A lesson in Mut’a Marriage

UPDATE: Someone left a wonderful, well informed, helpful comment that I’ve posted for anyone curious. They have provided a great deal of information regarding Mut’a as well as offered some corrections to my inaccuracies. 

Several times a week I get emails from readers who are involved in relationships with Muslim men and are often seeking advice on religion, culture, tradition, and how the three tie into one another — if at all. Many of them are also seeking advice on marriage and whether or not he’s ‘serious’ when he asks her to consider marrying him. Obviously I don’t have all the answers and never claimed to be a professional in the field of intercultural marriages, so I simply share information based on my experience and hope that helps.

A topic I recently realized I have never covered is Mut’a Marriage. And based on a few emails I’ve gotten as of late, I figured now would be the best time to touch on this.

My experience with Mut’a is pretty much nonexistent. It’s something (from what I understand) that is practiced among the Shia’a Muslims and not so much anymore within the Sunni community. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m basing this information off of friends in Kuwait and the UAE who are both Sunni and Shia’a. Therefore, I would love to hear from any readers who have been involved in a Mut’a Marriage in hopes of helping out some of the women who might be reading this and could use that guidance.

It’s my understanding Mut’a is a ‘temporary marriage’ where a woman agrees to be a man’s wife for a specified period of time and can then participate in all things husbands and wives participate in; ie. sex. There is no dowry involved, no additional benefits, no financial gain (unless he agrees to pay her a certain amount), and no support upon divorce. Some of these marriages last as short as a few days and some can be a lifetime I suppose. As far as their legality, I know they’re not recognized in the US as our marriages (to be legal) must be documented in a court. A Mut’a Marriage is simply an agreement between a man and woman. I don’t believe there’s any paperwork involved. However, I do believe it’s a fairly common practice for boyfriends and girlfriends as a way to eliminate any Islamic guilt. You know… have sex, pretend you’re married, and Allah doesn’t know any better. No offense intended. Just keeping it real.

That being said, if you’re one of the women who have written me about your boyfriend asking to marry you ‘temporarily’ to ‘test’ out how a real marriage would be, maybe that’s not exactly what he means. It’s possible he has a strong desire to have sex with you but his religious guilt is telling him to ‘do the right thing’ and ‘marry’ you. Of course the real right thing would be to respect you as a woman and keep it in his pants. But, chances are, you’re unaware of his culture and what is and is not permitted in his religion. He can pretty much tell you anything and you’ll pretty much believe it. And of course, once he starts throwing the idea of marriage around, it makes it all that much more appealing. And, well, ‘real’ in your mind.

Do your homework, ladies. And keep your panties on while you’re studying 😉

Kuwait Mosque Bombing

Our deepest condolences to those directly affected by this horrific tragedy.

I am shocked and saddened something of this nature could, and has happened in Kuwait. I’ve never felt more safe than I did while living in Kuwait. I always believed Kuwait was immune to these types of incidents and to know otherwise is very painful.

U.S. Embassy Kuwait message:

Subject:      Security Notice for U.S. Citizens 2015-2

Explosion at Mosque in Al-Sawaber neighborhood of Kuwait City

There has been an explosion at a mosque in the Al Sawaber neighborhood of Kuwait.  There have been reports of deaths and injuries.  U.S. citizens should avoid the area.  Please stay current with media coverage of local and regional events. U.S. Mission personnel have been advised to continue to practice personal security awareness and we advise the U.S. citizen community to do the same.

Ambulances park in front of the Imam Sadiq Mosque after a bomb explosion following Friday prayers, in the Al Sawaber area of Kuwait City June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jassim Mohammed

Ambulances park in front of the Imam Sadiq Mosque after a bomb explosion following Friday prayers, in the Al Sawaber area of Kuwait City June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jassim Mohammed

Ramadan is coming!

Every year around this time I get super excited. Kinda like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to arrive.

While living in the Middle East full time there was this overall ‘build up’ in anticipation of Ramadan every year. And everyone seemed to share in it. The super markets would be so busy there was no parking, grocery prices would skyrocket, work slowed down in offices as everyone prepared for a month long semi-shut down, and families started preparing long in advance. Here in America (especially in the area we live), one would never know Ramadan was coming… or that is was here once it arrives. Nothing changes. Nothing is decorated. And only occasionally do we see a random church wishing a happy Ramadan to Muslims on signs in front of their congregations. But, it still holds a very dear place in my heart. I’ll still allow myself to get excited and prepare just as if I were in Kuwait.

*Google Image

*Google Image

Not too far from our home is an Arabic market which sells halal meats, seasonings, spices, Vimto, lebneh, dates, and other Ramadan necessities. I’ve been popping in there lately in hopes of finding l’gaymat and sambousa jibbin. So far no luck but I’m tempted to put in a special request in hopes of being accommodated. I do miss my mother in law’s cooking!

My husband totally understands my desire to indulge in our favorite treats during Ramadan and I’m sure his compassion comes from a place of sharing the same desire. As of today he’s started seeking out bakeries between here and NYC that makes all of our favorites. It’s an hour flight… and would be totally worth it. Or, well, I could just learn to make them myself but how disappointing would it be if nothing turned out edible?

No, of course Ramadan isn’t just about food (it just happens to be on my mind a lot as I start preparations). It’s truly about ensuring we’re being the best person we can be and to make a conscious decision to make improvements where we see fit. Sure it’s something everyone should do throughout the year, and I like to believe I do, but Ramadan is a nice reminder. Years ago I attempted to do a Ramadan post for the entire month by sharing little ideas of things to make someone’s day a little better. However, I simply no longer have time to invest in daily posts.

While things are certainly different during Ramadan as compared to when we’re in Kuwait, it’s still a time that brings excitement and anticipation.

Wishing you all a wonderful Ramadan with loved ones.

Ramadan Mubarak [2014]

Wishing you all a wonderful Ramadan with family and loved ones.

Remember, Kuwait is an Islamic country and eating, drinking, chewing gum, or public displays of affection could result in a month in jail, a 100 KD fine, or both. Be respectful of the law and those who are fasting.

We’ll be celebrating the Holy month in America and I’m already looking forward to preparing fu6oor for my wonderful husband 5 days a week (we’ll be eating out the other 2 days). We just had a fabulous graish together while discussing some things we plan to focus on this month. I’m so blessed to be spending my life with one of the kindest, most compassionate, generous, empathetic people I know.

Ramadan-Mubarak-2014-B

Ramadan is coming! [2014]

Every year around this time I get super excited about Ramadan. I always love the preparations; having dara’a made (loving the Emirati ones this year), preparing the menu, reviewing fasting times, and shopping for necessities. Ramadan is also the time of year when families gather more often than just Fridays. I miss that! Though a handful of locals may vacation during Ramadan, the more devout, family oriented will opt to stay in the country and embrace Ramadan on every level.

My husband and I will be in America for Ramadan this year but we’re already starting to prepare and review our upcoming schedules to ensure we make the most of the month. It’s always a special time of year for us — regardless of where we are. Though there’s absolutely no sign of Ramadan here in America, we’ve decided we’re actually going to seek out some gatherings and events this year. Should be interesting.

I’ve always felt that we should be the best people we can be the entire year, not just 30 days of it. But Ramadan is a time when we’re more conscientious of our actions and have the opportunity to develop new, more positive habits. We all have room for growth. As Iv’e said many times before, it’s almost a month of meditation for me… and it’s nice.

The Liberal Muslim

I’m not one to blog about religion, nor am I one to incite a religious debate. I have no interest in being attacked or attacking anyone else for their beliefs… regardless of their religion.

I’m quite open about my ‘liberal’ standpoint on pretty much everything in life. It’s all very simple to me; as long as you’re not hurting another person or animal, then do as you please. It’s not my place to judge.

Some would argue my point of view by stating there are certain things which are a ‘sin’, such as homosexuality. My own religious beliefs were even questioned by a random stranger when I posted the Macklemore ‘Same Love’ video during Ramadan. Their judgment reminded me of a time I asked a friend what they would do if one of their close friends got addicted to drugs or alcohol. Their response was shocking, “Never speak to them again. Never allow them to come near me. Ignore them and tell other people to do the same”. Wow, how is that considered religious behavior?!

*Click image for source

*Click image for source

It’s my belief that it’s not our place to judge. And no matter what religion you practice (or if you’re an Atheist) none of us have the right to point fingers at someone else’s behavior. Isn’t it our place to encourage those who are struggling? And give a helping hand to those in need? Since when does tolerance translate to being ‘bad’? And since when does hate and degradation imply the finger pointer is the ‘better’ religious person? Isn’t that all so backwards?

At the end of the day I believe it’s important we all be comfortable in our own skin. After all, there’s never gonna be another ‘you’. We should fully embrace our existence, flaws and all. Because isn’t it really our differences that make us so perfect anyway?

Finally, attacking someone for their lifestyle, gender, age, weight, physical appearance, etc. is really just bullying. And didn’t we all know better than that by age 6?

Ramadan 2013 — American Style

Wishing all of my readers around the world a wonderful Ramadan!

This will be the first year in a very long time that I’ve spent Ramadan in America, and the first time for my husband. It’s odd. Definitely odd. There’s not an entire country running around making huge preparations and discussing the upcoming month. Nor are people reminding one another of the days to come. No one is asking anyone if they’re fasting or judging those who aren’t. Not one sign or indication Ramadan is upon us. Kinda like Christmas in Kuwait. And though a part of me misses all the hoopla surrounding Ramadan, it’s almost refreshing to be away from it all. It’s a religious holiday and to me religion should be personal. Everyone has their own level of practicing their religion, some not at all. In the end it’s their choice and not one to be judged by others.

Photo Credit: My husband

For me Ramadan is significant because it acts as a gentle reminder to improve on areas I’ve maybe been neglecting. I like to use the month to reflect, review, and change in positive ways. Almost like a month of meditation. I would like to believe I live this way daily but I know better.