Urfi Marriage, Premarital Sex, and the Hypocrisy of it All

Social media exploded recently with the case of the “First Egyptian Single Mom” and opinions surged into the downright ridiculous. People said she was selfish. People condemned her as a sinner. People said her son would grow up to hate her, for bringing him up in a society that sees him as illegitimate. A few people turned their attacks towards the father, for being a coward, and not owning up to his responsibilities. But most of the vitriol was directed at the woman, for daring to bring her child into the world instead of aborting it or abandoning it in an orphanage.

This woman fell in love with a man. They got married by urfi marriage, which is the old-school method of Islamic marriage, and requires a pen, two witnesses, and a written pledge that this man takes this woman as his wife. Very little attention is paid to the fun fact that any Islamic marriage, urfi or civil, requires the wide-spread acknowledgment that this person is your spouse. Urfi marriage has over time gained the reputation of being a “sex marriage” or a seedy underhanded practice, when in fact, when practiced by public declaration of being married, it’s a socially acceptable practice.

Why do people even do this, you ask? Usually because they aren’t able or ready to be married publicly, but want to have sex and act like a married couple. And premarital sex is a sin, condemned by conservative Middle Eastern society.

Isn’t it interesting how people think they can fool God?

People in the Middle East go to great lengths to engage in premarital sex. They do oral, they do anal, they get married behind their families backs on a napkin. All of this so they aren’t sinning, but they’re technically still sinning, because isn’t lying a no-no? Why lie to yourself?

The average age of people who marry in this region is rising dramatically. The economy is tanking, and most families require a laundry list of things a couple needs to purchase and accomplish before they get married. Women’s fertility globally is getting lower. Isn’t it about time that people reevaluate their priorities? It’s hard enough being a young person in today’s world. If a couple want to partake in a consensual sexual relationship, they shouldn’t have to delude themselves into thinking a piece of paper protects them from judgment. Not to mention that civil society needs to evolve to a place where children born out of wedlock are protected.

At this time, children born out of wedlock face a lifelong state of discrimination and marginalisation. Their mothers risk at the very least disownment, harassment and in more extreme cases, they risk being murdered by family members retaliating against them for slights against the family honor. Because nothing is more honorable than killing a woman in cold-blood.

Reminder: this is all because of having 5-10 minutes of .. most likely .. mediocre sex.

4 Comments

  1. People find it easier to go with the latter which is to judge than to critically think. It all roots from fear based beliefs. Some people feel a sense of security when they have that sense of belonging to any sort of belief that they were taught and it makes them feel better to judge others who don’t believe in the same things they do. In any case, it is up to her if she wants to have a child in or out of wedlock- urfi or otherwise. It would be great if people would stay in their lane and not try and degrade or frown upon the child that she will raise in this sick society but my advice would be is for her to relocate further west and try to raise her child there.
    I tried many times to have a normal conversation with alot of people about topics such as these but they prefer to quickly judge and name call or label women who behave out of the norm.

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    1. Thanks for your comment!

      Why do you think the answer is to relocate to a more progressive society, rather than stick it out the hard way and confront the issue head-on in the hopes of bringing about progress??

      Similarly, other developing nations in the 50s confronted racism, homophobia, and sexism directly against much hate and discrimination rather than relocating to other parts of the world.

      I wonder if any strides can ever be accomplished without resistance and persistance.

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  2. This article and the points you bring up makes me stop and think of other outdated Middle Eastern practices like, “honor killings” and FGM. I struggle with these personally, academically and theoretically as I can’t find value in any of these practices nor can I wash them with gold and spice and everything nice to believe that they are OK. I love the Middle East so much but cannot justify these misogynistic practices and the social customs they rest on.

    I agree that moving is not the answer, large societal changes cannot come about if the people who want to see change simply move away. While I always champion myself a Malcom X fan over a Dr. King fan I realize now that the idea of moving back to Africa and uniting the African peoples was powerful, albeit a little naive. If all African Americans left they would not have won their civil rights and we would not even know these heroes names. While a strange connection to make, I do not believe that “moving West” is the answer because in the West (we) also face social justice issues and the answer cannot be to simply pack up and move.

    The book “Half the Sky” deals with many of these problems and leaves a simple solution…education. The book purports the idea that the simplest answer will be the most farreaching.

    http://www.halftheskymovement.org/
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6260997-half-the-sky

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    1. Honor killings and FGM are far from okay no matter HOW anyone tries to justify it. They are ancient tribal practices carried out for the sole purpose of enslaving women and using them as property or commodity – something “used” or “broken” is less valuable, so diminish its power and subjugate it. I have to agree that although it is a rough road, and there is little to no benefit or respite for a couple of generations at least, there will be no progress if everyone gives up on this part of the world and leaves. It’s defeating to think there is no hope at all.

      Thank you for the links! I will check them out. ✌🏽️✌🏽️

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