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Dowry death is considered one of the many categories of violence against women, alongside rape, bride burning, eve teasing, and acid throwing. It is widespread in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka and some regions of Africa. Pakistan has the highest reported rates of dowry-related deaths per 100,000 women in the world.
Dowry-related violence is widespread in India. In 2011 alone, the National Crime Records Bureau reported 8,618 dowry harassment deaths. Unofficial figures show that these numbers are at least three times as high.
A report by Bangladesh Mohila Parishad (BMP), a rights group working on gender issues, showed that from January to July this year, the number of dowry-related killing was 145 and there were 117 cases of tortures. In 2012, a total of 295 women were killed and 262 were victims of torture due to dowry.
Ismotwara Ahmed, 25, a housewife from Dacop Bathighata, Khulna, was writhing in pain at the burns unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Her condition was critical as she had suffered 80 per cent burn injuries. Her husband put kerosene on her while she was asleep and set her ablaze, for having failed to pay dowry to him. Hanifa Khatun, her mother, said she had given as many gifts as possible to her son-in-law before marriage. But the in-laws of Ismotwara started treating her very badly after two years of the marriage.
Some of the excuses or pretexts for demanding, accepting or giving dowry are as follows:
Parents of a Daughter:
- We will give our daughter whatever is the norm.
- God has blessed us a lot and we would like to give as much to our daughter.
- We have to give dowry so that our daughter stays at in-laws happily.
- If we do not give dowry, we will have no respect in the Society.
- We have to give dowry or else our daughter will suffer life-long with all taunting and harassment at the in-laws.
- I don’t care how you do it; I need the same things as that were given to my other sisters.
- Do you want me to be harassed, humiliated or burnt by the in-laws? Give me like what any parents give to their daughters.
Parents of a Son:
- We have spent so much for the education and upbringing of our son. We ought to get it back.
- Our son is not uneducated or unemployed. He is highly educated and well settled. He should get very good offers (dowry).
- We have to maintain our status in the Society. What will people think if we do not accept dowry.
- All my friends are well settled as they got huge dowries. Why shouldn’t I demand?
- I will not be respected in the Society and people will doubt about me if I do not demand or accept dowry.
It is one the biggest misconceptions that if more dowry is given, the daughter will be happy at the In-Laws. The In-Laws will be happy with money and all that comes in the name of dowry. Happiness is a by-product of virtues and good Morals. If the daughter goes to her In-Laws with virtues and good morals it will weigh more than her weight in gold. The other reason why parents are willing to give exorbitant dowries is to display their financial standing in the Society.
We always check our status by comparing ourselves to other people in the Society. We want to please our elders, kith and kin, neighbors and the Society. However we need to check our status in the eyes of our Creator. Taqwa (God consciousness) gives people a reason to do the right thing. The awareness of God’s power makes people want to please him, making taqwa a moral and ethical base for their actions. “Taqwa can be compared to walking through a narrow path with thorny bushes on both sides and a person passing through it tries his level best to save his clothes from being torn. The thorns are the sins and the clothes are one’s Eeman (Faith).”
Narrated Hakim bin Hizam:
I asked the Prophet (SAW) for some money and he gave me, and then again I asked him and he gave me, and then again I asked him and he gave me and he then said, “This wealth is like green and sweet fruit and whoever takes it without greed, Allah will bless it for him, but whoever takes it with greed, Allah will not bless it for him, and he will be like the one who eats but is never satisfied. And the upper (giving) hand is better than the lower (taking) hand.”
Narrated Abi Waih:
Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman said, ‘The hypocrites of today are worse than those of the lifetime of the Prophet, because in those days they used to do evil deeds secretly but today they do such deeds openly.’
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The receiving hand The giving hand
NOTE: The figures above are just to serve as an example. They may vary from person to person.
“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” – Marquis de Condorcet
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About the Author (Author Profile)
I’m Fayaz Pasha from Bangalore, the Silicon Valley and Garden City of India. I’m a Certified Life Coach and an NLP Practitioner. I love reading, writing and convey my thoughts through Poetry. I would like to make my humble contribution to the Society through this blog towards detoxification of social evils particularly the dowry system.
You can contact me by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more on: http://muslimweddingflight.com/a-little-about-me