Shaken by the death of a woman in Ahmedabad, who killed herself after being harassed for dowry, ulemas of Uttarakhand have taken a stand against the practice — they will not solemnise any wedding where anyone demands dowry, and any family that seeks dowry will face a social boycott.
“The sin of dowry has destroyed families and taken lives. We have decided to stop conducting nikaah ceremonies for marriages where there is an exchange of dowry. These families will also be boycotted by the society if they are not willing to change themselves,” said Mufti Salim Ahmed, an ulema and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
Ayesha Banu, 23, had jumped into the Sabarmati on February 25 after being allegedly hounded for dowry by her husband. Since the case came to light, several Muslim representatives and outfits have spoken out against the practice of dowry. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had said people who “demand dowry” can “deceive the world but not the Allah.” Then, the Jamit-ul-Quresh and Hindustani Biradari in Agra said they will do everything in their capacity to stop the practice within the community. In Bhopal, the Masjid Committee and Darul Qaza announced the same. And in Hyderabad, the Jamiat Ahle Hadees Hyderabad and Secunderabad launched an awareness campaign against dowry.
“It is a shame. People beg near mosques to have enough money for their children’s wedding. Why can’t weddings be simple? The Quran strictly says weddings should not be lavish affairs,” said Shahar Qazi, Dehradun, Mohammad Ahmed Qasmi. “Demanding dowry is a sin in Islam. Even if the bride’s family arranges for it, the groom’s family should say no … I have seen many families who identify themselves as strictly religious and live a life that follows the Sharia. But when it comes to dowry, they get greedy and demand as much money as they can get. Hypocrites, all.”
The AIMPLB, Mufti Salim Ahmed said, has asked clerics across the country to conduct awareness drives. “We will run campaigns and identify places where such cases are being reported more often … We will remind people dowry is ‘haraam’.”