Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marrying cousins

I know that in Islam, it's perfectly acceptable to marry cousins and it's a freedom I can live with -- but I won't take advantage of. I feel weird about the idea. My cousins are more like semi-brothers and sisters to me. That's how I see them. I have some pretty attractive cousins around my age and I feel about them like I feel about my brother, who is also handsome! A bit more awkward since we don't have regular contact, but in terms of attraction, there is *nothing*. I cannot imagine marrying any of them!

My husband feels differently. He was "secretly engaged" to his first cousin sometime before meeting me. She's younger than him. And me. She's She was about 15 years old at the time, with him being like 22! I find that really EWWWY! The age, the blood relation; it's creepy! I generally dislike her for always flirting with him when we hung out in Egypt, by touching his arm, acting all sad for comfort, wearing his perfume out...

Anyway, he is totally fine with the idea of marrying first cousins. His whole family is. This particular cousin's little 8 year old sister didn't like me when she met me because she was hoping to be the one to marry him. An aunt of his kept joking with me about how he should have married her daughter (this is from the other side of the family). Weird. And just rude.

I'm guessing most converts accept that it is permissible to marry first cousins, and that it is necessary to cover in front of them. But how many are actually fully comfortable with the idea?

12 Comentários:

أم ترافيس said...

In Islam, it is acceptable, but not recommended... so yes we have to cover in front of them, but they shouldnt actually be the first choice for marriage. At least that my understanding...

Also I think it is not a bad idea, especially when there is divorce or probs in the family to bring ppl together - like in my husbands family there have been two divorces (cousins) I personally think it would be nice to see them get married, as you must know Egyptians dislike divorced ppl so why not get the two together, or something like that.

As for what is going on in your husbands family this doesnt seem correct at all... and this is why segregation is ideal... I mean - flirting? Is there no shyness? Why wear your hijab if you are gonna behave that way? Ugh.

Bengali Muslimah said...

When someone in the family needs to get married off, the elders first think of their family members that are available. two of my cousins didn't have a successful marriage so as as soon as they were single again, my uncles and aunts were think of getting my two cousins married. with each other. It's a terrible idea and very terrible thing to do for that cousin from your husband's side. Tsk. Tsk. =[

Malek said...

ASA Sister,
As soon as I read your blog I remembered a funny story about my first trip to Morocco. When my husband's family heard he was home they came rushing to see him. His cousin came ALL dressed up to see him and when I walked in the door and was announced as his wife....boy the look on their faces was laughable....Anyway I am like you as far as the cousins go....but I think its because of our society...If I grew up Muslim or in another country I might not think that way...but yea ugh!!!

Candice said...

Umm Travis, I see your point about 2 divorcees getting together like that... Especially when it's hard to find someone who will accept the situation outside the family... Not a problem here though, men are open to women with kids or who have been married and same for women about men with a history. My husband has an acquaintance who got married, for his first marriage, with a woman with a child. In Egypt. And one of his Turkish friends here in Quebec got married to a woman who had gotten divorced and he kept on saying things like how great it was for him to have "accepted" her like that. For both situations.

I personally don't think segregation is necessary at all... I understand your view about it though and I respect that. I don't have any insecurities about my husband and that cousin, or about him going to class each day with other women in it. I think he doesn't feel insecure about me working with men either (but he is a bit more "strict" about this stuff, not wanting me to be alone with men, which is perfectly fine). His cousin is just young and testing things. She was only 17 or so when I met her and we hung out. Even though she's not my type of person and I don't like her, I didn't get too caught up in this weird flirting thing of her's. About her hijab, she does wear it normally outside, but not inside, no matter who is in the house, and when we went to Alexandria, her parents were not there and she didn't wear it out. She is a forced hijabi.

Bengali Muslimah, makes sense a bit about trying to get those cousins together!

Malek, looool, they have other thoughts, don't they? Glad I'm not the only one with this type of experience!

Umm Omar said...

Growing up in the US, I used to think that cousins marrying was equal to incest. As I got older and became more accepting of Egyptian/nonwestern traditions I didn't look down on it so much. When I learned it was Islamically acceptable, I was even more okay with it. I think someone's perception of it will be mostly influenced by how well they knew their cousins growing up and their culture.

khany said...

the qur'an does not forbid cousin marriages. in deed, the prophet married his cousin zainab. moreover, the prophet married his daughter fatima to his cousin ali (may allah be pleased with them all).

still, the qur'an does not promote nor encourage cousin marriages. it is a well known principle of islamic jurisprudence that it is blameworthy to knowingly bring harm to oneself or others. if there is a preponderance of genetic diseases within an endogamous group then in my humble opinion this juristic principle gives sufficient grounds to avoid marriage to near relatives.

i also wonder if you feel similarly uncomfortable about employer/employee and teacher/student marriages...

Solace In Islam said...

I remember when we were just married and my cousin invited me to visit him and his wive at his house. I thought nothing of it since I would never marry my cousin (as a revert, some things are just kind of build into you and not marrying cousins is one of those things), but my dh refused to let me go because my cousin was not my mahram.

Seriously though.... Another friend of mine married her cousin and their first daughter has some health problems which is, according to the doctor, because her parents were cousins.

Although it has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages

Candice said...

Khany, thanks for your comment. Very well written, and I agree. About student/teacher and employee/employer, I don't see it much like cousins at all. It can be uncomfortable in many ways, but it's a temporary connection to the person. You could graduate or leave your job and then you'd just be two adults with no relation.

Anisah said...

Wow.. u really hit a hot topic... I personally think and feel this is a cultural thing not really a Muslim thing...
but it's bad as far as I'm concerned..to expect a man to marry his cousin. And it's in all Muslim or Persian...or Asian cultures..used to be in ENGLISH culture too..actually, especially in high class or royalty.
As you know I am a convert and a hijabi..I do not cover in front of my brother in laws...however. But I do in front of my cousins and other men I grew up with thinking of them as brothers. My husband accepts this, probably cause we do not live near my brother in law's lol I do however try my best to cover if they are on webcam. I mean it's a matter of respect too, in a way...I mean why tempt them. Men do not think like women do and they cannot control their gazes as much as women. ( example..praying !) I'm sure they respect me either way..but I am also sure they appreciate that I think of them this way.
I have to tell you that in Morocco...its highly expected for a male to marry female cousins. My husband was expected to marry them all. They all thought they are the ones..This was so bad that he had to keep our marriage a secret from them until he arrived here in Canada to make sure they would not make trouble. Like a fight with his parents..or him...and he was even afraid of black magic and spells being put upon him and us out of spite and jealousy. I thought he was over reacting about this. But I soon learned that nope..he was right to do what he did. Al hamdullilah.

Candice said...

I was thinking about hijab and cousins. I don't know that I'd feel the need to cover in front of my cousins. Probably would to be on the "safe side", I guess, if I ever got there.

Anisah said...

Well..it's like all struggles in Islam..with the rules I mean...
you either follow them or you don;t... in the end. it's you that has to answers for yourself..
I'm not just stating the wrath of God in Heaven...but the consequences of our actions...
example..if you know pork was haram..yet..u had a piece of bacon...
well was ur decision...God gave u the rule.. if you didnt follow...it's ur own problem..maybe you will get cancer of the colon or smth...
hehe not funny..but I dunno if I made my point lol

but we do not kow what men thnkn in their minds.. so like.. what if a cousin..had a thought about.. I dunno..touching your hair..and wondering how soft it is on his hand... or what it would looks like on your back...and Imagine you had NO IDEA he was thinking this? it's more likely a cousin would think like this instead of your brother or your father....right?
SO....if u had ur hijab on...you're protecting yourself and him. :) ( Ya I know he can still have unclean thoughts...that he cannot control...but at least you took steps to protect yourself and guard your beauty private.))
anyway..Im rambling and prob not making sense.. Im going to bed lol

Anonymous said...

I am a born muslims and my cousins are no different to my brothers, i could not see them that way, it is just the way we have been brought up. So it might be acceptable but to many muslims it feels weird.

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