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Family Matter
 IslamiCity Forum - Islamic Discussion Forum : Culture & Community : Family Matter
Message Icon Topic: hate living in Saudi Arabia; husband won't move Post Reply Post New Topic
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abuayisha
 
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Posted: 16 September 2008 at 11:03pm
 You may want to "PM" UmmAbdullah
 
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ayisha098
 
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Quote ayisha098 Replybullet Posted: 17 September 2008 at 3:51pm
Assalaamualaykum.  I'm also an American revert woman married to a Saudi, but lucky for me, my husband's family loves me.  In fact my mother in law treats me like a daughter Alhamdulillah.  I am slowly learning Arabic and will be going to Saudi Arabia in possibly 6 years, providing my husband can get my papers done and get his Government to recognize our marriage(he was under the legal age to get married to a forgien woman) when we got married.  As far as I know, you have no rights to take your husband's children out of Saudi Arabia.  The USA embassy will not allow you or help you to take Saudi children out of the country, without the husband's permission.  He has to sign a form for his children, especially if you have a daughter.  From Saudi persepctive, Saudi citizenship preceds American citizenship and there's not much you can do about that.  I do not like the idea of moving to Saudi, but only because of what I see on the News, about "middle eastern/muslim men beating their wives" and all the news about american women getting kidnapped and forced into sex rings because every other country hates the usa for what the usa government does to third world countries.  But I also know that as a woman and as a Muslim, it's my duty to follow my husband and listen to him, as he is my mahram and provider.  I think there's something in Islam that says, if a man wants to go somewhere, then his wife/wives are required to go with him.  As for your husband not wanting to move to the USA, I can understand that.  The USA isn't very nice to Middle Eastern/Arab/Saudi men.  There's too much promiscutity and drinking, etc. that are forgein and disgusting to Middle Eastern culture.  Perhaps you could take a vacation to America, to give yourself time to think about what you want.  Or try talking to your husband or an Imam about your situation.
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OmAbdullah
 
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Quote OmAbdullah Replybullet Posted: 22 September 2008 at 9:30pm
Assalamu Alaikum!
Oh dear, I feel your pain. What you are doing is not easy, particularly since you have children living overseas. I have been in Saudia for 33 years, but I came here as a new bride, and we lived for the first 16 years in Dhahran on the campus of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

A couple of things have helped me keep my sanity. First of all, your being a Muslim is your greatest asset. Think of the move to Saudi Arabia as your own personal "Hijra", or immigration for the sake of Allah. Think of it as your highest goal in living here - not to raise your children as Arabs or to experience new cultures, but to be a better Muslim. If your intention is good, Allah will help you to cope.

Also, I hope you will rethink your aversion to learning Arabic. It's not easy, certainly, but it can be done. I don't know what kind of issues you have with your husband as far as going out of the house, but if you can find a center that teaches *spoken* Arabic with fellow foreigners, you will have an easier learning curve. There will be those who will tell you that learning Qur'anic Classical Arabic is more important, but my personal experience is that I learned to speak first, then the door opened for me to learn to read. Don't think you have to do it all at once. You will find that people warm up to you more quickly when they see that you are trying to learn to speak to them. Another option if you can't easily get out of the house (and I *know* what it's like) is to try and enroll in a correspondence course in Arabic. After I had been here for several years I took two semesters of Classical Arabic by correspondence from the Unversity of Wisconsin. The two semesters took me 4 years to complete! But I did it all within the walls of my own home. Think about it.

I don't know what city you live in or what facilities are available to you, but if you can find a circle of English-speaking ladies, you will find it eases your isolation. I cannot minimize the difficulty you will have in being accepted by the Arab women. It's sad, but true. After all the years I've been here, I'm still a foreigner. But if you can join a circle as I mentioned of fellow foreign Muslim ladies, they often hold Qur'anic lessons or other educational and social activities. Sorry, I can't give you more details, because I, myself, live a very isolated life, socially. But I have known other non-Arab ladies who have found a very satisfactory social life in the foreign community. I just hope your husband will be open-minded about it.

Just remember always that intentions count. If it is your intention to choose to live in a Muslim country in order to be a better Muslim and of course to be with your husband, then Allah will help you. Always pray to Allah to help you. He answers every prayer, even if we do not see the answer immediately.

I pray you will find peace and happiness and especially that your older children will decide to move back to your home eventually.

Wa Assalamu alaikum
Om Abdullah
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OmAbdullah
 
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Quote OmAbdullah Replybullet Posted: 22 September 2008 at 9:36pm
Assalamu alaikum again..
Sorry, I see you mentioned you live in Jeddah. The expatriot population there is huge, so hopefully you can get in touch with other English-speaking Muslims. And I do understand about how hard it is with babies. I had my youngest 5 over period of 6 years. Feel free to pm me if you want. My computer is my window on the world!
Om Abdullah
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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 23 September 2008 at 8:40pm

Salaams OmAbdullah,

How inspiring! I pray to live in a Muslim country someday. And you are right it is your intentions.. ultimately to try and please Allah.
 
Hayfa
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Sr. Asma
 
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Quote Sr. Asma Replybullet Posted: 04 March 2009 at 9:08am
   

Salam to all.  I think a lot of us reverts or converts to Islam have the same problems...no one can relate to us.  Although I have lived in Saudi for 13yrs, I am still basically alone...  Being from Illinois it seems I "gave up" being an American once I took Islam...but I am some what "forgiven" for this once the person knows I spent time in the active Army as an MP in Desert Storm.

 

Americans who are not Muslims have trouble relating to my Islam...we are from the same background, but Islam is a big part of a Muslim's life and the relating stops.  Saudi or other Arabs have an equally hard time relating to us...we have Islam in common, but not the rest...

 

As an American Muslim I have found myself "on the outside looking in" here in Saudi and in the US (lived there for 14mos with my 15 and 13yr old girls).  When I was in the US I could have taken off my hijab and looked like any other Swedish/German woman...but with hijab I am Muslim...another nationality.  I kept my hijab and learned a lot about myself.

 

As new Muslims it took a lot of backbone to change our religion and for many of us to go against not only our culture, but our families as well.  When we are trying to fit in with either the Americans or the Arabic cultures we are not standing on our own and staying strong like we were when we took shahadda.

 

I have talked with many Arabs and their comments are always how "good" new Muslims are and how much they respect us for changing our religion... I would almost say this (more than the different backgrounds) is what blocks the Arabs from making friendships with us...they admire us and set us above them in the Islamic area...wouldn't want us to see them as not such perfect Muslims.  Think of the German who knows English, but refuses to speak it until the American attempts speaking German first...the German doesn't want to be the first to look bad (lived in Bavaria for 3yrs). 

 

I know Saudis judge non-Saudis...there are many ways to deal with this but the one I found works best is to do what my cat did to my Saudi husband...kept going to my husband, lay down next to him and wait for a pat and one day it came.  Be nice to the ones that seem the most judgmental...it drives them crazy and all people are nosey about others, they will eventually either leave you alone, or talk with you and not bother you again. 

 

Not speaking Arabic is a problem. Arabs view a person who doesn't try learning Arabic as stuck-up and putting themselves above the Arab. You don't want to learn, that’s fine, but try meeting in the middle... When the Arab talks to you in Arabic say (just learn one phrase in Arabic to help yourself) your "Sorry, Arabic is very difficult for me.  Do you speak English?" This will go a long way in helping you feel less judged by them.

 

Entertainment...ah, this is a problem.  You can fight against the culture of staying up late/wake up late (can't change it) or just accept that's the way it is. There were things I didn't like about Germany...but once I accepted it I enjoyed the culture there (was the first American beerfrau in the area I lived in). I didn't see where your husband works...if he doesn't work for Aramco or one of the companies that has compounds then life is more difficult, but not insurmountable.  Contact the embassy - see if there are American groups in the area and what is available to you. Now is when you have to think of the pioneers on the prairie...you have to be strong for your kids and find things to keep them busy in the home.  Help them learn a musical instrument if you learned one when you were young (it comes back trust me!), the three of you learn another language [Spanish etc] together, or go for walks on the beach.  Khobar has a nice Science museum...do you have one in your area? 

 

Friends...have you tried contacting Discover Islam in your area?  This group will have other Americans who have become Muslims...ah, finally the common group you were looking forSmile

 

Take it one day at a time and accept you are unique as a new Muslim...we are a separate group and you have to find your friends with usTongue   

 
 
 
 
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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 05 March 2009 at 9:39am
Salaams SrAsma,

welcome to the forum... you had alot of great insights. We are our own group you are right..

i am in karachi now.. and it feels the same what you wrote.. i can live in US and have the comfort, but Islam is not there. I come here and there is Islam but lack of social network..

 you put it aptly and timely for me!

Hayfa
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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momoffour
 
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Quote momoffour Replybullet Posted: 05 March 2009 at 11:05am
Asalam Alaikum.....
 
Sr. Asma, wow I like what you had to say.  Not all of it applies to me or my particular situation, but I really appreciate you taking the time writing and acknowledging me and this problem which certainly I'm not the only one who suffers from.
 
I wish life were as easy as you made it sound.  And we all have our problems and issues.  Humdullilah for all that I have and all that Allah is keeping from me, this is his plan.  Insh'allah I will grow from this experience and my family and I will be better for it. 
 
Thanks again.....
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