Ghada Jamsheer is on TIME!

14 May, '06

Ghada Jamsheer

Ghada Jamsheer: Activist
“We have to have equal rights for women in the Arab world”

By SCOTT MACLEOD
Sunday, May. 14, 2006

Five years ago, Ghada Jamsheer was at the courts in Bahrain when she saw a woman sobbing and banging her head on the ground; applying Islamic law, a judge had just denied her custody of her children in a divorce case. Horrified, Jamsheer, herself a divorcée with custody of her daughter, launched a campaign for women’s rights in the gulf. She founded and leads the Women’s Petition Committee, a grassroots organization that is waging a bold campaign against Bahrain’s Shari’a court system. With no staff, financial support or training in law or religion but enough guts to make an Emir tremble, she has meticulously sought out hundreds of women denied justice and compiled their stories.

To publicize their plight, she has arranged noisy protests, spoken out in Arab media, and complained to local and international leaders. Among the wrongs she seeks to fix: systematic bias against women in divorce cases, a husband’s right to custody of children from age 7, and customs allowing “temporary marriages” that amount to prostitution and abuse of young girls. Jamsheer wants to remove Shari’a judges who abuse their power to interpret the Koran as they wish, and eventually have civil courts replace the Shari’a system.

Her committee avoids opening a formal office, she says, so that Islamic fundamentalists “don’t burn it down.” “We have to have equal rights for women in the Arab world,” she told Time. “I know it is a dream, but we will have it someday.”

From the May. 22, 2006 issue of TIME Europe magazine
TIME

Well, I think she is the first Bahraini ever to make it to TIME Magazine, good on her! She’s got more spunk than the (majority) of Shari’a judges put together!

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Comments (61)

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  1. tooners says:

    I applaud her. What a great woman!

  2. Anonymous says:

    And bigoted -against Shia villagers- to boot.

  3. mahmood says:

    From the interviews I’ve seen with her, for example on Al-Arabiya, she is against every sect that demeans women by temporary marriages (muta’a, misyar, etc) and the Shari’a rules (on all sects) which deprive a woman from the custody of her children, robs her of alimony or assign a ridiculously low figure to her, and exonerates men off all marital, parental and spousal responsibilities simply because we normally are on top.

    If you have something that shows that she is bigoted and against villages, please produce it and I shall invite her to respond.

  4. anony says:

    a fat cow n a cows magazines

  5. tooners says:

    I sit and wonder why some ppl would say such negative things against her when all she is doing is trying to empower women. What’s so wrong w/ that?? Why shouldn’t a woman have rights? There are men out there that need to be put in their places… and until the court system is changed by ppl like her… NOTHING will happen. May the force be with her! 🙂

    I agree w/ her and think it’s wonderful that she stands up and fights for a woman’s God given right as a mother and as a “W O M A N”. I had no idea how bad things were – I thought they were from the things that I’ve seen but had never heard, w/ my own ears, until we had that lecture in our office about abuse in this country against women.

    I wish her all the luck in the world. I hope she is successful in getting the Shari’a rules changed and those religious men thrown out (they aren’t fair), I hope that temporary marriages are done away with and I truly hope something is changed w/ respect to a man getting custody for the mere fact that he’s the man and not giving a woman what she deserves.

  6. sadferret says:

    I’ve just never understood this particular law that says children over the age of seven/eight in the case of divorce, should be with their fathers. Ideally, parents should work out what is best for the children and work towards a respectful parenting partnership (even if divorced) ensuring that the children’s needs are a priority. What is the islamic thought in these cases? Economic perhaps, traditionally? I would like to know. Shouldn’t it be judged case by case? Many fathers, having full time work commitments, would not be able to take on the responsibility of looking after their children, how flexible are divorce courts on this matter?

  7. mahmood says:

    flexible? hahehahahehahehahehhah 😆 😀 flexible?

    sorry, gotta go and get another drink..

    flexible!

    brilliant!

    (sorry sadferret not laughing AT you, but WITH you!)
    peace.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great woman! Allah yigawweeha!!

    I guess this is the interview with her on al-Arabiya you are referring to, Mahmood?

    http://www.memritv.org/View.asp?P1=978

  9. sadferret says:

    I just wondered .. if a couple happen to agree between themselves, and come to a mutual agreement on what works best for THEIR family … in a divorce court is that taken into consideration or is the matter decided FOR them? I would imagine, as in the UK, the court only decides if there is a dispute. I still want to know why Islamic law gives fathers more rights .. economic … what?

  10. sadferret says:

    Wow, just looked at the above link, she’s one feisty lady! What I DID NOT expect (to complicate the matter further), was a sunni-shiia divide. Mmm, maybe it’s easier to just make your marriage work!

  11. tooners says:

    wow, I just watched the link above to Ms. Jamsheer’s interview… WOW! She is something else… and I think it’s fantastic. Someone has to stand up and talk about this. She is one lady I would love to have lunch or dinner with! If women don’t get together – and MEN – with this woman and stand up against this abuse, then something is seriously wrong here in this country.

    I really can’t get over how when she was trying to give details about “sexual arousal from touching of the thighs” that the interviewer didn’t want to hear any details about it (not surprising because nobody wants to hear the *true* details of what’s happening in society), and she is talking about men getting aroused by little baby girls and girls that are 3, 4 and 5 yrs old. This is sexual molestation …. and it’s being allowed! What is wrong w/ these judges to allow such a union????!!!! What is wrong w/ ppl here to turn their backs to what’s going on and to call this woman a “cow” and speak of her badly for wanting to change and put an end to what is happening.

    What is wrong w/ some men in this society …. getting together w/ children for sexual pleasure. It is sickening.

    And then you have men marrying girls… multiple women… for nothing but sex – basically. I don’t know but I’m totally against men having more than one wife. I understand the logic behind why it happened such a long time ago – during a time of war -, but what is the sense in it now? I agree w/ Ms. Jamsheer… here you have men taking on multiple wives and having tons of kids in families that are totally dysfunctional. Where is the logic in that?

  12. mahmood says:

    and now she made Forbes too as “one of the 10 most powerful and effective women in the Arab world”!

    Congratulations!

  13. Lujayn says:

    What a gutsy woman!

    I read the text of the interview (in Arabic) on Al-Arabiya – she is obviously very angry and truly takes issues to heart. She doesnt tone it down, and she’s not willing to acquiesce on anything. I salute that in her, because the common argument that is thrown at any reform is that it should be done slowly, without rocking the boat. What tends to happen is absolutely nothing. People tone it down, and nothing changes.

  14. tooners says:

    i so agree w/ you! sometimes you have to rock the boat.

  15. abuRasool says:

    “BD20 for wife beating
    The Lower Court found a Bahraini guilty of beating his wife and fined him BD20 (US$53)”. ………. http://chanad.weblogs.us/?p=476

  16. Big Liberal Heart says:

    Gutsy lady. Its nice to see for a once a feminist taking advantage of the gradual opening of political space rather than it being filled by clerics.

    Good also to see the IFJ standing up for Bahrain’s liberals:

    http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=3910&Language=EN

  17. haythoo says:

    I feel sick when I see this woman.
    she have some ideas about shiites ideologys, which is wrong ideas.

  18. mahmood says:

    like what?

    Is “mufakhatha” (I’ll leave YOU to explain what it means to others) an accepted Shi’a ideology? If it is, I am as disgusted with this ideology as she is.

    Some things are plainly wrong, no matter how you paint them.

  19. haythoo says:

    I don’t know what do you mean…
    but, did you see her on Al-hura TV last month?

  20. E-man says:

    I blame more who assigned such unqualified judges to such important posts. Guess who is that? Who else is it!

    I have been there and saw how corrupted the system was. To the extent that I tipped someone! “for the breakfast” as he puts it! 3 dinnars! Welcome to Bahrain

  21. mahmood says:

    No I didn’t Haitham. Can you give us your objective impression of that appearance?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Concerning the bigotry charge,

    The body language was clear at the interview. But even the words gave way at times, and note the “them” therein:

    غادة جمشير: شوف أقولك شي، بالنسبة عن المسيرات اللي طلعوها العلماء علماء الشيعة هي طلعت هذه المسيرات من فئة واحدة اللي هي الفئة الشيعية..
    تركي الدخيل: الفئة الشيعية نسبتها الغالبية.
    غادة جمشير: لأ ما عليه، بس هم تكلموا عن القانون اللي هو القانون الشيعي، إحنا طبعاً كنا نطالب بقانون موحد وكنا نتمنى إنه يكون قانون موحد ما بين الشيعة وما بين السنة، كنا نتمنى إنه إحنا نكون أسرة واحدة شيعة وسنة، لكن هم يعني بهذه الحركات يثيرون الطائفية في البلد بصراحة، يعني هم ما يبغون قانون موحد ويدعون إنه هم مع قانون الأحوال الشخصية لكن مو هذا القصد، القصد ورا هذه كله سياسي هدفهم هدف سياسي، هم قصدهم يعرقلون إصدار قانون الأحوال الشخصية..
    تركي الدخيل: بس هذا في النهاية دعوة، هم في النهاية ما يقولون إنه هدفنا سياسي يقولون إنه عندنا تحفظ على هذه الأفكار..
    غادة جمشير: لأ هم هدفهم سياسي الواجهة هي حقوق المرأة، الواجهة هي حقوق المرأة لكن..
    تركي الدخيل: يعني علشانهم اختلفوا معك يا سيدة غادة جمشير صار هدفهم سياسي؟
    غادة جمشير: لأ هم هدفهم سياسي.
    تركي الدخيل: ويش عرفك إنه هدفهم سياسي؟
    غادة جمشير: هدفهم سياسي..
    تركي الدخيل: كيف عرفتي طيب؟
    غادة جمشير: لأ عارفة أنا زين إنه هم هدفهم سياسي.
    تركي الدخيل: علمينا كيف عرفت؟
    غادة جمشير: شوف أقولك شي، هم ما يتمنون ولا رح يدعمون في يوم من الأيام حقوق المرأة، اللي قاعد اللي يدعم حقوق المرأة هي الدولة اللي قاعدة تدعم قانون الأحوال الشخصية هي الدولة فنحن معها، إذا يعني هم المعارضة كلها معارضة دينية زين معارضة دينية، المعارضة الدينية يستحيل تدعم حقوق المرأة ويستحيل تدعم قانون الأسرة

    ..
    غادة جمشير: لأ لحظة هذه الصورة لو سمحت أول وحدة، هذه الصورة ثلاثة أولاد هذه أمهم فلبينية وأبوهم شيعي، أوكي يتحاكم..
    تركي الدخيل: هذا نفس طائفي قاعدة أنت تتكلمين شيعي وسني.
    غادة جمشير: لأ جايتك أنا أشرح لك عن المحاكم الشرعية الجعفرية والمحاكم الشرعية السنية وشنو الخلل هنا وشنو الخلل هنا، هدول الأولاد أمهم فلبينية وأبوهم شيعي، إحنا عندنا مشكلة تحديد النسل، إحنا ما عندنا تحديد نسل في البحرين، والشيعة يتزوجون متعة في البحرين، ويعني ينجبون أطفال بلا عدد وبلا حساب والشارع يربي، زين, شي طبيعي إذا الأب يتزوج فلبينية, يتزوج بحرينية, ويتزوج واحدة ثالثة من إيران, وياخد له متعة اثنتين ثلاث من هنا.. كم طفل بيجيب؟ هدول الأطفال وين يعيشون؟ وإذا هو رابته ضعيف، بعدين عندهم

    And sorry for taking a valuable space.

  23. mahmood says:

    Thank you for that; her allegations are rough to say the least, but she’s essentially not saying anything incorrect.

    So where is the bigotry?

  24. Anonymous says:

    You don’t take this
    والشيعة يتزوجون متعة في البحرين، ويعني ينجبون أطفال بلا عدد وبلا حساب والشارع يربي
    as a statement of fact, do you?

    But you may need to see it to believe it, and get the full colour of an ethnic/sectarian allergy, especially to anything resembling a veiled Bahrani woman.

  25. haythoo says:

    Concerning the bigotry charge,

    The body language was clear at the interview. But even the words gave way at times, and note the “them” therein:

    غادة جمشير: شوف أقولك شي، بالنسبة عن المسيرات اللي طلعوها العلماء علماء الشيعة هي طلعت هذه المسيرات من فئة واحدة اللي هي الفئة الشيعية..
    تركي الدخيل: الفئة الشيعية نسبتها الغالبية.
    غادة جمشير: لأ ما عليه، بس هم تكلموا عن القانون اللي هو القانون الشيعي، إحنا طبعاً كنا نطالب بقانون موحد وكنا نتمنى إنه يكون قانون موحد ما بين الشيعة وما بين السنة، كنا نتمنى إنه إحنا نكون أسرة واحدة شيعة وسنة، لكن هم يعني بهذه الحركات يثيرون الطائفية في البلد بصراحة، يعني هم ما يبغون قانون موحد ويدعون إنه هم مع قانون الأحوال الشخصية لكن مو هذا القصد، القصد ورا هذه كله سياسي هدفهم هدف سياسي، هم قصدهم يعرقلون إصدار قانون الأحوال الشخصية..
    تركي الدخيل: بس هذا في النهاية دعوة، هم في النهاية ما يقولون إنه هدفنا سياسي يقولون إنه عندنا تحفظ على هذه الأفكار..
    غادة جمشير: لأ هم هدفهم سياسي الواجهة هي حقوق المرأة، الواجهة هي حقوق المرأة لكن..
    تركي الدخيل: يعني علشانهم اختلفوا معك يا سيدة غادة جمشير صار هدفهم سياسي؟
    غادة جمشير: لأ هم هدفهم سياسي.
    تركي الدخيل: ويش عرفك إنه هدفهم سياسي؟
    غادة جمشير: هدفهم سياسي..
    تركي الدخيل: كيف عرفتي طيب؟
    غادة جمشير: لأ عارفة أنا زين إنه هم هدفهم سياسي.
    تركي الدخيل: علمينا كيف عرفت؟
    غادة جمشير: شوف أقولك شي، هم ما يتمنون ولا رح يدعمون في يوم من الأيام حقوق المرأة، اللي قاعد اللي يدعم حقوق المرأة هي الدولة اللي قاعدة تدعم قانون الأحوال الشخصية هي الدولة فنحن معها، إذا يعني هم المعارضة كلها معارضة دينية زين معارضة دينية، المعارضة الدينية يستحيل تدعم حقوق المرأة ويستحيل تدعم قانون الأسرة

    ..
    غادة جمشير: لأ لحظة هذه الصورة لو سمحت أول وحدة، هذه الصورة ثلاثة أولاد هذه أمهم فلبينية وأبوهم شيعي، أوكي يتحاكم..
    تركي الدخيل: هذا نفس طائفي قاعدة أنت تتكلمين شيعي وسني.
    غادة جمشير: لأ جايتك أنا أشرح لك عن المحاكم الشرعية الجعفرية والمحاكم الشرعية السنية وشنو الخلل هنا وشنو الخلل هنا، هدول الأولاد أمهم فلبينية وأبوهم شيعي، إحنا عندنا مشكلة تحديد النسل، إحنا ما عندنا تحديد نسل في البحرين، والشيعة يتزوجون متعة في البحرين، ويعني ينجبون أطفال بلا عدد وبلا حساب والشارع يربي، زين, شي طبيعي إذا الأب يتزوج فلبينية, يتزوج بحرينية, ويتزوج واحدة ثالثة من إيران, وياخد له متعة اثنتين ثلاث من هنا.. كم طفل بيجيب؟ هدول الأطفال وين يعيشون؟ وإذا هو رابته ضعيف، بعدين عندهم

    And sorry for taking a valuable space.

    هذا ما قالته في قناة العربية
    Ùˆ بالطبع هي قالت أكثر من ذلك في قناة الحرة. Ùˆ تهجمت على الطائفة بأكلمها, Ùˆ قالت بالحرف الواحد ” معتقداتهم باطلة ..!! “.
    و تطرقت للتركيبة السكانية و ما إلى ذلك.
    ثم أتجهت للمجلس العلمائي, الذي أعتبره و يعتبره غالبية أبناء الطائفة, القيادة الدينية في البلد, و قامت بقذفهم بعبارات مشينة, و سقطت منهم.
    لا أنكر أنها تعذبت جراء ما حدث لها.
    لا أتكر أن القضاء في البحرين فاسد.
    و لكن ثق تماماُ, أن القضاة الحاليون لا يمثلون الطائفة, و غير مرغوبين في الأساس من قبل الغالبية.

    تطالب بالديمقراطية. حسناً, فلتتطبقها بنفسها إذاً. خرجت مع عدد لا يتجاوز 150 شخص. خرجنا في حشد يفوق 150 ألف. أين العدل إذاً..؟!
    لا تقل لي أن الحشد كُله لا يعلم و ما إلى أخره..
    أنا أقرب منك و منها إلى هذه الفئة و أعلم مالذي يحدث.
    و حتى لو لم نكن نعلم بالأمر و لم نلم به في الأساس.
    نحن لدينا مبدأ, و هو مبدأ طرح الثقة في القيادة الدينية.
    يقولون:- ” عط الخباز خبزه Ùˆ لو أكل نصه ”
    أحنا نقول إلى غادة جمشير, طالبي بحقوقك, و لكن ألزمي حدك و لا تتعدي الخطوط الحمراء.
    لا أدري إن كانت قد درست في أحد الحوزات أو ما شابه لكي تناقش العلماء في أمور خاصة بالدين..!!
    و أعلم أنك سوف تعرض لي بعد الأمور و تقول لي هل هذا يجوز أو لا
    لا أعلم. و ليس من الواجب علي الأجابة. و لا دخل للأمور العقائدية في الأمر.

    الصورة من جانبنا أوضح يا محمود.
    نحن أيضاً نعاني
    لدي الكثير من النساء من الأهل و المعارف, عانوا من هؤلاء القضاة و الفساد.
    لكن كما قلت لك تذكر.. هؤلاء لا يمثلونا.
    حتى أن أتباعهم منبوذون في القرى, و إن أردت توضيحاً للعملية سأوضحها لك.

    شكراً جزيلاً على إثارة الموضوع.

  26. mahmood says:

    I see. Yes, she was harsh in her charecterisation of the Shi’a, and she was wrong to generalise. Having said that, I oppose marriages of convenience in any sect of religion. If a marriage in entered into just to get to an end result, rather than a life-long commitment, then I think your motivations – as far as I am concerned – are invalid.

    By all means if your relationship with your spouse is beyond repair, break the marriage up and be done with it; it is better for you, your spouse AND your children.

    And that is taking it the logical opinion way, and frankly I do not care whatever religion or sect imposes on you in that department.

    Now, as she has denigrated the Shi’a and the Sunna in this manner, I believe that she is completely wrong and should appologise. She should not have gotten to theological discussions as that is beyond her. She is frustrated however and she – being the symbol women aspire to – is inundated with tales of woe from women, and because she cares, she might have taken the emotional route far too often, certainly in the two interviews you cited. I suggest that she should get back to objectivity to champion her cause and charges.

    I also understand that the Islamic Council has declared their acceptance to issue a personal/family status law; what they are against however is the mechanisms to be adopted if there were a change to be introduced; hence, their demand for constitutional guarantees that only when a higher Shi’a authority – who currently resides in Najaf, as well as those authorised to debate such a subject being the higher clerics in Bahrain – sanctions such a change, and in no account allow a non-clerical person, ie, politicians and/or members of parliament, allow them to change any part of that law.

    I personally do not agree with this stance, simply because (a) we are all Muslims, (b) have been born and brought up with Muslim tendencies and sensibilities, and (c) even the non-Muslim in our community who has been born and brought up here has the cultural Muslim tendencies, so it is virtually impossible for us, let alone the representatives of the people, to go and willfully and maliciously change such a law. If that ever comes to pass, I suggest that the proponent of that change will be literally lynched! Therefore, their demand for a constitutional guarantee is a red herring to – at best – delay the inculcation of such a law, at worst of course, cancel it altogether. I also suggest that based on the above, the objection is not really the fear of a non-clerical person changing the law, but to maintain their grip on personal and familial power. Hence, the issue is political first and foremost.

    Yes, Ms. Jamsheer is wrong to go against the sensibilities of society in this manner, but she is not a politician who calculates every word before its utterance, she simply is a woman who has personally suffered due to the conditions prevalent in Shari’a courts now, and will continue to be unless a codified family law is adopted universally.

    I do not believe, having briefly met the woman, that she has a single sectarian bone in her body. She might benefit however from re-examining what she has said without those who normally support her, and even further if she retook the objective route which will benefit her movement.

    Has she been intentionally malicious? I personally don’t think so. Emotional at the time, maybe, but willfully malicious, no.

  27. sadferret says:

    And to perhaps lighten the tone on what I realise is a serious subject. My Arab mother in law once said to me “You do know if your husband divorces you he will gain custody of the children (when they are seven). At the time, I had three children under the age of three. I replied “Hallelulja”. After that, whenever I felt frazzled and the kids were acting up I’d say to him “Remember, if we divorce, you get custody right?”.

  28. tooners says:

    sadferret – that’s cute!

  29. mahmood says:

    sadferret, this is what my wife threatens me with all the time too! You two should never meet!

  30. Grace says:

    Hmmm, it’s a pity really that even when it comes to fighting for our god-given rights as women, sectarian issues are brought up, if not by the activist, then by the commentators.

    I personnally wouldn’t have voted for Ms. Jamsheer to be one of the top ten most influental women in the Arab world, because to me she has nothing but guts and guts alone.

    Would that it were, women of more sophisticated academic backgrounds, would join forces with her and work on the weak spots of her approach.

    I dont’ see any hands up?

  31. Aya says:

    God bless this woman! We need more of her type.

  32. MoClippa says:

    I’d been following her since I first read about the Sharia judges taking her to court on accusations that things she had disrespected them and the court. What annoyed me at the time was, though I would try to bring it up in dinner conversations with older folk, she was always passed off, nobody seemed to care about the significance of what she was doing… mostly the Bahraini women at the tables…. I couldn’t figure out if they didn’t agree with her, didn’t care, or just felt that it was innapropriate to publicly give her a ‘YE!’ Even when I then went on to describe the marrige laws in Bahrain and the situation they were all in, whether they realized it or not (though I’m sure they all knew very well). Whatever the case, it irritated me that something that concerened all of them was passed over.

    Honestly she is quite a fiesty, and ‘gutsy’ women with a serious point to make. Though she does seem prone to emotional outbursts which really can trivialize and in that sense weaken her argument.

    She can make 7 good serious points and end it with an emotional comment that is abover her or percived bigotry and have that destroy the objectivity of the rest of the argument… which is sad, because she does have a point to make and it would be nice to see it come out better…. then again I don’t think she’s suited for political correctness by any means, which to some may come out making her sound border line extremist.

  33. tooners says:

    i just heard another side of this story… about these temporary marriage. she’s arguing against them, but now i see a different side to it… but, i could have it all wrong.

    if ppl are going into temporary marriage, isn’t that their business? if they are both mature adults, isn’t it their right to have a temporary marriage – even if it is purely for physical reasons? here, they frown upon you if you don’t get married but are in a relationship w/ the opposite sex. the female is looked at poorly and probably even talked about in many circles. so, if the female wants to get into a relationship, isn’t it easier just to do a temporary marriage. and isn’t it their right – the couple – to do this? who are we to say that it isn’t right.

    i dont agree w/ the whole thing w/ children though. i’ve asked a few ppl about this – shi’a’s – and they say it isn’t so, that it doesn’t happen and they don’t know what she is talking about.

    so…. is this true or what?!

  34. tooners says:

    AND… i was also told that the Prophet married a 12 yr. old girl when he was in his late 30s or 40s.

    i’m finding it very difficult to see the logic behind this. was it to take care of the child? were her parents killed or something? i would hope that it wasn’t for any physical reason.

  35. Grace says:

    Muta’a, isn’t it an official way of selling your body, so to speak? You make an agreement, you get paid dowry and that is that.
    I even hear that in Iran, there are legal houses called “Dar ifa” where muta’a marriages take place officially with the blessings of a mulla. I wonder how that works? Does a man walk in an choose from an album and say I’ll marry her for an hour please? Can he ask for a discount? Is she considered an officially recognised service provider? Does she have to pay the mulla commission? Does he have to pay commission to get the one he wants? Is there a bidding service for women who aren’t so well endowed? Could she be married, a normal marriage, to another, on the side? Is there a legal age? Is there a “Dar afeef” where women seeking pleasure, ooops I mean marriage, can visit?
    Sorry my creative imagination is getting the better of me. I better stop.
    More to come on misyar……

  36. mahmood says:

    or misyaf, considering it’s going to be the season to be merry for us Gulfians soon!! 😉

  37. Grace says:

    Yes Mahmood,

    I send a Gulfy a blue tooth at Al-Saraya, get hooked, summer is over, romance season is gone.

    December comes, and the relationship is still budding, he’s married to a covered cousin, a rich oil-sh. and I am young and gullable. My dad wants me to have a future.

    We get married, I stay here, he comes and goes, sometimes we travel, especially in the beginning, never to Egpyt of course. And I am nearing my 40th year now, falling short of beauty and life, have gained alot of wisdom and intellect, dare say. How attractive is that?!

    Years have passed and we have lost touch, he’s in Cannes and I am sitting in my study, searching for his contact details on the web. Its the summer of 2018 and I need a divorce! What can I do?

    I plan to take a summer vacation, sell a diamond watch or two, gifts from,,, what was his name again? For old times sake I visit Al-Saraya to smoke a bit of sheesha and watch those kids having their fair share of fun.
    I receive a redtongue “blue tooth in 2018 is more sophisticated”. I respond, messages go back and forth. We flirt. We plan to meet.

    I dress up, I really look good for a woman my age, a bit more curvacious though. Goosebumps.

    He walks in a man of 50, tall, dark and handsome, the white hair topples on to his glasses, his beautiful silk scarf tied around his neck, he looks familiar,,, where have I seen him before?

    I remember. It’s him,,,,, We fall in love again….

  38. mahmood says:

    Oh man, this must be one of the most intriguing comments entered in the Den! 😉

    I have to re-read it a couple of times to get the gist to sink in though…

  39. Manami chick says:

    I find mut’a marriage a very empowering concept for muslim women. I dont see how it demeans a woman at all:

    1. it is with consent of both parties
    2. she agrees on a dowry ranging from a chocolate bar to X amount of money, whatever SHE wants and he agrees to give…like in a normal marriage anyway.
    3. There is a 3idda…which means that she cannot remarry or sleep with another man 40 days after the end of the marriage to ensure she isnt pregnant and if she is pregnant…then the son is the legitimate son of the father and carries his name.
    4. It is intended for mature adult women who also have sexual needs and desires. Why do we always assume it is the man who is after sex…my friend is divorced…she has been single for a while, she needs some company but isnt ready for another marriage yet… voila…a mut3a partner keeps her happy for a while in a halal/ kosher way. can’t see the problem.
    5. I believe a man is by nature polygomous… so although a temporary marriage may seem like a way of accomodating his infidility, it could also be a means of venting out and saving his permanent marriage if they are facing whatever problems…infertility, frigidity, boredom, lack of sexual drive from first wife…whatever…
    6. Marriage contracts are between a man, woman and God (and father’s consent only if the girl is a young virgin), only recently have requirements of witnesses, registration, imams etc have been a necessary part of marriage for bureucratic and social reasons. After the birth of Islam and up until recent times, all this hullabullo wasnt necessary.

    Point being, that mut3a isnt all that different from permanent damage in terms of rights, only on the point that both parties decide the period of time it lasts.

    Thats why I find that this type of marriage is empowering for women and I find Ghada Jamsheer’s statement pure unfounded bullshit. Its quite shocking that she has made it to Forbes and Time. I respect her defience, but she is all hot-air, can barely speak proper arabic, unpopular, and clearly needs to get her facts right. IF she is the most POWERFUL, then all of us arab women must be pretty PATHETIC -thats the saddest part of this whole thing.

    MEt her at a dinner party once…way to forceful… leaving a sour taste. IF she’d left the sectarian issue out of this then maybe she’d get my support…but she’s fighting her own personal battle now based on her bitter experience. Unfortunately she is the only one carrying the women’s right’s banner in the ME and that is what the western media want.

  40. sadferret says:

    Manami chick, how would you feel if you were married and found out your husband was engaging in a mut’a marriage, maybe the once, or perhaps quite regularly? You, as a wife, may be bored in your marriage, would you not have the same rights as your husband in that case … to go out and take a lover? Fair enough, choose between traditional marriage OR mut’aa marriage, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Divorced or single women, if lonely, should at least leave other women’s husbands alone. The same applies to divorced or single men … obviously!!!

  41. sadferret says:

    Grace, get a grip, he’s no good. Just strangle him with that beautiful silk scarf and walk away.

  42. Manami Chick says:

    Sadferret, if my husband is engaging in a mut’a marriage, and even though it is his “right” to do so. It is up to me to accept the infidelity and work on the marriage or to request a divorce. You would be surprised how many muslim and non-muslim women choose the former option of living with a “cheating” man. Otherwise, if I am not happy with this situation and the husband cannot commit to me alone, then I would fight for a divorce. This situation is not unique to muslims. As for a woman to be polygomous and to engage in more than one marriage at a time is just unpractical. Firstly, how many DNA paternal tests would she need to determine father of her baby each time she gets pregnant?…it’s just not practical for a woman to engage in more than one marriage. A man can sow his seeds x number of times, but a woman can only bear one child at a time. Would her husbands need to queue up in order to get a woman pregnant, 9 month waiting at a time? Therefore it doesnt make sense for a woman to have more than one husband at a time. Just because its unpractical for a woman not to be polygomous, on the other side of the coin, a man, as a non child-bearing being, doesnt have to worry about this. Sorry if I sound condescending, but thats just my own PERSONAL perception of the situation and how I rationalise it away for religious justifications.

    I really don’t feel you can talk about equality of sexes on every platform, dimension, angle… men and women are just different….you can’t compare oranges and apples…equality doesnt have to be in the nominal sense… its much more complex than that. This does not mean that I justify discrimination of any form, or that I do not believe in female emancipation. I do, but just not in the western sense of feminism, or in ghada jamsheer’s version of feminism.

  43. tooners says:

    i agree sadferret! i think that if both parties are SINGLE, then it’s ok. but, if a man is out **cheating** on his wife w/ this mut’a marriage, then it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. basically, the 2nd female is having an affair and they’re making it look right by doing the mut’a marriage… which is total crap.

    i understand if both are adults and single and don’t want to look bad in front of the neighborhood, family, friends – so they do this contract marriage… but not to cheat. i think any female that would do that w/ a man who is married, is just whoring around and making it look legal. i understand a woman needing companionship, love, a physical relationship, but take it up w/ someone who isn’t married.

    but then again… it’s also the man’s responsibility to not get involved in such, and if they choose to do that and are married, it just shows what type of person he is and they deserve each other. poor first wife though… but… sometimes they know and don’t care. i know someone like this. she says that she knows her husband cheats, but he comes home to her. in this case… they deserve each other….. but, what’s funny about this whole thing is that the women aren’t allowed to do the same. gosh, what if she gets pregnant – then there might be a question as to who the father is!

    too ridiculous!

  44. sadferret says:

    Frankly with today’s choice of contraception methods it’s a non issue anyway. Tooners, I’m with you, Manami Chick … you are a man’s dream, I’ll say that!

  45. Manami Chick says:

    Thanks Sadferret. However, I may not be every man’s dream because I will ensure that the following disclaimer is signed, sealed and delivered on the marriage contract, something like:

    “I do not want you to engage in any temporary marriage, or extra-marital relationships without my knowing” I don’t think you can add “without my consent”, not sure about the legalities of this. This way your husband has to tell u if he intends to cheat on you etc.

    Just because a religion offers you choice, doesn’t mean that it should be used, I think there is a big margin for personal judgement on how to conduct their lives and what is in the best interest of their loved ones. What is left to debate is the the legal issues and rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately, all I see is moral judgments, prejudices and stereotypes in this kind of debate most of the time, away from an objective analysis.

  46. sadferret says:

    So really what you’re saying is “be honest with me, if you’re going to cheat, don’t do it behind my back and then I can make whatever decision I need to”. That sounds perfectly reasonable. However, I hope you don’t find yourself in that situation, you deserve better! 🙂

  47. sadferret says:

    Just remember too, if you say “OK darling, go sleep with who you like, as long as you’re happy”, the bastard will eventually throw it back in your face by saying “Huh, you don’t really love me or you’d make a big fuss”. See, you can’t win!!!! 🙂

  48. Manami Chick says:

    Sadferret, let this not turn into an Agony Aunt column 🙂 i’ll keep the advice in mind. The point is, if ur saw worried ur husband is going to sleep around, halal or haram, then u can effectively have a pre-nuptial agreement to account for infedility in terms of mut3a marriages on the side.

    As for those who regard mut3a as some sort of prosititution, I dare them to have a look at the red-light slave trade in the west in areas where it is legalised or still illegal. Brothels on a mass scale, a dark, satanic, and dirty world where women are phsically and financially enslaved – on your doorsteps, and u dare come and critisize us.

  49. sadferret says:

    If my husband is going to sleep around it’s the end of the marriage, I’m not going to enable him by accepting mut3a marriages. But hey, different strokes for different folks. As far as I’m concerned, him entering into a mut3a marriage is exactly the same as going to a prostitute .. you can wrap it up to look less ugly and dirty, but it’s grimy all the same.

  50. mahmood says:

    Ok, let’s have proper references about the types of marriages allowed in Islam, let’s have some references:

    Have fun reading through them as they are interesting.

    Manami Chick, I respect your opinion and what you say has some truth to it; if your religion allows it, and it is done properly, then who am I to disagree? Just let me know when you’re available for Mut’a please. I’m interested, and this is not a joke.

    SadFerret and Tooners, please peruse the links provided above for your edification. These issues have been going on (in the case of Mut’a anyway) for more than 1,300 years. It is believed in passionately by one side, and completely disavowed by the other. You can choose where you stand once you read more about the subject. What Manami Chick said has merit, and I do believe in personal choice and personal freedoms, if two consenting adults feel horny, I’m not going to get in the way, especially if the union is codified and accepted by society.

    Like the Nepalese for instance, whose marriages are – to me – mind boggling. A 12-year-old can marry a woman, but the women then is regarded as the whole household’s wife! In other words: a polyandrious relationship. So the first in the queue there is the eldest brother, and then all the way down to the little guy who actually got married to the lady, but he brings up the rear, and doesn’t know that his tool is there for something else other than just releasing liquid body waste.

    I’m not going to judge anyone of on their beliefs… and as a polygamous male, I’m available, and shall bring my own supply of prophylactics, for temporary engagements that is… Any takers?

  51. sadferret says:

    I dunno about that Mahmood, I’d have to do the scratch and sniff test on you – where do I go on this site to do that? Oh, but I forgot, I’m married so I’m not allowed. Never mind, better make my husband’s dinner in case he feels a teeny bit neglected and feels the need for another wife. I will read the above links though, thanks. 🙂

  52. sadferret says:

    Mahmood, please stop using big words like prophylactics, I just asked my three boys “what …?”

    Mmm. Red face. Mine.

  53. sadferret says:

    That’s a lot of reading (oof!), I’m guessing that the word “mischief” comes from “Misyaf”.

  54. tooners says:

    i agree w/ two single adults entering into any type of marriage they like. if they want it just for sex, then more power to them. isn’t that for them to decide?! society makes it difficult in this part of the country to have casual relationships outside of marriage, so i get the point, and i agree w/ it. at first, i didn’t understand what was going on based on what Ms. Jamsheer said, but it’s obviously different than what she describes. i know or have heard that she had a tough time in court w/ her divorce, but it almost seems that her points or aggression goes beyond that and is of an even more personal nature.

    even tho society frowns at couples being unmarried and running around, there are tons of ppl doing it but they hide it. i know older women (in their 50s and such) that are involved w/ different men, but they dont’ talk about it in social circles. other ppl talk about it, and that’s a shame. whose business is it really? but – i don’t think they’re doing the mut’a marriages and such! 😉 just having a little fun… i think.

    prostitution is different, yes, but…. if a girl is entering into one marriage contract after another just for money… isn’t it sorta the same in some regards? don’t you think it’s basically giving yourself away for sex? me, i was raised to believe that’s prostitution. now, if it’s only for sex w/ no money exchanged… then it’s not similar and if a wife goes into a marriage allowing her husband to have these, then that’s her business. but, i’m of the mindset that ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’!

  55. sadferret says:

    I’m not against polygamy, if a man wants to take four wives (in the proper sense) and treats them equally, all well and good. Four wives = Four Mother in Laws. There’s a sobering thought.

  56. tooners says:

    not me, i believe in monogamy. if you’re not happy, why not just leave the marriage. when i was teaching, i saw lots of families where there were multiple wives and, more often than not, the children in these families had issues. i think it’s disruptive to the whole family structure.

    i have to say that i wonder if there aren’t a lot of men that do it, have multiple wives, for the sheer sake of being horny and wanting to have multiple sexual partners or because of boredom.

    what if the woman gets bored… she’s not allowed to go out and marry several men (cuz goodness, she might get pregnant)… to me, it’s a load of crap and an excuse for men to do whatever they want….. many men can’t contain themselves and feel like they have to propagate the world! 😉 so they do everything they can to make this happen. like there aren’t enough idiots on the streets already… these men should learn to keep it in their pants.

    i think some men feel inferior so it’s their way of feeling more manly or masculine – the more women who want them, the better they are… but.. there are those women who are the same!

    but sometimes i have silly thoughts!

  57. Hasan M says:

    the woman has no background and no training in the field shes persuing… all she has is her experience which is not good enough… she might have a point but wen u have a point to prove she has to at least study it first then make a valid point with facts… if u havent seen her interview on al arabiya i recomend u all watch it… she over generalizes, forces the world to accept her view and is a VERY rude and bad speaker! personaly i think she might have a reason for wat she does but until she cleans up her way of presenting and uses more diplomatic ways of speaking to the world, im not interested and so are many others…

  58. mahmood says:

    I agree Hasan, that good presentation is more than half the battle.

    She does sound rather abrasive; however, despite these factors, her case is strong because it is based on facts and logic and does not require a studious religious cleric to see, hear and feel the abuse that some women and their children receive.

    A black eye is a black eye, a broken bone is a broken bone, regardless of your religious persuasion.

    I am sure that you will agree with me as well regarding the fairness issue… so don’t discount the complete cause because its leader is abrasive and talks – not incorrectly – about ancient religious practices which have no place in this current world.

  59. E-man says:

    Even Islam believes in monogamy and advocates for it. It however allows polygamy to a limit. This is because, in a realistic point of view, men are the ones who tend to be unfaithful. It is better do it in the light, rather than doing it otherwise.

    The issue is not only happening in the Islamic world. It is also happening in the west, and the rate of affairs is on the increase according to some statistics.

    Having a legal bond “marriage” will not dismiss anyones rights.

    Why not woman practice polygamy? I honestly wish that men don’t either. However, womans satisfaction involves a lot of facets, like motherhood etc.

  60. Hana says:

    Loud, outspoken and emotional…Yes, she is all of the above. But she is the only woman fighting for women’s rights in Bahrain. I agree with Mahmood, I don’t think she is prejudiced against the Shia (she took 13 shia and 2 sunni women with her on her visit to the Houses of Parliament in the UK). She needs to become more eloquent, but she is demanding rights for the silent majority. Go Ghada, you are making a difference!

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