Saturday, February 26, 2011

60% of Saudi men financially exploit their wives

From Al Arabiya:
A Saudi Arabian social researcher claims through his research that 60 percent of Saudi Arabian husbands financially exploit their wives’ money, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat reported on Friday.

Dr. Mahmoud Kisnawi from Univeristy of Umm al-Qura concentrated mainly on working wives, and said wives allow their husbands to take advantage of their salaries under the pretence of “ensuring family stability,” despite Islam giving women the legal and religious right to have her own complete salary.

Dr. Kisnawi told Asharq al-Awsat that 60 percent of husbands use their wives salaries to enter the real estate market or complete the construction of a home, without taking into consideration the needs and desires of their wives. He added that this phenomenon contributed to the increase in divorce rates in Saudi Arabia.

"In some cases, husbands have demanded that their wives provide them with large amounts of money so that they can complete the construction of their home. However these husbands may be deceiving their wives and want to complete construction in order to marry a second wife, with this [second] wife living in the home bought by the first wife's salary.

This daunting reality lived by some Saudi Arabian women caused some psychological trauma to these women, Dr. Kisnawi said, adding “this will make women lose trust in the sanctity of marriage, and as a result they would [therefore] seek separation and divorce."

Maha Yousef, who was a working wife, told the newspaper that the issue of husbands financially exploiting their wives salaries is today a major reason for divorce in Saudi Arabia. Maha ended up divorcing her husband after 25 years in marriage, when her husband decided to marry a second wife after he exploited her money.

"After he finished financially exploiting me, and the house was built, he decided to marry a second wife, and for this second wife to live in the house that I spent my life working to finance," she said, adding "this caused me emotional and psychological trauma, and I saw that divorce was the only solution that would end this crisis, and return a portion of my dignity which was ripped away by the father of my children."

As for the Islamic jurisprudential view of this issue, Sheikh Mohamed al-Nujaimi, a member of the International Fiqh Academy, said that the majority of Muslim scholars believed that a wife has complete freedom to utilize the money and property in her name as she liked, without needing the consent of her husband.