Abu Dhabi: A Saudi study confirmed the necessity of working to reduce the exorbitant costs of marriage so that some men do not have to resort to a misyar marriage for economic motives.
The thesis entitled "Attitudes of faculty members towards misyar marriage in Saudi society ... a study applied to King Saud University", by Mada Bint Abdul Rahman Al Qurashi, presented to complete the requirements for obtaining a master's degree in sociology at King Saud University, stressed the need not to exaggerate the dowry, as it is one of the main reasons for the spread of misyar marriage in Saudi society.
A misyar marriage is legal across Arab countries. It is a contract under which the husband and wife give up several rights by their own free will, such as living together, equal division of nights between wives, the wife's rights to housing, and maintenance money, and the husband's right to home-keeping and access etc.
The couple continue to live separately from each other, as before their marriage, but get together regularly, often for sexual relations in a permissible and halal manner. Although allowed in some Muslim countries, misyar is not popular with many because women lose nearly all their rights in a confidential marriage. A large number of such marriages end up in divorce.
Misyar marriage is one under which a couple get officially married in courts, but later on, the man does not complete the processes of the marriage. He doesn't add the wife under his official civil document, which is a must so that the wife gets her full official rights, sources said.
The Saudi study showed that one of the reasons for husbands resorting to misyar marriage is that women do not accept the idea of polygamy. It, however, called for women's awareness of the husband's right to marry the second, third and fourth. The study further called for conducting studies aimed at uncovering the reasons for the spread of a Misyar marriage among different segments and groups of the Saudi society in different cities of the Kingdom.
“Some Saudi men resort to misyar marriage, because they do not want to assume life responsibilities, as this marriage does not require alimony, and perhaps not having children, and the woman’s rejection of the idea of polygamy makes the husband resort to misyar marriage to avoid hurting the feelings of his first wife, and for his concern for his first family and fear of his children being lost,” the study said.
It showed that women often resort to misyar marriage, forfeiting their right to maintenance and overnight stay, in order to obtain a husband who provides her with the life needs that were difficult for her, and that most divorced women resort to misyar marriage because of their desire to marry and chastity, as well as the woman's desire to move and travel freely.
The study showed in these cases, the man normally hides his Misyar marriage from his first wife and children. Thus, he doesn't spend the night with the second wife. He only visits her during the day after work and spends some time with her without his first wife's knowledge."
She added that the girl's family also doesn't mind such marriages as they want their daughter to have someone in their lives. "In a Misyar marriage, the couple get married officially and have marriage certificate from the courts. They avoid having children, but if this happens, the children will be given their father's name and will be issued passports. The man is not obliged to spend on the wife and the children. He is exempted from paying for anything for them. However, he can pay from his own will," it said.
Arab women generally accept to get into this kind of marriage when they reach 40 years of age and above and need male companionship. These women don't want to be alone. They seek male companionship, and thus accept to get married instead of being alone. In many cases, these women are divorced or widows according to marriage counselors.
Counselors noted almost all men who seek this type of marriages are getting married for the second time.