Riyadh: Misyar marriages have suddenly become easier in Saudi Arabia - thanks to mushrooming websites that cater to an increasing clientele interested in these marital arrangements.

Despite hot debates on the issue, Misyar marriage has become an alternative marital arrangement for more Saudi men and women.

In a Misyar marriage, the woman waives some of the rights she would enjoy in a normal marriage.

Most Misyar brides don't change their residences but stay at their own homes or with their families and manage to pursue marriage on a visitation basis.

Taking cue from the popularity of these marriages, a number of agencies have launched websites such as www.almisyar.com www.aefaf.com to receive misyar marriage requests.

Gulf demand

Shaikh Rodwan Al Hammadi, supervisor of a website told Gulf News that since they launched this site, three months ago, they received 9,141 marriage requests from men and women from both inside and outside Saudi Arabia.

Al Hammadi pointed out that most requests come to them from the Gulf countries. "But we have also received requests for Misyar marriage from Muslims in Europe, Australia and America," he added.

So far the site has succeeded in arranging the wedding for nine couples from different nationalities, he said, adding that the number is expected to increase due to the increase in the requests they were getting. He noted that a person who requested the site to look for a Misyar spouse has to pay 200 Saudi riyals (Dh195.85) as an annual subscription or 150 Saudi riyals for six months subscription.

He added that the oldest man to approach the site looking for a Misyar marriage was 59 while the oldest woman was 40. He said that the applicant has to answer a number of questions put by the site like his job, social background, financial capabilities and education.

Shaikh Al Hammadi pointed out that the site is not the body that weds the couples but its goal is to establish a database for men and women who wished to enter into the Misyar marriage. He added that the site is playing a mediating role only, by introducing those interested according to the Islamic teaching and customs and norms in the Saudi society.

The Islamic Fikh (jurisprudence) Council, an affiliate of the Makkah-based Muslim World League( MWL), has during its 18th session held earlier ruled that the Misyar marriage is lawful if all conditions of an Islamic-based marriage are met.

"The Council has discussed a number of newly-adopted marriage contracts like the one where the wife agreed to waive some of her rights like being provided with a house or financial support and that the husband can come to her at the time he chooses and a marriage contract where the wife agrees to remain at her family's home and the husband can met her at any time and in any place.

"After a lengthy discussion, the Council decided that these marriage contracts are valid provided that they meet the Islamic-based marriage contract conditions," the Council pointed out.

Couples do not live under one roof

  • The word Misyar is from the colloquial Arabic word for visitor.
  • Misyar marriage is one where the couple do not live together and the husband is not financially responsible for his wife.
  • Misyar marriage is usually sought after by men who want to avoid the burden of dowries and alimonies that are usually stipulated in standard Islamic marriage contracts.
  • The prevalence of Misyar marriage is usually due to the cost of rents, the high cost of living in general, the high amounts of dowry required and other similar economic and financial concerns.
  • Shaikh Ahmad Al Omari, who is also an imam and preacher at a mosque in Jeddah, once said: "I received a request from a 13-year-old girl asking for Misyar marriage for a mahar of 25,000 Saudi riyals (about Dh25,000) and a monthly maintenance cost of 1,000 Saudi riyals." He added: "When I made enquiries about the girl, I found out that she was living with her mother and was in dire financial situation. For her, Misyar marriage is the only and ideal option left to get out of the situation."