Theodore's World: No Peekie At Face

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August 06, 2007

No Peekie At Face

Tribal Custom Means a Husband Never Sees His Wife's Face
arab news

One of the most remarkable among the many and varied tribal customs that survive in Saudi Arabia is one that forbids anyone at all seeing a woman’s face. In parts of the Al-Kharj region, not even a woman’s husband and children are permitted to see her face uncovered.

In interviews with Al-Kharj residents, Sayidaty, a sister publication of Arab News, heard that often the first time even a daughter sees her mother’s face is after the mother’s death.

“I always dreamt of seeing my mother’s face because I am a woman like her,” resident Hissa Al-Massareir told the magazine. “But because of customs and traditions in the family, this was impossible. It was only when my mother died that my dream came true,” she added.
Al-Kharj native Muhammad Abdullah has never seen his wife’s face. “We’ve been married for ten years and I’ve never seen it, not once,” he said. The burqa — the garment that covers all of head except the eyes — “is stuck to her face 24 hours a day,” he said.
This is not for want of trying. “One day I tried to remove the burqa while she was asleep. She was furious. She left and went to her parents’ house and returned only after I had signed an undertaking that I would never attempt to do such a thing again.”
Saud Al-Otaibi also found his wife fiercely loyal to the custom. “I tried to blackmail my wife by saying I’d marry another woman if she didn’t show me her face,” he said.
But he was in for a surprise. “Instead of giving in she said, all right, marry someone else. And she set me up with a friend of hers who wasn’t so strict in her adherence to the custom, and I married her.”

Others report that they have become so used to not seeing the faces of even close relatives that they would be shocked if they did.

“I have never seen my mother’s face,” Ahmed Bikhait told the magazine. “I tried many times but was always rebuffed. By now I’d think it weird if she suddenly unveiled her face,” he added.

A woman in her sixties explained that this tradition, like many others, is disappearing fast.

“We have inherited these customs from time immemorial, and they are normal to us,” she said. “But of course our children don’t believe in these traditions any more.” The imam of a mosque in the region, Ayid Al-Dosari, said there was no sin in a woman unveiling her face to her husband or children and the phenomenon had to be attributed to tribal customs rather than religion.
“This has nothing to do with Islam,” he said. “It’s simply one of the traditions that some tribes follow.
“In Islam, a husband can, of course, see the whole of his wife’s body. The face is the least he’s entitled to,” he said.
“But these are inherited customs and these people follow them. There is nothing I can do about that,” he added.

Wild Thing's comment........

In most cultures, there are customs and then there are perversions...usually, mutually exclusive. Islam is where customs are perversions.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 6, 2007 12:55 AM


...and if the bride's face resembles Frank Zappa
or Helen Thomas, now I know why they blow themselves up to get 72 virgins! Love your leggy illustration and nylon moment. - Ali Bow Wow & 40 Theives?

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at August 6, 2007 03:24 AM

I don't care what their goofy customs are. Just don't bring them to America. That includes the custom of blowing up!

Posted by: TomR at August 6, 2007 01:55 PM

Tom speaks for me too.
I remember an incident where I picked up some local villagers to do meanial tasks at base camp, my mistake was loading the women first, I learned that day that the elderly men boarded first, the women last, they forgave me of the blunder. We observed their customs in their lands and we still do. I expect them to observe our customs while in my country, if you want to wear the burga, commit your atrocities against human kind then blow yourself up, don't do it here, go to your point of origin to do it.

Posted by: Jack at August 6, 2007 02:12 PM

Husbands can't see their face ? But everything else is ok ? Bizaare might be another name to describe it.

I better leave this one alone its too easy.

Posted by: Mark at August 6, 2007 03:02 PM

Even a local imam says they're nuts. How's that for irony.

Posted by: raz0r at August 6, 2007 10:39 PM

Darth, LOL so funny. Yes that would be a shock to lift the veil and see a Helen Thomas face or Zappa. hahhaha

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 7, 2007 01:35 AM

Tom, yep me too. I think they would prefer to blow us all up then even make us live under their laws. They sure love to kill even each other.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 7, 2007 01:38 AM

Jack I agree.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 7, 2007 01:41 AM

Mark, Hahahahha

Nick had some choice comments when I showed him the post.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 7, 2007 01:42 AM

razOr, LOL that sure is irony.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 7, 2007 01:44 AM