RIYADH, 7 January 2007 With the aim of strengthening business ties, two Riyadh business partners in their 70s have married their teenage daughters (17-19) to each other, reported Sayidaty magazine, a sister publication of Arab News.
“A man has the right to marry. When it comes to marriage, there is no stopping point,” said Al-Dossary, a man in his 70s with silver hair, a gray beard and gray eyebrows. “We have followed Islamic principles in the way we conducted our marriages and we are both happy with our wives,” he added.
Al-Dossary married his teenage daughter to his business partner and in turn married his partner’s teenage daughter. His partner, Saif Al-Qahtani, said: “It is true that our arranged marriages are strange, yet this does not mean that we are the only people to have married in this way, either in the past or the present. Anyhow, the main purpose of marriage is to protect men and women and we have both achieved this through our marriages.”
He added: “It took us only two months to decide and then arrange our marriages. It all began when my friend, Al-Dossary, continuously expressed the desire to marry.”
Al-Dossary added: “It is true that I wanted to marry. I proposed to several girls but all refused. One day I decided to ask Al-Qahtani to give me one of his daughters. He agreed immediately, but in return he asked me for my daughter. I was surprised because he already had three wives; however, I agreed since I had a young daughter who was of marriageable age.”
Al-Qahtani commented: “Yes, I asked him to give me his daughter in return. When he asked for one of my daughters, I thought I couldn’t refuse him because of our friendship. I knew that if I did refuse his request, our business would be affected. I didn’t have any other choice. I agreed to give him my daughter and take his daughter in return. At the time, I remember telling him to give me his daughter and that I would give him mine.”
He added that the two old men then set a date, not more than two months away during which time the marriages would be finalized. “We met our deadline and we have now been married for a year and a half,” he said.
When asked if they had consulted their daughters, Al-Qahtani said: “I did not ask my daughter. I don’t have to. I know what is beneficial for her. When I told her what I had planned, she was happy. If she hadn’t been, she would have told her mother.”
Al-Dossary said: “In bedouin culture, a girl does not have the right to express her opinion about marriage, especially if her father and brothers have decided on a particular man. In both our cases, we have been married for a long time and have had no problems with our wives. Although we are much older than our wives, the fact that we are together proves that we are right for each other.”