Like promised this post is about the Q and A from our tour of the mosque. Our guide was more than happy to answer any questions we had about Islam, Oman, or anything else we wanted to know.
At the very beginning she introduced us to her friend who she very proud explained was a female engineer. She attended University and received her bachelor degree then masters in the UK. She then came back home to Oman and now works as an engineer with men. She gets paid just as much as the men and is treated as their equal. She as well as our guide answered our questions.
During the Q and A session different people asked different questions about Islam and Omani culture. Please note the follow section is not exact quotes.
Q: Do men have lots of wives?
A: Usually men only have one wife. In the Koran, it says you are allowed to have more than one wife, only if you treat all of the wives equally. So if you buy once a Mercedes for one you must buy one for all your wives. If you buy one a 5,000 dollar necklace you must buy a 5,000 dollar necklace for the others as well.
Q: Why can only men divorce women?
A: Men can only divorce because they aren’t as controlled by their emotions as women. A divorce happens as soon as it is uttered.
Q: Why doesn’t happen more often then?
A: (An Oman woman answered this question) It’s too much work having to get another dowry, learn the new habits of the women, and the in laws. It’s just too much.
Q: Do men and women marry for love or is it arranged?
A: Men and women have to choose each other. The parents can make suggestions, but ultimately the man and women make the decision. Some men ask their mothers for help if they are too go out and meet people.
Q: What is the average family size?
A: In the old day, it was about 5 to 6 children and now it’s 3 to 4 because women are working more.
Q: When do children begin learning English?
A: Children begin learning English in kindergarten children speak English and Arabic.
Q: How are the schools?
A: Schools are all boys and all girls except private school until University. In 1972 there were only three all boy schools in the entire country and now it’s about 1500.
Q: Is there poverty?
A: There’s a little bit of poverty, but not a lot. People give a lot to the poor and the Koran mandates a certain about your income after you’ve bought essentials (like food) MUST be given to the poor. She made it clear it was not a suggestion, but something they are supposed to do or they wouldn’t be right in the sight of Allah.
Q: Why do all the women wear the long black dresses (do you still remember the name)?
A: the women wear dresses to modest. Thye believe the only person who should see their bodies is their spouses. The Koran does not mandate they wear these dresses they choose too. The Koran says to be modest.
Q: Is there a feminist movement going on in Oman?
A: (The female engineer answered this particular question very passionately) No, the engineer responded saying that not only isn’t there one, but she said she is against feminism. She doesn’t feel like she’s oppressed. She makes just as much as her male counterparts and pointed out that not even the US has that. The men respect her and she’s treated as an equal. She feels that most feminist are asking for equal pay and she already has that.
Q: Who gets paychecks?
A: According to Islam, when a women gets paid. It’s her money. When a man gets paid it’s his money and her money. He buys her nice things such as cars and jewelry,
Q: Any facts about jewelry?
A: According to Islam, only women are allowed to wear gold and silver. Men can wear diamonds not no gold or silver ever.
As a disclaimer the ladies explained that this is how things are in Oman. It may not be the same in stricter Muslim countries. Most the time the strict rules are cultural and not part of Islam. She made it clear that media representation is not correct. Islam is a loving relationship and she explained that it’s about your relationship with God. You pray because it’s “your oxygen” and you need your oxygen. This is very similar to the Christian faith.
The ladies closed by asking all of us who are searching to keep an open mind and look out to see where God leads you.
Thank you so much for reading todays. It was abnormally long, but I hope you learned a lot because I certainly did. I believe cleared up a few misconceptions and you now have a better understanding of Islam and Omani culture.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to comment. Follow my instagram for more pictures.