Paktia govt trying to rationalise dowry amount
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The women’s affairs director for southeastern Paktia province says she plans to reduce the amount of dowry with the help of agreements between communities.
During an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Nasrin Oryakhel called high amounts of dowry a huge problem. But people are gradually realising the practice has terrible consequences.
Dowry is the amount of money paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family on which both parties sign the agreement of engagement.
“Support of tribal elders in some areas and public awareness has convinced people to reduce dowry. We are trying to ensure long-term agreements between tribes to minimise dowry,” she added.
The amount of dowry varies from area to area, but generally it ranges between 500,000 afghani and one million afghanis.
One resident Haji Zarif told Pajhwok Afghan News if someone wanted to marry a second woman, he should pay more than a million afghanis. Most youths do not marry due to high amounts of dowry, he confirmed.
Another resident, Saifullah, aged 28, is still single. “My elder brother has engaged but not married so far. After my brother’s marriage, we will struggle for collecting money for mine.”
But another dweller, Noor Rahim who married six years after his engagement, said: “My father-in-law forced me to pay 500,000 afghanis in dowry, but my family did not have this much money.
“Then I worked for one year in Iran and for five years in Dubai to get married,” the man explained. He opined a couple could lead a happy married life if dowry was not made a condition.
A tribal elder from Syed Karam district, Abdul Ghafoor, said the high amount of dowry was a widespread problem and a challenge to a vast majority of youth in the province.
He suggested the government implement a series of public awareness programmes to banish the unwanted custom from their community.
“Most of such problems trigger family disputes due to the high amount of dowry. Father-in-laws often taunt brides for being sold by their families and that creates tensions,” Ghafoor argued
A religious scholar, Maulvi Abdullah Fahim, said that there was no concept of dowry in Islam, but only ‘Mahr’ -- a small amount of money -- was pledged by the groom to his bride.
The Sharia Law says that Mahr is the right of a bride and her father or family cannot take it. Fahim said dowry was forbidden in Islam and asked people not to insist on it in return for their daughters.
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