In the Arab countries like ( Egypt- Emirates-Qatar-Saudi Arabia..etc), for a girl to get married to the person she loves is almost impossible,, and the main reason is that those countries are still strongly attached to some traditions that are getting harder and harder to follow these days...I will put the major struggles here in a list:
1-First: The father and the brother have to agree on the chosen person:
Well, unlike in the western world or in Europe ,, the Arab girl doesn't have much to say in her own marriage, she can meet someone and love him and everything, BUT!! in order to get married to this person and have sex with him and live with him,,, THE FATHER AND THE BROTHER HAVE TO AGREE.
I mean if the father said no FOR ANY reason he wants,, she is forced to leave this person,, and stay single and live the rest of her life virgin and living at her parent's house until...she dies (cause it is improper for a single woman to live alone/abroad ..etc)
2- Second: In order for the father or the brother to agree on this person, the person must have all these things:
- His "OWN" flat ... the married couple CAN NOT rent,, many marriages in the Arab culture end because the groom CAN NOT afford buying his OWN flat. ..like, can you imagine how expensive is that ?
- A lot of money in CASH to give to the father as a " Mahr" which is supposedly a marriage gift in the Muslim religion, and was never mentioned to be something big at all in the Quran..but THE TRADITIONS have turned it to be a big amount of money ,,, like maybe 9,000 to 10,000 USD ( Depends on the currency). Usually the father will keep it aside for the girl in the future and not take it for himself,, but it is to show THE VALUE OF THE BRIDE ,, fathers always say " Easy comes Easy go,, he should pay this to show how much does he value my girl ..and that it is not that easy to take her from me"
- " Shabka" ,, which are the marriage GIFT RINGs .. well, in the western culture and in Europe.. the groom will go to buy a nice ring, an affordable one for him, propose to the girl, and then meet their families to announce the news.. Well no, it is not the case.. here, the groom goes first to the girl's house to meet the father who decides the value and money for the marriage rings ,, for example he will say " ok, you have your own flat? and 9000 usd as Mahr, ok you shall buy 9,000 USD value Shabka" ..and these big ass rings are the NORM (Tradition) in the Arab world,, like the mothers would say " oooo ALL your cousins and friends have gotten those rings for marriage,,why do we settle for the less?!" .. and HEY!! those are not alone,,, there SHOULD be the other normal plain gold ring that represents marriage.
- Mo'akhar: and this is basically a piece of paper that the groom is obliged to sign ,, and it states that in case he decided to divorce the girl ,, he will HAVE to pay this amount of money,, and of course!!! the fathers go "WILD" on this one.." let's rip the Motha-Fucka.. just so he never dares to divorce her" .. like, what if she happened to be a cheater? a crazy woman? what if they never worked out? how can he BRAVELY sign this paper???? ,,, so yes, here is another 20,000 USD for the groom to sign on.
- WITHOUT A DOUBT,,,, it is almost impossible for an Arab girl to fall in love with someone who is from another race/nationality/ or religion,, cause first, if he is from another religion, then he has to convert to hers (Which is kinda understandable although rough,, but at least this necessity is mentioned in the Quran).. but can you imagine if these are the requirements from a very normal expected groom from her own race/nationality and religion and how hard they are,,, can you imagine the obstacles they will put against her choice if he is not??
At the end, very very few grooms meet all these requirements, or afford to get all those things,, and it happens everyday that girls are pushed to break with the one she loves,, because THE DAD didn't find him rich enough/ qualified enough/ worthy enough.... no matter much he is a good person, ambitious, smart, trustworthy, kind, loves her, respectable,,, if he couldnt get all those things and meet all these qualifications, the dad and brother have ALL the right to just say NO, sorry,,, you better find yourself someone else,,, " I won't GIVE MY DAUGHTER TO SOMEONE LIKE THAT" ,, cause yes!!! the girl is kinda a property of the dad and brother,, and yes, it is their choice of course to give something that they own to someone,,right? ..
At the end..the girl is always left torn ,,, doesn't know what to do,, shall she just give up on her love to please the dad and brother and be a good kind daughter,, and not cause the family a big shame of running away and marrying the one she loves without their agreement, but live sad for the rest of her life,, missing and imagining the one she hoped she could marry?.. shall she just seek her happiness and runaway to be close to the one who has her heart? isn't it her right to choose the person whom she is going to spend the rest of her life with ? can't she at least choose the one she finally can give herself to and have sex with after she has been keeping herself virgin all these years to be a good daughter and a pure sister... are they going to stop their lives and share her the sadness with her if she departs from the one she loves? ,,,or are they going to only ruin her life,, and carry on with their own. Can she leave and break their hearts? ,..what if they never talked to her again after she ran away? .. it is a very cruel situation that many many Arab girls are pushed to face in such an important decision in their lives...
PS: How do I know all that? ,, I am an Arab girl, 25 years old,,, who is living this struggle RIGHT NOW.