Changing the Attitude of Young People Towards Marriage with a Focus on Law and Environmental Conditions such as Religion and Custom

Kameel Ahmady

Kameel.ahmady@gmail.com

Abstract

One pattern that has emerged today because of changing attitudes of young people in today’s society is white marriage, which has become one of the social challenges. White marriage is the way of life without registering a formal and legal marriage that is accepted differently among young people. The purpose of this study is to study the status of white marriage among young people who have experienced this lifestyle, the causes of the tendency to this lifestyle and its consequences, in three metropolises, including Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan. The theoretical framework of this research was interpretative and qualitative methodological framework, along with a grounded theory that was used to determine the effective on changing young people’s attitude towards marriage, including law, religious and custom. Some environmental factors such as religiosity, tendency of individuals to official marriage and its reasons, incidence of pregnancy and abortion, and Importance of virginity were studied. The existence of laws, traditions and religious beliefs related to these factors in Iranian families has led to a change in young people’s attitudes towards formal marriage and their greater desire to continue the relationship and choose white marriage. The results of the research indicated that the social rules, religious and custom, which are governing, are involved in determining the phenomenon of cohabitation. Lack of acceptance by society and family, lack of legal protection and having a secret relationship are some of the limitations of this way of life. This research is published in 2021 by Mehri publication House with open door “A Comprehensive Research Study on White Marriage (Cohabitation) in Iran”.

Introduction

Attitudes towards marriage reflect feelings, inclinations or prejudices, preconceived notions, and fears and strong beliefs about marriage. Therefore, a person’s attitude towards marriage is a way of thinking and feeling about marriage (Memani, 2003). Today, in marriage, special attention is paid to expectations, perceptions and attitudes toward marriage, as a cognitive and mental phenomenon. Because the distortion of these standards can lead to the chaos of married life (Sharp, et al. 2000). According to the studies, the attitude of young people towards marriage has a negative change, and as a result of this negative attitude, moral, social and economic destruction has become common among young people (Jonsson et al. 2000). In general, changes in the pattern of marriage, reluctance to marry, old age marriage or non-marriage has increased dramatically (Jones et al, 2004).

Marriage is the cause of family formation and reproduction and survival of the human race. Human societies have witnessed fundamental changes in the age of marriage over the last two centuries, first in European countries and then in developing countries in the twentieth century (Lucas et al. 1994). Iran, like other Third World countries is in the transition from tradition to modernity, which has brought about wide-ranging social changes in all social phenomena, including marriage. Available statistics show that the average age of marriage has undergone a deliberate change (Kazemipour, 2009). Among the consequences of this phenomenon can be increased anxiety and nervous stress; Prevalence of depression, behavioral disorders, and sexual acceptance; Changing marriage patterns and norms; Increasing moral corruption with a tendency to crime; And noted addiction and alcohol consumption (Ayatollahi, et al. 2013). Undoubtedly, any encouragement to promote marriage in society requires the study and recognition of the factors affecting the phenomenon of marriage and factors related to the attitude of young people towards marriage. Law and environmental conditions such as religion and custom are the main focus of the present study, which has led to a change in the attitude of the young generation to marriage and their desire for free relationships such as white marriage.

The effects of religion and custom have been chosen as the focus of this study for two reasons. First, white marriage is a new, de-institutionalized form of sexual relationship that rejects the legal, religious, and cultural authority over personal relationships in Iran. This rejection makes cohabitation, a different category of relationship from documented marriage.

The root of the phrase “white marriage” is a kind of desecration of society and normalization of a kind of relationship disproportionate to the Iranian religious culture, which seeks to distance people from the Iranian Islamic way of life and has no social or legal legitimacy. The life of a girl and a boy under one roof without marriage may be for purposes such as satisfying emotional, psychological, or sexual needs, but it cannot be called marriage. (Aramaki et al. 2012).

In addition, one of the important differences between temporary marriage and white marriage is that temporary marriage is religiously approved, while white marriage is not. So, people in temporary marriage who have religious affiliations, whereas people who tend to white marriage, are usually from the secular middle class (Azad et al. 2011). A comprehensive study was carried out by Ahmady (2017) on this phenomenon and the results showed that one of the religious and traditional norms in Iran is Sigheh mahramiat or temporary marriage, which has legitimacy. Temporary marriage is a marriage for a certain period and with a specific mahr, based on articles 1075 and 1076 of the Civil Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Any haram act is punishable, and the children born of such a relationship are considered illegitimate. These children are deprived of social rights such as education and identity cards and do not inherit from their parents. In general, any legal irregularities are not expected to be protected by law. There is no legal gap regarding the good of mut’ah and it is foreseen in the law (Ranjbar, 2016). Lack of clarity of the main causes of the emergence and spread of this phenomenon, as well as its consequences, can have heavy costs for society and individuals involved in this type of relationship, especially young people. Therefore, revealing the hidden points of this social phenomenon can provide some solutions to minimize the social harms associated with it.

Traditional views on marriage and family have been promoted by religious institutions. Religious affiliation and religiosity have been related with the disapproval of divorce (Thornton 1985), non-marital childbearing (Pagnini and Rindfuss 1993), and voluntary childlessness Koropeckyj-Cox and Pendell (2007). In contrast to the views of some theorists, the tendency to white marriage is not only formed by the feeling of human servitude, but also as a result of excessive feelings that lead man from selfishness to altruism, which ultimately leads to the stability of the family as an institution (Jahani, 2012).

Considering the importance of marriage in religious and cultural teachings as well as its role in promoting community health and family formation as the most important center of society and in line with the general population policies and the task of the Ministry of Health as one of the agencies involved and responsible for promoting marriage and childbearing, the present study was conducted to assess the attitudes of young people towards marriage in the three metropolises of Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan, using standardised interviews and precise analyses. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive study on law and environmental conditions such as religion and custom aspects affecting young people’s attitudes toward marriage using scientific and precise analysis of interviews and data. To conclude, the correct legal and practical analysis and solutions to identify this issue and reduce the potential damage caused by it are provided. In the present study, we focus on the transformation of the young people’s identities and attitudes towards marriage, following the law, religion and custom factors including religious beliefs and faith, the tendency to official marriage and its reasons, pregnancy, and virginity. Examining the attitudes of young people towards white marriage and explaining the aspects of religiosity and the legislation affecting it can be a profound step towards studying this phenomenon and reveals a better understanding of the intellectual developments of young people about this phenomenon.

Review of literature

It is obvious today that family, the basic unit of society, all over the world has been undergoing many fundamental changes and profound transformation due to comprehensive technological advancement and socio-economic development. It is important to be noted that both in developed and developing countries, the average family size has declined and young people are getting married at a later age (Muhammad, 2015).

Ghoddosi and Bayat (2014) studied the diffusion of white marriage in Tehran and reported that people resort to white marriage to escape the formal marriage law. The results of interviews with women participating in white marriages showed that in their view, the legal relationship defined as husband and wife in Iran is patriarchal and inherently unjust. In particular, marriage, divorce, and child custody are based on a patriarchal pattern in relationships. These women noted that because of this, they give up entering into a legal marriage and choose white marriage instead. Ghoddosi and Bayat (2014) reported that since they do not have any legal support in the case of violence and also in the case of unintended pregnancy and abortion, which is illegal in Iran., white marriage places women in a vulnerable situation Ghoddosi and Bayat (2014).

According to Nikkhah et al. (2017), there is a relationship between the variables of religiosity and the type of attitude towards marriage. Religion is most influential in the traditional attitude towards marriage. Also, in terms of the distribution of respondents to the type of attitude towards marriage, the results showed that most of them had a more traditional attitude towards marriage (Nikkhah et al. 2017). In another study conducted by Karayi et al. (2016), psychological, cultural, economic, social, and family factors were identified as factors affecting the negative attitude of single students of Ahvaz universities towards marriage, respectively. According to Houseinkhah (2018), They were the inequality laws in marriage, which allowed unmarried polygamy, child marriage, forced marriage, and unequal and unjust divorce laws to be important factors addressed by women (Houseinkhah. 2018).

Jackson (1993) conducted a study in this field that finally reached the following results: having religious beliefs and traditional ideals, believing that cohabitation is harmful, harming partners, and not being respectful to both parties, not approving pre-sexual intercourse Marriage and not having a committed relationship other than marriage was among the factors that prevent the white marriage. Giddens (1992) documented that traditional factors now hold less substance or relevance. Social attitudes towards relationships have become more relaxed with the growth of the well-being state. They also reported that religious, family and social influences have led to a lesser sense of the meaning of marriage, compared to the past decade (Giddens, 1992).

In Iran, white marriage is a new issue and a cultural shock. White marriage is not registered with the relevant government institutions or religious organizations. In this type of marriage, a man and a woman live together and the affairs of the family are the responsibility of both, but according to the law, the couple is not considered official. By definition, unmarried marriage occurs when two unmarried people of two different sexes live together before marriage. This is a shortcut for people who do not want the social and personal commitment that marriage requires; At least for a while. Social thinkers have listed several reasons for this type of life that is common in Iran: financial problems, testing the relationship, getting to know each other better, and not believing in marriage are the most important reasons. The weakening of religious beliefs, at least in part of society, and the rejection of responsibility by the new generation are other reasons for this type of marriage. The definite celibacy of some young people – especially girls – as well as the increase in single men and widows, which is due to the increase in divorce in society, exacerbates this problem. Besides the internal problems that cause this issue, the imitation of foreign satellites and media, in particular, exacerbates this issue and eliminates its ugliness (Armaki, et al. 2012).

From the point of view of jurists, especially Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, the principle is that living together without a formal marriage is not religiously different from adultery and the characteristics of marriage cannot be found in it (Makarem Shirazi, 2017).

Research method

In this study, Interpretative and qualitative methodological framework and grounded theory were used. A non-random sampling method was used because of the cultural sensitivity of the subject and the difficulty of obtaining respondents. The theoretical saturation of the data was achieved after conducting 100 interviews. To confirm the comprehensiveness of the study, more interviews were conducted with the recommendations of qualitative method experts. In-depth interviewing techniques were also conducted to collect the data and information. The theoretical coding (open, axial, and selective coding) used to analyse the recorded data. An informal interviewing method was used to determine the imperative categories and concepts of participants. Theoretical sampling using grounded theory was then used to organize the obtained categories and concepts. A semi-structured interview method was used at the end of forming the general course of the interviews, in order to make the interview’s questions standard. After forming the general course of the interviews, the interview’s questions were standardized by a semi-structured interview method and the process continued until theoretical saturation was reached. The major categories, sub-categories, and concepts were obtained after performing the open coding simultaneously with data collection process. In fact, sub-categories and major categories and the types of categories were linked through the axial coding procedure.

Findings

Iran is also not immune to global development. Iranian families have experienced modernism in various fields, especially in gender relations and in the cultural conflict between traditional and modern patterns, entered the transition period. Families can get some structures of modern society while holding some traditional elements (Kowsari and Askari, 2015). The social rules, religion and custom, which are now governing, lead to the decision to marry or change a person’s attitude towards marriage. In the current study, three capital cities including Tehran, Isfahan, and Mashhad with 86, 64, and 53 interviews, respectively, were chosen and 203 interviews were totally carried out. The participants were included of 87 males and 116 females. Men were more introverted. Women, on the other hand, showed more preference to talk about their attitudes towards marriage and relationships. The results of the present study, considering the theoretical and experimental background, showed that white marriage is the result of changing the attitude of young people affected by various factors, which has become a new and growing trend, especially in metropolises and immigrant areas in Iran. One of these factors studied in this research was religiosity. Formalizing religious values in all parts of life is considered as religiosity, which has several effects on society and individuals. Iranian people are expected to practice Islamic rules and considers Islam as a comprehensive framework. However, disaffiliation from religion and decreased religious faith among its members has been reported by researchers. The obtained data from this study showed that 2.95% of interviewees were completely faithful without being necessarily committed to religious actions, 39.91% of them with a cohabitation lifestyle were unfaithful, and 57.14% were moderately faithful. These findings are shown in diagram 1 and suggest a kind of abjuration and reduction of religious beliefs among Iranian young people.

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The tendency of individuals to official marriage, which was examined in the present study, is one of the important factors that have changed under the influence of various factors and led in changing the attitude of youth to marriage. Based on the data collected in the present study, 52.21% of interviewees with cohabitation experience intended to marry officially, but 47.79% of them did not intend to marry and wanted to continue their current relationship (diagram 2). The slight difference between the two amounts shows that the tendency for white marriage has increased to such an extent that it can now be considered a substitute for formal marriage. According to Saeed Peyvandi, increasing unwillingness to marry and increasing the number of single people in Iran does not necessarily mean not having sex or not being in a relationship with the opposite sex. He noted that Iranian youth was gradually isolating themselves from traditional lifestyles within the familial framework. Some quotes from the participants in the present study are presented below.

Sepideh, a 35-year-old woman from Tehran: “We do not have the necessary conditions and we cannot meet the expectations of our families. Otherwise we would have gotten married. Just imagine a wedding or expensive jewelry that he has to buy for me …”

Somayeh, 37, from Tehran: “We did not believe in other forms of marriage and permanent marriage.”

A 28-year-old woman from Tehran: “I do not want to get married at all, and even if I do, not now,” she said. “We were 1 year apart in age and we were kids at the time. He was only 23 years old, but now he is 6 years old and he is 29 years old. I was very young at the time and it didn’t matter to me. We were used to each other when we wanted to separate, but I wanted that.”

A 26-year-old boy from Mashhad: “I cannot say that I did not want to, I even had a serious relationship, but for some reason it did not happen. I think that when I am ready and find a complete file that I have not yet found, I will have a permanent marriage.”

However, white marriage cannot be easily discussed, since there are no specific statistics exist about it and young men and women tend to white marriage more, not only in Tehran, but also in other cities. Despite to the lack of accurate statistical data about white marriage, other available statistics can show the negative aspects of it, such as decreased rate of marriage and increased age of marriage. According to the latest census, which was conducted in 2016, the number of women and men who had reached the age of marriage (aged 20-34), was 4,423,225 and 5,372,989, respectively. It was shown that there are therefore 82 females in Iran who have reached the age of marriage, for every 100 males. It is important to be noted that this rate is increasing. the average age of marriage among educated people is increasing more than for the rest of society. What is obvious is that lack of contact between opposite sexes is not the cause of the increased number of single women and decreased rate of marriage. It is considered as a new replacement for official marriage which has been preferred by many people.

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 According to the results, freedom and physical rights, job insecurity, more friendship, and distrust were among the factors that led to a change in people’s desire and attitude towards formal marriage and increase their desire to continue free relationships and choose white marriage. The following are some quotes from some of the interviewees related to these factors:

Mehran, a 28-year-old art student from Mashhad: “We lived together for about a year and a half. We were studying at the same university when we met and became interested in each other and decided to live together.”

A 23-year-old woman, speech and language pathologist from Isfahan: “We met each other at a friend’s party, and it’s been almost two months since we started living together. I’m at home most of the time except one or two days a week.”

Nima, a 25-year-old man from Tehran: “It’s much easier this way. You have no responsibilities and you may live together for a year or two or even a month or two or a lifetime. You can be together as long as you want, but in a permanent marriage, you have to “Commit to things. We’re both happy right now.”

In fact, the results obtained of the participants revealed that 41.37% of all the interviewees did not believe in official marriage and stated this as the most imperative reason for the tendency to white marriage. Some other important reasons which changed their attitude towards official marriage and for selecting white marriage by interviewees were freedom and bodily rights (20.19%), lack of job security (16.74%), more friendship (14.28%), and lack of distrust (7.38%), which is presented in diagram 3. Exacting traditions like expensive wedding ceremonies and etc. can be considered as can be considered as reasons for lack of belief in official marriage. These traditions are set in unreliable cultural expectations common among those families which compete with Islamic learnings.

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Noting to this point that an emotional relationship accompanied with sex without responsibility and commitment is the aim of white marriage, it is important to note that people participated in the interviews have declared that they tried to avoid pregnancy as much as possible. And if pregnancy occurs, abortion is the first solution that is thought of. It is shown in diagram 4 that 81.3% of interviewees have not experienced pregnancy, 16.39% of them had an abortion, and 2.58% gave birth to their children. The quotes from some of the interviewees are presented as following:

A 28-year-old woman from Tehran: “For protection, we use common methods that everyone uses, such as pills or similar items.”

A 26-year-old boy from Tehran: “Well, I was always careful that pregnancy did not happen. I once told her to check it out and it has not happened yet, thank God.”

A 31-year-old woman from Tehran: “I will have an abortion. Even if I was officially married, I could have an abortion because I am not in a position to have a child at the moment.”

A 27-year-old woman from Tehran: “Since I am supported by two members of my family, I think it will be good. I will let them know if I eventually marry him, it is another matter, but if not, I will have an abortion.”

According to Iranian law, abortion is an illegal activity, unless it is determined and allowed as a medical abortion by a single article of the Iranian law approved in 2015, which is only allowed under certain circumstances. For example, diagnosing a disease in the embryo, which may lead to the child’s physical/mental disorders or injury to the mother abortion can be performed with the consent of the mother within the first 4 months. The treating physician has no responsibility in this regard. According to Islamic Penalty Code, any violation of this article carries special penalties.

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Virginity is another factor which is influenced by the law, religious beliefs, and custom in Iran. Virginity is one of the factors associated with white marriage, which as a result of the existence of traditional and religious traditions and beliefs leads to a decrease in young people’s desire for formal marriage and an increase in the desire for white marriage.

In Iran, future brides are often asked to undergo a virginity test, due to some religious and legal reasons. People are often forced to apply for approval of virginity by mentioning it to a gynaecologist or legal medicine centres, or do the test voluntarily. The virginity test is only applied by legal medical authorities, with a judicial verdict. The court shall issue an order for a virginity test in some cases such as when a complaint of rape is filed by a person or submitting a pea about the bride’s lack of virginity. These reasons have made hymenorrhaphy common. So that it is performed illegally and under unhealthy and non-standard environments which may lead to physical loss. According to the obtained data, 88.03% of the interviewees considered virginity a trivial matter and 11.9% accepted it as a very important issue (diagram 5). Nonetheless, some men who were already involved in cohabitation were not interested in actually marrying non-virgin women.

A 25-year-old man from Tehran: “I believe in virginity and I think I will marry a virgin.”

Somayeh, 37, from Tehran: “I was not a virgin at the time and I lost my virginity in my previous relationship. This is something I always thought was mine and had nothing to do with others.”

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Conclusion

The study findings showed that the attitude of young people towards marriage is influenced by the laws, religion and traditions of the country. So that, only 2.95% of the interviewees were loyal to each other without adhering to religion and religious beliefs. The statistical data of this study show a kind of apostasy and reduction of religious beliefs among Iranian youth. Although religious evolution is not considered as a new subject, but Weber, who considers rationality as the centre core of the present world, is a pioneer in this field. He believes that all aspects of human life are covered by rationality. He describes religious gaps in industrialized modern society when discussing disenchantment. Weberians believe that religion’s role in two aspects has been affected by the growth of rationality in two main aspects as follows: first and foremost, it affects the believers’ religious faith, which led to disenchantment with religion; then, it changed the social and economic structure of society. These changings are reflected in various fields such as industrialization, urbanization and bureaucracy. Due to the fact that Iran is also on the path of modernization and development, and a kind of religious reflection based on Western theories and culture has recently become popular, especially among young people, secularization is considered a regular issue based on modern rationality. One of the main causes of the prevalence of cohabitation in the west has been the separation of religion from personal and social life and secularism. So, it can be concluded that the prevalence of cohabitation in Iran is also affected by the separation of religion from the personal and social life of young people.

According to the results of a survey on people’s attitude about cohabitation without marriage carried out by Statisa, Das statistic Portal in Germany in 2012, 80% of the participants wanted to continue their relationship and agreed with cohabitation. So, it is proposed that the official marriage has been completely replaced by the white marriage. This is consistent with the results of the present study, which showed a high percentage disagreement of the youth with official marriage. In fact, this semi-marriage has been considered a by-product of western influence and increasing tendency towards white marriage has been considered being due to the deduction of official marriage in the recent years. Religious and cultural experts in Iran are greatly concerned about the possible after-effects and if a solution to this problem is not found, it will eventually lead to more young people tending to white marriage and choosing it as an alternative to formal marriage.

Since not enough research has been done on this phenomenon in Iran and it has not been discovered like in the West, investigating the unknown aspects of the white marriage and its reasons requires further scientific studies in Iran. In the current study, related causing factors have been investigated, and the results showed more freedom and bodily rights, lack of job security, more friendship, and lack of distrust were the main causes of the increased disagreement towards official marriage. Guardianship, and gender clichés in official marriage are among the factors that change the attitude of young people towards marriage. Based on the results, freedom of choice and bodily rights are the most important reasons which are projected by some people via civil disobedience like white marriage. Lack of job opportunities and low income also offer “white marriage” to young people as a suitable option, with mutual financial participation and with no gender stereotypes.

Some interviewees declared they were with their partners only two to three days a week, which indicated that they just wanted to get to know each other better. Mistrust is common in many countries today, which makes the youth to prefer white marriage that could be easily ended and with no legal liability in case of betrayal or dishonesty. In fact, mistrust and dishonesty during marriage have created a kind of fear in people who face legal responsibilities right after the marriage is registered and they start getting to know their partner.

Major findings of this study revealed that the participants stated that they consider white marriage as an emotional relationship with sex without responsibility and commitment. Since pregnancy without legal marriage means adultery and illegitimate relationship, which is punishable under the Islamic Penal Code, knowledge of contraceptive methods through information collection as well as easy access to contraceptive tools has enabled joint partners to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, abortion was the solution most interviewees recommended in case of an unanticipated pregnancy. It is noteworthy that there are strict laws in Islamic law regarding children born out of wedlock and not registered. Therefore, people who are involved in a relationship prevent pregnancy. However, due to the fact that people may not be informed of the pregnancy in time or may not be familiar with the rules of abortion, they may have to submit to illegal and unsanitary abortion, which is usually accompanied by excessive pain and women with There are irreparable physical and psychological consequences.

Another factor that has been effective in the reluctance of young people to formal marriage and change their attitude towards choosing and continuing white marriage is the laws governing virginity and the beliefs and traditions of some Iranian families in this field. a person who has had none sexual intercourse is called virgin. Some cultures and religions attach great importance to virginity and it means chastity, dignity and decency, especially for women. Loss of virginity before marriage (for no medical reason) indicates immorality and social anomaly in women and the belief that they are not appropriate for marriage. According to the present study, despite the interviewees (11.9%) who accepted it as a very important issue, 88.03% of the interviewees considered virginity a trivial matter, which can encourage them to continue the relationship and not pay attention to traditions and laws in this field. The results can also be examined from the perspective that people who have lost their virginity, because they consider it a private matter, marry those who have the same attitude. So choosing white marriage for these people is a solution to ignore social traditions. Otherwise, they have to hide the secret or undergo such surgeries. Given that sex in cohabitation is usually frequent, it seems that people involved in such relationships are less inclined to formal marriage.

White marriage in Iran as an unexpected phenomenon has been prevalent in some cities for some years, albeit covertly, among some young people, and due to the persistence of land and environmental conditions, it is a growing trend. This phenomenon, although as an author of the Western lifestyle, is an imported phenomenon; But its success in the traditional Iranian religious community is documented by certain causes, reasons, contexts and environmental conditions that need to be discussed instead. These phenomena, despite their small frequency, have side effects and consequences at the individual, family and social levels, which can be quite traumatic. It is obvious that along with its small growth, its adverse consequences will spread to a wider area. White marriage should not continue to live in the shadow of tolerance and negligence of the people and officials due to the lack of customary, religious and legal permission. In return, it is expected that at the cultural, social and judicial levels, appropriate measures will be taken to control and curb the process. It is obvious that effective confrontation with this type of deviation requires chains of peer action at different levels.

In the Iranian legal and jurisprudential system, white marriage is illegal due to lack of legal registration, lack of legal responsibility, and lack of jurisprudential legitimacy, as well as unwanted pregnancies and health complications. White marriage, which is the equivalent of cohabitation without marriage, is a common practice in the West that is spreading in many parts of the world and is not in line with the religious and cultural teachings of Islamic society. Disaffiliation from traditions, lack of commitment, the difficult commitments of marriage, reduced religious beliefs, unsuccessful marriages, a tendency to modern lifestyle, and in general a new reading of the concept of marriage are all important factors associated with ‘white marriage’ in Iran. Emphasizing legal-jurisprudential dimensions, the current research study sought to scrutinize cohabitation in Iran.

In white marriage, the principle of legitimacy in life, law, the principle of foresight, the principle of morality, the principle of humanity and freedom are ignored and people struggle with many problems and with the emergence of the main problems, people’s psychological pressures increase, privacy and The dignity of individuals is damaged, the ground for spiritual growth and human perfection is not provided, many people become irresponsible and are deprived of the benefits of pure marriage, and this is where the stark difference between sharia marriage and baseless marriage becomes clear. This phenomenon also has devastating effects on the family, such as the decline of marriage and the collapse of the family. The holy religion of Islam is in the first place permanent marriage, based on which families are formed and is considered as a stable social foundation, and in the next stage, it introduces temporary marriage for those who cannot have permanent marriage, which in Islamic culture It is also interpreted as a temporary form, and based on it, a temporary marital relationship with a specific period and dowry and with a series of specific sharia and legal obligations for a certain period of time is imposed on individuals who are both subject to it and the consequences of white marriage in every way. He will not have it and considers this the best solution and alternative to this type of marriage pattern. Lack of knowledge about the correct definition of temporary marriage and its nature has caused many problems. To reduce the consequences, some suggestions are categorized as follows:

  • Promoting more religious beliefs in the society by holding conferences in the field of promoting Iranian and Islamic culture in an attractive and modern way for the youth; In this way to reduce the tendency to foreign lifestyle. Religion, as a major and determining factor in marriage and girl-boy relationships, has identified customs and rituals that, if observed, will further strengthen girl-boy relationships and thus strengthen the foundation of the family.
  • Reducing the cumbersome customs related to marriage ceremonies such as (dowry, buying wedding items and halls, etc.) which these customs have a high economic cost. Therefore, by promoting the culture of easy marriage and avoiding heavy ceremonial costs, the desire of young people can be increased to formal and legal marriage.
  • Using attractive and quality national media programs to encourage more young people to form a family formally and legally; In this way, the model of foreign culture regarding the free relations between girls and boys is reduced.
  • Supporting government institutions and associations in the form of health and educational counselling and prevention of social and personal harm. The new lifestyle of cohabitation is inevitably favoured by some young people and is increasing. Sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions have been reported in such relationships, and these problems have not been prosecuted despite their criminal nature. People with illnesses such as HIV or addiction are often supported by institutions such as various welfare organizations, their municipalities, voluntary non-profit associations, and rehabilitation camps, despite unwanted social situations. These institutions can significantly reduce some social ills and negative outcomes through health care education and support.

 

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Changing the Attitude of Young People Towards Marriage with a Focus on Law and Environmental Conditions such as Religion and Custom

Kameel Ahmady

Kameel.ahmady@gmail.com

Abstract

One pattern that has emerged today because of changing attitudes of young people in today’s society is white marriage, which has become one of the social challenges. White marriage is the way of life without registering a formal and legal marriage that is accepted differently among young people. The purpose of this study is to study the status of white marriage among young people who have experienced this lifestyle, the causes of the tendency to this lifestyle and its consequences, in three metropolises, including Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan. The theoretical framework of this research was interpretative and qualitative methodological framework, along with a grounded theory that was used to determine the effective on changing young people’s attitude towards marriage, including law, religious and custom. Some environmental factors such as religiosity, tendency of individuals to official marriage and its reasons, incidence of pregnancy and abortion, and Importance of virginity were studied. The existence of laws, traditions and religious beliefs related to these factors in Iranian families has led to a change in young people’s attitudes towards formal marriage and their greater desire to continue the relationship and choose white marriage. The results of the research indicated that the social rules, religious and custom, which are governing, are involved in determining the phenomenon of cohabitation. Lack of acceptance by society and family, lack of legal protection and having a secret relationship are some of the limitations of this way of life. This research is published in 2021 by Mehri publication House with open door “A Comprehensive Research Study on White Marriage (Cohabitation) in Iran”.

Introduction

Attitudes towards marriage reflect feelings, inclinations or prejudices, preconceived notions, and fears and strong beliefs about marriage. Therefore, a person’s attitude towards marriage is a way of thinking and feeling about marriage (Memani, 2003). Today, in marriage, special attention is paid to expectations, perceptions and attitudes toward marriage, as a cognitive and mental phenomenon. Because the distortion of these standards can lead to the chaos of married life (Sharp, et al. 2000). According to the studies, the attitude of young people towards marriage has a negative change, and as a result of this negative attitude, moral, social and economic destruction has become common among young people (Jonsson et al. 2000). In general, changes in the pattern of marriage, reluctance to marry, old age marriage or non-marriage has increased dramatically (Jones et al, 2004).

Marriage is the cause of family formation and reproduction and survival of the human race. Human societies have witnessed fundamental changes in the age of marriage over the last two centuries, first in European countries and then in developing countries in the twentieth century (Lucas et al. 1994). Iran, like other Third World countries is in the transition from tradition to modernity, which has brought about wide-ranging social changes in all social phenomena, including marriage. Available statistics show that the average age of marriage has undergone a deliberate change (Kazemipour, 2009). Among the consequences of this phenomenon can be increased anxiety and nervous stress; Prevalence of depression, behavioral disorders, and sexual acceptance; Changing marriage patterns and norms; Increasing moral corruption with a tendency to crime; And noted addiction and alcohol consumption (Ayatollahi, et al. 2013). Undoubtedly, any encouragement to promote marriage in society requires the study and recognition of the factors affecting the phenomenon of marriage and factors related to the attitude of young people towards marriage. Law and environmental conditions such as religion and custom are the main focus of the present study, which has led to a change in the attitude of the young generation to marriage and their desire for free relationships such as white marriage.

The effects of religion and custom have been chosen as the focus of this study for two reasons. First, white marriage is a new, de-institutionalized form of sexual relationship that rejects the legal, religious, and cultural authority over personal relationships in Iran. This rejection makes cohabitation, a different category of relationship from documented marriage.

The root of the phrase “white marriage” is a kind of desecration of society and normalization of a kind of relationship disproportionate to the Iranian religious culture, which seeks to distance people from the Iranian Islamic way of life and has no social or legal legitimacy. The life of a girl and a boy under one roof without marriage may be for purposes such as satisfying emotional, psychological, or sexual needs, but it cannot be called marriage. (Aramaki et al. 2012).

In addition, one of the important differences between temporary marriage and white marriage is that temporary marriage is religiously approved, while white marriage is not. So, people in temporary marriage who have religious affiliations, whereas people who tend to white marriage, are usually from the secular middle class (Azad et al. 2011). A comprehensive study was carried out by Ahmady (2017) on this phenomenon and the results showed that one of the religious and traditional norms in Iran is Sigheh mahramiat or temporary marriage, which has legitimacy. Temporary marriage is a marriage for a certain period and with a specific mahr, based on articles 1075 and 1076 of the Civil Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Any haram act is punishable, and the children born of such a relationship are considered illegitimate. These children are deprived of social rights such as education and identity cards and do not inherit from their parents. In general, any legal irregularities are not expected to be protected by law. There is no legal gap regarding the good of mut’ah and it is foreseen in the law (Ranjbar, 2016). Lack of clarity of the main causes of the emergence and spread of this phenomenon, as well as its consequences, can have heavy costs for society and individuals involved in this type of relationship, especially young people. Therefore, revealing the hidden points of this social phenomenon can provide some solutions to minimize the social harms associated with it.

Traditional views on marriage and family have been promoted by religious institutions. Religious affiliation and religiosity have been related with the disapproval of divorce (Thornton 1985), non-marital childbearing (Pagnini and Rindfuss 1993), and voluntary childlessness Koropeckyj-Cox and Pendell (2007). In contrast to the views of some theorists, the tendency to white marriage is not only formed by the feeling of human servitude, but also as a result of excessive feelings that lead man from selfishness to altruism, which ultimately leads to the stability of the family as an institution (Jahani, 2012).

Considering the importance of marriage in religious and cultural teachings as well as its role in promoting community health and family formation as the most important center of society and in line with the general population policies and the task of the Ministry of Health as one of the agencies involved and responsible for promoting marriage and childbearing, the present study was conducted to assess the attitudes of young people towards marriage in the three metropolises of Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan, using standardised interviews and precise analyses. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive study on law and environmental conditions such as religion and custom aspects affecting young people’s attitudes toward marriage using scientific and precise analysis of interviews and data. To conclude, the correct legal and practical analysis and solutions to identify this issue and reduce the potential damage caused by it are provided. In the present study, we focus on the transformation of the young people’s identities and attitudes towards marriage, following the law, religion and custom factors including religious beliefs and faith, the tendency to official marriage and its reasons, pregnancy, and virginity. Examining the attitudes of young people towards white marriage and explaining the aspects of religiosity and the legislation affecting it can be a profound step towards studying this phenomenon and reveals a better understanding of the intellectual developments of young people about this phenomenon.

Review of literature

It is obvious today that family, the basic unit of society, all over the world has been undergoing many fundamental changes and profound transformation due to comprehensive technological advancement and socio-economic development. It is important to be noted that both in developed and developing countries, the average family size has declined and young people are getting married at a later age (Muhammad, 2015).

Ghoddosi and Bayat (2014) studied the diffusion of white marriage in Tehran and reported that people resort to white marriage to escape the formal marriage law. The results of interviews with women participating in white marriages showed that in their view, the legal relationship defined as husband and wife in Iran is patriarchal and inherently unjust. In particular, marriage, divorce, and child custody are based on a patriarchal pattern in relationships. These women noted that because of this, they give up entering into a legal marriage and choose white marriage instead. Ghoddosi and Bayat (2014) reported that since they do not have any legal support in the case of violence and also in the case of unintended pregnancy and abortion, which is illegal in Iran., white marriage places women in a vulnerable situation Ghoddosi and Bayat (2014).

According to Nikkhah et al. (2017), there is a relationship between the variables of religiosity and the type of attitude towards marriage. Religion is most influential in the traditional attitude towards marriage. Also, in terms of the distribution of respondents to the type of attitude towards marriage, the results showed that most of them had a more traditional attitude towards marriage (Nikkhah et al. 2017). In another study conducted by Karayi et al. (2016), psychological, cultural, economic, social, and family factors were identified as factors affecting the negative attitude of single students of Ahvaz universities towards marriage, respectively. According to Houseinkhah (2018), They were the inequality laws in marriage, which allowed unmarried polygamy, child marriage, forced marriage, and unequal and unjust divorce laws to be important factors addressed by women (Houseinkhah. 2018).

Jackson (1993) conducted a study in this field that finally reached the following results: having religious beliefs and traditional ideals, believing that cohabitation is harmful, harming partners, and not being respectful to both parties, not approving pre-sexual intercourse Marriage and not having a committed relationship other than marriage was among the factors that prevent the white marriage. Giddens (1992) documented that traditional factors now hold less substance or relevance. Social attitudes towards relationships have become more relaxed with the growth of the well-being state. They also reported that religious, family and social influences have led to a lesser sense of the meaning of marriage, compared to the past decade (Giddens, 1992).

In Iran, white marriage is a new issue and a cultural shock. White marriage is not registered with the relevant government institutions or religious organizations. In this type of marriage, a man and a woman live together and the affairs of the family are the responsibility of both, but according to the law, the couple is not considered official. By definition, unmarried marriage occurs when two unmarried people of two different sexes live together before marriage. This is a shortcut for people who do not want the social and personal commitment that marriage requires; At least for a while. Social thinkers have listed several reasons for this type of life that is common in Iran: financial problems, testing the relationship, getting to know each other better, and not believing in marriage are the most important reasons. The weakening of religious beliefs, at least in part of society, and the rejection of responsibility by the new generation are other reasons for this type of marriage. The definite celibacy of some young people – especially girls – as well as the increase in single men and widows, which is due to the increase in divorce in society, exacerbates this problem. Besides the internal problems that cause this issue, the imitation of foreign satellites and media, in particular, exacerbates this issue and eliminates its ugliness (Armaki, et al. 2012).

From the point of view of jurists, especially Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, the principle is that living together without a formal marriage is not religiously different from adultery and the characteristics of marriage cannot be found in it (Makarem Shirazi, 2017).

Research method

In this study, Interpretative and qualitative methodological framework and grounded theory were used. A non-random sampling method was used because of the cultural sensitivity of the subject and the difficulty of obtaining respondents. The theoretical saturation of the data was achieved after conducting 100 interviews. To confirm the comprehensiveness of the study, more interviews were conducted with the recommendations of qualitative method experts. In-depth interviewing techniques were also conducted to collect the data and information. The theoretical coding (open, axial, and selective coding) used to analyse the recorded data. An informal interviewing method was used to determine the imperative categories and concepts of participants. Theoretical sampling using grounded theory was then used to organize the obtained categories and concepts. A semi-structured interview method was used at the end of forming the general course of the interviews, in order to make the interview’s questions standard. After forming the general course of the interviews, the interview’s questions were standardized by a semi-structured interview method and the process continued until theoretical saturation was reached. The major categories, sub-categories, and concepts were obtained after performing the open coding simultaneously with data collection process. In fact, sub-categories and major categories and the types of categories were linked through the axial coding procedure.

Findings

Iran is also not immune to global development. Iranian families have experienced modernism in various fields, especially in gender relations and in the cultural conflict between traditional and modern patterns, entered the transition period. Families can get some structures of modern society while holding some traditional elements (Kowsari and Askari, 2015). The social rules, religion and custom, which are now governing, lead to the decision to marry or change a person’s attitude towards marriage. In the current study, three capital cities including Tehran, Isfahan, and Mashhad with 86, 64, and 53 interviews, respectively, were chosen and 203 interviews were totally carried out. The participants were included of 87 males and 116 females. Men were more introverted. Women, on the other hand, showed more preference to talk about their attitudes towards marriage and relationships. The results of the present study, considering the theoretical and experimental background, showed that white marriage is the result of changing the attitude of young people affected by various factors, which has become a new and growing trend, especially in metropolises and immigrant areas in Iran. One of these factors studied in this research was religiosity. Formalizing religious values in all parts of life is considered as religiosity, which has several effects on society and individuals. Iranian people are expected to practice Islamic rules and considers Islam as a comprehensive framework. However, disaffiliation from religion and decreased religious faith among its members has been reported by researchers. The obtained data from this study showed that 2.95% of interviewees were completely faithful without being necessarily committed to religious actions, 39.91% of them with a cohabitation lifestyle were unfaithful, and 57.14% were moderately faithful. These findings are shown in diagram 1 and suggest a kind of abjuration and reduction of religious beliefs among Iranian young people.

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The tendency of individuals to official marriage, which was examined in the present study, is one of the important factors that have changed under the influence of various factors and led in changing the attitude of youth to marriage. Based on the data collected in the present study, 52.21% of interviewees with cohabitation experience intended to marry officially, but 47.79% of them did not intend to marry and wanted to continue their current relationship (diagram 2). The slight difference between the two amounts shows that the tendency for white marriage has increased to such an extent that it can now be considered a substitute for formal marriage. According to Saeed Peyvandi, increasing unwillingness to marry and increasing the number of single people in Iran does not necessarily mean not having sex or not being in a relationship with the opposite sex. He noted that Iranian youth was gradually isolating themselves from traditional lifestyles within the familial framework. Some quotes from the participants in the present study are presented below.

Sepideh, a 35-year-old woman from Tehran: “We do not have the necessary conditions and we cannot meet the expectations of our families. Otherwise we would have gotten married. Just imagine a wedding or expensive jewelry that he has to buy for me …”

Somayeh, 37, from Tehran: “We did not believe in other forms of marriage and permanent marriage.”

A 28-year-old woman from Tehran: “I do not want to get married at all, and even if I do, not now,” she said. “We were 1 year apart in age and we were kids at the time. He was only 23 years old, but now he is 6 years old and he is 29 years old. I was very young at the time and it didn’t matter to me. We were used to each other when we wanted to separate, but I wanted that.”

A 26-year-old boy from Mashhad: “I cannot say that I did not want to, I even had a serious relationship, but for some reason it did not happen. I think that when I am ready and find a complete file that I have not yet found, I will have a permanent marriage.”

However, white marriage cannot be easily discussed, since there are no specific statistics exist about it and young men and women tend to white marriage more, not only in Tehran, but also in other cities. Despite to the lack of accurate statistical data about white marriage, other available statistics can show the negative aspects of it, such as decreased rate of marriage and increased age of marriage. According to the latest census, which was conducted in 2016, the number of women and men who had reached the age of marriage (aged 20-34), was 4,423,225 and 5,372,989, respectively. It was shown that there are therefore 82 females in Iran who have reached the age of marriage, for every 100 males. It is important to be noted that this rate is increasing. the average age of marriage among educated people is increasing more than for the rest of society. What is obvious is that lack of contact between opposite sexes is not the cause of the increased number of single women and decreased rate of marriage. It is considered as a new replacement for official marriage which has been preferred by many people.

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 According to the results, freedom and physical rights, job insecurity, more friendship, and distrust were among the factors that led to a change in people’s desire and attitude towards formal marriage and increase their desire to continue free relationships and choose white marriage. The following are some quotes from some of the interviewees related to these factors:

Mehran, a 28-year-old art student from Mashhad: “We lived together for about a year and a half. We were studying at the same university when we met and became interested in each other and decided to live together.”

A 23-year-old woman, speech and language pathologist from Isfahan: “We met each other at a friend’s party, and it’s been almost two months since we started living together. I’m at home most of the time except one or two days a week.”

Nima, a 25-year-old man from Tehran: “It’s much easier this way. You have no responsibilities and you may live together for a year or two or even a month or two or a lifetime. You can be together as long as you want, but in a permanent marriage, you have to “Commit to things. We’re both happy right now.”

In fact, the results obtained of the participants revealed that 41.37% of all the interviewees did not believe in official marriage and stated this as the most imperative reason for the tendency to white marriage. Some other important reasons which changed their attitude towards official marriage and for selecting white marriage by interviewees were freedom and bodily rights (20.19%), lack of job security (16.74%), more friendship (14.28%), and lack of distrust (7.38%), which is presented in diagram 3. Exacting traditions like expensive wedding ceremonies and etc. can be considered as can be considered as reasons for lack of belief in official marriage. These traditions are set in unreliable cultural expectations common among those families which compete with Islamic learnings.

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Noting to this point that an emotional relationship accompanied with sex without responsibility and commitment is the aim of white marriage, it is important to note that people participated in the interviews have declared that they tried to avoid pregnancy as much as possible. And if pregnancy occurs, abortion is the first solution that is thought of. It is shown in diagram 4 that 81.3% of interviewees have not experienced pregnancy, 16.39% of them had an abortion, and 2.58% gave birth to their children. The quotes from some of the interviewees are presented as following:

A 28-year-old woman from Tehran: “For protection, we use common methods that everyone uses, such as pills or similar items.”

A 26-year-old boy from Tehran: “Well, I was always careful that pregnancy did not happen. I once told her to check it out and it has not happened yet, thank God.”

A 31-year-old woman from Tehran: “I will have an abortion. Even if I was officially married, I could have an abortion because I am not in a position to have a child at the moment.”

A 27-year-old woman from Tehran: “Since I am supported by two members of my family, I think it will be good. I will let them know if I eventually marry him, it is another matter, but if not, I will have an abortion.”

According to Iranian law, abortion is an illegal activity, unless it is determined and allowed as a medical abortion by a single article of the Iranian law approved in 2015, which is only allowed under certain circumstances. For example, diagnosing a disease in the embryo, which may lead to the child’s physical/mental disorders or injury to the mother abortion can be performed with the consent of the mother within the first 4 months. The treating physician has no responsibility in this regard. According to Islamic Penalty Code, any violation of this article carries special penalties.

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Virginity is another factor which is influenced by the law, religious beliefs, and custom in Iran. Virginity is one of the factors associated with white marriage, which as a result of the existence of traditional and religious traditions and beliefs leads to a decrease in young people’s desire for formal marriage and an increase in the desire for white marriage.

In Iran, future brides are often asked to undergo a virginity test, due to some religious and legal reasons. People are often forced to apply for approval of virginity by mentioning it to a gynaecologist or legal medicine centres, or do the test voluntarily. The virginity test is only applied by legal medical authorities, with a judicial verdict. The court shall issue an order for a virginity test in some cases such as when a complaint of rape is filed by a person or submitting a pea about the bride’s lack of virginity. These reasons have made hymenorrhaphy common. So that it is performed illegally and under unhealthy and non-standard environments which may lead to physical loss. According to the obtained data, 88.03% of the interviewees considered virginity a trivial matter and 11.9% accepted it as a very important issue (diagram 5). Nonetheless, some men who were already involved in cohabitation were not interested in actually marrying non-virgin women.

A 25-year-old man from Tehran: “I believe in virginity and I think I will marry a virgin.”

Somayeh, 37, from Tehran: “I was not a virgin at the time and I lost my virginity in my previous relationship. This is something I always thought was mine and had nothing to do with others.”

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Conclusion

The study findings showed that the attitude of young people towards marriage is influenced by the laws, religion and traditions of the country. So that, only 2.95% of the interviewees were loyal to each other without adhering to religion and religious beliefs. The statistical data of this study show a kind of apostasy and reduction of religious beliefs among Iranian youth. Although religious evolution is not considered as a new subject, but Weber, who considers rationality as the centre core of the present world, is a pioneer in this field. He believes that all aspects of human life are covered by rationality. He describes religious gaps in industrialized modern society when discussing disenchantment. Weberians believe that religion’s role in two aspects has been affected by the growth of rationality in two main aspects as follows: first and foremost, it affects the believers’ religious faith, which led to disenchantment with religion; then, it changed the social and economic structure of society. These changings are reflected in various fields such as industrialization, urbanization and bureaucracy. Due to the fact that Iran is also on the path of modernization and development, and a kind of religious reflection based on Western theories and culture has recently become popular, especially among young people, secularization is considered a regular issue based on modern rationality. One of the main causes of the prevalence of cohabitation in the west has been the separation of religion from personal and social life and secularism. So, it can be concluded that the prevalence of cohabitation in Iran is also affected by the separation of religion from the personal and social life of young people.

According to the results of a survey on people’s attitude about cohabitation without marriage carried out by Statisa, Das statistic Portal in Germany in 2012, 80% of the participants wanted to continue their relationship and agreed with cohabitation. So, it is proposed that the official marriage has been completely replaced by the white marriage. This is consistent with the results of the present study, which showed a high percentage disagreement of the youth with official marriage. In fact, this semi-marriage has been considered a by-product of western influence and increasing tendency towards white marriage has been considered being due to the deduction of official marriage in the recent years. Religious and cultural experts in Iran are greatly concerned about the possible after-effects and if a solution to this problem is not found, it will eventually lead to more young people tending to white marriage and choosing it as an alternative to formal marriage.

Since not enough research has been done on this phenomenon in Iran and it has not been discovered like in the West, investigating the unknown aspects of the white marriage and its reasons requires further scientific studies in Iran. In the current study, related causing factors have been investigated, and the results showed more freedom and bodily rights, lack of job security, more friendship, and lack of distrust were the main causes of the increased disagreement towards official marriage. Guardianship, and gender clichés in official marriage are among the factors that change the attitude of young people towards marriage. Based on the results, freedom of choice and bodily rights are the most important reasons which are projected by some people via civil disobedience like white marriage. Lack of job opportunities and low income also offer “white marriage” to young people as a suitable option, with mutual financial participation and with no gender stereotypes.

Some interviewees declared they were with their partners only two to three days a week, which indicated that they just wanted to get to know each other better. Mistrust is common in many countries today, which makes the youth to prefer white marriage that could be easily ended and with no legal liability in case of betrayal or dishonesty. In fact, mistrust and dishonesty during marriage have created a kind of fear in people who face legal responsibilities right after the marriage is registered and they start getting to know their partner.

Major findings of this study revealed that the participants stated that they consider white marriage as an emotional relationship with sex without responsibility and commitment. Since pregnancy without legal marriage means adultery and illegitimate relationship, which is punishable under the Islamic Penal Code, knowledge of contraceptive methods through information collection as well as easy access to contraceptive tools has enabled joint partners to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, abortion was the solution most interviewees recommended in case of an unanticipated pregnancy. It is noteworthy that there are strict laws in Islamic law regarding children born out of wedlock and not registered. Therefore, people who are involved in a relationship prevent pregnancy. However, due to the fact that people may not be informed of the pregnancy in time or may not be familiar with the rules of abortion, they may have to submit to illegal and unsanitary abortion, which is usually accompanied by excessive pain and women with There are irreparable physical and psychological consequences.

Another factor that has been effective in the reluctance of young people to formal marriage and change their attitude towards choosing and continuing white marriage is the laws governing virginity and the beliefs and traditions of some Iranian families in this field. a person who has had none sexual intercourse is called virgin. Some cultures and religions attach great importance to virginity and it means chastity, dignity and decency, especially for women. Loss of virginity before marriage (for no medical reason) indicates immorality and social anomaly in women and the belief that they are not appropriate for marriage. According to the present study, despite the interviewees (11.9%) who accepted it as a very important issue, 88.03% of the interviewees considered virginity a trivial matter, which can encourage them to continue the relationship and not pay attention to traditions and laws in this field. The results can also be examined from the perspective that people who have lost their virginity, because they consider it a private matter, marry those who have the same attitude. So choosing white marriage for these people is a solution to ignore social traditions. Otherwise, they have to hide the secret or undergo such surgeries. Given that sex in cohabitation is usually frequent, it seems that people involved in such relationships are less inclined to formal marriage.

White marriage in Iran as an unexpected phenomenon has been prevalent in some cities for some years, albeit covertly, among some young people, and due to the persistence of land and environmental conditions, it is a growing trend. This phenomenon, although as an author of the Western lifestyle, is an imported phenomenon; But its success in the traditional Iranian religious community is documented by certain causes, reasons, contexts and environmental conditions that need to be discussed instead. These phenomena, despite their small frequency, have side effects and consequences at the individual, family and social levels, which can be quite traumatic. It is obvious that along with its small growth, its adverse consequences will spread to a wider area. White marriage should not continue to live in the shadow of tolerance and negligence of the people and officials due to the lack of customary, religious and legal permission. In return, it is expected that at the cultural, social and judicial levels, appropriate measures will be taken to control and curb the process. It is obvious that effective confrontation with this type of deviation requires chains of peer action at different levels.

In the Iranian legal and jurisprudential system, white marriage is illegal due to lack of legal registration, lack of legal responsibility, and lack of jurisprudential legitimacy, as well as unwanted pregnancies and health complications. White marriage, which is the equivalent of cohabitation without marriage, is a common practice in the West that is spreading in many parts of the world and is not in line with the religious and cultural teachings of Islamic society. Disaffiliation from traditions, lack of commitment, the difficult commitments of marriage, reduced religious beliefs, unsuccessful marriages, a tendency to modern lifestyle, and in general a new reading of the concept of marriage are all important factors associated with ‘white marriage’ in Iran. Emphasizing legal-jurisprudential dimensions, the current research study sought to scrutinize cohabitation in Iran.

In white marriage, the principle of legitimacy in life, law, the principle of foresight, the principle of morality, the principle of humanity and freedom are ignored and people struggle with many problems and with the emergence of the main problems, people’s psychological pressures increase, privacy and The dignity of individuals is damaged, the ground for spiritual growth and human perfection is not provided, many people become irresponsible and are deprived of the benefits of pure marriage, and this is where the stark difference between sharia marriage and baseless marriage becomes clear. This phenomenon also has devastating effects on the family, such as the decline of marriage and the collapse of the family. The holy religion of Islam is in the first place permanent marriage, based on which families are formed and is considered as a stable social foundation, and in the next stage, it introduces temporary marriage for those who cannot have permanent marriage, which in Islamic culture It is also interpreted as a temporary form, and based on it, a temporary marital relationship with a specific period and dowry and with a series of specific sharia and legal obligations for a certain period of time is imposed on individuals who are both subject to it and the consequences of white marriage in every way. He will not have it and considers this the best solution and alternative to this type of marriage pattern. Lack of knowledge about the correct definition of temporary marriage and its nature has caused many problems. To reduce the consequences, some suggestions are categorized as follows:

  • Promoting more religious beliefs in the society by holding conferences in the field of promoting Iranian and Islamic culture in an attractive and modern way for the youth; In this way to reduce the tendency to foreign lifestyle. Religion, as a major and determining factor in marriage and girl-boy relationships, has identified customs and rituals that, if observed, will further strengthen girl-boy relationships and thus strengthen the foundation of the family.
  • Reducing the cumbersome customs related to marriage ceremonies such as (dowry, buying wedding items and halls, etc.) which these customs have a high economic cost. Therefore, by promoting the culture of easy marriage and avoiding heavy ceremonial costs, the desire of young people can be increased to formal and legal marriage.
  • Using attractive and quality national media programs to encourage more young people to form a family formally and legally; In this way, the model of foreign culture regarding the free relations between girls and boys is reduced.
  • Supporting government institutions and associations in the form of health and educational counselling and prevention of social and personal harm. The new lifestyle of cohabitation is inevitably favoured by some young people and is increasing. Sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions have been reported in such relationships, and these problems have not been prosecuted despite their criminal nature. People with illnesses such as HIV or addiction are often supported by institutions such as various welfare organizations, their municipalities, voluntary non-profit associations, and rehabilitation camps, despite unwanted social situations. These institutions can significantly reduce some social ills and negative outcomes through health care education and support.

 

References:

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