Another example of how some Saudi fathers are obstinate in their refusal to allow their daughters to marry non-Saudis. Refer back to Qenan Al-Ghamdi’s article, Hearts Of Stone, when Judge Khalifa At-Tamimi ruled in the favor of one Saudi woman to get married to a non-Saudi. A non-Saudi who unsuccessfully petitioned a Saudi father for his daughter’s hand in marriage has allowed me to publish his story provided I keep his personal details private. It is a frustrating narration of undying love.
Initially we met over the internet in an Islamic chat room I had converted and wanted to find out so many things about Islam. I didn’t know she was a female and I was astounded by her knowledge of Islam. After lots of chats, she eventually owned up and told me her name and that she was a female and we became really good friends. We kept in touch by email and eventually by phone. We were drawn together over a period of a year or so. When I decided to go to Saudi for Umraah, we decided to meet even though we both felt it was wrong. I know people say that it is possible to fall in love at first sight and believe me I did. She was so beautiful and my heart melted when she spoke. I had never felt like this in my life. I blushed so much and my speech was difficult to get out of my mouth. I just stood there and the tears flowed from my eyes. I couldn’t stop myself from hugging her even though I knew I shouldn’t have. I didn’t want to let go.
We saw each other a few times and we went on Umraah together and prayed. When my time came to leave Saudi Arabia, I didn’t want to leave. As the plane took off, I looked back at the airport and the lights were blurred because of the tears in my eyes.
I returned to [country] and couldn’t get her out my mind. We kept in touch again but this time the phone bill went into hundreds and hundreds of pounds. This went on for months and months. I eventually asked XXXXXX if she would marry me and to my joy she said yes but we would have to go through the proper channels and ask her father. I decided to go to Saudi again to do Umraah and I would also contact her father to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. It was all arranged in a few months and I couldn’t wait to go.
I arrived in Saudi and contacted her father. He was very polite to me and said he wondered who the man was who had sent his daughter flowers. He arranged to meet me at a masjid. I eventually arrived there and prayed in the mosque and then I waited outside to meet him. He collected me in his car and straight away I felt very comfortable with him. He was very polite and spoke very good English. He asked me if I had prayed and when I said yes he said he would take me to his house.
His house was very beautiful and I saw things that XXXXXX had told me about in our conversations over the phone. He invited me into his office and we sat and talked. He gave me food and drink and my admiration grew for this man I had only just met. He had a certain air about him and when he spoke it was as if I had known him for years.
Eventually he got around to the subject I had asked him about (his daughter’s hand in marriage) and politely he told me his daughter was destined to marry a Meccan as it had been ordained by his father before he passed away that this should happen. I felt my heart hit my throat. I couldn’t believe what he had just said. I am a good man and I dearly love his daughter. I could feel the tears welling in my eyes.
After what seemed like a lifetime, we talked and talked. But I had the impression he was trying to skirt around the issue of his daughter and the reason why I had come to Saudi. I eventually left his house feeling like the world had come to an end. I had read that once a father had turned down a proposer that it was unlikely he would ever allow it to happen again. I rang XXXXXX and told her it had not gone well with her father. She was so upset and we both cried. I felt as though I wanted too see her but we had both agreed when I came to Saudi it was not a good idea.
I returned to [country] with the world on my shoulders. I had never felt so unhappy. Eventually XXXXXX rang me and we decided even though we didn’t want to that we should both get on with our lives even though we wanted to spend it together. It was heart breaking and incredibly difficult not to pick up the phone and call each other but we both kept our promises for 6 months and then love pulled at our hearts again. We both knew we couldn’t stop seeing or talking to each other. After a period of time XXXXXX called me and told me she and her family were coming to [country] for a holiday. I couldn’t believe it and the day she came couldn’t come quick enough. I traveled to [city] too see her and as soon as I walked from the station, I saw her. It was like you see in the movies, we ran to each other and hugged. Neither of us wanted to let go and the hug lasted forever.
XXXXXX was in [country] for 2 months. We talked and talked about what we could do to change her father’s mind and we decided to give it another go the next time I contacted her father. Well due to family problems it never happened and the chance came again when XXXXXX came to [country] again. I contacted her father and he came down to my house with his two sons and we talked again. But again problems were brought up and different reasons given for me not fitting into Saudi life as the culture was so different and I wouldn’t be comfortable with it. If we had children I would take them away from the country, my wife and her family. I kept thinking to myself what have I got to do to be with the woman I love? I would gladly make changes, I would even sign documents. I then decided to tell her father straight up that I loved his daughter with all my heart and that I would do anything to be with her and have her as my wife.
And again he turned me down. I had so many things going through my mind. Here I was knowing I was going to lose the woman I love so much. That even if I approached him a third time and proposed again at a later date, he would still turn me down. Life really didn’t feel that important at that very moment. And yet again he sat and talked to me about life and its disappointments. He eventually said it was time for them to leave and I drove them to the station. We had a meal together and they left.
I felt that he had only agreed to meet me to satisfy his daughter that he had agreed too meet me. He had already made his mind up before he arrived at my house. Again XXXXXX was upset that it had not gone well. We talked and she cried a lot. For days she cried, even in her sleep and this broke my heart. We had prayed so many times that her father would change his mind and allow us to marry.
My life is empty without her but it goes on day to day. We talk and we chat online. Even though I am happy to hear her voice, my heart breaks because I want to be with her. I know I should let go and sort my life out but I can’t. And if I’m truthful about it, I don’t want to because she is everything to me. Its now been 7 years and we still keep in touch. I’m still single and I don’t want anyone else in my life apart from her.
I suppose a lot of people will say I’m being stupid. A lot of my friends say this too me but I feel they don’t understand that once in a lifetime you meet someone who you not only fall in love with but each time you see them you have this warm feeling inside that melts your heart and tears fill your eyes. You know you want to spend every waking moment with this person. This is how I feel. Even as I type this, tears are filling my eyes and I feel so sad. But I still feel that insha’Allah one day we will be together. Allah will make both our dreams come true and we will be husband and wife. XXXXXX has had many proposers over the years and has turned each one down and this makes me sad also. Even though I can’t have her as my wife, I feel I am holding her back from being someone else’s wife and a mother of his children.
I have not written everything that happened over the seven year period because this letter would be endless, only the parts that seem relevant to this issue.
[Name withheld for privacy]
Jazzak allah khair