Recently the suicide of Aisha a married daughter of Ahmedabad Gujarat because of the fact that her father couldn’t afford a huge dowry on her marriage, raised many questions among social circles. Her video went viral on all social networking sites. Newspapers and magazines made it their main news story and it was highlighted on the front pages. People of all ages, gender, sect and races hurriedly shared and commented on the appealing video of the worried daughter. Articles and write-ups were authored in all local, national and international dailies and weeklies highlighting the deplorable state of Aisha thereby expressing their anger against the beast natured men. Every social media user composed the posts on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram etc. demanding stringent action against Aisha’s husband and all those men expecting big dowries from their wives at the time of their weddings. But the most painful fact is, how many daughters like Aisha have been forced earlier to hug death before Aisha due to such reasons. Is there any statistical record? Wasn’t the fundamental right of ‘Right to Live’ snatched from Aisha and thousands of women like her? Where are the real human values? It seems now the people are dwelling on the planet possessing traits of beasts.
Aisha’s father couldn’t give her the dowry demanded by her husband and in-laws. As a result she was continuously made the victim of domestic violence and harassed by them through all available means. Her husband and in-laws ailed her due to one pretext or the other. Committing suicide is indeed prohibited in Islam but due to the hypersensitive nature and cruelty of husband and in-laws of Aisha, she took this final and dangerous decision of life. She preferred death rather to live like that. If new strong legislations are formulated both at state and union levels to restrict such cases, strong punishments and stringent actions taken against the men inflicting violence against their women, it is likely that such incidents can’t happen in future. Islamic teachings are clearly stating that one must abstain from demanding even a slightest piece of dowry. Moreover the daughter’s father should never be put to any kind of pressure or burden while tying the nuptial of his beloved daughter. The dowry (mahr) is a right that the wife has over her husband because Allah says
“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allaah has made it lawful)”
Al-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: What Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, meant by that is: Give the women their dowries as a gift that is required and obligatory.
And he said: It was narrated that Qataadah said, concerning the words “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart”: As an obligation.
So it is not permissible to force the wife or her guardian to provide it, but if the wife takes it and then gives some of it to her husband or gives some of her wealth to him, it is permissible to her to do that, because Allah says “but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm.
Accommodation is also a right that the wife has over her husband, so he is obliged to provide her with separate accommodation according to his ability; that is part of the maintenance that he is obliged to provide. Allah says “Lodge them (divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means”. If this applies in the case of a woman who is divorced, then providing accommodation for a woman who is still married is more appropriate. Moreover, Allah has enjoined kind treatment between spouses, as stated above. Part of the kind treatment that is enjoined is providing her with accommodation in which she and her wealth will be safe. The wife cannot do without accommodation in order to conceal her from people looking at her and so that she can settle down with her belongings. Hence accommodation is a right that she has over her husband. The same may be said about accommodation as may be said about the dowry: it is not permissible to force the wife or her guardian to provide it.
Based on that, if the wife does not give accommodation, there is no room for demanding it from her. Allah has made the man the protector and maintainer of the woman, and one of the reasons for that is that he spends on her. Allah says “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means”. From these teachings of the dearest Prophet (saw) we come to conclude that it is in no way permissible for the husband to expect or demand any sort of dowry from the wife or her father/ guardian. Rather the husband should maintain her and provide her all legal necessities so that she feels comfortable in her new home. Men must acquire Islamic teachings regarding the post married relationship between the spouses and with other family members. Further Islamic scholars, preachers, teachers, journalists and civil society groups must come forward to play their positive role in minimising such incidents so that the eve’s daughters feel themselves safe both at the hands of their own parents and siblings as well as in their new in-laws homes post marriage.