Dowry is an unimaginable curse for the society: Mehr and Dowry in Islam (Rava Special Report)

Dowry is an unimaginable curse for the society: Mehr and Dowry in Islam (Rava Special Report)


Islam has legislated the giving of the dower by the husband to the wife in order to please the woman’s heart and to honour her. It is also meant to bring an end to what was done in the Days of Ignorance wherein she was wronged, exploited, despised and robbed of her wealth. The dower is a right exclusively for the wife. It is her possession and none of her guardians or relatives may share any part of it. Pakistan is a low development country having a lot of social problems like education and literacy ratio, child labor, unemployment, instable politics, policies, early marriages and dowry system etc.

Different people from different religions, communities and tribes are living in Pakistan. No doubt that woman not only in Pakistan but globally is considered vulnerable and suffering from each aspect. Majority problems faces by women in our society and one of them is very common is “The dowry system”.    


Dowry that called different names and meanings like the property of parents which give at the daughter’s marriage including money, land, furniture, jewelry etc, or the brides’s price. In our society majority thinks and says proudly about the dowry that given by them to their daughters. Parents can give gifts etc to their daughters on their marriages by their own wish. The value and system of dowry increasing day by day especially in the upper class as they always keep their status high within the society without thinking of the middle and lower class status that’ they even affording their basic needs with lot of difficulties and the reason is that majority women/families have face violence, acid attacks, burn cases etc after marriage as they could not afford and in result majority young females are could not get marriage and they spend whole their lives in homes for waiting a miracle.  

Dowry system is major cause of psychological and emotional problems and it’s not limited to one family but suffering the whole society as late marriages, marriages with old persons, taunts by the relatives and community, and other family problems.

In our male dominated society where even highly educated people still prefer huge dowry for their daughters as the concept that with huge dowry their daughters will have more comfort in their in laws but still there is no guarantee that their daughters will be happy or not.  In this society everyone prefers male child and females child always denied even from their birth as female child birth take as a sin and those mothers always suffer who give birth females child.

The Shariah term mehr is translated into dowry, but does not have the same connotation. In Islam, it is an obligatory condition of marriage that the man fix and pay an amount to his wife, according to his means or according to his wifes demand, at the time of marriage as a gift. dowry

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 4: And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they of their own good pleasure remit any part of it to you , take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.

This Mehr is a right of the wife, and she may spend it as she wills. It is impermissible for the husband to demand the mehr back, or take it away from his wife after his marriage, or if he divorces her or marries again; but if of her own free will and good pleasure, the wife wishes to share the mehr amount with her husband, there is no harm.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verses 20-21:

20 But if ye decide to take one wife in place of another, even if ye had given the latter a whole treasure for dower, take not the least bit of it back: would ye take it by slander and a manifest wrong?

21 And how could ye take it when ye have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?

In the Hindu ritual and culture, the exact opposite is done. The husband demands the dowry and the wife and her parents have to pay it! But in Islam, the wife does not have to pay one single cent, but rather she has been given the right to demand and receive the mehr as a condition of marriage.

The wife and her family being extorted for amounts of dowry might be a Hindu ritual and customs, and has nothing to do with Islam.

In Islam, the man is required to bear and pay all the expenses of the marriage, including mehr to his wife.

Indeed, all the financial responsibilities of the marriage, the walima or marriage feast, the mehr, etc. is the responsibility and duty of the man. The woman will not have to spend even one cent on the marriage!

Although they do not have any obligations whatsoever, if the girls parents, absolutely of their own free will and without any open or secret coercion, wish to give something to their daughter and her husband; they may accept and enjoy it.


But if the husband or his family put any sort of open or secret pressure and extort any gifts out of the girls parents or family, it would be just like following the pagan dowry system, and they will have to give a severe accounting in the Court of Allah Subhanah for their extortion! The pagan Hindu system or culture of dowry whereby the man or his family demands money or gifts from the girls family has absolutely no basis or place in the deen of Islam.

The items gifted to her by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) included a manual grinding mill, a pillow, a chader, a mashkeeza and a few utensils made by of clay.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) gave those items to his daughter, for the reason that Hazrat Ali (kaw) did not seem to have much to start a new life with.

In 2017, a private members’ bill was tabled in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on March 2 for banning dowry and placing restrictions on bridal gifts and marriage expenses. The KP Dowry, Bridal Gift and Marriage Functions Restriction Bill, 2017 was tabled by deputy speaker Mehr Taj Roghani and MPA Rashida Riffat.

The bill is an amalgamation of the Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) Act 1976 and the Marriage Functions (Prohibition of Ostentatious Displays and Wasteful Expenses) Ordinance, 2000 – the two laws presently applicable in the province for placing restrictions on marriage-related issues, including dowry, bridal gifts and marriage functions.

Why have we not succeeded in purging this social evil? Should not the government enforce strong legislative measures to combat this menace. If we are serious in our desire and efforts to eradicate jehez, we should first try to prevail upon the rich to stop indulging in an unnecessary show of wealth.

Educating the people backed by the personal example of the powerful such as politicians will bring about the desired change in attitude to eradicate the social evil.


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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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