JEDDAH: KHADIJAH HABEEB
Published — Tuesday 30 July 2013
Last update 12 August 2013 10:28 am
Khattaba is the Arabic word for a woman marriage match-maker whose job is to bring two people together who want to get married. She is the link between those two people, starting with introductions with the intent of reaching a final agreement.
Prospective grooms are largely responsible for paying for the service. And like most professionals, Khattabas can be sought through social networking websites.
Umm Mohammad is a popular marriage match-maker who has gained the confidence of many prospective brides and groom.
“Because we live in a conservative society, it doesn’t mean we don’t understand the requirements of our young people,” Mohammad said. “And that’s why I have entered this profession.
She said she approaches each potential couple with marriage applications to be filled out. If there is a potential match, the two individuals are introduced to each other and they decide on the marriage. At this point families of the bride and groom get involved.
Mohammad said she opened a Facebook account to further her profession.
“In reality, I can hardly switch on the computer and I was fearful at first when my daughter suggested this it,” she said. “My daughter started to teach me the basics of my account on Facebook, and it’s been three years since I have been dealing with this technology under her supervision.”
She added: “There is less pressure because I don’t need to go outside of the house as it was before and I receive everything on e-mail.”
She said she receives the personal data of the parties wishing for a spouse.
“I don’t think using such social media networking requires a great deal of effort or in being clever to get as much friends and followers as possible,” she said.
Mohammad noted that through social media Through platforms, professional matchmakers are “building a virtual self where messages can be received from both parties specifying exact information about them and what they are looking for in an ideal marriage partner.”
Sa’dah Al-Bashri, a traditional matchmaker, refuses to enter the virtual world. She said it will cause people to lose confidence in the profession and its practitioners. It also will lead to reduced fees for matchmakers.
“Our reputation and contacts are our investment,” Al-Bashri said. “Not all website users are perfect clients. It is better to go directly to the parents of young men and women. If young people are serious about a commitment they wouldn’t use these websites.”
Traditional matchmaking is much easier because enables the matchmaker to describe prospective brides or grooms in detail, which gives the process credibility.
“E-matchmaking is harming the reputation of our profession, and we lost many clients who joined these websites,” Al-Bashri said.
Fees depend on marriages and the social standing of the couple. But the cost to the prospective groom not less than SR 500 as a starting price.
Al-Bashri said websites are not safe, and she prefers the traditional way because it is much more confidential.
Al Anood, member of a Facebook group, doesn’t see any harm in dealing with matchmakers, whether they are traditional or modern, as long as they maintain privacy.
Matchmakers help young men, even though many people reject them. One of her relatives had an unsuccessful experience with e-matchmaking, but there are many successful marriages, she said.
The important thing is to know the suitable matchmaker and the realistic and reasonable qualities of one’s partner.