Saudi Woman Barred from Marrying ‘Musical’ Suitor

Saudi woman has lost a judicial battle to marry the man of her choice after a court deemed him “religiously” unfit because he plays a musical instrument, a Saudi newspaper reported Tuesday.

This follows the practice in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom where women are required to seek permission from male “guardians” — their fathers, husbands or other male relatives — to travel, get married and other tasks.

Two years ago the suitor, a teacher, asked for the hand of the woman, a 38-year-old bank manager from the ultra-conservative region of Qassim, north of the capital Riyadh, Okaz newspaper said.

But her family objected, saying he was not “religiously compatible” with her because he played the oud, the oriental lute which is popular across the Arab world.

The woman, who was not named, took her case to the courts, and a lower court weighed in on the side of the family, saying the marriage could not go through.

“Because the suitor plays a musical instrument he is unsuitable for the woman from a religious point of view,” the court said, according to Okaz.

An appeals court ratified the verdict, making it final, the newspaper added.

The woman told Okaz she will seek intervention from the country’s “highest authorities” — a reference to the royal court.

AFP reports that the bank manager, who holds a masters degree and is responsible for more than 300 employees, said she was determined to marry her suitor, describing him as “very pious and with a good reputation”.

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