In India, 7,618 dowry deaths were registered in 2006, followed by 8,093 cases in 2007 and 8,172 in 2008. It is estimated that not even 5% of dowry deaths are reported. Out of the ones that are reported, most of disguised as suicide or accidents. Culprits get away.
The figures aren’t much better in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. And these figures don’t include the hundreds of thousands of women who are beaten for dowry everyday. Hundreds of thousands who are burnt not to be killed, but to be tortured. All because of the rotten custom of dowry.
Even though dowry has been illegal in India since 1961, there has been no reduction in this menace. Dowry originated in upper caste Hindu families. Since then, this custom has spread to all corners of the subcontinent and there is no stopping it. Men, without any shame or self-respect, take this opportunity to gobble up as much wealth and valuable possessions as they can.
The custom of taking dowry from the girl’s father is prevalent among Muslims only in the subcontinent. There is no such thing as dowry among Muslims in other countries. This custom is rooted so deeply among Muslims in the subcontinent that even when they go and live in western countries, they continue with this custom.
Some people try to justify their indulgence in the custom of dowry by citing that Prophet Mohammad (SAW) gave Hazrat Fatimah (RA) gifts during her wedding. The things he gave his daughter were very modest household items. Secondly, there is no record of him giving his other three daughters anything. It is ridiculous to try and justify the dowry custom by giving the example of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAW) household items to his daughter.
There are two categories of people. Hindus, who demand dowry, and Muslims, who may not demand it but do not refuse it either. However, some Muslims have now started demanding it. Even when not demanded, the father of the girl gives dowry to follow a diseased custom that has taken its roots so deep in society that if he didn’t give it, it might be considered shameful. Marriage today seems to be with a pile of valuable items with a bride on the side.
Where are real men in our society? Those who know that dowry is the single most factor that is resulting in torture, abuse, and death to girls all over the subcontinent. Do we not have a problem going along with this sick, twisted, and demented custom?
Dowry, in the form of mehr was, is, and will always be for women. It was never meant to be for men. Muslims have labeled dahej as jahez, and greedily accept whatever the father of the girl gives. This puts pressure and strain on the father of the girl, and because of this many girls are sitting at home and cannot get married because their father cannot give dowry.
Dowry these days includes TV, furniture, washing machine, fridge, car, and even cash. Even the religious people of our society give and receive dowry. They also indulge in selective Islam and then they point fingers at others.
Islam does not put any burden on the girl’s family. However, we have copied a filthy custom, go right against the order of Allah SWT, and then when we are inflicted with problems, we spend our time blaming leaders.
Muslims ruled for seven hundred years when they upheld the orders of Quran and Hadith, but then they started indulging in music, wine, and women, started copying others’ customs, started committing oppression, fell from the heights of glory to the pits of disgrace.
I do not know if my words will have any effect. I don’t even know how many people will read this. However, the truth will remain that by labeling dahej as jahez, we are not changing anything, except the words.
Be a man. Refuse dowry.