The opinions expressed by students do not represent the views of Ramallah Friends School (FBS) and Friends United Meeting.
Dating & Marriage

Do your parents forbid or restrict you from going on “dates”? – Marissa, Fraser, Octavia, and James (MALTA)

Not necessarily, it depends on our understanding of the term; however, going out in public places (such as coffee shops, tennis courts, etc.) is not forbidden. Nevertheless, if it passes the traditional, religious, and manner boundary, it’s for sure forbidden.
By Salman

Most of the parents here in Palestine forbid their children from dating. Because of the traditions and religious beliefs, dating is something wrong. My family allows us to date in a limited way. They forbid us from dating people that we don’t know and that are older than us by many years. They also take the social classes, traditions and beliefs into consideration and are always trying to convince us to date from our school. After all, dating here in Palestine takes different forms from other places and countries, because of our traditions and beliefs.
By Mona

You cannot believe how many times this question was brought up. I always skip it, and don’t answer it. I think that my parents trust me enough to allow me to go on dates. When you have a relation of trust with your parents, everything is possible. It does not matter where you live. For example, I am sure that there are some kids in Malta that are not allowed to go one dates.
By Nicole

My parents do not get involved in my personal life as long as it's going well and with no troubles. They don’t forbid me from going on dates as long as I am not facing problems or causing them. Personally, I don’t prefer going on dates, and I think it’s is for older people who are looking for serious commitment. I don’t like this idea for young people like us. Most people will disagree with me but this is my opinion. I think that some of the parents do not like the idea of dating at this young age, and I totally support them.
By Amro

Many years ago women couldn’t choose whom to marry; they used to be forced to marry whomever their family chose. These days a woman enters her own relationship and decides the best for herself. No one can force her to do anything. Of course, there are a few families in villages who are still forcing their daughters to marry particular men, but this habit is disappearing.
By Ahd

When I asked my mum this question I expected that she would say, yes, but she shocked me when she said, no. I asked her why she will not give permission to go on dates. She said that first, that is not from our tradition. Then she thinks that I am still a young guy so I can’t separate between truth or wrong things until I finish high school. She said that because I will be old enough to know the truth from the wrong. For me, I think that is not fair because I am 15 years old and I know the truth so I should go .
B Khaled

No, my parents don’t forbid me from going on dates. I usually am allowed to go during weekends when I don’t have school the second day. On the other hand, I should have my limits. I should act and behave according to our tradition and customs.
By Atallah

My parents don’t forbid me from going on dates because they believe that I have to do this to chose the right person that I want to continue my life with. Of course, they don't forbid, but there's a limit because I have to respect Palestinian traditions. They allow me to choose the right person but, as I said, within a limit that respects our traditions.
By Saja

Dating is something usual that happens here everyday. Almost all the youths can go on group dates or single dates. Many teens here have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Many of them are from different religions. My parents do not forbid me on doing that, but some parents do. For group dates, I go with many friends from my class or from outside the school.
By Nihad

My parents never forbid me from going on dates. However, if I go out, they’re always afraid and nervous about the girl I’m going out with—whether she is nice and from a good family, or if she’s disrespectful, or doesn’t have a good reputation. About myself, I will be nervous if I’m going on dates—maybe the girl will bring someone with her to investigate me or something. That’s what me and my parents hate to see—that the girl doesn’t trust me or something. But as I said, my parents do not forbid me from going on dates.
By Hagop

This is really an interesting question to ask. My parents don’t forbid me from going out on dates as long as the person I am dating is a good guy. As for me, I prefer to make friends as much as possible rather than committing myself to one person. Moreover, it is easy to make friends but it is hard to keep them, so that’s what I am concentrating on right now.
By Nour

No they don’t. In fact, they encourage me to date. That’s because my parents are very intellectual people. In other words, they are very opened minded.
By Hikmat

If I’m lucky and when I’m lucky to get a date, I hope that I will get my parents’ approval. I never got lucky enough, so that discussion didn’t take place yet. Fortunately, I live in a progressive environment where going on a date will not be a problem (I think).
Actually, it’s not about me, it’s about the other half. I never had the opportunity to examine up close the kind of society I live in and whether it’ll be alright for any two to go out and have fun.
By Ahmad

No, my parents don’t forbid me from going on "dates," but it depends on who the person is. Does he come from a good family and is he a good guy? These kinds of qualities my parents would look at in the guy I date. They allow me, normally, to date whoever I think is good for me. So, don’t think that we have no freedom or that our parents are too strict. We are the same as you. We do the same things, date, go out, etc...
By Lina

My parents are not involved in my personal life. I had many girlfriends and my parents didn’t prevent me from seeing them. They ask me about my dates in order to make sure nothing wrong happened. In our society, dating doesn’t happen much between people. Most Palestinians don’t like it, but I find the idea great for our age.
By Ameed

Can you choose whom you want to marry? – Valerio, Nina, and Bianca (MALTA)

The entire world thinks that in our tradition a man can’t marry the woman he wants, but this was due to immaturity since. Nowadays he or she can choose the one he or she wants to marry as in any other country.
By Omar

In the past, it was very different from today. People’s beliefs became more moderate twenty years ago. However, in some villages, they still follow the old-fashioned way, which is to pick a wife for your son or relative. In cities such as Ramallah, it became different; people now can freely choose whom to marry.

I think the decision of who you want to marry is fully up to you. I think that people have the right to choose who they want to marry and spend the rest of their lives with. My culture, religion, and family do not forbid me against choosing the person I marry, as long as she fits into the criteria; I am just joking. However, these factors do contribute toward helping me, or anyone, in making the decision.
By Canaan

In Palestine, you cannot always choose your wife or your husband, because some people make their children marry people that they choose for them thinking that it’s for their sake. Or they will make them marry their cousin and that is the worst, if you don’t like your cousin and your cousin doesn’t like you. So why should they have to marry each other, it doesn’t make since. On the other hand, there are many parents that understand their children’s feelings and they don’t put their nose in anything that they do not have to. And I think that this is what must happen in all of the families in Palestine.
By Seif

Most people in Palestine can choose whom to marry. In some villages, their parents choose for them. Boys and girls are separated because girls go to girls’ school only, and boys go to boys’ school only. But in town, girls and boys meet in schools and in clubs, so they can find the person they want to marry. But even in villages girls/ boys can refuse to marry someone. Girls can refuse only; boys can choose and/or refuse.
By Saji

There are many different thoughts and traditions that people follow, and each person follows his traditions, but in general the answer is yes, because no one can live with another person that his mom or dad picked for him. I think in our time, each one has his own way in living, and can choose anything he's convinced of, and he can choose whom he's going to marry and love. But sometimes some people think differently, and they think they should make the decision instead of their children. This is a very small percentage of people, and this way was followed and acceptable since long ago, but now, I don't think so.
By Fahmi

For me I can choose whoever I won't to marry, but of course he must be a good man that my parents would like. Love is something that I was raised on. My parents always tell me for the future that I can marry when I get to know a good person who loves me and I love him (the right one) and when I'm old enough and we both have the ability to create a good loving home and have all the basic things to create a family. Then I should marry him and have a good life. These kinds of parents are not that popular in Palestine because many people are less open-minded and get rid of their daughters to people who are either wealthy or have a good social influence without thinking about their daughters or son's future life.
By Yasmeen

Open-minded and well-educated people in Palestine allow their children to marry the one they choose. I live in a city and come from an open-minded background; hence my family will surely not interfere with choices I make concerning marriage. However, some other people here in Palestine arrange marriages for their children. Villagers are more conservative people, and their young men and women have only little interaction, hence most marriages are arranged. The Palestinian community consists mainly of Moslems and Christians, and many families disagree about mixed marriages between the two religions. I personally don’t find mixed marriages a problem as long as the couple is suited together.
By Tala

Our country was hard at this issue because parents would determine the woman that their son would live with for the rest of his life. Now they depend on their son to choose the woman that he wants. I can choose the woman whom I want to marry, but first have to have agreement from my parents before I marry her.
By Rami

Palestine is not what it seems. Marriage here is largely composed of couples choosing each other and accepting their marriage. Couples can meet either by arranged meetings or just plain luck. When two families arrange a meeting, the man and woman may like each other or they may not. It’s up to them if they choose each other, the parents or people who arranged the meeting do nothing but arrange a meeting. By this, people in Palestine have the freedom to choose who to marry.
By Christopher

Of course I can choose who I want to marry. But there are some “old fashion” people who marry people they do not know. But this tradition is disappearing. Even though Islam allows choosing who a person can marry “that fact was known at least 1300 years before.” However, for an unknown reason, people cannot choose who to marry anymore and that’s very wrong. A person should decide who to share the rest of his\her life with, as our religion (Islam) says. Most people in Palestine today, can choose who they want to marry. It’s a very usual thing for everybody here.
By Ahmad

Choosing the person whom to marry is the main right that everyone should have. In the past, Palestinian parents used to choose for their children whom to marry. They used to choose for men the girls they would marry. Usually these girls are from their relatives. In the past, families used to not take the bride’s opinion. If her parents decided to accept the man, then she should accept him as well. Nowadays, things have changed so much. Now, whether you are a man or a woman, you can decide whom to marry freely. People here can even date each other, in order to be sure whom to marry.
By Yazan

Yes, I can choose freely who I want to marry, but this is not how all marriages go in Palestine. There are parts of the society who can’t choose who they want to marry. Instead, their parents choose for them. These kinds of marriages are called arranged marriages. They happen because one family will want interest from another family or for other reasons. In my point of view these marriages are not good marriages. Most of these marriages do not last long because the wife and husband meet for the first time at the wedding.
By Faris

In our recent culture we can marry whomever we want. However, there is still a percentage of the Palestinian population who are forced to marry whom their parents demand. To this day it’s still going on. I have a cousin who got married two years ago at the age of 17. Her parents forced her to.
By Salah

In Palestine I have no problem marrying any woman I want. The culture, the religion, and the law do not stop any one from marrying the woman he wants. If two people wanted to marry each other in my country they'll have no problem because love can't be denied to any person.
By Abbas

Marriages arranged by parents are now very old fashioned. Still, a minority of people in Palestine deal with it. Luckily, I live with my modern family in a somewhat modern society. I’m free to do what I want. For sure, I’ll choose whom I want to marry. That’s, of course, after I finish college. Maybe I’ll meet him in college, who knows!?
By Pillar

How do you feel about polygamy? Is it legal? Does your religion accept it? – Valerio, Nina, and Bianca (MALTA)

In my opinion, polygamy should not be acceptable to everybody no matter what the religion is. I am a Christian, and my religion does not permit polygamy. Islam permits four wives for every single Moslem. That is unfair for women in any society. I consider it cheating on your wife and “women abuse.” In Palestine it is legal, but is it ethical? I believe that the law that permits more than one wife should be changed and changed immediately.
By Canaan

Two or three weeks ago, I watched a show about polygamy that was very interesting. They showed an interview with a man who has two wives, and another interview with his two wives, and they were all asked how polygamy is. They answered negatively, saying that they were so sad and upset from this life. So I think that polygamy is a very bad habit in the Palestinian community, and it has to change. Maybe it’s legal in our community, but you shouldn’t do it for your life, your health and your economic conditions.
By Seif

I think polygamy is wrong because a man isn’t able to meet the needs of two families. Polygamy is legal and it is allowable in our religion, as the prophet Mohammed was married to more than two women. And polygamy is common in the Arabic society.
By Omar

Polygamy can be good sometimes, because there are women who can’t get pregnant because of health problems, so the man can marry someone else so he can have kids. Islam’s viewpoint on polygamy is that any man can marry 4 girls, but he should treat them all equally. Polygamy isn’t allowed for girls because, if she is pregnant, it’s hard to determine who his father is. These days we can know who is his father by a D.N.A test. For Christian people, it’s not allowed according to their religion. Polygamy is legal for Muslims and illegal for Christians. That’s because all the laws that have something to do with marriage are not passed by the government but according to religion.
By Saji

Polygamy is fine for some cases. In my opinion, if someone is living with his wife and he can't understand her, or she doesn't like him and doesn't respect him, or do her job at home like any other lady, I think the husband should search for another way to see his life, and live a better life. He should choose or marry another woman with whom he thinks he will live comfortably and they will understand each other. Also, he should forget the first woman. However, if the first wife does everything for him and his life is going good with her, that would be another thing. Maybe a man is living so well, and having a comfortable life with his wife and, at the same time, he loves another woman. He should marry her, but if he still gives his first wife her rights, and doesn't ignore her, he should be equal with both. In our religion, Islam, it's legal and our religion accepts it and doesn’t disagree with this point. We can marry a maximum of 4.
By Fahmi

Polygamy is legal in all the Arab countries because the Islamic religion allows every Muslim man to marry four women in his life. Polygamy is something that is not fair for women at all. Polygamy is bad because whenever a man is sick of his wife he can marry another one and that may break his wife's heart and also break up a whole family that he has built. Polygamy is something that really makes me sick because marriage is based on love and respect. Whenever a man marries another woman this means that he is playing on his wife, and he either doesn't love her or she doesn’t complete his sexual needs anymore. This meaning breaks the respect that that couple once had and also breaks the love bonds between them. I think that whenever a person marries another woman he is giving a message that women are nothing and he can do what ever he wants.
By Yasmeen

I personally feel that polygamy is a serious issue that is not only an abuse of women, but a poison to the whole society. Islam teaches that polygamy is allowed under certain circumstances. I strongly disapprove of this, even tough I am myself a Muslim. However the Christian Palestinian community does not believe in polygamy and does not allow it. Even though polygamy is legal, it is not at all widely spread. Nowadays, people are becoming more open-minded and educated, and polygamy is becoming less and less popular.
By Tala

In my opinion, polygamy is a very bad habit that is accepted because Prophet Mohammad married more than one wife. At that time, Moslems used to do everything the prophet did, so it became legal. These days it’s unacceptable and considered as an abuse for women and for their dignity and worth. It gives the woman the feeling of being unaccepted and unloved and worthless. Now very few men are still ongoing with this habit.
By Ahd

I feel that polygamy is wrong because it is a marriage that builds on the desires of the man and feeds his desires at the expense of his wife. In our country this kind of marriage is legal and you can have more than one wife if you want. However, in my religion, Christianity, it is not legal to marry more than one woman and it is not legal to divorce your wife. If you do this you will not give women the rights they deserve in life. You take away her rights to marry and have a happy life in her marriage with her husband and her children.
By Rami

Polygamy is not common among us Christians. Polygamy, in my opinion, is stupid. A man or woman should be committed to only one person, not to nine. Polygamy also creates problems and increases divorce, so why does someone want to marry so many women? As if one is not enough. My religion forbids polygamy and restricts divorce. Christianity sees no need for multiple marriages. As a result, marriages become more successful. By simply forbidding polygamy, it erases the idea of divorce from couples’ minds. If people know polygamy is allowed, they will not tire themselves to make their relationship work, so they will just marry another.
By Christopher

I don’t feel that there’s something wrong about polygamy. The important thing in it is that the man should treat his wives equally. This is where the problems occur. If a man does not treat his wives equally problems start to appear. That’s polygamy’s problem. Polygamy is legal here because it doesn’t make large community problems. Islam accepts polygamy because that helps to make many bonds and relationships between people. Of course, it has many conditions to make it acceptable for Islam. The most important condition is that the man should be equal with all of his wives.
By Ahmad

In our country, Islam is the common religion between people. Islam allows men to marry more than one woman. However, in our country, few men marry more than woman. I think that there's nothing wrong with polygamy. If a man marries two women, and both of them are happy, then there is nothing wrong with that. If every man who marries two women gives them love, two separate homes, and takes care of them, then there is nothing wrong with that.
By Yazan

In my point of view I feel that polygamy is a bad thing with no positive side affects. I am Christian. Polygamy, for me, is not legal—my religion doesn’t accept it. If I was a Moslem, like most Palestinians are, although my religion will accept it, I would not marry more than one wife although it is legal. Not all the people think that way. Almost all the Moslems I know do not think polygamy is a good thing, but in some parts of society you can find men with 2, 3 or even 4 wives.
By Faris

Polygamy is a thing that some people think is a natural thing. I feel bad about this thing and about people who have these thoughts. In polygamy women are the weak side in most of the cases. The bad thing is that it is legal. My religion also accepts it, but just in some cases, if the person has an excuse. But most of the men get married again without an excuse because our religion accepts it. They forget that it's allowed only in some cases. I wish that they will realize the main reasons for it.
By Ahlam

I think that polygamy is not good, but it’s legal in my religion. It is not good because you can’t control your life. However, there are reasons to marry more than one wife, like if your first wife can’t have children. Then, you can marry another wife. My religion accepts polygamy, but only for certain reasons.
By Naser

Islam, my religion, allows polygamy. It allows men to have more than one wife—four wives, actually. It is allowed under one condition: that the man should be fair to his 4 wives and treat them equally. If he can’t or won’t do this, he should marry only one. Thank god cases of polygamy are rare in my society. I feel pretty much disgusted by it and I hate the man who does it. It’s just not right!
By Pillar


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