I refused a marriage proposal because they demanded dowry

Published: September 3, 2016

We seem to forget that we’re the once encouraging unfair demands. And when these demands are not met, the girls are set on fire. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

The notion of dowry has always been rampant in Pakistani society. Ironically, it’s been adapted from Indian culture. Living together in the subcontinent encouraged us to adopt each other’s customs, and eventually, they became a part of ours. Now, we are so deep into this mixed culture that we have forgotten there’s a fine line between culture and religion. We fail to realise that dowry is not approbated by Islam.

When given the factual argument that Islam sets no example of dowry, the dowry mongers are left with no other argument. All they have to say is,

“Baaki jaghon pe tou Islam yaad nahin aata.”

(When it comes to other things you don’t remember religion).

People refuse to support the idea of eradicating and uprooting this disease. You will hear all sorts of nasty comments and face personal attacks. But one must not give up on saving our society from this plague. We have to make them understand what ‘dowry’ actually is and the harm it causes.

While combating against the menace of dowry all my life, I too had to undergo an unfortunate incident of being approached for dowry myself.

It was around a year ago when I received a marriage proposal from an ‘educated and affluent’ family. My family ended up accepting the proposal based on their social standing. When the time came to decide a date for the engagement, the boy’s family demanded that a nikkah and a formal engagement ceremony should take place at the same time.

My mother was taken aback by this. She felt it was too soon for a nikkah so she spoke to the boy’s family and requested not to rush things. She suggested the following,

“The groom-to- be should take a bit of time in order to become financially stable and have a house in his name where he can keep our daughter. I think he should be allowed enough time so that he can become independent and support her. Once he is settled, we will happily set the date for the nikkah.”

The proposition made by my mother was one that’s usually made by parents who have daughters. However the in-laws were not only repelled by her request, but offended and decided to demand a dowry.

My mother-in-law-to-be was infuriated and said,

“You being the girl’s parents are not in a position to demand things. How could you even think of saying such a thing? We, the groom’s family, are the ones who can put forward such demands as per society’s norm. Why does my son need to be settled and stand up on his own feet when your daughter is supposed to bring a house and the entire setup in her dowry?”

My mother returned home astonished and narrated the entire episode to me. It reminded me of a scene from the Indian movie 2 States (2014). I was furious. So the next day I went to meet my mother-in-law-to-be or now not-to-be (she is the principal of a renowned private institution) and told her politely that she can keep her son because I am unable to pay his price. I made it clear that I am the kind of woman that believes dowry is a curse.

While walking out of her lavish house that day, I felt extremely proud of myself and knew that the mother must have pitied me for letting go of her gem of a son and thinking that no one would marry a girl like me. But I didn’t care.

Dowry is in no way related to the bride’s price but rather the ‘groom’s price’, dare I say.

Why is it the groom’s price? Because it’s a transaction. They believe it’s their right to make such a demand, but they need to understand that,

“Aap larki nahin, wo apko apna larka de rahay hain”

(You’re not giving your girl. In fact, they’re selling their son).

Gentlemen, want to know how much you’re worth? Dowry is your price.

So all you ladies who bring jahaiz to your in-laws can now announce the ownership of your husband since you paid the price.

During one of my Urdu lessons in high school, I remember coming across a statement from a pre-partition story in which the character of phupho, a confident educated working woman, broke all stereotypes. She stood up for herself and announced that she was marrying a man of her own choice, that too, without any dowry. When she was questioned, she said, 

“Main apna jahaiz khud hoon.”

(I am my own dowry).

This one statement had such an impact on me that even at that tender age – when I had almost no knowledge of what dowry is and how marriages work – I had decided I will never take dowry.

While growing up, I observed my surroundings and saw my sisters and cousins getting married and taking whatever their parents could arrange for them in the name of dowry. I made peace with the fact that dowry is not an entirely negative thing if given within reasonable means and is affordable for the girl’s family.

But just recently, I started questioning the very thought that had made me concede with the practice of giving dowry. And then I came across an online post by a friend. He had written,

“Jahaiz aik laanat hai. Bhaiyya ki shaadi main jahaiz k naa pe aik tinka nahin aay.”

(Dowry is a curse. My brother didn’t receive any when he got married).

“Bhaabi bohat haseen hain?”

(Is his wife beautiful?)

“Theen tou. Bechaari choolha phatnay se jal ker marr gayeen.”

(She was. The poor girl died because the stove exploded and she was burnt to death).

This made me realise that the definition of dowry varies from individual to individual. For someone hailing from the upper or middle class, the definition of a decent dowry may be great suffering for a poor man.

We give dowry and justify the concept by calling it ‘bridal gifts.’ These gifts include gold ornaments and furniture. Some exceed the limit and even engage in sending off their daughters with truckloads of a complete home setup. But no matter how much we justify the concept of ‘dowry’ and call it gifts, the idea remains the same. Hence, it should never be validated. We seem to forget that we’re the ones encouraging unfair demands. And when these demands are not met, girls are set on fire.

A poor man spends all his life collecting jahaiz for his daughters. If he fails to do so, his daughter is either rejected or ends up a spinster. This tragic tale doesn’t end here. She also becomes a victim of vicious mocks and taunts.

How difficult is it to understand that equating two different social classes in terms of affordability portrays a very bleak picture? One party might be in a position to afford dowry in millions while the other may not even be able to cater to the guests attending the wedding.

Why not try breaking the trend for once? Try saying no to dowry because every dowry demand is a death threat. Let’s quash the practice of giving dowry. Let’s set healthier trends for the sake of our relationships.

Zubaria Raja

Zubaria Raja

The author has studied BS Mass Communication. She is a social activist and a photographer based in Islamabad. She is a constant traveller and an avid reader. She tweets as @ZubariaJan (twitter.com/ZubariaJan)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Khan

    Author conveniently brushed aside the fact that they were the first ones to demand a separate house from the groom. So according to the author it is okay for the bride’s family to demand things but God forbid the groom’s family demanded something.
    This article shows how the biased thinking of our society.Recommend

  • Arsha

    Appreciate your sentiment against dowry however your mom’s demands were also incorrect. Asking for the guy to have a house in his name before he can get married? Most young couples stay in rented apartments before they can afford to take on a mortgage. Secondly why does he have to do that for you, can you not work and contribute to support the household. Why that expectation is only from him?Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Admire your courage, yourself being a Pakistani. In your country even Imran Khan takes dowry. So how can a common man stop this practice?

    All said and done, dowry is a Hindu practice. But why Pakistanis are following this? Just one reason – subjugation and mistreatment of women is a common factor in both countries, so Pakistanis seem to love this practice.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    The notion of dowry has always been rampant in Pakistani society. Ironically, it’s been adapted from Indian culture.

    Call yourself a separate country because you are Muslims and then blame everything on India. How nice you say dowry is part of Indian culture. The dowry cases are more concentrated in the North than in the South. And then in urban India among educated there is no such thing as Dowry. Once upon a time maybe it had relevance where parents of the girl were supposed to give a head start to the couple by donating some property, money or jewellery, now it is not. Things are changing and there is even a law called 495a, very famous with all marrying men in India. Ironically it is now women who are taking advantage of this law and driving men to suicide in India. See the TED video “Men the forgotten gender”. Nearly 90% cases registered under this law are false.

    Stop blaming India for even your social problems and for once take some responsibility. Even after physically separating you can’t mentally separate the umbilical cord you have with India that’s for me is the greatest irony of all.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    Though I agree with the author but isn’t asking the groom to have a house in his name is the same thing?Recommend

  • Amir

    well your mother first demanded that the boy should have a ‘house’, and that too ‘in his own name’. We live in an extended family system and even if the family is educated and affluent, does not mean they can afford two houses. So a demand for a house resulted in a demand for dowryRecommend

  • Syed Anab

    Dowry was supposed to be something complimentary, not a necessity. Today, its a soft form of extortion. Subcontinent culture has some real messed up issues.Recommend

  • Omer Malik

    It’s called bride price. It’s when the woman/family demand things. Recommend

  • Amb

    No wonder she gave you a befitting response .

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    Living in a male dominated society we tend to forget the fact that Islam has more rights reserved for women. Many people today confuse culture and religion, and are under the impression that joint families are part of Islam. To them it is almost unthinkable for a man not to live with his parents after marriage, and it is expected than a woman live with her in-laws.

    As a matter of fact when Hazrat Fatimah R.A was getting married, Prophet (PBUH) demanded from hazrat Ali a separate house for her daughter. And after marriage they moved into a separate house. They did not live with the Prophet (PBUH) despite being the closest and most beloved to him, and neither did they live with the Hazrat Ali’s mother, who was a widow..Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    Dowry is a secondary issue. Real issue is an arranged marriage. Dowry is discussed, taken or given in arranged marriages. In love marriages or where boys and girls are independent and have rights to decide, curse of dowry never becomes an issue. Here in our so called Pakistani Hindu culture, women are bought and sold and in Arab Islamic culture men get the same treatment. Dowry issue can only be solved, if girls and boys are allowed to fall in love and provided opportunity to decide. Core issue is the same, weather it’s an Arab culture or Hindu culture. Instead of making dowry an issue, Author should have refused arranged marriage. Fall in love first, decide yourself and keep family out of it. When family decides, it would only result in buying and selling of bride or bridegroom. It doesn’t make any difference which culture or religion you belong to.Recommend

  • Saad Ahmed

    I’d like to see the scholarly explanation for why dowry is haram. Yes, it’s true that Islam speaks nothing of dowry but that in of itself doesn’t make it haram, it simply means it’s not sanctioned. Different things. Honestly both sides in this exchange seem like they were in the wrong.Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    Living in a male dominated society we tend to forget the fact that Islam has more rights reserved for women. Many people today confuse culture and religion, and are under the impression that joint families are part of Islam. To them it is almost unthinkable for a man not to live with his parents after marriage, and it is expected than a woman live with her in-laws.

    As a matter of fact when Hazrat Fatimah R.A was getting married, Prophet (PBUH) demanded from hazrat Ali a separate house for her daughter. And after marriage they moved into a separate house. They did not live with the Prophet (PBUH) despite being the closest and most beloved to him, and neither did they live with the Hazrat Ali’s mother.Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    Living in a male dominated society we tend to forget the fact that Islam has more rights reserved for women. Many people today confuse culture and religion, and are under the impression that joint families are part of Islam. To them it is almost unthinkable for a man not to live with his parents after marriage, and it is expected than a woman live with her in-laws.

    As a matter of fact when Hazrat Fatimah R.A was getting married, Prophet (PBUH) demanded from hazrat Ali a separate house for her daughter. And after marriage they moved into a separate house. They did not live with the Prophet (PBUH) despite being the closest and most beloved to him, and neither did they live with the Hazrat Ali’s mother, who was a widow..Recommend

  • Abrar Salim

    Interesting read. Such instances are quite common in our society at the moment and need to be addressed. However this blog post fails to point out that “Ironically, in Islam, it’s supposed to be the other way around.”

    The mahr (dowry) is something that is paid by the man to his wife. It is paid to the wife and to her only as an honor and a respect given to her and to show that he has a serious desire to marry her and is not simply entering into the marriage contract without any sense of responsibility and obligation or effort on his part.Recommend

  • Atif Ali

    I dont understand tha fuss over asking for a separate house for the daughter as this is Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad SAW despite knowing Hazrat Ali since his birth being his cousin and later guardian, asked him to get his daughter a seperate house before nikkah.Recommend

  • Bilal Pervez

    What level of hypocrisy, ur mother demanding a house from a guy who is starting off or settled is totally insane.
    I wont go far and talk about my self. In our families nothing is demanded still yet the boys family pay for everything of the girls clothes jewellery functions shoes etc etc the girls family is not demanded aanything but they give stuff to thier daughters and not to us. My wife lives with me and we stay in our parents house this is insane of u thinking any body can afford a seprate house with todays prices.
    Just beacuse a female writes stuff ever 1 is like pitying her where as this is a mutual thing.

    Demanding dowry is wrong but then again taking things which girls expect is also wrong. Why are the boys always the victim here Recommend

  • fatima ahmad

    Why is everyone so focused on the fact that the writer’s mother asked for her prospective son in law to be financially stable enough to provide a home for his family? The writer has already mentioned that woman was a headmistress and to a renowned private institution. This is not a unreasonable demand at all. Especially considering that a bride’s family has to part with their daughter. Why do you think dowry is haraam in the first place? Bcz the bride’s family is giving up their daughter, entrusting the flower of a daughter they raised. After that how CAN anyone demand dowry from the bride’s family? After they give you everything that is theirs in the form of their daughter? This is not a unreasonable demand, a house that is if they wanted an early marriage and didn’t want to wait then the bride’s mother had every right to ask for the groom to be settled. The fact that people don’t see that is precisely why things are not changing. And it’s these very people who will be looking for a well settled son in law when it’s their daughters. It is the husband who must earn as an obligation and it’s him who has to be ready to take full responsibility of his bride. Not the bride’s family Recommend

  • A sad guy

    I am sorry for this bad experience but Zubaria, whatever happened with you, i can assure you it didn’t happen because of dowry. My three years long engagement recently got broken and the issue was exactly the same. The girl’s parents came and demanded quite a similar demand and off goes the three years long relationship. I am a brother myself and let me tell you, when my sister was getting married, we didn’t even thought about a single demand from our-side,not because my parents didn’t love their only daughter or we were not in a position to say anything. We could also have said so many things or ask questions but we didn’t say a word, not even how much Haq Meher do they want to set. My sister today, is living happily in a joint family MashaAllah. You believe that the relationship ends because of the dowry demand and then you linked it with Islam, can i ask you what does Islam tells us about having faith in Allah or Naseeb? Do you think, you or anyone has the power to change h/her Naseeb? Here’s another angle, in my 29 years of life, i have never heard anyone giving blessing to a girl in which they have said ‘Ja Bachi teri achi Nokri lagy’ or ‘Ja Baiti tujy acha larka mily’. Whenever an elder gives blessing to a girl its always ‘ Ja baiti Allah tery Naseeb achy kary’. Have you ever thought why do we give this blessing only to a girl and not to a boy? Not because boys don’t need a prayer like this but in our society, people think boys can do whatever they want, they even know the magic of staying happy which i think is hell wrong. Let me also say that every girl’s parent has the right to go to all extent in investigating about boy or boy’s family. I refer here to one of my uncle who, before saying yes to boy’s family, went to boy’s office and asked simple questions to his friends and colleagues about the boy. So it depends how you investigate. But once you are satisfied and have said yes, then saying anything to boy’s family, will always take you to the same position you are in right now. And Zubaria, lets suppose, the boy’s family say yes to every single demand before marriage and after marriage, they do the opposite. What would happen then? Will you compromise or leave? In both the cases, (God Forbid) you’ll be unhappy for rest of your life. The most important question for any girl’s parent should be, ‘Will my daughter live happily or not?’. And trust me, happiness does not comes with a separate home or bank balance. You can only have it if it is in your Naseeb. The biggest worry for girls’ parent or even girls’ today is having differences with in laws or husband. What they forget is that even Prophet PBUH had differences with one of his wife and he was about to separate when ALLAH ordered him he can’t because his wives on earth will remain his wives in heaven. So have faith in ALLAH and keep yourself satisfy before saying yes to any proposal. But once decided, do not ruin the relationship with demands of home or anything else. Good LuckRecommend

  • Zarlasth Rana

    You are no different than the mother who demanded the dowry, pls stop trying to gain 15 mins of fame by posting these kind of things socially. It would not make you feel better. Cry baby now and cry baby it seems you were it at that time. Enough with your sob stories, move on for the love of GodRecommend

  • Time Is Up

    Well said. All ills of Pakistan are because of Indians (aka Hindus). All achievements are because of Islam. So after 7 or so decades, Pakistanis like the author, have not grown up to take responsibilities of their actions.Recommend

  • Musa

    Well, it is the Hindustani Culture. Like it or not.
    Where a dowry is demanded. Even a list is
    given to the the bride’s family. That is why the
    Bunya Culture thrives in Hindustan. Parents of
    the bride take loans and are never able to pay back.
    Results in a Suicide Culture. Prevalent in Hindustan.
    Truth is always hard to swallow. Specially with Hindus,
    who have an inferiority complex.Recommend

  • pakka indian

    Dowry, if I may correct you, is not a “Hindu practice”. Dowry is, in fact, officially banned in India. Pakistan being a failed state with huge social problems (India still has its share too, but it has made huge strides) such as so-called “honor killings”, dowry, illiteracy, medieval thinking based on fictionalized history, terrorism and religious extremism, and the list goes on. But, dear fellow brothers and sisters in Pakistan, why must you always try to hyphenate yourself with India? We have separated from you since 70 years. Why not do away with all the “evil” Indian practices? After all, nobody is stopping you from eliminating these practices. We in India have (at least officially) banned the dowry system, raised the marriageable age of girls and done away with our feudal thinking. We will be happy if you do that too. Please don’t blame all your problems on India. We in India have nothing to do with you and thank the Lord that Pakistan separated from us. That’s the best thing that happened to us. And please don’t flatter yourselves that India has its eyes on Pakistan. We have other priorities, the topmost being self-development, progress and prosperity.Recommend

  • Musa

    Get a life. You cannot change a Culture overnite
    This is a culture, Hindu or Muslim, where girls
    and boys are not allowed to mingle. It goes back hundreds
    of years.And cannot be eradicated just like that. Also, how
    long will a girl OR a boy wait for the right person to come along
    to fall in love with and get married? Wait years? Hoping to
    fall in love?Recommend

  • stevenson

    People should walk away from any marriage where there some financial expectation. No one is blaming India but it is true that people watching Indian movies and shows have adopted customs from India. Also many Muhajirs who have come to Pakistan from India and now live in Karachi still practice traditions that their families did in India. Most Pakistanis do not believe in dowry since they know it is unislamic but there is no prohibition in gift giving. The expectation of gifts and loot is not openly practiced in Pakistan because people would say you are behaving like a Hindu – I have heard this and it shames Pakistanis. Also many of the native races in Pakistan, especially in KPK, Baluchistan and Northern Areas do not have any concept of dowry because the groom has to pay for everything including the marriage.Recommend

  • rationalist

    Why every “commonsensical” thing has to be sanctioned or not sanctioned by Isalm? Is Islam meant to enslave people and rob them of their common sense, logic and humanity?Recommend

  • rationalist

    “Islam has more rights reserved for women”

    Ya right! The “right” to live as one of the four wives, to need four male Muslim witnesses to prove rape, to accept their self-worth as half of that of a man, to be stoned to death if she can’t prove rape, to accept her husband has the right to beat her, to humbly accept a triple talaq…..Recommend

  • rationalist

    “Why that expectation is only from him?”
    To make sure he is not a no-good lazy bum who mooches off his parents’ wealth instead of standing on his own legs. Also to make sure he will be a responsible contributor to family he is going to start.Recommend

  • s hassan

    Such ignorance! Not one but ALL of the things you mentioned are WRONG.
    There are SEVERAL conditions to fulfill before a man can marry another. He CANNOT marry another without the permission of the first wife.
    Four witnesses are NOT required in rape cases.
    Islam does NOT say a woman’s self-worth is half of a man.
    Islam does NOT say to stone a woman if she can’t prove rape.
    Islam does NOT give husband the right to beat his spouse.
    Islam does NOT condone triple talaq to be given in one go.Recommend

  • Maria

    Weird that you would say Indians don’t have their eyes on Pakistan but if you look at any news item in Pakistani newspapers, it is mastered with Indians posting anti Pakistan stuff. But to the point, Pakistani culture may have some similarity with some Indian things but there is a lot of difference too. I would not expect or receive dowry in our family.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    Okay, honoring killing is Pakistani, ironically large portions of North Indians have adapted it. Like it or not when a woman doesn’t follow orders she gets killed by her own family. It’s very much prevalent in Pakistan. Truth is always hard to swallow. Specially with Muslims who have an inferiority complex with regards to women.Recommend

  • Proud Hindu

    I don’t want to stoop to your level of thinking but I would strongly repudiate the notion that dowry is “Hindustani culture”. Dowry is officially banned in India (though I acknowledge that there may be cases of violations by individual families). However, it is by no way a “Hindustani culture”. Hindus, incidentally, do not have an “inferiority complex”. Pakistanis themselves suffer from a choleric disease called envy. The entire world shuns them and suspects every Pakistani arriving anywhere in the world as a potential terrorist. Pakistan being a failed state with huge social problems (India has its share too, but it has made huge strides too). Pakistan has a regular staple of “honor killings”, dowry killings, one of the world’s highest illiteracy rates, medieval thinking based on fictionalized history, terrorism and religious extremism, and the list goes on. But, dear Pakistani caveman, why must you always try to hyphenate yourself with India? We have separated from you since 70 years. Why not do away with all the “Hindu practices? After all, nobody is stopping you from eliminating these practices. We in India have (at least officially) banned the dowry system, raised the marriageable age of girls and done away with our feudal thinking. We will be happy if you do that too. Please don’t blame all your problems on India or always drag India into your self-made mess? We in India have nothing to do with you and thank the Lord that Pakistan separated from us. That’s the best thing that happened to us. And please don’t flatter yourselves that India has its eyes on Pakistan. We are happy with what we have and do not want anything or anyone of you. We have other priorities, the topmost being self-development, progress and prosperity.Recommend

  • aam admi

    Dear blogger do you think the flowwoing statement was realistic and as per islamic norms?? I dont think every guy is financially stable and a home of his own when he comes to the age of marriage. I neither find your mother’s notion logical nor your “mother-in-law-not-to-be’s”.
    “The groom-to- be should take a bit of time in order to become financially stable and have a house in his name where he can keep our daughter. I think he should be allowed enough time so that he can become independent and support her. Once he is settled, we will happily set the date for the nikkah.”Recommend

  • Adnan

    I’m not sure where Islam goes away when it comes to more than one marriages but they quote freely when it comes to things tat suit females….Recommend

  • Wahab Ali

    Fatima, I understand where you’re coming from and the groom is without a doubt responsible for his bride, and to demand dowry is really an unsuitable and ungainly act for a Muslim and should be condemned in our society. However, to own a separate home nowadays is incredibly tough for even a well settled man let alone somebody who’s just starting out in his career, more so in Islamabad, seeing that the author is situated there. If a guy has a decent job and a career plan and can afford a home on rent for the time being or live with his wife in his parents house until they can move out, isn’t that good enough to start a marriage with? Haven’t most of our middle class parents started off their families like this? How many of our fathers already had a home in their name before they got married? If we start waiting for our boys to get “well settled” enough for a separate home before they can get married, then we will be waiting a long time and most men won’t be able to get married until their late thirties (that too if they’re lucky with the inequality in income distribution as it is). And people marrying that late my friend surely can not be good for society.Recommend

  • Wahab Ali

    Agreed, demanding a separate home in the boy’s name before marriage is ridiculous. Most people work their entire lives to be able to afford a home.Recommend

  • Amiliya

    DOWRY IS A MENACE, A DEMAND FOR SEPARATE HOME (from her mother) IS NOT; and this is not hypocrisy, these are standard set for this ‘male dominated society’ by Islam.

    I completely agree with what Zubaria has mentioned in one of her replies which has been over-shadowed by the outrage of ignorance and hatred:

    “Living in a male dominated society we tend to forget the fact that Islam has more rights reserved for women. Many people today confuse culture and religion, and are under the impression that joint families are part of Islam. To them it is almost unthinkable for a man not to live with his parents after marriage, and it is expected than a woman live with her in-laws.

    As a matter of fact when Hazrat Fatimah R.A was getting married, Prophet (PBUH) demanded from hazrat Ali a separate house for her daughter. And after marriage they moved into a separate house. They did not live with the Prophet (PBUH) despite being the closest and most beloved to him, and neither did they live with the Hazrat Ali’s mother, who was a widow.”

    P.S. people should do a little research before reaching the conclusion. why are we always so quick to judge and give such haughty remarks?Recommend

  • Arsha

    That can be easily checked by finding out where he works. Demanding a house to know whether the person is self sufficient…really? And back to my question, why the demand for a house instead of just knowing that he is financially stable. Why can’t both of them join their salaries and work together to buying a house? And how could the girls parents have fixed marriage without first ensuring that the guy was not a “lazy bum mooching off his parents wealth”?Recommend

  • Razi Mallick

    I think the writer has not done justice by scapegoating Indian culture to absolve ourselves of our wrongdoings. We must have courage to say that this is due to “our culture” of greed which is manifested in every walk of life. There is no doubt that dowry is against Islamic teachings. But who cares. Islam has become hostage of “our rotten culture” . We are not ready to amend our cultural practices according to Islamic teachings. We have confined our goodness to prayers only and have let loose our reckless behavior in the other spheres of life.
    Islamic teaching instructs Nikah to be made easy but it has been made the most difficult practice. We can see extravagance in marriage celebrations everywhere, with few exceptions. By blaming others this problem cannot be solved.
    Also we are suffering from the disease of double standards. Being parents of bride we have one stance and being parents of groom we have just the opposite stance. Greed and hypocrisy combined together is pushing us towards collapsing situation.
    Dowry is only a symptom of the widespread disease of rampant corruption prevalent in our society. If we do not change our collective mindset I do not know what will happen to us. I feel shuddered. May Allah guide us to the right path of justice and compassion for each other to create a society of peace and tranquility. Amin! Recommend

  • aam admi

    and if you remeber Imam Ali AS was jobless(as per our standards) and had a mud house. and He paid Haq meher by selling his armour. He spent his whole life digging water holes and giving them for sadqa. Will any girl accept such a person in this times?? certainly not!!!Recommend

  • Asad

    Well written artcile. Dowry is a curse to the society at large. For those of you who don’t know, demanding dowry or setting it as a condition for marriage is unislamic. Its upto the girls parents to decide if they want to give something or not. That’s all. However, I will not blame the Indian Culture for it as its been in practise for quite some time.Recommend

  • Amiliya

    To all those bashing and spewing hatred against the author as to why her mother asked for a separate house from the family must first know that “DOWRY IS A MENACE — ASKING FOR THE GIRL’S SAFETY AND A SECURE & HAPPY FUTURE IS NOT” it’s rather a sunnah as Prophet (PBUH) did for his daughter Fatimah R.A. Ali didn’t object or called the prophet money monger or questioned him as to why he is demanding a separate house for her. it’s not double standards or hypocrisy, it’s an example set by Islam to show the world that when a Muslim girl leaves her house her husband should provide her with the best and she does not have the responsibility to serve her in-laws, if she does she’ll get rewarded but it’s not her duty and so she has the right to demand living in a separate home.Recommend

  • Anum

    Dowry is a social curse and some radical steps must be taken against this practise. But the fact is that the concept of dowry is so firmly rooted in mindsets of even the very well educated, that in most instances the girl’s family would say yes to every financial demand of the groom’s family rather than take a stand against it. Because in reality there is only a minority that opposes dowry; so how difficult would it be to find a suitable family for your daughter who actually says no to dowry?

    Pakistan and India, both have the highest incidence of dowry related deaths of women. That is the extent of the gravity of the situation. Girls are regarded as a burden in the society because parents have to worry about their ‘jahaiz’ literally from the day they are born. Instead of investing in their education, that money goes into preparation of the accursed jahaiz. If the poor parents couldn’t gather the required amount of dowry demanded by the groom, then either the girl stays unmarried for the rest of her life, or if she does get married, she has to undergo mental torture for the rest of her live from her in laws.

    In Islam concept of dowry is limited the basic necessities a girl may need in her new home (for herself, not the in-laws) for example clothes for herself, a few cooking utensils. The rest is the responsibility of the husband to provide for her according to his economic situation.

    Like I stated before, the mentality of people needs to be changed. Educated and well off people should take the stand first and say no to dowry. Change should start with our own self first.Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    Please stop taking things out of context. When i write ‘walking out of their luxurious house” that states that the guy hailed from a rich family and was ‘well educated’ in terms of having a good degree. Even at that time he was financially in such a stable condition that he could provide his wife with a separate home.
    Maula Ali whereas, at his time of marriage, was in a weak financial condition, yet Prophet PBUH made the same demand from him for his daughter Fatimah.
    It’s not like the parents wanted a castle for their daughter, a person of course has to be reasonable enough to put a demand that the other can fulfill. You’re overshadowing the fact that the whole point of putting forwards such a demand is that the parents want the person who is asking for their daughter’s hand and is going to spend the rest of his life with her, should be able to support her and not live by relying on his wealthy parent’s generosity without sharing in the cost or responsibility. and it has nothing to do with middle or upper class if the prophet has promoted the trend he must have had a logic behind it.Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    Why do girls get so much jewellery from the groom’s parents on her wedding. Is it Islamic. Isn’t it a burden on the groom’s family? I have seen boys’ marriages being delayed because of this gold. Is this the price of the girl?Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    I have relations and friends in India and i have no antagonism against the Indian culture, i am not scapegoating anyone or anything, i am belaboring the obvious. There are some false trends that many nations and societies adopted over the centuries and they are still prevailing. Dowry is one such example, it was an Indian culture and we Muslims adopted it from them, along with many good things we adopted the bad things too. adaptation does not mean that they imposed it on you or the Indians forced it upon you, it was definitely our own choice but what’s fact is a fact and we should accept the reality, turning a blind eye to it won’t change the reality.
    After watching Udta Punjab, Pakistani’s were infuriated that why India has to blame Pakistan; we don’t infiltrate drugs. But the fact remains that the drug trafficking is taking Pakistani route to reach India and there is no denying but then again it’s their choice, it’s not like we are implementing it on them or forcibly getting them addicted to it. Corruption is everywhere naming the origin does not necessarily means we’re accusing someone of spreading falsehood, we who adopted it and are running faster in this race are more to blamed for than those who initiated it.
    Being emotional and sensitive is good but being irrational and illogical is not so please accept the reality, get your facts straight and move on. There’s not even a single mention of dowry in Islam. We like to justify it by calling it “hudood main reh kar de saktay hain” (We can give a limited dowry) but Islam has no such concept. yes if a girl likes to take something herself that is her basic need that’s not prohibited.Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    Please read my reply below to another person. I in no way intended to blame India, the only purpose was to mention the origin and it remains a fact.Recommend

  • Lalarukh Jay

    lol, you can question the Prophet of Allah for setting this trend by asking Ali R.A to get a separate house for Fatimah at the time of Nikkah.Recommend

  • M Adnan

    Thanks for letting single eligible men know who to stay away from!!! A house in his name …. seriously!!!!! With current property prices…..This proposition is not USUALLY made….. Islam doesn’t mandate a separate house in man’s name… but it does say to live a simple life and marry as early as possible…. dnt knw where yr Islam went at this point…. Recommend

  • M Adnan

    They did live in a mud house …. wud u accept tat…. stop cherry picking Islam….Recommend

  • M Adnan

    These days woman want the best of both western freedom and eastern values…. want a separate house pitch in like it is done in uk…. where couples marry/live together even if they’re working in some tracks etc…. stop treating yr daughters to some queen … make then independent not dependent Recommend

  • M Adnan

    Then the man also has the right to keep two wives…one in separate home and one in his parents… where yr Islam goes away here?Recommend

  • MR.X

    yeah today they want money, ive seen it many times, my friend used to go in bmw at kinnaird college lahore and girls would jump in the car as he parked and waited for them, without even knowing who they were.They wouldnt do that if he went in mehran etc.. And did my friend go to preach religion?, you guessed it , no!!, he is also at fault here. IRecommend

  • MR.X

    People stop spending misinformation about Hazrat Alis marriage. Also read hadith 2125 and 2126 from Abu daud. How could he buy a house when he himself said he had nothing. Stop believing what you want to believe or read online. Refer to Sihah sitta(books of hadith). May Allah guide us allRecommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    You have proved my point. There will always be demand of dowry from one side until arranged marriage culture is not gone. No law or no article can stop it. In arranged marriages at least one party is compensated by some kind of consideration. For your information, marriage is the only contract in which there should be no consideration which means it should be unconditional. When families are involved because stupid bride groom cannot get a wife for himself or a girl cannot find a husband for herself, involvement of others would always result in some kind of give and take. That give and take could be financial, physical appearance, age difference, better class, political or for western nationality. Dowry is a bye product of our bad culture.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    more power to you girl!

    my brother is always being asked by rishta aunties and who not about why he’s not getting married. His response is that he will not get married until his following demands are fulfilled and I agree we all seriously need to rethink our wedding ‘ culture ‘:
    1. BAN DOWRY
    3.Propose new laws for weddings: restrict wedding to 1 function and place an upper limit on amount of money that is spent on weddings.

    Pakistani weddings are ridiculous! You have these segregated gender system that is part of a troublesome economy and turbulent socio economic climate which makes daily lives for most citizens a constant struggle and a fest for survival. People here dont go to clubs, drink or date BUT, here comes a wedding night, and boom, everyone you know now holds a degree in highly advanced dance moves from your cousins to your drivers to your female colleagues and everyone around you is expected to cheer and act like they’re an expert club goer womanizing expert dance breaker themselves as well.

    RIDICULOUS. If someone does not want to dance at a wedding because its simply a sudden and traumatizing shift from their conservative lifestyle then LEAVE them alone! You guys can can pretend to be all lady gaga’s backup dancers for a night but some people want to skip the ritual role playing and just be the same people they are in their daily lives.Recommend

  • MR.X

    The truth has been spokenRecommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    call it cherry picking, mock it, like it or not but Islam gives this right to women, to live in a separate house with her husband and a husband must do his best to fulfill this demand. Times have changed we know but it wasn’t easy for Hazrat Ali to arrange for that mud house even but he worked hard for it. No ones forcing you into a rishta or setting you on fire if you can’t get a separate house, you always have the option of walking away. But please come up with sensible and logical arguments. If you men call yourself the superiors and the bread earners and have a responsibility, fulfill it rather than coming up with weak and illogical arguments.
    These two ahadiths that you have mentioned have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Please do a little more research so you can understand its not misinformation we are spreading but rather it’s you who is ignorant of the fact.Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    And why not? Women are not bound to earn and feed the family but men are. women can work if they want to but men have a responsibility to fulfill. These are Islamic laws, lodge your complaint to Allah if you’ve got issues not to me.Recommend

  • ahmed

    As u urself said , u accepted the proposal seeing his Social condition..its not bad to keep in mind the social status of groom but Islam prefers considering taqwa …will u marry a “muttaqi” guy living in a small flat in remote area? stop picking up half deen wherever it favoursRecommend

  • fatima ahmad

    If you read the article, you would know it implies the family was well off. Otherwise why would the mother make such a demand? The house could be rented or bought but point is she had every right to know that her daughter, who had received every comfort in life wouldlive rrelatively in comfort in her new house. You canNOT just throw your daughter in a hole and many mothers prefer that their son in laws have their own houses rather than live with family for fear of their daughters being slave driven. Also this mother did not make these demands after the wedding and out of the blue. She simply enquired as to the financial stability of her prospective son in law since his family was pushing for an early marriage. Any mother in her place would enquire about whether the son is well established and independent. Because if he is well established his wife will be in comfort too which is what a parent wants. No dispute hereRecommend

  • disqus_123123432435

    answer is simple. according to quran, one of the prerequisites of marriage is the ‘mahr’, which is a dowry paid by groom to bride. now if instead the bride is paying dowry to groom, then obviously this quranically-ordained prerequisite of marriage is not being fulfilled. I think some people fulfill this obligation ceremonially by giving a token mahr to the bride, while at the same time taking a substantial jahez from the bride. But of course, if the mahr is exceeded by the jahez, then I would say that effectively there was no mahr. That is directly contradictory to Quran verses (as well as Hadith), therefore the jahez I think should be haram.Recommend

  • fatima ahmad

    Excuse me? We ARE queens. We have no compulsion to earn. If we do, it’s out of our choice. Our job is not to be the bread earner. And how is asking for the prospective groom to be well settled making your daughter dependant? If she does not wish to work then she is dependant on her husband. If she does wish to work even then her husband is to give her her dues. In UK things maybe so. But in Islam it is clear that the duties of a man and that of a woman are different. Would you marry your daughter off to someone who is not financially independent enough to support a wife? Would you force her into a hole where you have no assurity that she’ll live in comfort? Recommend

  • fatima ahmad

    I’m pretty sure that she did not mean a luxurious five bedroom house. What so many don’t get is she did not want her daughter to live with the in laws since in many cases this results in the new wife being slave driven. You can’t deny this. All she wanted was for her daughter to live in comfort. You cannot throw your daughter in a hole. A rented home would work too. This is I repeat not an unreasonable demand. Bcz she did not demand all of this after the wedding. She made this demand after she was told that the family wanted an early marriage. If the family demands an early marriage and you know for sure that your prospective son in law cannot support your daughter yet, would you throw her at the proposal bcz she might get too old for marriage? Is that a bigger issue compared to the daughter living in misery bcz the in laws demanded an early marriage and refuted your request for a delay responding with a demand for dowry which is haraam? The mother’s request was not haraam I remind you. She was within her rights. Also the issue isn’t the separate house. The issue is that her prospective mother in law told her mother that they (the bride’s family) cannot make any demands and if they do, they must pay in dowry. This is the main issue. Not where the argument has been takenRecommend

  • fatima ahmad

    see the thing i am trying to underline here, what the writer has tried to address here is the fact that when her mother went to her daughter’s prospective mother in law, she was informed that they wanted an early nikkah which is a huge undertaking. Naturally as a mother her next question was as to why the marriage was being conducted so soon and that was the prospective son in law stable enough to provide her daughter with a roof over her head? Why has the writer specifically mentioned that the prospective mother in law was the headmistress of a renowned private institute? because it means they (the groom’s) family were well off. we know how much private institutes earn. Moving on, my point here is not the demand for the house. Which is never specified here. house on rent or an independent house, thing is she just wanted her daughter to live in a separate house and not be married to someone who is dependent on family. Often parents marry their daughters off at the first proposal where the groom is not independent and the entire family treats the daughter as a slave. im not saying such is always the case but it is frequent enough. All the bride’s mother said was basically that okay you want an early marriage fine but can your son give my daughter a roof over her head? would it not be better not to rush into it? And the prospective mother in law countered with an argument that the bride’s family has no right to make ANY demands. Can you imagine letting your daughter be at the mercy of such a woman? also not only this but the lady also said that if they make any demands then they should pay up in dowry. What? do you not see how unjust this is? In response to a request, a halaal request, she demanded something that was haraam? would you throw your daughter at the mercy of such a woman who has no qualms about such things bcz you are afraid that she might get too old for marriage? So the point here is not the request for a house but the mother in law to be’s response to it. she basically said we can do what we want and if you have anything against it, pay up. this is the high light.Recommend

  • MR.X

    Oh yes claiming to have facts, your actually rejecting what was done in the evidence i quoted. But you women say your being factual while your being emotional and clearly overlooking the evidence i gave. Tribune also removed the reference i quoted with its link(online Abu daud).So you try not to say your factual while you clearly reject evidence through your emotions. You hear what you want to hear. And yes men are responsible(bread earning etc) for women. I never said they werent . Stop being manipulative. All i said was with a low income its difficult to buy a house for men. And if im going single why are you concerned and mocking me about it.??Mind your own buisness.Recommend

  • MR.X

    Oh and just to let you know i have been read, not all but specific parts especially related to marriage from (Bukhari,Muslim,Nasai,Abu daud) .I would brutally blow you away with knowledge and facts(If Allah willing) . So read them so we can have a debate on an intellectual level rather than emotional. No women will like my comment because the truth scares you. Go invent your own islam if you want to.You got likes from women because they just wanted islam to be how they feel about itRecommend

  • M Adnan

    thanks for agreeing with me… ride two boats at the same time and your bound to fail… just agree you demanded first and they just showed you the door… u really think they wanted dowry; can’t you see they rejected yr proposal as soon as u set tat demand…. and dowry topic was just to mock uRecommend

  • M Adnan

    and by the way.. when they approached you with the proposal; why didnt you set the demand that you need a separate house in groom’s name. They would have rejected that with no further discussion. You only set this proposal at the time when they wanted nikaaah? that is like blackmailing if the engagement went ahead and then after few years you set the demand… that is not only unislamic but unethicalRecommend

  • farhan

    I have read this reference you are absolutely right. She has not read this hadith otherwise she would not have claimed ‘there is nothing over there’s. You are a brave man who spoke the honest truth with knowledge, they are being emotional. And see the women who liked her comment. May Allah Help you and guide me and my sisters to the right path.Recommend

  • farhan

    But men are the bread winners in Islam no doubt. Dosent mean they are entitled to house. They are taking things out of context in my view.Recommend

  • farhan

    She dosent get it when her family demmanded it, It was then that she was rejected.The writer seems a bit frustrated. But agree with her that men are breaed winners but it dosent mean hes bound to get her a house.Recommend

  • farhan

    Brave man, speaking how it is and no emotional nonsense.Simple logic and facts. PS:I think you have triggered some feminists with logic. I have seen they are threatened by facts and logicRecommend

  • farhan

    some are gold diggersRecommend

  • farhan

    SPot on.The husband is the bread winner ,it dosent mean the women is entitled to a house in my viewRecommend

  • farhan

    She was rejected because they demmanded a house. Read mr.x comment he talks with knowledge and give proper reference tho these women from hadith booksRecommend

  • farhan

    Islam is our religion, let no secular man talk you dwon, well done!!Recommend

  • M Adnan

    and why wasnt this demand set at the time of rishta? they shud have been clear abt it so could be rejected by the grooms family there in. Why wait and then when Nikaah was mentioned then come up with demands.Recommend

  • http://Zubariajan.blogspot.com/ Zubaria Jan

    Thank you Fatimah. You got my point and all the 700+ people who shared this article on Facebook and more on other places. I do not have the stamina to bandy words with the ignorant anymore. They won’t read your comments with the intention to learn but to reply back and argue, they’ll drag you down to their level and expect you to do “intellectual debates” haa! so let’s just put an end to it.
    I appreciate your effort and once again thank you for reading it means a lot!
    Just one last thing for the ‘not so gentle – men’ above, that after i rejected the proposal they came begging, making apologies and in fact made a proposal that they can wait for two more years and the boy will be having a separate house of his own and what not.. The point is not to prove my worth or to brag about how “i’m the only girl in the world” haha (as I’m sure, this is how the haters are gonna see it) but it’s just to make people understand that we can’t mention each and every detail in one piece but as they say “Aqalmand ra ishara kaafi ast” So those who had to learn got my point, i think the purpose of my message stood served and i reached my audience! :)Recommend

  • M Adnan

    what i want to say is if you want a separate house then you have to itch in or dont accept the marriage proposal. Accepting the proposal and then at the time of nikaah putting demands is like blackmailing from brides side. A well deserved response to the author..Recommend

  • farhan

    Yeah right, like you had an intellectual debate with mr.x who had knowledge from hadith books(sihah-e-sitta). mr.x was right ,i saw that evidence myselfRecommend

  • M Adnan

    i dont think you rejected it; they rejected rishta as soon as you put the demand. If you put this demand at the time of initial meeting they wud have rejected the rishta there inRecommend

  • Musa

    Unfortunately, YOU are a hindu, writing under a Muslim name.
    The Prophet [PBUH] did no such thing. Like demanding a house
    for his daughter Hazrat Fatima.

  • aam admi

    All the story is about three women, you, your respected mother and your mother not-to-be. what is the point of bringing manhood and bread earning stuff?? Did that women ask you to do job after marriage?? Did she ask you get her son a new home?? See the problem is about our social brought up. We are regiliously muslims and practicing capitalists. We follow the social values that suits us. The thing I want to say is there was nothing wrong in moving with their parents(Islam doesnt forbid combined family). Today his parents are earning but they wont be after some years. In the socio-economic setup of Pakistan, its impossible to get separted from parents when you are eighteen. Parents invest their life, their fortune in upbringing of their kids in Pakistan/Third world countries and parents need support after they get retired. In my opinion asking a guy to get separted from parents as soon as he is stable, is too much of a selfish and self centric approach. This will make respected parents lonely and helpless in old age ultimately ending in old houses(if there are).
    As far as Dowry is concerned, it should end. The bride and bridegroom shouldnt rip off the parents of their savings. The bride and the groom should have enough faith in themselves to face the real world by themselves. Ripping off parents is condmenable while living a poor/middle class isnt.Recommend

  • fatima ahmad

    why did the prospective mother in law not mention that she wanted an early marriage? hmm? rishta had only just been accepted and that is when talks start. who the heck brings a rishta and then talks about demands or accpets rishta and then makes demands? no this comes later. and she didnt demand anything, she suggested that they wait until things were better as she felt it was too early and things were being rushed. the son was not going to be able to support her daughter without help from his family. please just read what i wrote, you clearly have not,Recommend

  • fatima ahmad

    oh God did you even READ the article? all it says is that the mother was worried since the marriage was too early. so she suggested that they wait atleast until the son in law was independent enough. a house is not an unreasonable demand from someone who is well off. it could be rented too. and the mother in law basically said who are you to make demands, if you make demands then pay up for them, are you supporting this?! the mother in law could have said that we cant afford it right now and that you are right we will wait till my son can support your daughter since the MAN is supposed to provide for the woman. a house in return for the daughter is NOTHINGRecommend

  • fatima ahmad

    you are right. these so called intellectual debates are just them trying to tell you that as a female you should not even ask for a house to live in since the poor guy (snorts) cant afford it and you are being cruel. lol. they did not read the article. they read what they wanted, formed an argument, brought their knowledge of ahadith ignoring the parts that they know have also been mentioned in ahadith (so selective about which ahadith should be the topic of discussion). the ahadith mentioned is right but what about the others huh? dont want to talk about them guys? these very men will be making the same suggestions as your mother when it is their daughters. hypocrites. they dont get that the boy’s family brings rishta and they are supposed to be upfront about when they want the wedding to be. the family withheld that information and your mother was within rights to ask for a delay. her choice if she does not want an early rushed marriageRecommend

  • Ahmad

    I have no issue with the couple living in a separate (rented) house. My objection was on having a house in groom’s name. Even if one earns 100k per month he can’t just go out and buy a house for his wife-to-be.Recommend

  • Saad Ahmed

    If the Jahez is considered a gift and nothing more and people are not acting as if it’s a part of Islam I see no harm in it. Also, the Mahr is given directly to the girl whereas the Jahez would be given from the girl’s family (basically, her father) to the guy.Recommend

  • Raja Waseem

    Dowry is curse and we all should condemn this ………..
    But,i want to mention you one thing my sister that is very alarming for all of us,that it seems that both side of parents are demanding and interesting in articles and materialistic in approach….once we are going for making some relations with any body we should focus on character education rather then house dowry items…………..

    i will say that we should be joined in a relationship beyond all these demands by any side as per my view point demand made by your respected mother is nor valid and demanded made by your expected mother in law was also illogical and full of lust…

    To remove these things from our society we should act on both sides rather then only focusing on one side otherwise,the problem will remain same .

    Raja WaseemRecommend

  • hello hello

    a hindu practice dowry is. even after being separated from hindus for 69 years we cant seem to get rid of this hindu practice.Recommend

  • Syed

    Each one of us is to be blamed. We all know that there are unending demands from both sides. We as society are not keen to correct ourselfes therefore unfortunately such situations will happen. The day we as society will realize that it is in the benefit for the couple & the society to get married while keeping the expenses low we will be able to eradicate these kinds of problems. I dont understand why people are so short sighted that they dont see if you save that unnecessary expenditure on marriage it is the newly wed couple who is going to benefit. Also people who can’t accept proposal for their daughters due lack of funds will also be able get their daughter married. The reality is we change for bad quite easily but not for anything good. I am very sorry to say that we as society have made it easier to commit a sin than to get married. Very unfortunate and quite