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How to conduct a simple and dignified marriage

By V M Khaleelur Rahman,

I have all praise and respect for Ms A Ameerunnisa of Melvisharam for her excellent article in Urdu (titled “Hamaari shadiyon ka Mas’ala”) published in the October 2008 issue of Omeiat Journal) about the importance of conducting simple and austere marriages as per Islamic norms.

She has rightly pointed out that although Islam has made Nikah (marriage) easy, we have made it very difficult by our uncivilized and greedy way of conducting it in total violation of the principles enshrined in the holy Quran and the Ahadees (Sayings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)). The editorial comments about the evils of posh and extravagant marriages are most apt.

I am sorry to say that we Muslims do not conduct marriages in a simple and dignified way. To us Islam means some routine rituals and nothing else. We discuss even small things with all seriousness in and outside the mosques but serious and important issues such as Importance of Islamic marriage without evil dowry are ignored. The Jamaath leaders and Imams do not seem to be interested in reforming the community by bringing in strict rules and regulations for conducting simple marriages and becoming role models for all. If they come together and act honestly, the entire community will have no option but to follow them and thus the evils connected with the marriage will be eradicated. Let them ponder over it and act for the sake of the community which is passing through a difficult period having no leaders worth the name.

There is another way of approaching it also. The have-nots should know their position well and not try to imitate the rich in conducting posh marriages. In the present highly materialistic world one should be very careful particularly the poor because they have no leaders, no ulema, no umara, to guide them. They should become bold enough to face the challenges before them by adopting Islamic codes. Conducting a marriage in a simple way is praiseworthy and dignified. The marriage of the Prophet (PBUH) is a model to us and definitely not the marriage of any prince.

The ulema and umara hobnob with each other closely for their own purposes. There are a very few ulema who have the interest of the community at heart. Why should the have-nots worry about them and dig their own grave by doing things which they are not capable of? The general tendency of the people is to waste money in marriages even by selling properties if they own or getting loans from individuals and banks and landing themselves in trouble. Generally speaking a Muslim family is definitely in no way equal and better to a non-Muslim family in financial standing. Only males are the earning members in most of Muslim families consisting of at least 4 or 5 persons whereas in most of the non-Muslim families both males and females are earning members. One can imagine their predicament in discharging their domestic responsibilities in this situation.

Ms. Ameerunnisa rightly says that dowry is demanded according to the status of the prospective bridegroom. Getting dowry is an insult to the bridegroom and our youngsters should make it a point to consider so and abhor it.

We read a report in newspapers about a Muslim returning the dowry given to him some time ago. There is a glimpse of hope now. There are some youngsters inspired by some Movements who do not want to demand or accept any dowry. There are also some instances of some youngsters solemnising their marriages by giving maher and not taking any dowry.

It is usually seen that the maher given by the husband is a pittance in comparison with the dowry and other things received by him. How can it be called maher in the real sense? It violates the Islamic principle.

I request you and our ulema to comment on this important issue in a convincing manner. There is also an urgent need for the Muslim community to empower their women by giving them higher education and making them stand on their own legs for the sake of its progress and prosperity. The Waqf Board can play an important role in reforming the Muslim community in consultation with the mosque Jamaaths. It should announce every year for some important reform.

The year 2009 can be made Dowry Eradication Year and every mosque can constitute a committee to make arrangements for enlightening the people by pamphlets and speeches during Juma prayers to consider dowry as an evil and accepting it as a sin. The mosques can also seek the services of different welfare associations for this purpose. The reforms such as the above should come from within the community to safeguard our identity and Muslim personal law.