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Why second marriage of mother is a taboo?

Summary: ALKHOBAR: Saudis don't usually like it when their mother gets remarried. But when it comes to their father, no one has a problem.

According to a report in Al-Riyadh Arabic daily, the sentiments that children have toward their mother and father are not the same. They might not mind if their father marries another woman but will fight tooth and nail if the mother tries to remarry. To think of losing their mother's affection to another man is impossible for them. It might be argued that they are too selfish to give their mother another chance at life. After spending her whole life serving them devotedly, they would prefer her to lead a lonely life. Umm Muhammad a 52-year-old divorcee, shared her experience with the newspaper. She had received a proposal from a man who promised her a happy married life. He was also willing to support her children from the first marriage. Living alone in a house given by her previous husband, with no one to take care of her except a housemaid, she thought it would bring an end to her solitary life. All five of her children were married and lived in separate houses. When they heard about the proposal, they got really upset. Muhammad, the eldest son, threatened to kill the man while her other son reminded her that she is now a grandmother. Her daughters were worried what their husbands and their families would think. Umm Muhammad realized that she would lose her children forever in case she married again. She knew that they opposed the proposal mainly because of their fear of social ignominy. Al-Bandari Al-Khalifa, another Saudi woman, said it was difficult for her to even think of her mother married to another man. "My mother was in her 30s when my father died. We were just children then and she devoted her full life to bring us up. Now, all of us are grown up and married. But, we still cannot be in favor of her second marriage," she said. She said society would not show any mercy toward a woman who remarries. She will have to face ridicule from her children and relatives themselves. "It is very difficult to mentally adjust to our mother's second marriage as she is our shelter in hours of difficulty and crisis," she said, adding that if it had been her father remarrying, she would not mind. Ishaq Turki, a young Saudi man, said: "My father died when I was 13. Being the only son, I strongly objected to my mother remarrying. I stopped talking to her till she changed her mind," he said. "It is also a psychological issue. Think about the embarrassment a young man faces when he attends the marriage of his mother in her 50s. It is also selfish for a woman who has children and grandchildren to get married again ignoring the interests of her children," he said. But, Ibtisam Ata, a Saudi woman, sees nothing wrong with it. She said that society should understand the feelings of a woman who remains a widow or divorcee for most parts of her life. She should be given her right to lead a married life. Ata noted that society views women as prisoners of men. "As a daughter, she has to accept what her father decides for her. After marriage, she is treated as a private property of her husband. As a mother, she does everything for her children. It is like she is a servant who is forced to obey men until she dies," she said. Ata pointed out that there is no difference in men's attitude even after she becomes a grandmother. "At that age, she has to follow her children's instructions on how to take care of their kids. Nobody in society is ready to bring into reality the status that women enjoy in Islam," she said. Ata said that a widow or divorcee has the right to remarry even if she is a grandmother. "Society must come to terms with that reality. They should treat her the same way they would treat a man in his 70s who remarries," she said while hoping that they would come forward to bless her. Dr. Saleh Al-Aqeel, a social scientist, said Islam allows a woman to remarry regardless of her age and social status. "Islam grants full rights to all men and women. Nobody can deny these rights to any woman. The problem is the mentality of society." Al-Aqeel noted that most grown up children are busy with their married life and have no time to think about their mother living alone. "They don't like the idea of a strange man coming into their lives. They are also afraid of the ridicule they would have to face from society," he said while stressing the need for a big change in society's attitude.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jan 19, 2012
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