Saudi marries 14 times hoping for a child

Updated 20 August 2012
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Saudi marries 14 times hoping for a child

A Saudi man hailing from the northern city of Arar has set a record by marrying 14 times during the last 37 years. Mutlaq Sulaiman, 53, said he wedded 14 women with the hope of getting a child. According to a report carried by Al-Watan Arabic daily on Saturday, Sulaiman’s wives belonged to various nationalities and different age groups. He married ladies older than him by 23 years and younger than him by 36 years. The youngest of Sulaiman’s wives was a Syrian lady who he married when she was 17. “Our married life continued for two years, but her family later forced me to divorce her,” he pointed out.

Sulaiman, a government employee working at the Education Department in the Northern Border Province, married his first wife from his neighborhood when he was 16. When his first wife failed to give birth to a child, his family, including his wife, compelled him to marry another woman, but he refused. But 14 marriages later, he was never lucky enough to have a single child. Sulaiman would occasionally divorce one of his wives, never keeping more than four wives at a time. The longest period he spent married to any one wife was eight years, while the shortest was two years. He had also given between SR 40,000 to SR 150,000 as dowry to his wives. In his family, except for his father who married five women, no one married more than once. Sulaiman married his last wife two years ago and is still living with her. She insists that she would continue to live with him to fulfill his dream of having a baby bearing his name. He is now undergoing treatment for infertility.

 


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.