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PEEK BEFORE YOU WED, SAUDI MEN ADVISED

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A Saudi newspaper advised Arab men to get a good look behind the veil of their intended bride before the ceremony but acknowledged that Islamic scholars were not sure which parts of the anatomy they should be allowed to see.

"There is no disagreement among scholars that it is permissible for a man to look at the woman he intends to marry," the Jeddah-based daily Arab News told a reader Monday.The newspaper said regulations in some Islamic states that disapproved of a man seeing his intended wife before the wedding "were more on account of the traditions of that particular society" than Islamic teachings.

"The traditions of any particular society cannot take precedence over Islamic rulings," it said.

But scholars differed on which parts of the anatomy a future husband could see.

"Some suggest that he may look at her face and the lower part of her hands, while others say that he may look at her when she is in the normal dress she wears at home," the newspaper said.

"This means she may be without her headcover or may be wearing a knee-length dress," it said.

The paper advised its male readers to "observe Islamic propriety when he looks at her . . . because this is a relaxation given to him for a particular purpose."

Under Islamic custom women should be fully clothed and wear a veil when in public.

The paper warned that an intended was not allowed to be alone with his future wife before the wedding and that some of her relatives, such as her father, brother or mother, should also be present.

"As you realize, for a man to be in an enclosed space with a woman who is not related to him is forbidden," it concluded.