Bihar state is known for its extreme poverty among the Indian states. But a Muslim marriage in Siwan and it’s “Walima” was in the news last weak due mainly to its sheer extravagance.
The daughter of late Siwan MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, Dr. Hera Shahab got married to Shadman Iftikhar Ahmed on November 15 and the Walima was held on November 18,2021. Both these occasions were celebrated on a grand scale.
A Bahubali like filmi stage was erected for the occasion where around 80000 guests were served with exotic veg and non veg dishes of more than 50 types. Even an elephant was pressed into service to give the ceremony a royal touch. All the big politicians of Bihar including Tejaswi Yadav and other VIP attended this lavish Muslim marriage.
A general question being asked how come these so called Muslim leaders amass such huge wealth and do not shy away from displaying their spendthrift streak in social events like marriages.
It was a fact that there are hundreds of thousands Muslim girls who are sitting at homes without marriage because their parents cannot pay their dowries and afford the marriage extravagance.
The holy Quran does not approve of such extravagance. It clearly says:
“Verily the extravagants are brothers of the Devils; and the Devil is to his Lord (himself)” ungrateful.Quran 17:27
When it comes to marriage, the Sunnah is to make the marriage an easy and affordable affair.
Regarding seeking husbands for daughters the Messenger of Allah Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When someone whose religion and character you are satisfied with asks to marry your daughter, comply with his request. If you do not do so, there will be corruption and great evil on earth. ” (Tirmidhi)
Similarly, with regard to seeking wife, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “A woman is normally sought as a wife for her wealth, beauty, nobility, or religiousness (adherence to Islam). Choose a religious woman and you will prosper.” (Sahih Muslim)
But, unfortunately, today a lot of un-Islamic rituals have crept in Muslim marriages which have absolutely no basis in Islam. Many of these rituals are no more than a boastful show of wealth playing straight into the hands of the Devil as so much wealth is squandered in such marriages.
The poor Muslim families are unable to bear the expenses of their daughters’ marriages leading to delayed marriages or spinsterhood of poor Muslim girls.
A Muslim girl from Gaya, Bihar seeks a Fatwa from Maulana Kaleemuddin Siddiqui, an Islamic scholar.
She states that she has three young sisters and all of them are well educated and beautiful but her parents are unable to marry them off. The father is so worried that he literally cries during his late night prayers.
The girl wants to know from the scholar “if Islam permits her and her sisters to commit suicide in such a situation to save their parents from their burden”.
The issue of dowry does not end with a girl’s marriage. Many times her husband and her in-laws keep asking for more money.
In February this year, Ayesha, a married woman, committed suicide by jumping into the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad. Before jumping into the river, she recorded a last message which gave clue to her extreme step. She was under pressure for dowry demands by her husband and her in-laws.
Her suicide lead to a countrywide debate over social evils associated with marriage among Muslims and other communities.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) – a Muslim socio-religious body- had launched a campaign to educate members of the community across the country and to raise awareness against dowry and extravagance in marriages
The Muslim scholars and leaders placed emphasis on solemnising marriages according to Islamic customs and minimise spending during weddings.
The AIMPLB issued guidelines for Muslims to sign and follow, and were released by its Chairman Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi.
The guidelines prohibited wedding processions, fireworks, dancing and lavish feasts terming them as un-Islamic. It only permitted “Walima”, a feast arranged by the groom’s family after the Nikah ceremony.
The Muslim body exhorted the well off Muslims to invitate poor and needy members of their community to join them in feast.
The Muslim Personal Law Board motivates Muslims to end un-Islamic practices and customs.
Muslim marriages in India are rarely solemnised in mosques. But now a good change is taking place and a large number of marriages are being performed in mosques and many un-Islamic rituals are being shunned by religious families.
Despite the changes, the fact is that many poor women still stay unmarried as their families are unable to spend a lot of money.
There are many others who are suffering even after marriage as the dowry demand continues and the girl’s husband and his family keep pressuring her to bring more dowries as happened in the case of Ayesha of Gujarat.
Many girls commit suicide as they are unable to bear the physical and mental harassment. To end all these things, a serious awareness campaign is needed to end the dowry evil.
Muslim scholars have mosques as a great platform. Large Friday prayers congregation is right occassion for Muslim scholars to speak against the dowry evil and lavish wedding ceremonies. People visiting the mosques for offering weekly prayer must be told to avoid dowries and extravagance
Apart from religious leaders, Muslim lawyers, politicians, scholars, journalists, social activists and other professionals can also play their role in creating awareness against the evil practice of dowry taking and extravagance in marriages.