Saudi women seek right to have information on future husbands


Saudi young women demand to have law to obtain information on their husbands-to-be. A number of young women say they want to have access to the security, health and legal files of the proposing man before signing the marriage contract.

They explained that this approach can limit the current high divorce rates existing in the Kingdom, as the woman can know who is she marrying to. If applied, Saudi Arabia will be the first country to allow the sheikh (ma’thoun) access to information about the groom, which he can share with the bride.

Family counselor Najwa Salah agrees that both parties should know their spouses’ past before they engage in a long-term relationship and help decrease divorce rates. Yet, she stressed the need for people to be aware that any person can make mistakes but the important part is that they repent them, “but women shouldn’t seek to know every detail of the man’s past as he could’ve repented his acts and is looking to have a good future.”

She warned that this may cause men to marry from outside the society which is a negative outcome.

Salah said that a step like this by the Minister of Justice means the best for the future couple, particularly the woman, adding that many women were surprised to know of husbands’ past after the marriage. However, she noted that the blame is not always put on the man as many divorce cases are caused by wives.

Member of the Arbitrators in the Kingdom Dr. Ahmed Al-Muabbi refused this demand, saying that it contradicts with Islam’s cover (sutur) orders, “God described himself as the Sattar (the cover) and marriage is not a way to reveal all secrets,” he added. He considered sharing these information as a source of tightening the grip on men as he considers the man’s past a secret that belongs to the person himself and that he can only share it voluntarily.

Al-Muabbi explained that a clear record doesn’t necessarily mean that the man is good, adding that such a method could shake the men’s confidence and could mean humiliation. He stressed that women have the right to know whether their husbands-to-be have been married before or not which can be done through the civil file.

“It’s almost impossible to find a man without any flaws or problems,” he concluded.

On the contrary, member of the National Family Safety Program Abdul Rahman Al-Qarrash consider the step a pioneering and brave one in a society that is known to oppress women’s opinions and their right to choose a partner.

“I’m all for the idea so that a woman knows who she is marrying, especially that fathers traditionally only consider the groom’s financial status to determine whether he can be a good husband or not. Second in line is the groom’s degree of abidance by religious chores,” he said.

Al-Qarrash strongly argued that this step will have positive results on the current high divorce rates, “at least this will improve the situation by 70% as it can be a woman’s safety valve in her path to seek happiness with her future husband.”


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