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Dowry is unlawful in Islam

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  • Dowry is unlawful in Islam

    By Ameer Hamzah
    Jan 5, 2004, 00:24

    Killing of wife for dowry is a crime. It has been rising day by day despite presence of law against it. The political scientists define law as a set of uniform rules backed by the coercive power to control external human actions. Besides, the government is empowered to issue decree when parliament is not in session, or when emergency demands, or during the session, subject to the approval by the parliament within six months. Dowry, hereinafter referred to money under duress, is not the culture of Muslims. It is transmitted into Muslims of this region from outside. Many a man and woman through greed demand money from the wife or her guardians before and after marriage.

    Not only greed, ignorance about the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (SM) also lead to this immoral demand. It is a pity that the government, the civil society and the religious leaders do not pay much attention to this disease for elimination. About the dignity of the woman, the Quran says: They are your apparels and you are apparels of them (2/187). This verse gives equal status to a woman as enjoyed by a man in family life. Hazrat Muhammad (SM) said: It is almost impossible for a man to enter the paradise if his wife brings allegation of torture against him.Contrarily we used to hear during our childhood or even today that wife's paradise lied at the feet of her husband. This is dam lie. The Prophet never said so. Perhaps it was manufactured in the factory of the fake Muslims after his death. The true hadith is that the paradise lies at the feet of mother.

    Unfortunately most of the people of our country rely on hearsay and never seek to justify it with reference to the Quran. They demand for money and failing to get it do not hesitate to torture the women to death. They are proud of their behaviour. The Quran says: Whoever kills a human being other than man slaughter or corruption, it shall be as though he slew the mankind (5/32). Thus, when husband kills his innocent wife, he kills the entire population of the world. According to the provisions in the Quran, the abode of a killer is hell and there is no mercy from God for him. This writer wanted to know from a religious leader why does man committ crime? He said: When one does not fear God, or is not afraid of His punishment in the Hereafter, he committs crime. Fear about God can be injected into man by way of imparting religious teachings at home and in schools. Teaching at home depends upon the guardians while teaching in schools is the function of the government.

    In fact, dowry is due to a woman in terms of verse no.4 of Chapter 4. So, when a bridegroom and his relations claim it, they act against the Quran, and anything against the Word of God cannot be the Muslim culture. The text of the verse in question is:

    And give unto woman (when ye marry) free gift of their marriage portion; but if they of their own accord remit a part thereof, then you are welcome to absorb it (in your wealth). The teaching of this verse is that if a wife gives something from what she received from his husband at the time of marriage, there is no blame to accept that. But the giving must not be done under duress, and under no circumstances the husband or his relations can demand money from the wife or from her relations.

    As regard the rights of the woman, the Quran declares: Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto woman a fortune from that which they have earned (4/32). This verse categorically establishes the right of a woman on her own earnings and wealth. None is authorised to encroach upon it.

    Rather it is the duty of the husband to maintain his wife and to give something from what he has.

    Contrarily, every day the women are tortured to death for money. Child marriage which is unlawful in Islam cripples the future of many a girl and their freedom of choice is curtailed. Whereas the Prophet said: A girl is empowered to disown the marriage if solemnised under duress and if solemnised before her becoming puberty. Child marriage and marriage under duress are violations of the traditions of the Prophet. Divorce too under duress has no legal effect. If a man consciously or unconsciously pronounces divorce thrice in single sitting, it has also got no legal effect.

    Bangladesh is an overwhelmingly Muslim majority country. But the familiy and the social life is not administered according to the provisions in the Book of God and the traditions of the Prophet.

    The silence of the government and the religious leaders has aggravated the woes of the women. They can play a vital role in curing their hearts. The electronic and printing media should give more time than what they give now. Unless the people are made conscious that dowry has no room in Islam, the crime will not come down.
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  • #2
    Ensuring women's rights

    Abu Dhabi |By Nadim Kawach and Shireena Al Nowais, Staff Reporters | 15-01-2004

    UAE women yesterday held a fresh debate on an amended draft personal law regulating their family life and demanded extensive changes to ensure more rights.

    After more than two hours of discussion, the General Women's Union (GWU) asked the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Awqaf to make further modifications.

    A GWU panel pushed for changes in many of the draft law's clauses during the session which was attended by Mohammed Nakhira Al Dhaheri, Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, and other officials.

    "Muslim women can tolerate the pressure of marital problems more than others and that is why the new law is trying to be fair to them, being compatible at the same time with the developments of the new age," said Dr. Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Chairman of a Joint Committee entrusted with drafting the law.

    "But this law cannot always be in the interest of women. We have to take into consideration the interests of men also."

    GWU statement said the new law has failed to address such sensitive issues as polygamy. It said: "A husband must not be allowed to have another wife without informing his first wife and that the rights of the first wife, including housing and support, must be protected.

    "In case of divorce, no divorce document should be issued before those rights are guaranteed while the divorced wife must be officially notified by the court."

    The proposed amendments, included in the 23-page statement, found that limiting wedding dowries violates Islamic principles and called for modifying this rule.

    "There is a need to modify this article which fixed dowries at a certain amount because this does not conform to Islamic Sharia. In Sharia, there is no maximum limit for dowry.

    "Regarding financial support for a divorced wife, the law takes into account only the financial situation of the husband, not the wife. It also does not define a minimum limit for this support and this opens the door for many interpretations."

    The GWU also demanded women should have the right to find gainful employment. It said an article authorising a husband to prevent his wife from work despite an agreement before marriage allowing her to work, must be amended.

    The amendments also covered an article stipulating that a marriage contract must be accompanied by a health certificate proving the couple are free of diseases.

    "In this regard, the panel wonders if there is a disease which is not serious (except AIDS) and there is a common desire of the couple to get married, should the marriage contract be rejected?. Therefore, the committee believes this article should be more flexible."

    It also found that an article in the law setting the minimum pregnancy period at 180 days, needs to be modified.

    Towards an equal and balanced society
    A committee created by GWU after a debate on the draft law had the following suggestions:
    * A modified personal law must not put limits on dowries.
    * Must protect the rights of a wife if her husband weds another wife.
    * Ensure reasonable financial support for divorced wives.
    * Amend the defined minimum pregnancy period.
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