Sun, May 07, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Temporary marriages up in Afghanistan

Two women walk by a shop selling wedding dresses in Kabul, Afghanistan. 阿富汗喀布爾市兩名婦女路過一家婚紗店。 (照片:法新社)


Twenty-nine-year-old Payenda Mohammad was married in March in a simple ceremony in a northern town in Afghanistan. The marriage only lasted four hours, but that was exactly what he wanted.

"Nobody would give me their daughters to marry because I didn't have family or money," says Payenda, whose parents and sister died about 15 years ago.

While in Iran, he started trying temporary marriages, and he kept doing it when he came back to Afghanistan. He's now been married 20 times.

In a country where marriages are taken seriously and people rarely divorce, the idea of temporary marriage is beginning to catch on.

The process is simple. To get married, a couple goes to a mullah who marries them for a stipulated period of time -- from a few hours to a few years. Afterwards, they can then choose to marry each other again or separate.

In a normal marriage, an Afghan groom must pay a dowry that is usually at least 42,250 Afghanis (NT$32,400). He then has to pay for the wedding party, which can cost thousands more. However, many Afghans don't have the money to pay for this.

"Short marriages have a lot of benefits for women whose husbands have died," says Nazira, who is in the middle of a temporary marriage.

"It helps them look after their children better ... Also, we don't have to pay for a wedding party because with a short marriage we just go to a mullah."

She says a regular marriage would have cost her and her husband 125,000 Afghanis.

"It is very difficult," she says. "Where would we find that kind of money?" (AFP)




Reading Comprehension

1. Mohammad was only married for four hours because ...

a. he didn't like his new wife.

b. his wife wanted a divorce.

c. it was a temporary marriage.

2. Why couldn't Mohammad get a real wife?

a. He didn't have enough money.

b. His wife had been killed.

c. Women prefer temporary marriages.

3. Most people in Afghanistan treat marriage ...

a. very seriously.

b. as a joke.

c. as a temporary thing.

4. What is one of the advantages of temporary marriages for women whose husbands have died?

a. It gives them time to take care of their children.

b. They don't have to work anymore.

c. It helps them forget about their old husbands.









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