An Egyptian living in Europe but her heart stayed back home. Having some random thoughts about the before and after pictures. Ghawayesh means bracelets. In my context it symbolizes the cuffs of my culture. I don't know if I like them or hate them. Thanks for passing by.
03 March 2007
Times are changing and many "respected" families have come to accept the fact that their daughters can make their own choices of choosing to marry whoever they want, if they EVER CHOOSE to marry, which is also a new trend in Egypt. Yes, believe it or not, some Egyptian women rather stay single than be unhappily married.
Egyptian males made up a lie and believed it that they are superior to males of other nationalities. When an Egyptian male opts for a foreign wife, then he's a winner and a stud and God's gift to her and she should be so thankful for his eternal tantrums and malignant ego. And their children are the most beautiful in the whole wide extended family only because their mommy is Blondie and so they are!
And once an Egyptian woman chooses for a foreign husband, then she's a whore and her family is low class and she has done it only because she failed to win the lottery of marrying a super Egyptian man, so the poor soul opted for a second best who sadly happens to love her and understand her and respect her and not lie to her and actually goes as far as flossing his teeth for her!
If a non-Muslim foreign man decides to marry a Muslim Egyptian woman, he will have to convert first. But converts will always be accused of being untrue or incomplete Muslims. Be it for matrimonial purposes or for otherwise, a convert is never good enough for the "true Arab Muslims". Like Islam is a genetic trait or something. Only God knows that most of those born-Muslims are God's lowest rank hypocrites, and that God is the true judge for what's in our heart.
Non-Muslim men who wish to marry Muslim Egyptian women, I would like to share a couple of thoughts with you:
1- Marrying an Egyptian Muslim woman is not easy. You are aware that you are making a sacrifice and a commitment for life, aren't you? You have to understand what it means to convert before you do. I have sadly seen how several women and men who converted for their summer flings and later on ended up in an identity crisis and several conflicts about their children's affiliation. Let alone those stories/nightmares of kidnapping children and disappearing without a trace.
I don't know how strict your partner is, but you might have fights over your having an alcoholic drink or about the origins of a funny looking sandwich that could say oink if it was alive. You could get offended and take it personally that she doesn't want you to kiss her sometimes for you don't know that she has just washed and on the way to pray and is supposed to stay "unsullied" until she does her prayer. Those small misinterpretations can create lots of tension if you're not ready for them.
2- The financial issues are something typical of our culture. The real reason why families ask for lots of money and a house for the bride, is simply the fact that men can be untrustworthy "if taken only at face value", and when they make financial commitments, they become more serious. It's a bit different in my family, but my family is unique in many things. My sister married a young man who adored her for 7 years before she took notice of him! Got the approval based on his incredibly lovely family and his well-known reputation. Yes his family is well-off, and so is our family, but the mahr and shabka and mo2akhar so on were not that much of an issue when everything was (mashaAllah) going so peacefully and based on mutual respect.
You can sit with her dad and explain to him what you have, and that you will be willing to offer her the best you can afford, and yes, everything in Egypt is negotiable, even this issue! And if they turn you down because you can't afford some bricks in Cairo where saraseer will have a blast while you're gone most of the year, then save yourself the trouble and let them cry over their lost saraseer.
Saraseer are cockroaches BTW. They are the most common domestic creatures in Egypt. But that's not important right now.
3- You have the right to wonder about female circumcision. Statistics say that 97% of the Egyptian women are circumcised. I am an Egyptian woman who studied Medicine and do not know of any woman in my family who was, but did see many circumcised women while I was practicing medicine in Egypt. Circumcision comes with certain social classes and you have every right to know whether your future wife is circumcised or not and in what way this might have affected her psychology.
Unfortunately the same question applies to you! There is a misunderstanding that circumcision of males is an Islamic obligation, which is not. It is mandatory in Judaism and strongly recommended FOR MALES ONLY in Islam, but you won't go to hell if you kept some foreskin and kept it clean.
Once I was talking to a Dutch guy who was mortified by the idea of male circumcision. He called the practice barbaric and backwards. I said to him that it's done all around the world, not only in Islamic countries, either for medical or hygienic purposes, and I wondered what they do in Holland, and he said: "Oh we just shower!". Now his attitude of taking it so lightly might not be very well appreciated back in Egypt. You have to be ready for such a personal question from your partner, or even her dad, and I think they would appreciate a serious answer about your extra skin situation!
4- Be ready for racist behaviour in Egypt. Your wife will be insulted for marrying you. She will be called a prostitute and will be asked on which street corner of which resort you had picked her up. They will say oh she married a foreign because she was too old to marry an Egyptian, the poor thing! Yeah better than being alone for the rest of her life!
Maybe you will not be told this to your face, but you also need to know that some Egyptians would give you the best treatment and call you their "best friend" after having known you for 5 minutes, and once you turn your back they will stab you with the biggest virtual knife there is.
Egyptians have a long way to go before they learn to live and let live. Please beware of that.
5- Having been involved in giving you advice; you have the right to know about my background. I'm married to the most wonderful foreign man who is truly God's gift to this world. We met when I was living in Europe and having a great career and did not need him for any visa or money or otherwise, and I was in my late twenties, thank you very much. I didn't realize/care that he was rich and did sign a prenuptial agreement based on Islamic law, which is very fair to him because he doesn't deserve to be ripped off half his money, like the Western law states, if God forbid a separation happens. I would get a decent alimony and a certain percentage from his income STARTING FROM THE DAY WE WERE MARRIED (since I sacrificed my career for the children), and exclusive anything he will inherit after God willing a very, very long time.
So, you can make it work, but you have to be ready for a lot of sacrifice and lots of homework PRIOR to getting involved. Speaking for myself, I left those who criticized my life choices to drown in their mental dysentery, while I'm having all the fun *wink*, BUT it's all based on a long and educated decision making process.
*Throwing kisses at the booing crowd*
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