It is time to stop the stupid ‘JAHA’

It is awful the kind of relationship we have between the groom’s family and the bride in the days proceeding the wedding. Regardless of whether it is a traditional arranged wedding or not, most of the Jordanian family still do follow certain traditions that emphasises on the value of the bride as a property to be sold. It starts from the ‘JAHA’ where the grooms family gathers all their relatives and friends and move towards the bride’s house. Men with men, and women with women. Women dance and celebrate while men do the agreement. The highest status member of the groom’s asks for the hand of the bride while emphasising on his family value and social status along with the status of the groom and their desire of having such contract with the bride’s family. The highest member of the bride’s family talks about the grooms high morals and accepts the offer. All done at the men’s side while the bride dancing in the other room with the women!

It doesn’t stop here. It is hard to neutralized the mother of the groom in the days of engagement and planning for the wedding. While it is one thing having the bride welcoming her future mother-in-law as a friend and helper with her experience in planning up her wedding and picking her future house and furniture, it is different when the mother-in-law treats the bride as a sold property where she has to prove her obedience to the groom and his family through that period. Interference doesn’t stop in giving some advices here and there, most mother-in-laws do have the upper hand even in chosing the wedding gown and the jewleries for the bride.

The sad thing is that brides do pride themselves among their relatives and friends with the amount of jewlery their future husband get to them as if they emphasize on their value as a market item.

What surprises me the most is that at the time where women are getting more and more financially independant where they are equally capable to support their future home as much as the man they are going to marry (sometimes even more), they still abide with such degrading rules. They still fear the nightmare of staying celebate because of their independence, and they long for the groom’s family acceptance (especially his mother)!

What is also ironic is that women are women worse enemy even here. The most hurtful part in this process is the mother-in-law condensing behaviour. It is like if she is saying ‘I have been hardly following the rules of society for so long, serving my husband and family all those years as society expects me to do. Now I will make sure to ensure that you will be giving the same treatment to my son that I gave to my husband’

Too bad! Women stand up for yourselves. Stop the JAHAT! It won’t be a scandal! People would talk a bit and then forget about it when more and more women act this way. You are an equal part in this society, you have to fill up your new role. You are no longer a follower.


22 thoughts on “It is time to stop the stupid ‘JAHA’

  1. KJ says:

    I half agree half disagree here.The part I disagree on is that we need to stop the jahat because of the underlying concept. This isn’t the case. Jahat are seen differently depending on the people. Ya3ni for instance, my friend’s jaha is in a couple of weeks and everyone is excited about it – and he dated her for three years and she is more financially successful than he is. They’re doing it for tradition and it is a fun thing to do and watch and it is part of the marriage experience (like 7enna and other stuff)The part I agree on is considering women as sold property but this isn’t a problem with the jaha itself but rather the old mentality some people have regarding the subject matter. Some parents are greedy enough let’s be frank and may not wed the daughter to a man because he hasn’t provided enough jewelery and it HAS happened to a friend I know and they’re Syrian. It’s a mentality problem that some parents consider their daughters as properties of trade and it is a shame on the husband to consider her as such.We’re all human beings created to live together and not buy each other off. The jaha and other traditions shouldn’t stop even if they display an “act of purchase” – what really needs to stop is the mentality of the trade which thankfully is diminishing slowly with the newer generations.


  2. I totally agree with KJ!The Jaha is highly valued in our traditions and its really interesting and has its deep meanings.You are talking here about things that have nothing to do with Jaha; the pride that talks about the jewelery provided by the groom, the girls who get married just because they afraid of what the people are going to say if they don’t get married, the over expensive costs ….and many other things! all these things have nothing to do with Jaha or with other beautiful traditions we have in the Arab World.In our family, its 3aib to talk about “maher” and such financial issues with the groom’s family, because marriage is not a trade deal, and the “Maher” should be dealt with as a gift from the groom to the pride! and i guess this is the case for many other families!Believe me, there is always a beautiful side of everything we do in our Arab World.Lets look at the bright side of our traditions and not to underestimate the real values of them!


  3. whatever says:

    I cannot see the problem with Jaha. I mean if people want to do it, then go ahead and do it. Either way people are “boktoboo il ktab” even before the jaha. and it is becoming a celebration more than anything else. And even if we look back to what it meant long time ago. The fact that the groom brought the best and most influential people in his family along with him is in no way disrespectful for women. On the contrary, it is saying that i brought all those people, because i am asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage, and for the father of the bride it is something along the lines of saying that i would not give my daughter to anyone, yo have to show your worth and your family’s worth. We can argue that it is a tradition no longer necessary. like most other traditions, but i cannot see how it is disrespectful to women. Even the Shabkeh, it is the bride’s property and always stays the same. if she does not one she can decline it. Either way i can see how it used to give some sort of financial security to the bride, just like il m2akhar…


  4. Interesting post.The issue I have with the Jahas is not the financial issues that are discussed, but the fact that the bride HAS NO PART IN IT WHAT SO EVER. The groom attends it (al bight silently) but not her. That I object to and find it demeaning.As for the dowry/jewellery. Lets face facts here, 99% of the time in a traditional arab marriage, the woman either quits whatever job she has, or demotes it to part time.. in fairness this is sometimes due to having to children. But it is her that gives up work or takes a career break, not him. So a dowry seems only fair, to ensure her some form of financial independence despite whatever happens. Plus its a nice present.I know many men object/have an issue with announcing how much a persons dowry was. Then again many men want a traditional marriage with non-traditional responsibilities and obligations, so announcing the dowry amount in a way pushes them to fork out the going rate on dowries. Lets face it when most middle class families considered 3000 JD for dowry (including jihaaz) acceptable, no one asked for more or less. A few years later, inflation took its toll, and pushed it up to 5000, and that is what most people asked for. No more, no less. Most families also have sons who they must pay for to get married, so when considering dowries they look at it from both sides ‘what will be good for my daughter and what can i afford for my son’, and decide accordingly. So crippling dowries are really not an issue if you think about it, and flaunting what you have may be crass, but isn’t exactly harmful if one considers the bigger picture.


  5. Kj, actually being a sold item is part of the Jaha. When a bunch of men of a certain family come and ask to have the woman of the other family to be theirs and then paying for her – in a polite, not blunt matter – then it s selling.We can try to ignore this part and look at the Jaha as a funny traditional thing, but this is exactly what happens. We can’t deny it. Just pay close attention at your friend’s Jaha, and see the men gathering for the purchase. 7ala, I am talking about the Jaha as well. Why ignoring the blunt bad side of the Jaha and try to find a nice face for it? An entire set of men come and take a woman from another family to belong to them! Modern Marriage should be starting a new family. Not abandoning yours if you are a woman, and not winning someone into yours when you are a man. Whatever, it is wrong for people to yoktobo el ktab before the Jaha! and the jaha is not just a celebration. It carries old values that is degratory for women. Gathering the best men from a family to take a woman under their name doesn’t give women a higher status as a human being, maybe it gives her a higher value as a market item but not as a human being.Financial security of the shabkeh has been a good idea in the past when women were not allowed to work and where considered to be the weak follower creatures. Now things changes, they ought to live up for their new role.loolt, that is true! Why don’t women attend the Jaha and let her have her say infront of all of those men?! As for the money, maybe it is time to consider other possibilities to ensure the financial securities for both men and women in a marriage relationship. Marriage insurance may be helpful? It doesn’t have to be all at on the shoulders of the groom at a time women are gaining real equality.


  6. glad you agree with jaha thing🙂As for your second point, i think operative point is ‘gaining equality’. Personally i dont believe it will ever be achieved. To have a society where in every walk of life both the mum & dad participate equally in the financial and emotional needs of a child is to have a society which highly constrained and regulated. In a civilised, prosperous society some progress can be made towards this social idyll, but one party will always take on one role more significantly than the other. Statistics weigh in favour of the Man being the financial provider, therefore the dowry should remain.Btw, i have found that career women tend to ask for a smaller dowry than non-career women. Or even just ask for a symbolic one.


  7. Disagree.First, women will never, ever be equal to men. By saying that, I dont mean men are better, nor worse. They are just not equal. Women get pregnant, they have periods, they are weak and vulnerable. Men are strong, rough, sexually driven and can tolerate hard working environments.How can this and that be EQUAL? 1=1 means 1 EQUALS 1!!! Men doesnt equal women, as I stated above.Second, I agree with u that Jaha is so over-rated. To gather tens of men all at specific time just to ask for a bride, is nothing but a show off from either sides.


  8. LOL!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!You’re so naive Haya and Fadi… Apparently you’ve never been to a Jaha!First of all, guys, have ALWAYS wanted to break from the Jaha, we couldn’t because THE BRIDE’S FAMILY DEMAND’S IT to further enhance her position in front of the Groom and his family. So it’s not like it’s there to degrade the woman it’s there to … ehm… well.. to degrade the GROOM! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!! You’re soooooooo funny … As for the rest of the stuff, well, I sort of agree with you on how the Mother in law “checks-up” the goods. But, well, give that honor to the groom, and be open with it. But who would allow his daughter to get “felt” by a MAN who, may or may not take her as a wife? Not trying to justify it or anything. It sucks, and I hate it, and would never accept it or do it. But yeah … It happens .. I still can’t get over the funny part, you portrayed the Jaha as something demeaning to the woman .. I say DOWN WITH THE JAHA .. you HEAR ME? DOWN DOWN WITH THE JAHA … DOWN DOWN WITH THE JAHA … more than any woman would say …HAHAHAHAHA You’re funny man🙂


  9. OK I was not going to say anything but subzero here pushed me.Sigh, I can’t believe people still say what you said at this day and age! Fine women are physically weaker but when do women need to be strong physically to work and bring in money as equally if not even more than a man would? Forget about money. You don’t need to be strong to be smart and give an opinion or whatever!!!Time has changed Man, being physically strong is no longer needed to survive and contribute.We are not fighting wars and taking the loot to survive , or farming or having to build a house or or or. Even if I want to farm there are machines that do it so I can be sitting not moving a muscle and doing it.I can be sitting at my desk and make tons of money.And please enough with the women get periods. What does that have to do with anything? Does that make a woman stupid or incapable of doing anything? LIKE PLEASE. It’s merely an inconvenience. Nothing more, it’s like how men need to shave everyday. Does hair growing on your face cause you to not be equal to women.Nothing against you man but it just irritates me to no extent what you said. And pregnancy. I am pregnant and I am still working, making money, being an equal contributer to my household. If I was on a farm then I could understand that I might be LESS productive than my husband but that is not the case.Wake up and smell the roses ya zalameh. The world is different now.You got me all fired up. LOL.And Fadi: I think Jaha IS all about how awesome a woman is and how the guy is made to grovel to get her. I LOVE IT. For a change it actually raises the status of the woman and men should hate it not women.So I chant , keep the Jaha!


  10. KJ says:

    @ 7aki and subzero –saying women are weaker than men just by looking at the muscle count isn’t really a true indication. Strength is really inside, not always outside, plus, how can you tell a human being who is able to be pregnant 9 months and vomits every day while still be able to cook and clean the house and raise the other kids and make money, weak?This “equality” issue is yesterday’s talk.


  11. i second 7aki. subzero, women are equally strong compared to men, if not stronger but it is a different kind of strength. you might laugh at the thought but its true. the human race is the weakest among mammals, but still is the leading specie. a woman who get pregnant and bares children is no weak. infact stronger in her instincts and is capable of martial arts <> if she had to. <> women don’t know what they are capable of, are brought to think of themselves as weaker and dependant throughout history. its a misconception.


  12. I couldn’t let this one pass.Subzero, Sorry, but what you’re saying is completely unrelated! Have you seen MMA? The chicks there would kick your ass (and mine) with two punches!As for Period ..etc these are not really reasons to think of women any less. I know that’s not what you’re trying to say. Maybe we can think of a better term than equal. How about equivalent?Men and woman are different but they are both equivalent in thier roles.Anyway, I’m with < HREF="" REL="nofollow">7aki fadi<> heart and soul on this one (thank you 7aki for your wisdom and invaluable experience) it’s exactly as she said it’s more value for women, and less for men… So DOWN DOWN with JAHA …


  13. loolt, it make sense that women with no job as for more dowry. I understand your point, but I don’t like the type of relationship it builds. Insurance would be a better security measurment while maintaining a better human relations. I bet that insurance companies would rush into grapping on the opportunity of this. subzero, I guess 7aki, Tala and Qwaider said it all. If women are physically weaker that doesn’t mean they are really weaker! Women are really tough. Besides, it is all relevant, modern life doesn’t leave a room for physical strength in terms of work power. The field is leveled. Men and women are equal and have to be treated the same.Qwaider, heheh, I have been to many Jaha’s. I do stick to my opinion. A bunch of men come and take a woman from her family. Men of her family give her up! A sum of money is paid! The other family celebrate their new property! It is degrading!7aki fadi, *clap* bravo. I wouldnt say it better. Thanks for stepping in and saying it.As for the Jaha, I don’t know how you see it as a raise of status for women! It is a group of men purchasing a woman! It just raises her as a property value not as a human being.


  14. I agree. Better yet, let’s also stop the stupid funeral and the stupid wedding ceremony, and the stupid reciprocating visits during eid. How about when a pedestrian crosses in the middle of a highway, and gets run over, then his family sends a delegation to the driver’s family to basically extort money out of them for their son’s stupidity.We need to get rid of all this nonesense.No I’m not being sarcastic.


  15. Farah says:

    I agree because of the way the jaha is conducted, like when the men sit alone and ask for the woman, while all the women sit in another room. I’m not against the concept itself, but the protcols of it, as the observer said, are very degrading.


  16. whatever, it is actually about sex (men vs women)!😛Hani Obed, I love wedding ceremonies, but I would change the obligations of relative visits during the holidays. Make it more genuine and on friendly basis. Farah, thank you for the support🙂. You put it simply as it is.It was nice seeing you the other day.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Well I just wana say that the JAHA is not anymore that same way you guys are describing it .. yes i guess before it was degrading or watever.. but now its more of a “tradional” procedure that same like hena night is getting back now as a theme instead of bridal showers.A Jaha is essentially a “group of men” who get together for a certain social purpose. In most cases, that purpose is designated to getting two people married. The groom’s family, lead by family or tribal elders, heads towards the bride’s house in jaha-form, where they are received. This is all prearranged beforehand, so its not a deal or finiacial deal u guys are talking about .. these things are not even discussed. The best part when most of the men are seated, and the hosts serve everyone coffee, but the sheik or the oldest man in the groom’s family doesn’t drink. He instead puts down his cup and begins to speak, usually saying something along the lines of how they its an honor to get to know the brides family, and become one family etc, and then ask for their daughters hand in marriage. Usually a similar family-elder from the bride’s side is there to respond and will say something like we would love to. Details vary according to the family and their origin, size and/or importance. And then the fatha is read by everyone in the room and the deed is done. they congratulate each other. And the groom and bride will be together. As if they anouncement was made and now everyone nows they arre getting engagedok getting back to my ppoint the Jaha now is like an announcement for the couple thats all.. he comes and gets all his friends and family.. and she and her friends and family are there.. its not men alone and women alone anymore,its mixed.. ya sumtimes if the house didnt fit or watever. like the moms and girls move or sumthing till some of the men leave as usually there are more men than imagined.. for the groom to show off that he and all his ppl is coming to gett u the bride .. and tell every1 about it .. so basically its ends up as the jaha and then ppl now do receptions afterwards and its an anouncement.. and yes its def. not like b4 .. i mean ppl who do it now .. the couple usually have been dating… they basically do it for fun,I think its just an excuse to celebrate .. just consider it announcement and how the groom goes through ALLL this for her.. .. sorry for this long msg bare with me thanks


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  19. Anonymous says:

    I disagree, maybe women don’t share the men room, but there is nothing that is going on in that other room with the men, that haven’t been discussed earlier and before the Jaha took a place with the bride, even before her family, and if it wasn’t for her acceptance none of this will take a place, it’s just really good to show the bride how much she means for you to go through the effort of gathering Jaha and go to her house to propose it’s nice🙂


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