Posted on February 13, 2021
In the year 632 AD, the Prophet Muhammad died and a conflict ensued related to who should succeed him as the spiritual head of Islam, or Caliph. Battles ensued during which one of the proposed Caliphs, Ali, was killed. The supporters of the alternative, Abu Baker, and killers of Ali, won the day in the end, so to speak, and so began a centuries long divide within Islam which continues to the present day. The followers of Ali formed their own sect called Shia, and the victors became the Sunni sect, which is far more numerous. Approximately 85% of Muslims today are Sunni and 15% are Shia.
It’s not always or fully appreaciated in the western world just how much the Sunni/Shia divide impacts relations, and conflicts, in the present day Arab/Muslim world, and how it provides a large degree of explanation for many of the regional protests and conflicts. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon are each impacted by the divide, or schism (as it’s known), to a greater or lesser degree.
During the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland (1968 to 1998 approx), inter-religious, or ‘mixed’ marriages between Catholics (who generally wanted reunion with the Republic of Ireland to the south) and Protestants (who generally wanted to remain British) were as rare as hens teeth. Families and communities were unaccepting of such unions and the young couples had generally two choices – call it off, or emigrate to London or elsewhere, get married without informing families, inform them later and then suffer the emotional consequences.
Religious polarisation exists today throughout the Middle East, even when there is no actual military conflict at play. Whilst many from the Sunni and Shia sides of the ‘religious’ road will have many friends and work coleagues who are members of the opposite sect, the matter of mixed marriages will invariable lead to difficulties, as families react along religious and cultural lines.
Take marriage contracts for example. They are an obligatory part of all Muslim marriages, with Sunni and Shia contracts each having differences, but can contan practically anything that either party may wish to include, including amendments to the standard clauses. Many wifes insert clauses giving them automatice right to divorce if the husband takes a second wife. The standard Shia marriage contract, for example, will not allow a wife to have a divorce under any circumstances unless she receives the permission of her husband. But by inserting a simple amendment into the standard contract, a wife’s unrestricted right to divorce is guaranteed. So one might think that the insertion of various amendments can solve all thorny issues that might exist, and they do to a large degree.
However, the matter of future grandkids can raise the thorny to extremely thorny. If the marriage takes place using a Sunni marriage contract, then it automatically follows that the children will be Sunni. And vise verse for a Shia marriage contract. Culturally and religiously, older generations find it difficult, if not impossible, to accept that their children may produce grandchildren who will be from the opposite sect. And as the culture of the region also means that children, regardless of their age, will want to take parental permission before getting married, then the possibility of parents refusing to sanction a mixed marriage can cause huge distress to the child and their potential future partner. Failure to take such approval will often lead to a break-up of the relationship, and in all probability, a new search begins for each from amongst their own community sect. The ‘Northern Ireland’ option is one that is regionally taboo and rarely, if ever, used.
A non-religious civil marriage provides a possible solution. Civil marriages are mostly unrecognised within the various countries but are recognised if they took place in a foreign country. However, elderly parents again will often reject this non-religious option, due to the mere absence of religion, and as the grandchildren would be considered non-muslim if the parents were to die prematurely. And so the distress of the young couple goes on, event with this alternative possibility.
The subject matter of this post is close to the heart of MB at present. He numbers a young, modern-minded, educated, mixed Muslim couple amongst his Arab friends. They now find themselves in the dilemma described above. The coming months will see Shia boy attempt to extract some workable comprimise from his (possible) future Sunni father-in-law, who may or may not be willing to do so. Equally, his own Shia family may not agree to the marriage under the civil option, which is the preference of both boy and girl. With the refusals of the families, if that’s how the dice rolls, then that may be the end of love.
Happy St Valentine’s Day to all.
Posted on February 20, 2013
Hope all in good form. MB will be taking break from his Saudi paradise for the next week in good old Dubai, UAE. So looking forward.
Had suggestion for this week’s blog to do something on Chinese New Year lads, which is year of the snake. Did not have clue about the significance of the snake but looked it up this evening and discovered the strengths & weaknesses of people born in the ‘snake’ years.
Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing
They often have a good temper and a skill at communicating but say little. They possess gracious morality and great wisdom. They are usually financially secure and do not have to worry about money. They have tremendous sympathy for others and would like to take actions to help ther fellow human beings. They are determined to accomplished their goals hate to fail. Although they look calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. They have a rich source of inspiration and understand themselves well. They are people of great perception. Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but are irritable.
They are likely to be jealous and suspicious. They should be cautious about what they discuss with others, as it might cause them to lose friendship and opportunities. They tend to overdo things. They prefer to rely on themselves and have doubts about other people’s judgment. They are courteous with polite manners, but they can be headstrong. They are fickle and usually have problems in relationships or marriage problems.
So lads, it appears you can have great wisdom and at same time be jealous and suspicious. Bit confused by the Snake people must admit.
And the below are the most recent Snake years in question lads:
23/01/1917 – 10/02/1918
10/02/1029 – 29/01/1930
27/01/1941 – 14/02/1942
14/02/1953 – 02/02/1954
02/02/1965 – 20/01/1966
18/02/1977 – 06/02/1978
06/02/1990 – 26/01/1990
24/01/2001 – 11/02/2002
This weeks pics lads are from random places. And I love random places! In honour of the Snake Year lads I give you a few pics I took when was in China about 3 years back. Ya, China lads – MB gets around. Did not have decent camera back then but the attached are decent enough. Plus a few shots of jewelry & other stuff from Global Village Market, one of my favourite places in Dubai. And other random places that I can’t remember at the mo.
You need fit body like MB to climb the wall lads
Valentines Day – by The Oatmeal
Should have included this last week of course lads. But did not see it in time. Gave you another from The Oatmeal few weeks back lads and had a giggle at this one during the week when I read:
Non-religious and Pagan weddings are to finally become law in Ireland under proposed new legislation.
The Irish government is expected to back legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies.
One you won’t see in Ireland!
“When he came in he asked me who he was and I said ‘Shaikh Mohammad’. He said ‘bravo’ and shook my hand and left,” she said.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, surprised Mira when he granted her wish by visiting her in her school on Sunday. Mira had asked Shaikh Mohammad, in a video message, when he would visit her school.
Dragon Mart – Dubai
From a Dh25 virginity soap that promises to tighten muscles, to a Dh60 gel that claims to push your ‘hip up’, dozens of dubious products are selling like hotcakes at various outlets in Dragon Mart.
“Our virginity soap has honey extracts and is very effective,” said a salesperson suggesting it be used at least twice a day to get its benefits in about two weeks.
Firmer buttocks, he claimed, could take a bit longer, as one needs to apply the gel for about a month. None of these products conforms to health stipulations.
But retailers swear by them. Ask them if the products have any side effects and the standard response is: “No. It’s all herbal.”
Honey trader, Global Village, Dubai
Anyone for colour?
Pendants, all natural stones, no chinese plastic fakes.
Like our pre-marriage courses in the West lads some Saudi cleric has come up with similar idea. Assume he had look at the Irish model:
Manama: A leading Saudi religious figure has called for holding compulsory special workshops on matrimony for all young men and women about to get married.
“The justice ministry should ensure that the marriage contract is not endorsed by a court of law unless the two spouses prove that they have gone through the mandatory workshop,” Saeed Al Qah’tani said.
The scholar attributed his call to the high rise in divorce rates in the Saudi kingdom.
“The rate has exceeded 50 per cent in some regions in the country and this is alarming,” he said. “This clearly indicates that there is a serious and grave issue about understanding and appreciating the responsibilities of spouses towards each other,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Okaz on Sunday.
Typical Yemeni style necklaces
Ring & henna
Gotta go lads
Sorry bit rushed this week lads. Not one of the better efforts I’m afraid. Just under bit of time pressure. Have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there.
Category: Birds nest stadium, Bruce Springstien, Dragon mart, Dubai, Dubai skyline, Henna tatoo, honey, Ice cream, Irish man in the Middle East, Jewellry, Pagan Weddings, Pearls, Photography, Prayer, Saudi Arabia marriage, Scaffolding, Sheikh Mo, Valentines Day, Welfare, Year of the snake, Yemen necklace Tagged: Birds nest stadium, Bruce Springstien, Dragon mart, Dubai, Dubai skyline, Henna tatoo, Honey, Ice cream, Irish man in the Middle East, Jewellry, Pagan Weddings, Pearls, Photography, Prayer, Saudi Arabia marriage, Scaffolding, Sheikh Mo, Valentines day, Welfare, Year of the snake, Yemen necklace
Posted on February 14, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day ladies and am only thinking of my female Crossers of course. So big Middle East greetings and affection to you all, where ever you are sunning yourselves.
Am sure your man gave you the traditional flowers or chocolate, but MB is far more adventurous than that ladies and now has much Arabic influence on his brain to expand the possibilities. So ladies – just for you – I give you the following – as special gifts for the day that’s in it:
Forget the blue tablets ladies. We have natural solution for you man’s problem. But its a honey mixture only for the ‘married’. Any ‘singles’ caught in possession are immediately jailed, as we know what they are up to – totally and utterly haram.
This weeks photos have no consistent theme ladies, and are a mish/mash of few shots I took in last week or two. Am revisiting some places that I showed you previously, plus a few new locations.
We Saudis are sadly starting to turn away from the traditional arranged marriages ladies, where some local Biddy will receive contact from family elders seeking partner for some lad or lass that has come of age and needs to be married off. She will take fat fee, and guarantee everlasting love and happiness, resulting from the suitable partner she will unearth from under some desert rock or where ever.
But no lads, that is not good enough for some of us any more. We are turning to on-line match makers, where we can take a look at some pics and actually see what we are marrying. Fast disappearing is the thrill of your first night of marriage with a partner that you maybe have never seen previously, or seen briefly only once or twice. This can not be progress lads. I fear we are losing our way. Absolutely no good can come of it. Um Sami is also none pleased!
The cooking pot at the Afghani cafe where MB has been eating the mutton stew & arabic bread of late. Masha’allah! The chef tends to put in lots of raw sugar with many (all) of his mixtures. MB told him to cop himself on with the sugar, and just trust the food to speak for itself. Think he really appreciated the astute culinary advise of Irish Michelin 3 Star chef MB.
Riyadh: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, traditional matchmakers face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.
More than 200 Twitter users and dozens of other forums on the internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organised prostitution.”
“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent” and some are even an organised form of prostitution.
“Marriage via online platforms is one hundred per cent doomed to failure,” she said, stressing that only her traditional matchmaking method can lead to a successful marriage.
For matchmakers like Um Sami the business has flourished by word of mouth…………..
JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you’re really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn’t know that his final resting place is Dublin.
In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.
We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it’s likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine’s Day.
But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.
In the 1820′ and 30’s, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin’s Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.
Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.
In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.
Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.
This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.
It would appear that neither cohabiting couples nor teenagers need apply!
Category: Ballyneety Golf Club, clouds, death, Dubai, English arabic words, Graveyard, honey, Humour, Ireland, Irish man in the Middle East, Michael Quinlan, Middle East Life, Music, Oman, Photography, Pylon, reluctant Immigrant, Riyadh, Spice powder, St Valentine, The Alter Tomb, Valentines Day Tagged: Ballyneety, Clouds, Death, Dubai, English arabic words, Graveyard, Honey, Humour, Ireland, Irishman in Middle East, Micheal Quinlan, Middle East Life, Music, Oman, Photography, Pylon, Reluctant Emigrant, Riyadh, Spice Powder, St Valentine, The Alter Tomb, Valentines day