Hassan Masood

Commission of crimes is the only area where national unity is practically evident. Dowry is one such crime against women. For dowry women are committing crime against women, of course, with the complicity of men. As per The National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) figures presented in Parliament last year, about 348,000 women were subjected to cruelties by husbands and in-laws during 2012 to 2015. The official figures may not be correct as many crimes are not reported/recorded.

Perhaps men should realise the role of women in their day-to-day life. Women have several roles like mother, sister, wife and daughter. What’s her role as a mother? First of all, she carries in her womb for nine months, as the Holy Qur’an reminds us, “with pains after pains did she bear you”. She also delivers in unbearable pain. A person asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “I Carried my mom over my shoulders on a hot summer day in desert. The sand of the desert was hot enough to roast fresh meat. Have I compensated my mother for her services towards me?” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied: “Might be your deed is equivalent to just a small portion of her pregnancy pains”. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had also said “A woman dying during pregnancy is a martyr”. She will straightaway reach Jannah. After child birth and until this baby grows up, mother’s care, love and affection are always there and could never ever be proportionately compensated. Perhaps that’s the reason, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said, “Paradise is under mother’s feet”, which means those who wish to enter Jannah should treat their mothers well. Normally, sisters are shadows of mothers. As wife she sacrifices everything for her husband and children. She also bears atrocities unleashed against her by the husband and in-laws. She always tries to maintain family bond in spite of difficulties. Uncontrolled use of tongue is the biggest disadvantage of women. Uttering of unpleasant words washes away all their services, contributions and sacrifices. Women’s misbehavior is the root cause of several divorces. Men love their daughters much more than their sons. Daughter, too, serve their fathers before marriage and are loyal to him even after getting married.

Let us see how we treat our women. First of all we marry them without their own free will, without paying mahr which is compulsory. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Loan taken with evil intention of not to repay is theft. Marriage without payment of mahr is adultery”. The holy Qur’an giving instruction to pay mahr “whole-heartedly” but we are illegally collecting dowry from in-laws against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Our greed does not stop after receiving dowry. We constantly torture her for more and additional dowry. Unable to bear this torture one day she commits suicide. Sometimes the in-laws set her on fire.

The question is as to how can we control this evil? Through legislature this evil could never be arrested. Legislation can only control those issues where religion, emotion, family, sect, language, region or culture are not involved. Like traffic rules, all of us follow them because if we violate a rule, we must pay a fine. Dowry is a family menace and social crime, hence, it’s beyond the control of laws. The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, was enacted by Parliament  55 years ago but has proved ineffective. This law is being misused by women to trouble men and in-laws through police.

Those in mass contact like Ulama, qazis, actors, speakers, writers and community workers should relentlessly conduct a mass campaign against this evil. While, this campaign could help create awareness, it will not fetch the desired results to the optimum level. The “brand ambassadors” of the anti-dowry campaign the “groom”, can be highly effective. As a Tamil poet has rightly said “Theft can’t be controlled unless the thief stops stealing”. Similarly, “dowry can’t be controlled unless the groom stops demanding/accepting it”.

The community should boycott all such marriages where dowry is involved; where lavish dinners are served. This could contain this evil. If dowry is gone then marriages would become simple. Cheating of young girls by fake lovers, kidnapping of women, prostitution dens, dance bars, call girls, bar girls and all immoral activities will stop. Our society would become a moral, peaceful society. The whole country would become a cradle of peace. This is the main target of Islam. That’s the reason the Holy Qur’an is calling upon Muslims, “You have been sent to this world with a mandate to serve the entire Humanity”. Thus we are designated by Allah as “viceroy of Allah”.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2016 on page no. 2

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