Saudi Arabia: Woman files for divorce when husband sees her face

Kuwait Times
Recently, a Saudi woman filed for divorce because her husband had removed her veil while she was sleeping.
Recently, a Saudi woman filed for divorce because her husband had removed her veil while she was sleeping. The husband attempted to see her face after thirty long years of marriage siring several children and both being over fifty years old.
The man apologized to her several times and begged of her to keep their marriage. This is a reality of life prevailing in some tribes in Saudi Arabia where customs and traditions are running people's lives even today. Men there are not allowed to see the faces of their mothers, sisters or even their wives under any circumstances during any stage of their lives.

I always wondered what fate awaited any man who violated this custom. When this news came to light in the local media and on some websites, several debates and arguments were raised on the negative influences of customs and traditions on people lives and some even passed humorous comments on all those men who dared to violate this particular custom.

In the past, men in Kuwait too used to marry women without seeing her. It was unacceptable and out of the question for any man to see his future wife before the wedding night. But, I have never heard or read about a custom that compels women to keep the veil on their faces at all times even while sleeping and hide their faces from their husbands and even sons!!! I just cannot imagine the uproar it would cause if one adventurous man had the audacity to remove the veil from his wife's face or ask to see his mother's face at least once in his lifetime!!!

What is strange however is that married couples can have as many children they want but without the husband making any attempts to see what she looks like. Any such attempts would threaten their married life as the wife could leave the husband's house immediately and end the marriage. Some stories going around the grapevine also spoke of men who ventured beyond apologies and even swore on the holy Quran that they would never attempt such an act again.

Another man threatened his wife with bringing in a second if she did not let him see her face. She preferred to see him bringing in another wife but would not under any circumstances let him see her face. I'm sure this sensitive and inconsiderate custom definitely did not hold some adamant husbands back from attempting to see what their wives look like for at least once in their lives. Possibly even out of sheer curiosity. I guess their attempts reflect their rejection of this particular custom or tradition.

The influence of customs and traditions among tribal families is very strong and it pertains to not only in wearing the veil but it also prevents women from sharing meals with their husbands. Although these customs and traditions such as these did not raise any eyebrows in the past, nowadays with the empowerment of women and education lives have totally changed for the better even for many tribal groups. Yet, some customs and traditions are still found to be strictly followed to this day.

By: Muna Al-Fuzai

12 October 2007