Bihar clerics not to conduct nikah of dowry seekers

Patna, Jan 5 : Muslim clerics in a Bihar district have said they won't conduct marriage ceremony of those who give or take dowry.

Alarmed over the trend of dowry among Muslims, this decision was taken by a body of Imams of Bihar's Nalanda district at a meeting Saturday evening.

"We have decided not to conduct nikah (marriage) for those who take and give dowry in the district," said Qazi Maulana Mansur Alam, who heads Muslim organisation Imarat-e Sharia of Biharsharief in Nalanda.

"It is a historic move to discourage dowry and create awareness. It is a kind of social boycott to warn dowry takers," he said.

Alam said that after this decision is successfully implemented in Nalanda, about 100 km from here, they would request Imams of other districts across Bihar to start similar campaigns.

The Muslim community has welcomed this move against dowry.

"It is a positive step to counter increasing dowry and create awareness. I am ready to help and support such a move," said Ghulam Rasool Baliyavi, head of Edar-e-Sharia, a Patna-based Muslim organisation.

"At last, someone has raised a voice against dowry among Muslims...," said Haji Mohd Shafiullah Khan, a retired railway official and now a social worker in Gewal Bigha in Gaya district.

Shafiullah Khan said there is no concept of dowry in Islam and it was unfortunate that Muslims were practicing it.

"It is only in Islam that at the time of the marriage, the groom hands over to the bride a sum of money called 'Mahr', which is a token of his willingness to accept the responsibility of bearing all expenses of his wife," Khan said.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, a woman married to a Muslim man has a right to get property or money which is called 'Mahr'.

Irshadul Haque, a Dalit Muslim activist, said that reports of increasing dowry trends among Muslim are a major challenge today.

"Dowry is no more a social evil of the Hindu society alone. It has already created trouble in the Muslim society," he said.

Haque said that dowry has badly affected poorest of the poor Muslims, particularly Dalit Muslims.

"The decision...not to conduct nikah of those taking dowry should be emulated by others," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 05-01-2014)

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