The Story Of A Saudi Woman Marrying A Turkish Man

Nadia is a Saudi woman who overcame the objections of her family to marry her Turkish husband. After much difficulty, she secured the approval of her brother to do so but getting the approval of marriage was even more difficult. She succeeded because Allah makes the impossible, possible. This is her story which I thank her wholeheartedly for sharing.

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Hi,

Thanks for giving me this opportunity to reach others who may be in a difficult position and just want to know about the permission process. I remember the endless days of waiting when I would scourge the internet trying to find any information-good or bad I didn’t care; all I wanted was info.

I’m a Saudi who has lived most of her life outside of the Kingdom. My mother was a foreigner and so we spent quite a bit of time abroad in the States and Europe. Finally my father brought us back to the ME and we settled in Dubai. I met my husband through his sister, who was my friend in high school. She had told me she had an older bro who would suit me nicely but i just laughed in off. I met him a couple of times during high school but then he moved back to Turkey and I went on to my higher studies.

In 2003 my father passed away and I get a phone call from my friend’s brother. He tells me that he’s ready to settle down and would like to ask my hand in marriage. Of course I’m shocked. The year had already brought so many changes and this could go either way. At first I didn’t think of my family or how they would react. I would live with this man in marriage, not them, and so I decided to get to know him a little better. In early 2004, I felt that I was ready to make a decision and so brought the issue forward to my brother who had become my legal guardian. My brother is an open-minded individual and so didn’t say no outright, but he did have concerns. He was worried about children, where I would live, could my husband support me financially, how religious my husband was, and divorce. It was very discouraging.

I knew my brother only wanted what was best for me and yet having to think about so much negativity when marriage is supposed to be so positive was quite depressing. My brother and I would have monthly conversations (he was in Saudi while I was in Dubai) and we’d go back and forth between all his concerns. I tried my best to keep calm and to really think about what he was saying. I knew that though I felt like this was the man for me, I could be blinded. I prayed istikharah continuously and kept on talking to both my brother and husband-to-be. I felt then that it would be an uphill struggle but I didn’t get quite how much of a struggle it would be.

In fall of 2004, my brother finally agreed to speak to and meet with my husband’s family. This was a huge step in the process. Every time I asked my brother what he thought about the proposal he would just say ‘I’m not saying yes and I’m not saying no!’. Such annoying words till today. Nobody else in my family knew about the proposal. This was according to my brother’s wishes since he knew the backlash we would get. After the first meeting, things slowed down. My brother became busy and I grew desperate and so I thought that if I had an elder speak to my brother perhaps that would help matters. So I asked my aunt to intervene on my behalf. It seemed like such a good idea at first and she seemed really supportive and did actually speak to my brother but then she changed her mind. She wouldn’t come out and speak of her disapproval but it was shown in many, many other ways. She did come to my wedding but her disapproval was on her face and till today my relationship with her and my cousins has never been the same.

Finally it was my husband who confronted my brother in early 2005. He told him how unfair it was that he should make us wait without even giving us an answer and that it was about time to make up his mind. My brother requested some time to make up his mind. My brother took a year. A year where the subject was not brought up. I was too tired and demoralised. I kept praying to God. I knew that God would take care of me. I put all my trust in Him. I concentrated on my studies and just tired to deal as best I could. My husband was also patient. It wasn’t easy but we knew that if we were meant to be then it was in God’s Hands.

It was now 2006 and my husband tried one last time with my brother. My brother finally said YES! I was so shocked I couldn’t believe it. I thought the hardest part was over. Silly me, the ride was just about to start. Immediately my brother started the paperwork for the government approval. My husband had to submit proof of identity, residence papers, salary certificate, proof that he wasn’t married, and proof that he had no criminal record. In the summer of 2006 my husband, brother and I made one of our first trips to the Saudi Embassy in Abu Dhabi where the papers were stamped and I was made to sign some paper proving my identity. We went back to the embassy in late 2006/early 2007 where my husband had to sign a paper stating that he would never ask for Saudi nationality.

All this time my brother and husband were continuously looking for some wasta who could help speed up the process. We had all heard the horror stories of documents lost (happened to us twice) and people spending years waiting. My husband got hold of a Saudi prince who assured us his help only if we had got our first denial. But there was no word from the government. There was no way to check how far into the process we were. There was no time frame. My brother would only tell me that it was going good and that since we didn’t have a ‘no’ I should be thankful. It had now been 3 years since I had first brought up the issue with my brother and I was getting impatient. I either wanted the marriage to go through or to just move on.

I looked into marrying with a sheikh only, but in the whole of the GCC they all want government approval first. My husband then researched into marrying in Turkey while waiting for the approval and we fielded the idea to my bro. He was quite against it but after many tears from me, he finally agreed to it at the end of 2007 if nothing had happened by then. Finally I thought there was an end in sight. Thankfully in April 2007 I get a phone call from my brother. We got the permission. I kept asking him ‘Are you sure????’. There were still some legalities to work out. Two more trips were made to the Saudi Embassy and my husband and I both had to undergo medical tests.

My husband and I had our milka-engagement with a marriage contract- in May 2007. There were still issues with my family, of course. Saudis really aren’t good into letting strangers into their private lives. For the first year of our marriage my husband felt like an outsider. We didn’t live anywhere near my family, but still the family connection that is supposed to be there was missing. My husband felt looked down upon and hated having anything to do with my family. This has probably contributed to my taking a distance from them, too. Thankfully things have gotten better. My brothers have gotten round to the idea of having a Turkish brother in-law and are finally getting to know my husband. They are realising that he’s actually a pretty good guy. With my extended family things aren’t so good. My husband isn’t welcome at gatherings and in fact in some cases neither am I.

It was only after my wedding that I realised what my brother had to do to eventually get the approval. Because at the time I was under 25 years and single my approval was almost impossible to get. My brother got it by paying a bribe. It hurts me to think of a country doing this to their own nationals. My country took away a right that God had given me and my country is supposed to be ‘religious’.

Looking back on my experience I am so thankful it is over. I know that it ran the course God had set and that it was all for a reason. I hope it has taught my husband and I something. But I still think the whole approval business is nonsense.

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Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

12 thoughts on “The Story Of A Saudi Woman Marrying A Turkish Man”

  1. >Beautiful story!!! Masha Allah.But really painful too…. I wish there weren't such restrictions on Muslims for marriage. We shouldn't make Halaal difficult and Haraam easy!

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  2. >I am a Westerner married to a Saudi. Didnt your brother recognise how odd his stance was considering the fact that your mother was a foreigner? It is odd the production of a Saudi/foreigner marriage being against the marriage of a Saudi/foreigner. Interesting, as well, that your hubby had to sign an agreement to never seek Saudi citizenship. There is nothing in Islam about this and it goes completely against the idea that all Muslims are equal regardless of race. It is also important to note that the lady's children will not be Saudi by birth. They can only become Saudi after living there for years, taking tests, references and even then it is up to the whims of the MoI. I wish Saudi would adhere closer to Islam on such issues. Who are they to ban or regulate what God has made legal? Their actions, on their own, are haram. They have no right to ban what God has allowed.

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  3. >Abu Sinan,My father had two wives- I am the product of his second marriage to a foreigner.My brother-my father's eldest son from his first marriage- was totally against my dad's new marriage and so subsequently mine. But I don't think my brother was against it for all the 'typical' Saudi reasons. I think he was just scared for me.

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  4. >Abu Sinan- I so wish we could return back to the early days of Islam when there were no visas, iqamahs or marriage permissions. There were borders but the ummah was united as one. Life was so much simpler then.

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  5. >I m from Abu dhabi, and being from a bedouin family i literally have no other choice but my cousins. My family does so to preserve the name and keep the family in check and keep the foreigners out. On the other hand, my grandfather encourages our boys to marry foreign girls to refresh the genetic pool . I agree with the fact that our genetic richness is withering away. In fact we as Muslims are encouraged to marry different etnicities which is a blow in the face of KSA and UAE as well. Why is a man able to give his foreign wife a citizenship but a female cannot. THe answer i m given is that oh a foreign man will take advantage of me… oh my god i laugh as if those foreign females have not taken advantage. I m soo happy for you girl that you didnt break and kept being patient. Allah yi7fathkom Sorry if my comment might not be relevant 100% but it is a hot topic in Abu Dhabi community Aliya

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  6. >This is a beautiful story. I am from the Gulf and trying to marry a Muslim westerner. My story: My family lived abroad and I met this guy in one of my classes. After a couple of months we started talking and I found that we were very compatible. It seemed like a match to me. I opened the subject to my father and he asked that they propose. So they did. His parents came and my dad met them. They were all "shocked" that he was a very well behaved young man. My dad started liking him. Then, they visited again, and again. Then, we visited them and I could see that my father liked them more and more. As a family. Then, my dad said YES.. I remember I cried that day from how happy I was. We started to gather the required documents.. then, my sisters pulled off a condition. since my dad said yes, they will abandon him and "keep their grandchildren away from them". I always thought that my sisters would have my back, as I would theirs. Never expected this from them. So, my dad became sad.. and told me he cannot support me anymore. He can neither say "yes" or "no". Now, a year later(its a total of three years since I met him) he tried again to propose. My dad replied with the same. "I have no objection towards the guy, but I can neither say yes nor no" .. That is where I am now. Of course the family found out and think Im the worst girl they have met. Now, I have the option to just leave 😦 .. and I am confused between the man I believe im destined to be with and my parents.. All I can do is.. my best!

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  7. >Sure, I do not mind sending you my story. It will have to wait though.. I need an ending to it (a month or so), and im not there yet.I hope that is okay. Anonymous Gulf Lady

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  8. >There are Marriage restrictions within Muslims for a reason. So to have less divorces, less friction, less division. Obviuously people from different cultured have different mentallity so thus prefer to stay within their own. If u let ppl be free then what about free in marrying non-muslims? free in going clubbing? drinking wine? etc. One thing leads to another. Fact is over 80% of inter-racial marriages dont last over 2 years. All because they married for the wrong reasons. Only fact shud remain is if the individuals are good Muslims and respectful then that all should matter. Why esle does one need to find a particular person to marry?. To me its desperation and thats why they end up in divorce. Why should we women be so free to marry anyone? i dont agree with it, sorry. I believe we women should do what our parents tell us as they want best for us. So as long as the man is good Muslim then thats all they matters and we dont need to chooose or look.Slam!.

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  9. >Slam- Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting.To the best of my knowledge, Islam only restricts marriage to mushrikeen/kaafiroon (idol worshipers, atheists) not between Muslims. Matter of fact, Allah created us from different tribes so that we may know one another. Only man-made laws not based upon Shari'ah and cultural beliefs that contradict Islam impose restrictions on marriages. Allah says that we have a free will to believe or disbelieve. But there are good and bad consequences attached to making good or bad decisions. Allah laid down the laws in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) compliments it. We have to fear Allah and obey Him in everything He commands/forbids. Likewise, we keep away from all those things that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed against or disliked and strive to emulate the encouraged/strongly recommended Sunnahs he left behind for our guidance. People will do whatever they want, when and how they want. That includes marriage. I know people who married for the right reasons, were compatible in race and culture but their marriage ended in divorce. People of any race do not begin marriages expecting it to lead to divorce! If that were so then why would they get married in the first place?If you don't agree that women should be free to marry someone of their choosing then please don't assume other women think the same as you. Even you have the free will and choice to think that way right? Arranged marriages are not suitable for everyone and parents/their children find that out too late. Who suffers in the end? Also don't forget that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said the virgin can still object to any suitor her parents choose for her and he had the marriage of one woman annulled when she protested that she was married to him by her parents against her will.

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