these women on irresponsible Saudis.
the children Saudi nationality if the woman can prove that she was married to a
Saudi. The main problem we face is dealing with Saudis who do not cooperate
with us. We at the embassy feel great pain toward our sons and daughters who
have been abandoned like this. I try every day to call their fathers to solve
their problems,” he stated.
that Saudi embassies had been advised to register children and issue temporary
travel documents that allowed fathers to bring their children to the Kingdom
and arranged passports and ID cards for them. Fathers, however, could be
punished for violating the law and this could be in the form of a travel ban or
a prison sentence.
phenomenon following the oil boom years resulted in a rising number of
abandoned women and children in different parts of the world fathered by
leaders who in the past had been quick to sanction such unions between men and
women and legitimizing them to the degree of making them palatable within the
framework of Islam should today be aware of the sorry consequences. They
clearly did not possess the wisdom to foresee the tragic end of some of their
Headline: A marriage of convenience
thing which according to traditional Sunni/Sufi Ulama is Haram is being
legalized now by Salafi/Wahabi Ulama.
to note down, in addition to the reports mentioned in this article, is that in
April 2006, the Makka based Muslim (Wahabi/Salafi) World League's Constituent
Body, the Islamic (Salafi) Jurisprudence Council; an affiliate of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC),
declared Misyar relationship as legal.
Deobandi Darul Ifta, Licester, UK issued a Fatwa declaring Misyar Marriage as
is a matter of great concern because Deobandis who say they follow Imam Abu
Hanifa have gone against Imam Abu Hanifa who neither allows Misyar or Misfar.
This sort of marriage has been refuted by the early jurists but it was the
Wahhabi scholars who restored the Misyar and Misfar which was refuted long ago.
concept of Marriage in Islam, according to Ulama of the past and present, is a
binding-for-life between a man and a woman.
As per Islamic law, a man needs to provide food, clothing, shelter and
security to his wife, in addition to a mutually agreed dowry (Mehr). He is also
responsible to provide livelihood and share the responsibility of upbringing of
children born out of the wedlock. All
these are treated as the rights and privileges of the woman in an Islamic