Men who expect and demand dowry from their would-be spouses barter the prospects of a happy marital relationship for a mere sum of money, a vehicle and some pieces of furniture.
Dowry (jehez) is a major issue that afflicts many Muslim families today, even though demanding dowry is un-Islamic. The Quran clearly prohibits khamrand maisir. Both are forbidden or haraam. Khamr has been translated as alcohol, while maisir has been translated as gambling.
At the time when the Quran was being revealed, gambling was perhaps the only way of making money without any efforts. That is why the term maisir has been generally taken to be synonymous with gambling. Actually, however, all forms of making easy money, without any effort, are maisir, and, therefore, are haraam or forbidden in Islam. These include not just gambling, but all other such means, including demanding dowry. Demanding dowry being a form of maisir, this practice is thus haraam or forbidden for Muslims.
A second point to consider in this regard is that girls generally love their parents intensely and remain emotionally attached to them even after marriage. If a girl gets married into a family that demands dowry, she will never forget the difficulties her parents faced in trying to meet their dowry demands. Such a girl comes into her husband’s family with deep sorrow in her heart, and so she can never truly love her husband and his family.
Men who expect and demand dowry from their would-be spouses barter the prospects of a happy marital relationship for a mere sum of money, a vehicle and some pieces of furniture. Perhaps they don’t have faith that they can earn themselves. Or maybe they don’t have faith in God, the Provider. What can be a bigger example of the emasculation of a man than his living off the wealth of his wife’s family by demanding a dowry from them?
(Dr Mohammad AslamParvaiz is currently Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad and can be reached at [email protected]).