Browsing "religion"
Jul 15, 2010 - published work, religion    16 Comments

The utopia of Islamic state

Those of us who were born in Zia era or afterwards have heard one demand/pledge/rhetoric depending on who is uttering it and that is we need an Islamic government. The question is: what is an Islamic government? Is it the Islamic caliphate where one caliph will rule over the entire ummah (global Muslim population)?  Is it a government of the Muslims, for the Muslims, by the Muslims? Or is it a government where Shariah law would be applied?
Have we ever wondered why do we have this hankering for a something which never existed? Yes, the reality is that there is no precedence of one big caliphate where the entire ummah lived peacefully ever after. It is a myth based on what was supposed to be Islam’s Golden Age and it is carved out of selective memory by political Islamist of 19th century. The Golden Age of Islam is remembered as the period when Islam was practiced in its truest form and that’s why God blessed Muslims with all material wealth, military power, political clout and cultural dominance.

Ask any supporter of an Islamic government to define what constitute the Golden Age of Islam and what do they want? Without fail, they would express hostility towards a hegemonic West, Communism and Israel. A hegemonic and colonial West is 250 years old, communism is a little younger and Israel came into being just 60 odd years ago, nothing in this timeline coincided with Islam’s glorious past. Some of them would also say that excessive wealth, extravagance, severe poverty, exploitation were shunned in those truly Muslim society but even that is factually incorrect.

The reality is that this age never existed. Yes, the Muslims were in economic and military ascendency between 8th and 12th century but that is because of the investment of time, money and energy in scientific research and how individual thought was encouraged which lead to more scientific breakthroughs and not because how the religion was practiced. If anything, it was the period of extravagance; lavish palaces were built, adventurous military endeavors were accomplished, and it was all because of the wealth created by application of scientific methods in production, military, medicine and maritime trading. 

The Golden Age of Islam is also remembered as a period of unity among the ummah of believers but that too is not correct. Only in South Asia, apart from Mohammed Bin Qasim, all the invaders from the North West came and fought with Muslims rulers in present day Punjab and Multan and later in Delhi to establish their power. The fact that Mughals wrestled power from the Muslim Kings of Delhi Sultanate and the Ismaili Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt was overthrown by Arab Sunnis in 12th century puts an end to the myth of a united Muslim world in the golden age.

Why do we aim for the formation of an Islamic government? Why do we not call for an effective government that actually delivers the essentials like security, employment opportunity and access to health and education? Why can’t we leave it to the individuals to determine the level of religiosity they want to follow? If we are living in a democracy, we trust the same individuals to participate in representative democracy and form the government by casting their votes and choosing their representatives. If we can trust people with that, why can’t we trust them to determine their own religious fervor or the level of censorship the want to live with? Why would we want to live in a society with moral policing where one would be told what one can do, see, eat and hear. 
This is the unedited version, the same article is published with a different title in Express Tribune  
Jun 15, 2010 - published work, religion    19 Comments

A country only for fanatic men


Back in 2002 when I was a rookie journalist, I met Jeewanti, a teenager who was doused with acid to avenge a property dispute with her family. She was the first person I met who has faced an act of violence against her. Unfortunately, I have met various people since then who have faced violence and brutality, be it Munno Bheel who is fighting to release his bonded family for over a decade or the peon in my former office who fled his home in Chitral because he was a Shia living in a Sunni village fearing persecution for his faith. One of my friends has lost her uncle, a surgeon, during the period when sectarian groups were targeting and killing Shia doctors in Karachi.

Every minority, be it ethnic, religious or sectarian, and weaker groups have faced violence and persecution in this country. If you are a religious minority in the land of pure, you have about as much of an opportunity of growth as a one-legged man in a kicking competition. Constitution bars you from holding the highest offices in the country. Your temples and churches are vandalized and you are not allowed to propagate your religion. You are lucky if you are a Christian or a Hindu, at least you can call your places of worship by their real names; if you happen to be an Ahmadi, you cannot even do that.

If you are a child, you probably are one of too many children in the family; your parents do not give you enough food and attention. There are not enough schools and even if they are, you parents cannot afford to send you and you are working to contribute to family income. At workplace you are probably abused. If you leave home, you will definitely be sexually abused and will probably end up using drugs. If you happen to end up in a radical madrassah, there is a great likelihood that you will end up as a suicide bomber, perpetuating violence and terror to others.

If you are a sectarian minority, then you are on the hit list of all sectarian outfits. They can burn your houses and places of business if you are in Chitral or can shoot you from a distance of 2 meters in Karachi and get away with it. If you are an Ismaili Muslim, chances are the religious parties will try to get you declared a non Muslims when they can’t think of any other political issue to hijack.

If you are woman, you will be malnourished and uneducated to begin with. When you are a little older, you will probably be doused with acid, burned, tortured, married off to men of inappropriate age and character to pay off debts (vani), killed (karo kari) to either implicate or secure money from opponents of your family. You will be raped, at times even by the police and other security forces, to settle dispute and at times because men think they can get away with it. Your testimony in the court of law is that of half of a man, and your citizenships rights are limited.

The way things are in this country of ours; soon it will turn into a place where only rich right wing fanatic Sunni men would have any citizenship rights. If you are a religious Sunni man who is spewing venom against the minorities and women from the pulpits, you have an unassailable immunity. The way things are, the future migrations from the country would not be for economic reasons, they would be for liberty and freedom.

Originally written for Express Tribune. This is the unedited version.


Apr 14, 2010 - religion, women    133 Comments

Dr Israr Ahmed and the haramzadi


Even though I lived in Pakistan almost all my life, I actually got to know about Dr Israr Ahmed when I was in college in UK and Dr Shahid Masood shot his cringe inducing series ‘End of Time’. I came back home and discovered that one of our neighbours has joined his Tanzeem-e-Islami. All of a sudden his daughter who passed her O levels Economics paper because of my tuition has started avoiding me. When I asked, she said that her dad told her to stay away from me because I am foreign educated and my mind is filled with Western ideas and I may corrupt her hitherto unsoiled mind. Mind you, the only ideas I have tried to impart to her were always about indifference curve and use of derivation and quadratic equations in Economics, but I digress.

I then started digging a bit and found out that Dr Sahib, although denounced Jihad as called by Al Qaida and other militant organizations, was a fan of Mullah Omar and Taliban and was totally against co educational institutions of higher learning. He believed that if women cannot get education in separate institutions, they should not study at all. As we have bigger nutcases in the country who constantly make headlines, I never really bothered to get to know about him.

Earlier today I saw the news report that he passed away and then saw his face as facebook display picture of an acquaintance. When I asked her the reason of such display of affection, she told me that the good doctor had once called her haramzadi because he did not like what she was wearing and it was her way of paying respect. Apparently, my friend, a journalist and documentary film maker, was covering an MMA rally protesting the combined marathon in Lahore outside Karachi Press Club and Dr Israr Ahmed was there protesting alongside the MMA leadership. At that point, my friend was the only female journalist there with a camera and she was wearing a short sleeved top. First he refused to talk to her, but relented when she persisted and ended the conversation with a parting shot, “West ne haramzadi ka huliya badal diya hai.”
ویسٹ نے حرامزادی کا حلیہ بدل دیا ہے
Now I have been raised by mother to be ladylike and have been taught that one should not speak ill of the dead but I am still wondering that just because Doctor Sahib did not agree with her choice of clothing, he was entitled to call her names? Was that in any way justified or even civil? Was he promoting such levels of tolerance to his thousands of followers? Just wondering…

As I have stopped fresh comments on this post, I was contacted – rather persistently – by a fan of Dr Israr to add this bit of info on my blog clearing his name. I still maintains that calling someone haramzadi in a public gathering, even if the said scholar was quoting an Akbar Allahabadi sher was in extremely bad taste and openly misogynist.
Here is the link to the “clarification

Mar 20, 2010 - religion, sex    26 Comments

Halal Kink


Last time I was in Netherlands, I indulged in some serious blitzkrieg tourism, which was very exciting but did not leave me much time to actually notice the life in this little corner of the world. This time, my stay is for a much longer period so I do other mundane things like getting on a tram to go to work, buying grocery and cursing weather like locals do (have had just two and half sunny days in past few months). During this trip, I have more time to look around and see things as they are and among the things I noticed was the fact that for a population of 15 million people (that is less people than just the city of Karachi) they have an abnormally high number of sex shops.

Now, before you decide to pack your bags and move here, let me tell you that they don’t sell ‘sex’ in the shops per se (although that too is legalized here along with soft drugs), they do however sell everything else related to sex, be in performance enhancing drugs, risqué lingerie, toys, videos, fetish and bondage products and what not. It’s not just the big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam (my home for a few weeks) or Den Haag where you can find these sex shops; tiny places like Beverwijk and Haarlem also have their fair share of stores selling kinky products. Not only these shops are in every town and city, they are also everywhere. In Rotterdam, you can take your kids for their McDonald’s fix and can browse in the sex shop in the same alley while they are waiting for their fries & coke or you can hop in to a coffee shop for some Hollandse Appeltaart near the university and find a shop selling kinky inflated life sized dolls next door.

Last night when I heard out about the first online Islamic sex shop, two thoughts sprang up instantaneously. First was how will a Islamic sex shop be different from any other regular sex shops and the second was that somehow someone Dutch had to be involved in it and I was right. Abdelaziz Aouragh is a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan origins and his webshop, El Asira, will start selling stuff exclusively for Muslims from this weekend.

Aouragh is a smart businessman, even before he started his business, he turned to a local imam for approval who sought guidance from another scholar in Saudi Arabia and found out that as long as products are halal and are meant to help sex within marriage, it’s all good. Heck, there is even a fatwa supporting that. I personally have no issues with people using whatever they want as long as it is consensual, but how in the God’s good name do you find out about whether a sex product is halal or not. Who will you go to find that edible lingerie is halal and a red-hot puppy mask is not? Would the halal search engine devote a special section on Halal kink and tell you which kinky shit you do is halal and which one is not? How the person who is selling the stuff online will find out whether the product he is selling is for sex within marriage, outside the marriage, with humans or with goats. What makes this shop halal and the other shops haraam? Is it the Arabic name or the fact that it is owned by an Abdelaziz rather than a Rutherford or a Cohen?

I am all for innovative entrepreneurship but dragging religion into everything just makes it more of a laughing stock and I think we have had enough of it. Be as twisty and crazy as you want, just don’t seek validation form a religious scholar for being that way. Making it religiously acceptable only takes the kink out of kinky and makes it mainstream.


Nov 21, 2009 - religion    39 Comments

The dilemma of Pakistani "Left"

Guest post b

y Haider Shah

The other day I read Zahida Hina’s article in which asked the United States to leave us alone.

So how about this argument that Pakistan is fighting America‘s war? And this argument is not only coming from the Islam-loving right-wingers but America-hating left-wingers as well. If anything, we are fighting our own war that we brought upon ourselves by adopting Pan-Islamic policies up until 2001. After mid-80s, the State of Pakistan had literally transformed itself into a terror-exporting Islamo-Fascist haven for domestic and international terrorists empowered by Islamic bomb/Islamic Army and united under the Green&White flag of Puritan Arab-Islam. Our Left must not let their hate for America forget such recent bloody past of ours and its implications. People in Panjab are afraid and terrified by such unpredictable ideology-driven attacks. Well, what can I say: Welcome to the bloody league of Qaadianis, Shias, Christians and Hindus of Pakistan who have been living with this bone-chilling fear since the 80s. I am saying all this as a Pakistani because this Pan-Islamic policy has killed more Pakistanis in last 30 years than people in any other nation on earth.

Pakistan is indeed fighting a war at American gun point but we, the peace-loving secular people of Pakistan, are delighted to see our state slowly abandoning its Islamist policies albeit at gun point. No matter what other people say, I see this as a civil war between secular Pakistanis and Islamist Pakistanis to determine the future of Pakistan.

I won’t name names but, right before Swat Operation, a very well-known left-wing figure of Pakistan was collecting funds to set up an underground left-wing guerrilla warrior force in Swat to fight, get a load of this: Talibans, Pakistani Military, United States and NATO!

I asked him if that was indeed his plan and he said that this was the right time and we, the Inqilaab-hungry people of Pakistan, should not stay silent anymore and rise up against Talibans, Pakistani Military, United States and NATO: All the forces of darkness. I asked him who is going to join this guerrilla force and he said he had 10,000 boys ready. I couldnt hold it anymore and asked him point-blank: What is the difference between you and Maulana Sufi Mohammad who took 25,000 Pakistani boys into Afghanistan when US attacked Taliban in 2001 to fight the evil West and came back alone?

His reply was as disorienting as his plan was. And that’s what is aggravating me about our Left. Like Islamist Pakistanis who let their love for Islam decide everything, Left is letting its hatred for imperialist America decide what’s best for the people of Pakistan. Like our Military, Left needs to understand that if there is an imperialism rat-race going on in the world, we may be a foot-fucking-soldier but we are sure not running. If there is a GREAT GAME, we sure are not playing. India is going to be the 3rd largest economy, surpassing Japan, between 2015 and 2020. If Left wants to be nostalgic and wants to fight the old tired war of USSR with the United States, I am no part of it. Our Left wants to give us the gift of equality? We are equal alright: Rich or Poor: All Pakistanis are equally screwed.

If Left can focus on saving us wounded Pakistanis from our Military-Mullah-Nexus, I stand with them shoulder-to-shoulder. But please don’t make me a boy-toy in your juvenile goal of world dominance. We can always destroy America later. But, for now, can we please use them like a condom as they have always used us.


Oct 30, 2009 - religion, USA    22 Comments

Pakistan and US: the unholy matrimony? *

Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami in particular, have always had a problem or two with USA and its meddling ways in Pakistan. Whether it is linking the terror strikes in USA to Pakistan’s tribal belt (which was proved yesterday when passport of one of the terrorists involved in 9/11 – a member of Hamburg cell – was found by Pakistan armed forces in South Waziristan – detailed reports can be found here and here) or the infamous Kerry Lugar Bill and reigning in of military establishment through it, Pakistanis bemoan the US presence and its wily ways in every development.
While reading today’s newspapers, I noticed that Pakistan is not far behind as far meddling in US affairs is concerned. Not only do we meddle with impunity, we also whine a lot and beg for assistance without shame. For instance, during the meeting with Prime Minister Gilani Secretary Clinton apparently called him a ‘magician’ (the jury is still out whether it was a compliment or an insult). All PM Gilani could do in response to being called a master of political wizardry was request for stepping up support for financial problems, the early payments of the dues out of the accounts of terrorism compensation funds and the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
I fail to understand why Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan in particular are so hung up on the release of Aafia Siuddiqui. What irritates me even more is that she is called “Quam ki beti” (Daughter of the nation) when she is not even holding a Pakistani passport. She is an American citizen who was found involved in activities against her country and US has every right to try one of their own citizens, but Pakistanis must not only meddle, they must also do it at the top of their lungs. Perhaps Imran Khan and Jamat-i-Islami call her Qaum ki beti for being involved in money transfers for Al Qaida and endangering the life of her under age children by exposing them to terrorists in Afghanistan when they could have stayed with their father in a much more secure environment in Karachi?
Do we hear American government whine like we do? No, we don’t. During her recent trip to Pakistan, all we got from Secretary Clinton were some bitter home truths. She showed annoyance with Pakistani officials’ inability to nab the Al-Qaida top brass. ‘I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,’ she added.
She also criticized Pakistanis for slamming the non military aid bill and said that Pakistanis do not pay taxes and raise funds locally to invest in public services, health and education and when someone else does, they create ruckus. She also pointed out that the percentage of taxes on GDP in Pakistan is among the lowest in the world.
She also expressed concern about Pakistan’s huge population – 180 million people and counting – and said that unless Pakistani government starts planning for this challenge, the projected 300 million populations will need the resources that no one will be able to assist them with.
While we are meddling in US affairs by asking for the release of a shady character like Aafia Siddiqui, the US Secretary has uncovered some home truths for us. Unless we tackle all these issues and more, everyone with 5$ to spare will come and tell us what to do and we will have to oblige them. The thing is, we have proved, time and again, that we need someone to keep us in line and that we cannot manage to take care of the business of running a state. Pakistani elite desperately want US to meddle so that they can blame the chaos on someone else. Its been 38 years’ since Bangladesh cessation, but I still hear some Pakistanis who lament the fact that US marine did not arrive when we needed its help most, all the hue and cry is only for public consumption.
* Secretary Clinton likened relations between Pakistan and US to a tumultuous marriage but she was also at pains to point out that the US does not want a divorce.
Sep 16, 2009 - rant, religion    82 Comments

Gift of gall or permanent lapse of reason?

On September 14th 2009, 19 women were killed in a stampede in Karachi. New York Times reported that the stampede occurred when a local trader was distributing food – flour, lentils and other goods – in the southern part of the city. Hundreds of women and children had gathered in the narrow lanes, and according to the witnesses; the women tumbled over one another trying to enter a building in an attempt to collect the food first. 25 people were reportedly injured in the incident.
The event was sad and a lot has been said and written about the incident. A couple of the people who have discussed this tragic incident on tv are Aamir Liaquat Hussian and good ol’ Junaid Jamshed in a program which was aired on the eve of the aforementioned horrific incident.
While Aamir Liaquat was busy reading out from what can only be called excerpts from Urdu thesaurus and acting all humble and modest in response to the words of praises from his female fan brigade, Junaid Jamshed came up with a very interesting theory about class differences, hunger, stampede, self respect and religion.
According to Maulana Junaid Jamshed, it is ok if rich Muslims do not follow the religion, but if poor Muslims let go of the sacred religious teachings, the whole society would collapse. He repeatedly made references to “Ghareeb ka Imaan” (poor people’s faith) and “Ameer ka Imaan” (rich people’s faith) as if your class is responsible for your levels of faith and piety. He further went on and said that when poor people embrace the true values of Islam, they are endowed with the gift of self respect, restrain and integrity. His theory was that even if people are poor and hungry, their self respect – endowed only through strict adherence to Islam – will not allow them to go beg for food and consequently, they will be saved from such incidents and death by stampede. Around minute 16.20 in the video, Junaid Jamshed further said that if poor people just practice restraint and stay hungry for three days, Allah will provide food for them for one whole year. This is from a man who probably never had to stay hungry in his life and charges Rs. 2000 for a shalwar (loose Pakistani trousers) that actually costs Rs 200 in his clothing store? He even had the cheek to ask if staying hungry for three days and then waiting for manna from heavens for one whole year (I have absolutely no idea how he arrived at the exact time range of 3 days of hunger and one year warranty of food supply from heavens) is an easier option or getting in line for free food and risking death by stampede?
Mr Jamshed has four children, if they are hungry and crying for food, would he rather stay cooped up in his house telling his children to stay hungry so that Allah will send manna from heaven or will he run all over the place to feed his children? A man who was paid a cool 2 million rupees for half an hour’s work (he shot a tv commercial for Lays Chips also known as Lays chips fatwa) will probably never know what hunger is and how devastating it can be? Self respect, privacy and integrity are things that only rich and well off people can afford, the rest are busy making out a living for themselves and their children.
I am astounded at the cheek of the man. Not only did he blame the victims for begging for flour, he was annoyed at the beggars who knock on his car windows for alms and blamed them for making the likes of him more indifferent to their plight by constantly banging on their air conditioned car windows. I would never condone beggary but one must also take into consideration the recession, loss of jobs for so many people and government’s apathy towards employment generation schemes for its populace. According to the World Food Program, 24 per cent of the population of Pakistan is under noursihed and 38 per cent of Pakistani children under the age of five are under weight. It calls the state of hunger in Pakistan, “alarming.” Imagine, if everyone takes the advice of Junaid Jamshed to heart and and sit on their ass and do nothing and wait for the manna, how will the situation of hunger exacerbate in the country.
What is a bigger tragedy that none of the live callers to the program were intelligent enough to point out what a fraud people like JJ and Ammir Liaquat are. Everyone sang their praises to death and one of the callers even called Junaid jamshed an angel (I am not sure angels would be as big a sartorial disaster as Junaid Jamshed was in his burgady red kurta).
PS: Its a very long video, if you are short of time, just catch the bit from 11th minute to18th minute in the video.
Mar 18, 2009 - religion    43 Comments

Who will take on Sufi Mohammed?

Trust Ejaz Haider to ask the most pertinent question post restoration of CJ Iftekhar Chaudhry. What’s next? Haider, a veteran journalist, writes that the issue must go beyond the person of the CJP to the institution of the judiciary and further on to the judiciary’s interaction with other institutions of state and society. And, to the gravest threat facing Pakistan: terrorism. The difficult part is yet to come.

The problem is; the difficult part is here & now, glaring at us in the face. Government of Pakistan and NWFP signed a deal with militants in Swat last month, practically handing most of Malakand division over to them. The deal, ironically called Nizam Adl Regulation (System of Justice Regulation), ran into snags when Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad asked judicial officers to stop coming to courts and said that any further court proceedings would be in violation of the agreement signed by the government.

The lawyers’ movement took on the case of CJ Chaudhry for the past two years and marched the length & breadth of the country, but will they take up the case of lawyers and session judges who are now given their marching orders by Maulana Sufi Mohammed. CJ Chaudhry was sacked by the president of the country (we are not going into the details of how credible was the election of the president) which raised the proverbial hell and rightly so. Now, this so called leader and cleric, who was jailed by the government until recently, threatens the judges and lawyers of the area and there is hardly any response to that, either from the lawyers’ community or civil society. I don’t expect champions of justice and democracy Imran Khan and Qazi Hussien Ahmed to breathe a word against this atrocity because it is brought on by their brothers in faith but what about the other upholder of democracy and rule of law Mr. Nawaz Sharif? Not a murmur from PML-N either. Does that mean that political parties in Pakistan can only stand up against the state machinery and burn and destroy public property, but cannot take on the militants who are hell bent on destroying the very fabric of society.

I am eagerly waiting for March 24th, the day CJ Chaudhry resumes office to see if he takes a suo moto action against this. After all, his claim to fame is the number of suo moto actions taken over a period of time. If he will not take this action, he will have to amend his title as suggested by Ejaz Haider to Chief Justice Pakistan sans Swat because the system Justice Chaudhry heads is not acceptable to Sufi Muhammad running his satrapy.

Lawyers’ movement played its part in the ouster of President Musharraf; can it play a part in dealing with terrorism and the likes of Taliban and Sufi Mohammed?

Aug 12, 2008 - religion, women    3 Comments

The cucumber farce

There is bizarre and there is bizarre and there are some things that are beyond bizarre, this has got to be one of them. Al Qaeda is responsible for introducing us to many crazy things such as OBL and mullahs of various shades, hues and varieties but the latest edict released by the Al Qaeda Iraq chapter is so preposterous and ridiculous, it’s not even funny.
They have imposed a ban on women buying suggestively-shaped vegetables like cucumber in the western province of Anbar.
A tribal Sunni elder, (a group that Al Qaeda is supposedly protecting) Sheikh Hameed al-Hayyes from a former Al Qaeda stronghold in the west of Iraq said, “The Al Qaeda regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not allowed to buy cucumbers, only men.”
“They even killed female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tails were pointed upward, which they said was haram,” he added.
Other absurd stipulations include an edict not to buy or sell ice-cream, because it did not exist in the time of the Prophet, while hair salons and shops selling cosmetics have also been bombed.
I personally would not want to argue with this logic, if a cucumber is haram then it is haram, no question about it. But what I like to know, if I am allowed to ask such a question, why only cucumber? Why not ban a more popularly suggestive fruit like Banana? Why not ban Zucchini or Courgettes which I am sure must have felt extremely left out. After all, they too are equally suggestively shaped, if not more, and deserve to be banned like cucumbers. I would also like to know if it is only haram to buy the cucumber. Can a woman slice and dice and eat cucumber bought by men or is that too prohibited by the good leaders of Al Qaeda Iraq?
Similarly, if tomatoes are considered female, can man buy them? Can a man eat a tomato bought by a woman? If he cannot then can the tomato be used in cooking the food that a man will eat? After all, tomatoes lose their suggestive shape and men can eat them safely without ever having a lustful thought.
It seems that life under Al Qaeda was not only violent but also farcical.

Mar 27, 2008 - religion    No Comments

Saving face

Saudis take the cake for being the weirdest of people in a planet full of weirdos. Take this new item for example. A 50-year-old Saudi woman asked for divorce after her husband lifted her face veil while she was sleeping. For 30 years, the wife said she never showed her face to her husband in conformity with the tradition of her native village near the south western Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt.

“After all these years, he tries to commit such a big mistake,” the wife told Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh, after she left the house in total disbelief.

She said the husband apologized and promised never to do it again.

This is not the first case of husbands who have not seen their wives’ faces in decades.

In the past Ali al-Qahtani’s wife had been wearing the face veil for the entire ten years of their marrage. When he tried to take it off, she threatened to leave and only decided to stay after he swore never to try again.

Hassan Al-Atibi threatened to marry another woman if his wife didn’t show him her face. The woman nominated one of her friends who doesn’t observe this tradition as a possible new wife for him, saying this would be better than her showing her face.

And neither the husband or children of Om Rabea al-Gahdaray, 70, have ever seen her face. Al-Gahdaray says it is a family tradition, also followed by mother and sisters, which her husband accepted and never tried to change.

When asked how she could have kids without her husband ever seeing her face, she replied: “Marriage is about love, not faces.”

Now, is that convoluted or is that convoluted?