In most cases, these marriages are secret, without the knowledge of the man's other wives - even though a marriage contract is drawn up in the presence of witnesses, and although consent is commonly obtained from the woman's guardian, and the marriage is registered and documented at the courthouse.Demand is high for misyar marriages on online matchmaking sites, as well as through services using text messages and email. Since the fatwa was issued, the number of misyar marriages has increased in Jeddah, particularly among women aged 30 to 40.According to Sheikh Abd Al-Karim Al-Ghamidi, who oversees and coordinates all marriages in Jeddah, most of the women seeking these marriages are businesswomen, teachers, doctors, nurses, and widows. Ibtisam Halwani, who researched the phenomenon and published a number of articles on the subject, found out the following about misyar marriages: Most of the women in these marriages are non-Saudis, and are from a certain few large cities; in some misyar marriages, the woman relinquishes only some of her rights; many marriage contracts are made not in the presence of the woman's guardian, but in the presence of a public official; some women in misyar marriages demand a divorce after a while so as to remarry and obtain a new dowry; many men set conditions for the woman, such as "if the knowledge of the marriage gets out, you are divorced," or "if you get pregnant, you are divorced"; many of the men divorce when it is even suspected that news of the marriage has reached the families; many students from out of town seek misyar marriage; and most misyar marriages end in divorce. Halwani of 64 women working in Jeddah, found that 81% of them were against misyar marriage; 9% were absolutely in favor of it; and 8% were in favor but only under specific circumstances.A veteran Saudi matchmaker told the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that since the publication of the fatwa permitting misyar marriages, she had received at least 15-20 requests per day from men of various ages for such marriages, from men under 20 who did not object to women over 40, up to men in their 70s.She said that the young men who marry women aged 40 and 50 remain with them until they finish their studies.
For the most part, misyar marriages also do not last, and ending them by divorce is no problem.These marriages fulfill all the conditions [for marriage in Islam]...Perhaps society does not accept them, [but] there is a difference between whether the marriage is socially acceptable and whether they are permitted from the point of view of religious law.Personal ads on the online Islamic matchmaking sites reveal the nature of these marriages.The following are several examples: "Young man, 26, from the UAE, seeks misyar marriage to a divorcee, widow, or single woman.