Pre-Islamic Arab Woman's Advice on Marriage

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a translation from Arabic of an oft-quoted advice by a pre-Islamic Arab woman on marriage.

Submitted: May 09, 2008

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Submitted: May 09, 2008

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Pre-Islamic Arab Woman's Advice on Marriage
 
Omamah bint Al-Harith to her Daughter Umm Iyaas
 
Translation by Kaatib
 

"Sweetie, you are well-bred enough not to need advice, but it is just a reminder for the absent-minded and an aide to the wise. Should a girl give up marriage for having well-off parents or for being too indispensable for them, you would be that kind of girl. Women, however, are made for men and men are made for women. My daughter, you have almost departed from the environment you have been brought up in and left behind the nest where you have learned to walk and talk, to a place you have never known and a spouse you have never been familiar with. He has become your guardian and your king upon legally marrying you; so, be his slave and he will be your servant. Follow these ten tips and they will be your treasure and repertoire for a great life. Be a content and easy to please spouse and a receptive, obedient companion. Always watch for where your husband's eyes look and where his nose sticks, so that his eyes may never behold something ugly and his nose never smells something not good about you. Kuhl (antimony, ithmid) is the best cosmetic and water is the best perfume. Always remember the times when he has his meals and be quiet when he sleeps; the heat of hunger can set someone ablaze and the disruption of sleep is infuriating. Maintain his household and protect his money – sure signs of good judgment - and take care of him, his kids and his kith and kin – a sure sign of good management. Never reveal his secrets; never disobey him. If you reveal his secrets, you can never be certain he will be honest to you and if you disobey him you are likely to antagonize him. Avoid displaying happiness when he is unhappy, which is irresponsible, and unhappiness when he is happy, which is disconcerting. The more you honor him, the more kind he is to you; the more you are in accord with him, the longer you are likely to live together. You will never get what you want until you give priority to what pleases him over what pleases you, to his desires over your own in your likes and dislikes as well. May God guide you to make wise decisions and choices" (Source of Arabic original: Majma' Al-Amthaal, 2: 143; Al-iqd Al-Farid, 3: 223)


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