Saturday, May 12, 2012
Marriage tips from FANAR
So I received this text that FANAR was having a lecture Thursday night on “How to Be Happily Married”. I figured it would be interesting enough and since FANAR is close to Souq Waqif it will be easy to make an evening of it. My friend Murat decided to come along, he is a married Muslim so figured it might be of interest to him as well. We went to the souq and had dinner at Damasca before moseying over to the lecture.
The lecture took place in the main auditorium and there was around 100 men there (ladies sat on the level above so I've no idea how many were there). The speaker was a petroleum engineer for one of the oil companies who in his spare time gives lectures on Islamic topics or holds classes on Islam for children. He was not an Islamic scholar though, which became a bit of a problem during the Q&A as he could not provide comments on matters of religious fatwas, those can only be given by an imam.
Anyway I found out that this was first in a series of four lectures, spending 45 minutes on the types of things one should look for in a marriage partner. Not surprisingly Islamic devoutness was a key consideration and was the focus of much of the discussion.
During the Q&A one lady had a question about whether a man could have a secret second marriage (i.e. marry a second wife but not tell the first one). The speaker was unable to give a response on this as it was more an issue of fatwa but two people in the crowd had their opinion and so when it was their turn to ask a question instead tried to answer the lady’s question. Both believed the answer was no, you can't keep that secret. One even said that you need the permission of the first wife to marry again but something in the back of my mind was telling me that's not correct. A bit of Googling later and the general consensus is that you do not need her permission to marry again:
I also found a video by a scholar I met previously, Dr. Zakir Naik, who states that while it would be preferable permission from the first wife is not a requirement, however informing the first wife is a requirement. (For my meeting with Dr. Naik: Part 1, Part 2)
Finally, there was a question from a Qatari gentleman about how one should assess someone's devoutness to Islam. Apparently there was a potential suitor for his sister and he wanted views on how thorough of an assessment one needs to make. The speaker was of the view that one needs to go a little deeper than simply determining whether the man prays five times a day and goes to the mosque on Friday. Having discussions with his associates or other family members should help determine whether he is a good Muslim. I know this type of "due diligence" is typical in Qatar when Qataris are assessing potential spouses.
The lecture ended and Murat & I went back to the souq to get a juice and chat. Murat joked that his wife said she would accept him having another wife if their two friends A & B got married again. The joke was that they both knew if either of those guys got a second wife their first wife would probably kill them. ;-)
Overall the lecture was okay but I didn't learn a lot. If I'm around for any of the other lectures I'll probably stop by. One of the topics will be how to be a good husband in Islam, which may have some of that detail that us Westerners are always interested in when we wonder about how Islamic marriages work.