Going to the Chapel… er… Mosquel

We have an Arabic tutor for our whole family.  She comes 2 times a week, and teaches each of us for one hour.  I really like it because each of us get individualized lesson (I don’t need to learn all the fancy dancy terms that The Mister needs), and we all have consistency.  She’s been a part of our lives since the end of Ramadan – nearly 2 months.

About 3 weeks ago, she asked me if we could switch our class to the morning rather than the afternoon.  When she arrived at our agreed time, she said, “I had to switch with you today because some women are coming to my house this afternoon to see me, and decide if I’m suitable for their brother to marry.”  The custom is that the women in the family search on behalf of the single males in their families for suitable mates.  They will meet with the prospective bride and her female relatives (mother and sisters) and then take back the information they gather to the prospective groom, who will then decide if she is the one for him.  For my tutor, this time turned out not to be the one.  Phew.  Dodged a bullet on that one!

Today, she told me about her weekend.  Some women had come to visit her and her mother and sisters.   Once again, she was the topic of interest.  Would she be suitable for their brother?  The word had come back today, “Yes.  He would like to marry you.”  Set in motion now, her father is asking around the prospective groom’s friends and acquaintances.  What sort of man is he?  How does he spend his time?  Who does he sit with?  What is his reputation?  After he has gathered his intel, they will all meet together this coming Friday to give their answer: yes or no.

Her family told his family that she would like to finish university before getting married.  She has 3 months left of her degree.  They agreed, “Yes, she can write her final exams and then… the wedding!”

I gasped!  “That means you will be getting married in less than 3 months!”  My tutor nodded her head shyly.

So the plan is this: if the word is “go”, she will be getting engaged (which is a party in and of itself) just before Eid, which is at the beginning of November.  Then the marriage contract will be signed.  This is when she technically becomes his wife, he can see her hair, but they are not intimate, nor do they live together.  After her exams, the wedding with the white dress and even bigger party (three days worth, at least) will take place.

She doesn’t even know the guy.

Can you imagine?

“Are you afraid?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said and giggled nervously.

7 thoughts on “Going to the Chapel… er… Mosquel

  1. H says:

    Try a google search on the guy?


  2. Michelle says:

    I still find this way to be amazing. Gotta be so nerve racking…what if you don’t think he’s cute? Will you be going to the wedding if it’s a go?

  3. whitegirl says:

    I know! What if you think he’s ugly? But the perspective on marriage is different here than in the west. My tutor was very excited that this guy has 7 sisters. Lots of people to keep her company. Marriages are more matched by the compatibility between the women-folk rather than between the couple themselves. The couple just needs to make babies. The real relationships happen between the women because they spend more time with the women in the family than with their husbands.

  4. whitegirl says:

    I think that getting word on the street is the desert version of Google. haha

    Hey, H! Has your wife started a blog yet? I miss her.

  5. Sonya says:

    Wow! Talk about a whirlwind romance. I’d be interested to know how these marriages work out in the long run.

  6. fiona says:

    My Mom and sisters would be ALL over this! Actually, over Christmas, my Mom gets this smirk on her face and (with her back to me while at the kitchen sink) says, “Fion, would you date a widower?” I said, “Tell me about him.” She says, “No.” “WHAT?” I gasp. She says she just wants to know if I would be interested. I told her I wouldn’t know if I’d be interested until I know a little more about him. My Dad gets involved at that point and tells me there are 2 widowers they’re thinking of for me … one with 2 young kids and one with 2 older kids almost out the house. Oi vey! I said to my Mom, “Promise me you won’t do anything until you tell me more and let me decide.” She doesn’t answer me! I said, “MOM … PROMISE ME!” She turns around and says, “I won’t talk to HIM about it. I’ll just talk to his family and see what they think.” I almost lost it! I tried to explain to her that it doesn’t work that way but I don’t trust her at all. Sheesh! What country (and time) and I living it! Sorry, just had to share that story after I read this post.

  7. whitegirl says:

    It sounds like your parents, your mom, especially, would thrive in the desert way of courtship and marriage!

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