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.