Misyar marriages have become very common in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Misyar marriages are those unions in which women waive off most of their rights which they would have in a standard marriage. The men who enter such unions are usually already married and keep the Misyar marriage a secret from their wives. Legal experts, scholars and psychologists are divided on the issue, with some saying that the marriage is ‘legal’ as long as all the conditions have been met. Some, however, say that these unions act as a form of exploitation and are adamant that Misyar marriages be prohibited unless some steps have been taken in order to protect the rights of the women.[irp]
Associate professor of psychology at the Taibah University located in Madinah; Dr. Hassan Thani has stated that the Misyar marriage is a legal way to get around those marriage conditions which have been outlined in Sharia Law. He added that this type of marriage does not achieve the main purpose behind usual marriages i.e. to build a home and family. How can love flourish in a relationship with a very unstable base? Misyar is only a physical relationship. It is vital for all members of the society to contemplate the dire consequences of such a union.
Legal Point of View about Misyar Marriages: Dr. Omar Al Khouli, a Legal Consultant has stated that even though the Misyar marriages are legal in terms of fulfilling all requirements of a legal marriage, these relationships are often kept secret and if the husband dies, then the wife will lose her inheritance rights and other marriage rights. He added that the Misyar marriage is only beneficial for those men who want another wife, without their first wife knowing about it. There are countless young women who do not mind getting Misyar married, especially those who are widowed or divorced. It should be noted that Misyar does not force the woman to forfeit her rights; however, she does do so on her own. Some might argue that Misyar Marriage will protect the younger women from going astray or on the wrong path and engage in relationships outside of marriage.
Sharia Point of View about Misyar Marriages: Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Madinah, Dr. Abdulrahman Al Radadi has stated that the basic conditions of a legal marriage are Presence of the guardian of the wife, Consent of groom and bride, Presence of two witnesses and Nonexistence of legal prohibitions.[irp]
Misyar marriages are named as such as the wife will forfeit her rights in accordance with accommodation and maintenance and will also agree to let the husband come over and meet her at her own house or her parent’s house where she lives. If the conditions of Shariah are met, then the marriage is completely valid. It should be noted that the husband should be recognizing the woman as his wife, and any children they have together as his children. He added that Misyar marriages do not offer the same sense of security as traditional marriages.
Source: Saudi Gazette