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February 10, 2016

An Islamic Tribe Where Men Wear Veils – Meet Tuareg Tribe

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Whenever we come across the word ‘tribe’, there are certain images and opinions which come to our mind – backward, rigid rules, suppressed women, patriarchal, etc. The general opinion is people dressed up in very basic colours, unique jewellery, multiple piercings and more often than not, painted faces. While some
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Whenever we come across the word ‘tribe’, there are certain images and opinions which come to our mind – backward, rigid rules, suppressed women, patriarchal, etc. The general opinion is people dressed up in very basic colours, unique jewellery, multiple piercings and more often than not, painted faces. While some of them may be true, all of them are not, especially for one specific tribe – Tuareg. Where the entire world hasn’t still taken adequate measures to complete empower women, this tribe has done just that! Yes, you read that right – the Tuareg tribe has empowered women fully and even more than men!

Freedom to Date

The women are allowed to have as many sexual partners as they want before they settle down to marry and no judgement is passed. It is the norm in that tribe. As a result, they end up marrying later than as compared to other tribes. All of this is fine as long as both of the partners respect the one important rule of the tribe – privacy. The man can go to the girl’s tent at night and the girl’s parents will politely turn a blind eye to uphold their privacy but, the man has to be out of there with his camel before sunrise. It is socially unacceptable to come out late if you are not married! The same girl can welcome another man inside her tent the next night if she wants! She is not bound to one man as long as she is single!

Freedom to Choose Life Partner

The next step in their tribe is marriage. In that too, the power is with the girls. The men write beautiful poems to woo the love of their lives but the end decision rests with the women themselves! While you may think this means that only the men know how to read and write, well, weren’t you paying attention? The tribe has empowered women more! This means that the women of the tribe also know how to read and write! The girls are taught by their mothers!

Men Cover Faces

What’s more is that it is the men of the tribe who cover their faces, not the women. Women are greatly revered so much so that the son-in-laws don’t eat in front of their mother-in-laws! And the most surprising thing is that this tribe has embraced Islam but still held onto all of these customs which are the total opposite of customs in the Muslim world.

 Woman Entitled to Property After Separation

But the freedom doesn’t end here. It is the woman who decides that she has had enough in a marriage and she calls the quits. She gets to keep whatever she brought and that includes the kids as well. She also gets the tent. The man only ends up with his camel and has to go back to his mother’s house. This ensures that the mother’s camp is the root of the community – the place everyone returns to. Plus, there is no stigma associated with divorce. If anything, it’s the opposite – a party is thrown by the woman’s family members so that the other men know that the woman is available again.

Women are the Decision Makers

But, it is still not a society where the women are in charge – it is still the men who take part in politics and the like discussions but still the women can be consulted and they are the silent influencers of the political game.

Matrilineal System

Women have influenced the tribe so much that family lines are traced through men rather than women. This is because it is proven or guaranteed that the child is of your sister but the same can’t be said for a man due to obvious reasons. One another strange fact is that the tribe follows a tradition of men not eating in front of women with whom they can’t have sexual relations – thus the custom of the son-in-law not eating in front of his mother-in-law.

Level of Dignity

Another fact about the tribe is that they will never shame themselves, they will go to any length to maintain their personal dignity, even suffer if they have to. They won’t even ask for water if they are thirsty and not been offered water. Maybe this is why the welcome of Tuareg tribe is one of a kind and they never forget to offer water.

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