Dowry (jahez in urdu) means the things which parents of bride give to her at her wedding. These things include a great amount of stuff. From very little to big things, many items are part of dowry. For your understanding, let us explain what kind of items are part of dowry.

The items that are part of dowry:

Jahez is a very common practice in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. At the time of wedding, the parents of bride buy different things for her jahez plus a grand dinner at wedding day is given to both the bride’s and groom’s family and relatives. Some parents start making jahez from the day their daughters are born.

The things that are part of the Jahez include, lots of stitched and unstitched embroidered dresses, entire crockery for kitchen, bedsheets, furniture like: sofas, tables, cupboard and bed etc., carpets, fridge, AC, makeup products, jewellery, iron, TV and many other things. These are the common things which are given to the daughters as jahez, however, there are other more things which are also given to the daughters as dowry at their weddings no matter parents can afford it or not.

Why is dowry a social problem?

Dowry is a social problem because many parents feel the burden of giving jahez even when they don’t have enough money. This is because jahez has been made a cultural norm and hefty jahez is considered a sign of respect for the brides. On the other hand, the bride who brings no jahez at all is subjected to taunts of her in-laws. Parents in order to follow the customs and to protect themselves and their daughters from any taunt and shaming, are forced to arrange a hefty jahez despite their poor financial conditions. Also, many parents are coerced to take loans of high amount like 5 to 10 lacs for buying the articles of jahez.

Those who refuse to take dowry end up taking it as well:

Many people who refuse to take jahez from the bride’s family also take it when parents of bride give them dowry anyways. Thus, merely refusing to take it isn’t enough. The parents of groom should refuse to take jahez in a way that the bride’s parents are compelled to not to give any dowry. Also, only refusal for the sake of making good impression means nothing when the intention is to take the dowry.

Furthermore, many rich people may feel no harm in giving hefty jahez but they should know that it is Israaf and that, they set lofty  standards of jahez in society in this way. So, those who are not that rich or even very poor are also compelled to give very hefty jahez to meet the standards which are established in society by those few rich people.

Demands for dowry and grand dinners at wedding from the bride’s family:

Demands for dowry are made by several people from the bride’s family that is very immoral and unethical. This thing pressurizes the bride’s family a lot. Also, the custom of giving grand dinners by bride’s family at weddings also puts great burden on the bride’s family.

Dowry is given the name of ‘gift’:

Many people give jahez the name of ‘gift’ and thus, take it without feeling any shame. But the gift is not given by taking loans or feeling pressurized while in giving jahez, both of these things take place so what kind of gift dowry is?

Dowry in Pakistan given by those who can’t afford it even:

Dowry is a very common practice in Pakistan as stated earlier. Parents give their daughters huge amount of stuff at weddings no matter they can afford it or not. We know that all the things that are given in jahez are very expensive and in today’s time, not everyone can afford it. But in Pakistan, people give jahez by taking loans if they can’t afford it. Many people ask for money from others so that they can give their daughters hefty jahez. Moreover, many mothers have to sell their jewellery to buy the articles of jahez. This is because it’s a social practice and part of customs in Pakistan which everyone follows irrespective of their bank balance.

Deaths related to dowry in Pakistan:

There are 2,000 jahez deaths reported per year in Pakistan which shows that jahez is a curse and takes the lives of many. Brides do suicide due to this burden of jahez. Thus, people must oppose it and end this curse.

Islam on dowry:

In Islam, there is no mention of jahez and hefty jahez is Israaf. Prophet (SAWW) said, The best of the marriages is one which is least burdensome in the financial sense to the families of the bride and the groom.”

The Holy Prophet’s (SAWW) life is the best guidance in this case. His four daughters were married by him and he gave some gifts to Hazrat Fatima (RA) on her wedding which were very modest household items or articles. There is no record that Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) gave anything to his other daughters at their marriages.

Islam doesn’t stop any father to gift her daughter anything at wedding but the way jahez is given today is exploitative. There is no report or incident found in the teachings of Islam that permits this practice of dowry.

The ulema agreed unanimously that dowry which is practiced in South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is un-Islamic. Maulana Muhammad bin Yamin said that dowry has become cancer of the society and has made the marriage’s process so arduous. Aleem Khan Falaki said that dowry is haram while giving arguments in support of his this stance.

Law against dowry in Pakistan:

There is also a law against jahez in Pakistan that restricts demands of jahez by the groom’s family plus display of dowry in public is not allowed. Moreover, the total value of bridal gifts should not get more than PKR 50,000 while the cost of dowry should not exceed PKR 30,000. The bill is called Dowry and Marriage Gifts (Restriction) Bill that was passed in 2008.

Though there is law yet there is no implementation of this law in Pakistan as many parents still give hefty jahez of more than PKR 30,000 to their daughters and many may demand jahez from the brides’ families even today. Thus, open violation of law takes place in Pakistan which is why jahez is still practiced in Pakistan at large scale.

Dowry should be eliminated as it’s un-Islamic and exploitative: 

The custom of jahez should be eliminated from every country and society where it is practiced because it is a curse, it’s exploitative and has many disadvantages. Jahez puts financial pressures on the families of brides plus many people die due to this immoral practice which is not in Islam as well. Bride’s families are exploited by the groom’s family via this evil practice. Thus, dowry or jahez must be eradicated from every society. It can be eliminated from any society by giving and disseminating Islamic and social education on this issue and via law making against jahez plus by implementing those laws.

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