Such relationships and expectations are not severely

This preview shows page 10 - 12 out of 43 pages.

another. Such relationships and expectations are not severely damaged by emigration or by forced separation resulting from war or political upheavals. Palestinians are a case in point. Members of Palestinian families who have been dispersed as a result of the establishment of Israel and the subsequent wars continue to be interdependent and committed to one another. Special radio programs enable scattered Palestinian families to exchange greetings and information. A novel by Emile Habiby has described a striking encounter among dispersed Palestinian family members during the aftermath of the 1967 war. When a character who has lived under Israeli rule since 1949 meets his uncle and cousins, who have lived under Jordanian rule, he feels that "he is no longer a stranger without roots." [16] The extended character of the Arab family is interrelated with its other characteristic features, and particularly with its functioning as a socioeconomic unit. This arrangement renders family members symbiotically interdependent. Thus, the tribe dominates among the bedouin in the desert, the extended family in villages and urban working neighborhoods, and the nuclear family in the city and among the bourgeoisie. Marriage and Divorce Patterns Marriage Patterns Traditionally, marriage has been seen as a family and communal or societal affair more than an individual one. Officially, it has been perceived as a mechanism for reproduction, human survival, the reinforcement of family ties and interests, the preservation of private property through inheritance, socialization, and the achievement of other goals that transcend the happiness of the individual to guarantee communal interests. This principle is seen in most patterns related to marriage, including arranged marriage, endogamy, polygamy, age of marriage, the mahr (dowry), and the absence of civil marriage. The system of arranged marriage, for example, has been directly related to the segregation of the sexes and the conception of marriage as a family or communal affair. Consequently, it has declined as a result of the mixing of the sexes in school and public life. Increasingly, marriage is seen as an individual choice that does not depend on parental approval. Love, which could serve as a reason for opposing a marriage in traditional communities, is increasingly becoming a prerequisite in the minds of young Arabs. Custom requires parents to seek the consent of their daughter before they promise to give her in marriage, but that does not mean that they will abide by her expressed wishes. Traditionally, the daughter is expected to shy away from expressing her wishes, leaving them to decide for her. "As you wish" is the expected response from her. "You know what is best for me," she may add. According to the Egyptian religious scholar Ahmed Shalabi, "if the girl insists on her own choice without the consent of her father, Islam gives her this right as long as she
makes a good choice and she is not deceived by false appearances. If she errs in her choice and marries a person who is not of her status [kif ] . . . then the father has the right to object because of . . . the effect on the family and

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture