In Egyptian culture, a khatba (Arabic: خاطب) is a (traditionally female) professional mediator or broker of relationships, who is hired to help in finding a suitable marriage partner. Traditionally, a young person would make use of the services of a khatba when their family and friends were unable to find a suitable mate.[1] Their services are especially necessary outside of Egypt's large cities, in more traditional Islamic areas, where male and female youths are not permitted to mingle freely.[2] In these areas, khatbas are typically paid for their services with non-monetary goods or services, such as gifts or favors.[3]

In popular media, khatbas are often represented as modestly-dressed middle-aged women, who carry photographs of marriageable youths to display to their clients.[3] Although they are considered a stereotypical figure of the 1940s to mid-1960s, many modern Egyptian youth still employ khatbas in one form or another.[3] As of 2013, less than one out of every hundred married Egyptian youth report meeting their partner through a khatba.[1]

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  1. ^ a b El Feki, Shereen (2013). Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World. Random House. p. 51. ISBN 978030790743-1. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  2. ^ Bentley, Evi (2007). Adulthood. Routledge. p. 42. ISBN 9781134514755. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Shawky, Amany Aly (11 December 2012). "Make me a match: Egypt's khatba tradition is still going strong". Egypt Independent. Retrieved 29 May 2014.