Behind the Veil

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In July 1977 Princess Misha’al Bint Bin Mohammed and her lover were executed in a car park in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She was nineteen years old, a princess of one of the largest and wealthiest royal families in the world.
-Frontline News

In 1977, 19-year-old Princess Mishaal bint Fahd, who was unmarried, was killed by gunshots to the head. Her death is thought to have been ordered by her grandfather, the king’s older brother.
-Winds of Jihad

Illustrated by the author

It was a luxuriously furnished room. One door led to the bathroom; the other opened to the magnificent drawing room. The bathroom was elegantly furnished. It was the size of a typical living room. Even the bath alone could accommodate four normal sized adults. At this time of the day, minute traces of Arabian moonlight enlightened the wide room. Two servants slept soundly on the carpeted floor. They seemed heaped bundles. Only when they’d turn and move, you could recognize them. In the center, there stood a canopy bed with flower lamps on its sides. A slim figure snuggled deep in a mattress and fluffy blankets. You could make out her delicate, long hands and slightly wavy black hair. A nightgown, more often seen on movie screen than in life, flickered in the moonlight.

The young girl was Princess Mashal, niece of an Arab King. She was nineteen. Her exceptionally dark eyes left you in a state of awe. You had to fix your gaze on her. She was a beauty. No words could merit her description for her exotic beauty was incomparable.

She was married at a young age. Most of the times, her husband would be away though that barely mattered, for he had no particular liking for Mashal. However, he wouldn’t agree to divorce. Sympathy? No. Actually the love for the details of this marriage was an obstacle. Mashal belonged to one of the most significant and wealthiest families in the world. To end such a relationship was to deny both a grand honor and a grand wealth which, obviously, her husband wasn’t willing for. Consequently, Mashal had to bear the pain of forlornness; in the void; silently.

The young princess resided in a palatial residence. Her days were spent in mere idleness. The soul of the palace, though magnificent, was similar to a women’s prison. The walls were more to keep them in than to keep the intruders out. The princesses, widowed or divorced, had separate apartments. At midnight, they’d gather in a large hall. Hollywood movies were contemplated. Dances were practised. Eventually, the weary princesses returned to their bedrooms and slept till late afternoon. The rest of the day involved visiting a neighbour, fittings with the palace dressmakers, and regular visits to the hairdressers. Even in the bright sunlight, glorious evening gowns were worn and a lot of make-up done. On the contrary, these princesses were incapable of raising a child. The trivial happenings mattered, for e.g. a new haircut. The serious occurrences were unknown.

The privileged Middle Eastern families visited the West particularly for two reasons: 1) medical treatment, 2) shopping. Annually, Princess Mashal visited London and Paris often for the said intents. Probably, during one of these trips, she fell for someone. She wasn’t supposed to. But love happens. And it did in her case. In Arabia, eyes are a symbol of love; not a heart. And there were times when Mashal secretly cried, “My eyes! My eyes!”

Her fate was unknown to her. And when it revealed itself, she was too blind to save herself. She decided to run away with her beloved. Her schemes reflected her innocence. She couldn’t hide for long. It came as an obvious shock when the young princess was caught and executed on the order of her own grandfather.

It leaves me in great pain when I think of the thoughts that occupied her mind, as her eyes and arms were tied. She was left there in the wilderness; to be hurt till she died.

It seems very hard to see a glowing life fading away in the facades of darkness without any glory. The question is who to put blame on: the princess, her lifestyle, her grandfather, or the rules governing the society? Since life is not a fairytale and the earth is also not uniform. As was explained by Mark Twain in his immortal verse, “East is East, and West is West, and never the Twain shall they meet.” The princess must have learned the social structure or fabric of her society in which she dwelled. By not having any second thoughts about her action in a society whose notions of honour and dignity are different from that of the West, I think she must have not taken such a drastic step.

Momal Mushtaq

20 Comments to Behind the Veil

  1. Junaid Waheed

    poor soul….
    but what can we say….
    all royal families have same psyche….
    rules never change for them, only souls do….
    no matter if she is named “Princess Misha’al” or “Lady Diana”

  2. waleed arshad

    Children must be the free citizens of the universe.They have the right to examine the wrong.(Bertrand Russel)

  3. Abdullah Ishtiaq

    well Momal you may be right in your views
    But i would like to ask about the relation of this topic with the theme of this blog?

  4. Thank you all for your views and comments 🙂

    @Abdullah: as far as I know, we could post stories here – if that’s not the case, I won’t make any more such posts. 🙂

  5. Nida Zubair

    whatever may be the story but point is that as being a Muslim woman and that too married she was to preserve her mind,heart,body and soul just for her husband alone…if she was mis-treated it didnt mean that she should start falling for other men…instead she should have stood up for her rights…Islam for one gives woman the right to ask for divorce..if she was so unhappy she should have done that rather than falling for and fantasizing about other men..she had a duty of loyalty to her husband and a duty of honour to her family and religion..and by the way what was she going to do if she did successfully elope with her lover…she was already married..in someones nikkah…was she going to do live in sin???

    Wow what an example to be sorry for…stand up for your rights rather than being a coward and running away..such infatuation is definitely not love for she was young and thirsty for a few words of kindness,few sweet moments of care,love and affection from her husband…and when someone did show care so its predictable…quite cliche infact…all i could say for her that maybe she was a princess who watched too many romantic films..read many romantic novels(such as the likes of MacNaught and Sheldon)…longing for attention..not mature enough and certainly not bold enough to face the situation…dont misunderstand me as i mention no evil of her husband..surely he is the root cause but the princess didnt show any restraint of character either..yes girls have a soft heart and its mostly their feelings than reason which leads them in such cases..in short its a lesson for girls to lock their hearts for all except their husbands…and a lesson for men to treat their wives with kindness,care,affection and love, for a woman would do anything for such a man.

  6. totally agreed with nida … for any married person (regardless of the gender), fantasizing about anybody else is just plain wrong.

  7. amber pathan

    no she didnt. and nida how can u say all that words how? aik larki hona k nata atleast ap to as mat kaho.discusting. acha nida tell me 1 thing agar us larki ki jaga ap hoti to????????or janab punishment should be equal for both agar yahi sab khuch vo larka karta to??????? mja samj nai ati k is dore ma rahta hua b logo ki soch vasi hi ha bad

  8. amber pathan

    or nida ap k itna strong arguments han k mara dil cha raha ha ma apsapocho k apna ya sab khuch kasa kah dia kasaaaaa?mara id available ha or mja apsa apki is thinking ka bara ma bohot khuch janana ha so plzz contact me

  9. Nida Zubair

    @amber…..

    well there are some principles and morals of humanity of religion……mein lrki hote howe hi ye sb keh rhi hon…being a feminist is something else and carrying nd maintaining the natural order and balance of things is something else…as u asked that agar mein hoti tou well trust me i still condemn it..dekhiye her husband is at fault no doubt about that..but it doesnt mean that princess didnt do anything wrong… and jo aap baat kr rhi hain k is dor mein rehte howe…..well trust me this so called modernization nd west ki taqleed is actually the cause of our downfall nd demise…sure aap jan skti hain meri is thinking k are mein….

  10. Nida Zubair

    do give ur id here….in comments….as only the author of this post can see ur id…not every1….

  11. amber pathan

    well this is my id amberpathan36@yahoo.com. or ya id facebook par ha to ap mja vaha hi add karna oka ma yahoo use nai karti. or jaha tak bat is incident ki ha plz plzz ham kasa itna cruel ho sakta han kasa.?nida dako …… yar I cant explain my words here infront of every1. so plzz ad me so that i can say my words freely. lkn nida still I hav a question k agar ap k samna hi asi larki ko is tara sa mar dia jaa to ap kia roko gi b nai , ya nai kaho gi k let give her another chance but dont do all that idiotic things with her kia ap nai bolo gi ya sab? more details i want to discuss u there this is my ffriend id so may b ma late reply do but we will start our conversation in this topic there oka. agree?

  12. or nida jaha tak principles ki bat ha to janab mana ab tak ki apni life ma koi 500 or may b more thn 500 admi asa daka han jo married hona k bavajood dakh raha hota han girls ko. to un k sat asa q nai un ko to appreciate kia jata ha. kia hamari society ma is chez ki permision ha?nida punishment should b equal vaha par to un ki is harkat ko hans k tal dia jata ha.kia sab ki sab restrictions larkio par hi han. ya galat tha and i will never in the favour of this. or mja zaroor bataia ga k ap kasa is ki favour ma han q k i m still not agree with ur comment

  13. or nida aik or bat k han usa asa nai chaia tha or usa saza b milni chaia thi but i think ya nai or koi b.

  14. and request k nida k alava mja koi msg mat kara mara available id par becoz this is not my id jo mana .its actually my friend id.and i use her id. oka bye every body

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