Love, Islamic Style: From Arranged Marriage to Love at First Sight

Ten couples living in eight countries, from Egypt to Yemen, from Afghanistan to Turkey: For the German magazine Zenith they've answered questions about marriage and love. A portrait of diversity within the Muslim world.

Amin, a young Yemeni, is engaged. But he won't see the bride until his wedding day. An Azerbaijani named Israfil, on the other hand, has courted his girlfriend Elmira since they studied together, with love poems he penned himself. In the United Arab Emirates, Rodaina's husband Yasser also writes love poems for her, even though their marriage was arranged.

From arch-conservative to liberal, from traditional to modern, from love that exists before the marriage to love that's allowed to bloom only after the wedding: the Moslem world isn't a uniform bloc.

A German magazine by young journalists called Zenith has published a series of ten portraits of married couples from eight different Muslim countries.

Tanyeli, a Turkish woman, tells how she lived in New York for a year to advance her career and left her husband at home. Such a life is unimaginable for Nassima, from Afghanistan. When she was 15 years old, she was married to a man 15 years her senior, and today looks after four of their ten children. Her husband can't even dream of computer games, like Tanyeli's husband -- he's just happy to have escaped a sentence of death by hanging. Twice.

SPIEGEL ONLINE presents the brief interviews with these couples, which unveil both similarities and differences across the Islamic world.


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