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Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

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  • Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

    Assalaamu Alaykum,

    A revert brother I know mentioned that a few times Somali sisters keep asking him questions in his place of business, often with their mothers or aunts in attendance and a Somali brother with us said it's because they are 'interested' then laughed and wouldn't explain further and I realized I know next to nothing about how the whole showing an interest, courtship, marriage process goes on with Somalis and people here in the past mentioned it was different, or difficult.

    As I am often asked to advise new Muslims, this is just something I'm going to have to ask about and over time and learn't about the whole embarrassing, telling people you are 'looking' thing with Asians and to some extent Arabs, then people going away, asking their friends and acquaintances, before coming back and asking you about individuals and whether you are interested, then the sit downs as you discuss marriage with her and her wali, or single sit down and quick glace as she brings in the tea for pashtoons, before the marriage is done.

    But Somalis despite the fact I pray and sometimes attend classes in Somali masaajid here in my city are almost a complete mystery to me. Which is weird as most revert weddings I get invited to are usually to Somali sisters and it's just a whole let less embarrassing asking these questions here online than with people I actually know in real life.

    So how do Somalis go about letting people know they are wanting to look to get married?
    How do they show interest in someone?
    What is the process of approaching the wali like?
    What are the cultural traditions and practices?
    And how does it differ to the way Asians / Arabs do things?
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  • #2
    Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

    :wswrwb:

    Not somali. But [MENTION=72222]F_R[/MENTION], help a brother out, ya bint.
    O people who take pleasure in a life that will vanish, falling in love with a fading shadow is sheer stupidity~ Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya

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    • #3
      Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

      From my own experience the proposal process depends upon the nature of the individuals. MashaAllah I have been blessed with many sisters and their approach to the process varied according to their level of deen, how much they free-mix and how cultural they are.

      One of my sisters was asked directly by her then-not-husband if she wanted to marry him; my mum knew about it but they waited until they were serious before telling my dad. Then the families all met up including my dad and talked. I don't know if it is just my dad being laid back but we don't really do the 20 questions thing, although I might request that he gives my potential a hard time lol

      My other sister was scouted by one of my mothers madrasah buddies and she literally came to the house, sat on the couch and said "so...do you have any girls for us?". So from the start it was quite straight up. They gave my sister a brief description of the man who was 'looking' and asked if she was interested in meeting him.

      So as you see from my experience it has been pretty straight talking. I'm sure it varies from family to family though.
      And when it is said to them, "Do not cause corruption on the earth," they say, "We are but reformers." (11) Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not. (12) - Surat al-Baqarah
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      • #4
        Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

        I think it varies between families and individuals.

        Traditionally, the way our parents & grandparents did it (most elders grew up in a liberal society too) was that the suitor would come to the house and chat to the girl in order to get to know her, among her family, usually sisters. The girl could also have a couple multiplr suitors at one time. The understanding was that they were never to be alone and that they didn't accompany each other anywhere else.


        Now, in the west it's a bit different. You have wide range of different approaches based on the individuals involved & how committed the families are to the deen. With the influence of western dating and cultural influences and a reversion to ultra conservatism it's quite different.

        In my family, we usually get introduced to someone that has been "reccomended" to us. Pretty much stuck the traditional way. In my case it was my cousins husband who reccomended his friend to me. My husband came to the house a couple of times, in the open dining area, we were allowed to talk (with family popping in here and there). On his third visit he came with his family to meet mine. In between the getting to know you stage- both families do their own "background" searches on each the other suitor and their family.

        Somalis all know each other one way or another. Despite me never knowing my husband or his family, my mother sent a clan member of hers that is friends with my husbands uncle to get the 411 on my husband to be Lol. That's exactly how my sister / cousins got married too. Also, worth noting (I have little contact with my dad so he was more of a symbolic walee.

        My friend's family, all the suitors are first filtered by the dad, background check etc. Once everything is good, he allows them to speak on the phone to establish compatibility. If everything is good, they meet & get married.


        As for those sisters, I don't even know. I certainly couldn't imagine doing that with a guy I am interested in. That's too forward.
        Last edited by Ni'mah; 20-03-16, 02:04 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

          Originally posted by Gingerbeardman View Post
          1 So how do Somalis go about letting people know they are wanting to look to get married?
          2 How do they show interest in someone?
          3 What is the process of approaching the wali like?
          4 What are the cultural traditions and practices?
          5 And how does it differ to the way Asians / Arabs do things?
          1 In the Somali culture a woman chooses her own spouse. There's no forced marriages and arranged marriages are different from other cultures. Parents can suggest someone but theres no must to marry the person.

          2 Usually Somali men make the move if they are interested and you go from there if you feel the same. If a man shows interest, the girl asks for check ups on the guy and he can come to her house to meet her family. This is not the actual asking for the hand (where the girl is offered) but the girl gets to sit with the guy and they talk. If sparks fly, marriage arrangements are made if both parties are happy to go forward wit it.

          3 You can approach the wali openly and ask to meet him but he won't 'offer' his daughter in marriage without consulting with her and what I mentioned in point 2 needs to take place next. When my dad was approached by a man to marry my sister my dad refused to even speak to him without his daughters approval. He called my sister downstairs and asked 'do I have your permission to talk to this man'? And she said yes. After my current brother in law now made his intention clear my dad called my sister again, asking her do you want this man? lol..flat out. And she said yes and ran back upstairs. Then my dad said, bring your family to the guy.:) ..this is just another meet up not 'lets arrange the wedding'...families meet and then usually the moms from both sides start the wedding arrangements.

          4 Do you mean weddings?

          5 Very similar to arabs i'd say, There's the day of Nikah, the Walima, and something called Shash sar that happens 7 days after the nikah. Someone else can explain more about this
          Last edited by muslima3; 20-03-16, 04:49 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

            Originally posted by *sheba* View Post
            :wswrwb:

            Not somali. But [MENTION=72222]F_R[/MENTION], help a brother out, ya bint.
            Racist !
            [MENTION=99637]Gingerbeardman[/MENTION] it depends on the family but they should do it properly according to islaam and approach the walk and make sure the girls have approached their walis coz often the men in the family are the last to know which is wrong a million times

            لا تفكر كثيرا
            بل استغفر كثيرا

            -------------------------------------------------------
            The children need your prayers more than anyone else
            -------------------------------------------------------
            www.inheritorsofquran.wordpress.com

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            • #7
              Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

              Dunno how other members are but at least in my family the women doesn't go and pick a spouse nor do we marry non Somalis. Usually the father marries her off based on his decision. Or another family shows interest to them perhaps through the mother of the other family.

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              • #8
                Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                OK that makes things slightly clearer... so if I get a revert brother interested in marrying a somali sister her family may be super strict, and he'll have to approach the wali or else stay clear (as it should be) and in other families the girl pretty much arranges everything and does all the discussions before the official sit down.
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                • #9
                  Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                  Like the sisters mentioned above, it varies from one family to another.

                  From what I know, the initial stage can happen in many different ways. The girl gets a proposal/the girl tells her parents she's interested in getting married/the parents arrange it between them and so on.

                  The getting to know period is usually (in my family) the girl and the suitor sit in a room with the door open (or any other open area) and they discuss whatever (deen&dunya), with family walking around and maybe checking in, so there's no state of khalwah.

                  If they're happy with each other then the date for the nikaah is made; the wali, daughter and suitor sign after agreeing on the mahr, and the witnesses and family members are present. Food is served and later that night the Walimah takes place (basically the women have a party, I don't really know what the men do). More food, dancing, singing etc. (The bride and mother in law dance and embrace which is so cute lol).

                  At the end the groom comes and the bride leaves (some women are unfazed and carry on partying). After a week, like a sister already mentioned, another smaller party takes place. I think it's to signify she's not a girl anymore but a woman, not sure though.

                  So yeah, that's the marriage process for Somalis (my family at least).
                  Last edited by Ajabah; 21-03-16, 06:40 AM. Reason: :p
                  Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you.

                  [Surah Aali-'Imraan: V. 196]

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                  • #10
                    Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                    Originally posted by F_R View Post
                    Racist !
                    *gasps*
                    O people who take pleasure in a life that will vanish, falling in love with a fading shadow is sheer stupidity~ Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya

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                    • #11
                      Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                      Very good thread and very relevant.

                      As a revert myself the challenge to get married is immense. The somali community has been by far the nicest to me out of the big 3(Arab,pakistani,somali) and from what little opportunity I've had to observe somali muslimahs(respectfully of course) they are the most modest and closest to the sunnah, which to me is the biggest deciding factor as I find all races beautiful and I don't really care about money or lineage.

                      now knowing that somali are more relaxed about the marriage process and don't have sky high mahr(a pound of gold+120,000 cash was the last mahr I've was told by an arab father,like seriously?)
                      plus they don't have weird shirky hindu beliefs like some pakistanis,although some of the older pakistani men I've met are an inspiration for their dedication to the sunnah with their dyed beards.

                      I've started attending a mostly somali masjid due to the problems at the arab one. What huge difference in atmosphere and people!
                      I believe that
                      Last edited by Samsandman; 21-03-16, 08:39 AM. Reason: i spell like I'm ten years old

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                      • #12
                        Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                        well they usually get to know each other as friends, and then quickly get married, because they don't want to do the whole girlfriend and boy friend thing. Wali involved and then its done.
                        وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِن صَوْتِكَ ۚ إِنَّ أَنكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ - 31:19

                        And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys."


                        أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً ۗ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ - 31:20

                        Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].


                        Please take a look at my travel booking website : https://destinationfindertravel.com/

                        Please take a look at my blog : http://thinkingmuslima.blogspot.co.uk/

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                        • #13
                          Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                          Originally posted by Ajabah View Post


                          The getting to know period is usually (in my family) the girl and the suitor sit in a room with the door open (or any other open area) and they discuss whatever (deen&dunya), with family walking around and maybe checking in, so there's no state of khalwah.

                          .
                          that would be so awks..
                          O people who take pleasure in a life that will vanish, falling in love with a fading shadow is sheer stupidity~ Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya

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                          • #14
                            Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                            From what I've read here there are no real surprises...isn't this how it's always done for mostly everyone?

                            You can't have any sort of relationship so the family is going to be playing an integral role...like they pretty much do in all cultures.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Somali Marriage process - how does it work?

                              Originally posted by F_R View Post
                              Racist !
                              [MENTION=99637]Gingerbeardman[/MENTION] it depends on the family but they should do it properly according to islaam and approach the walk and make sure the girls have approached their walis coz often the men in the family are the last to know which is wrong a million times
                              You are Somali?

                              All these years I thought you were Pakistani. :facepalm:

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