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India Muslim body seeks to end dowries after woman's death

Dowry demands prohibit many women from getting married [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2021

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Muslims should shun 'un-Islamic' wedding celebrations, the All India Muslim Personal Board said.
An Indian Muslim organisation is urging believers to shun dowries and lavish weddings after a woman died by suicide due to alleged "dowry harassment".

A Muslim woman drowned herself in a river in the Indian state of Gujarat last month, reportedly after facing physical abuse from her husband and his family over her dowry.

In much of India, a dowry often comes in the form of money, gifts or property given to the groom or his family on behalf of the bride. This tradition contrasts with the orthodox Islamic practise of a groom paying dowry, or mahr, to the bride.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has told members to take an "oath" to refrain from requesting a dowry.

The organisation has also told worshippers to shun "un-Islamic" but common extravagant wedding celebrations.

Instead Muslims should stick to a traditional ceremony at a mosque followed by a meal served by the groom's family, the AIMPLB said.

Invitations to the traditional post-wedding feast should be extended to the poor and needy, the Muslim organisation said.

"Our effort is to make marriage easy and simple for the people," AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani told Al Jazeera.

Many women are unable to get married due to the prohibitive cost of the dowry, the organisation's secretary said.

"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," Maulana Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani told Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

"Many girls commit suicide as they are unable to bear the physical and mental harassment."

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