The Mu2akhar a right or a way of subjugation?
T. was explaining to me how he is worried that his girlfriend’s parents might not like him… and refuse him as a suitor for their daughter. I asked him not to worry, because they will never embarrass him or his parents. He explained that when parents don’t like the groom, they ask him for a lot of money for the mu2akhar (Money that is paid to the wife in the event of a divorce.)
This conversation lingered in a hidden corner of my subconscious. It resurfaced again as I saw a glimpse of Catherine Zeta Jones (on TV of course), who is famous for her prenup agreement among other things. Her prenup with “Wall Street” star Michael Douglas entitles her to $2.8 million per each year of marriage.
For some reason, my friend’s perception bothered me, since it is a barometer to what the society thinks…. In my family the mu2akhar is around 5 thousand Dinars. This is the standard number among many Palestinian families… now I will get back to this number in a moment, but now I will introduce a new thread.
Usually, both husbands and wives work , in many cases women give up their careers to take care of children… when they buy property, it is almost always registered in the man’s name, even though they both have contributed to the marital life… even if the wife did not contribute financially. In case of a divorce, the man’s only financial obligation to his wife is the 5000 dinars mentioned above! Or there is an even better deal for men.
In that case, she gives up even these 5000 dinars! And the man walks away with everything… regardless of the number of years they lived together, or whose fault it is that things go to that point….
I look at Catherine Zeta Jones and almost feel jealous, not because she gets that much money, I mean Michael can afford it, but because she lives in a system that respects a woman’s rights to protect her own interests in case of a divorce… and in Jordan, if the laws don’t subjugate women, then society will most definitely take care of it.
On a different note, I just finished the historian… I think it cured me from my love for vampires for a while! It was one of those long books that get you lost in details, which makes them difficult to follow at some points. In that sense it kind of reminded me of Orhan’s Pamuk ‘s the Black book… it was a good book, that lost me several times. I finished the historian because it was a good read, in the sense that author Elizabeth Kostova did a fabulous job in giving it roots in medieval history… she kept referring to historic events during the Ottoman Empire time… and managed to build her story based entirely on historic facts, which made me wonder , only for a split of a second, if vampires really exist!