Yesterday a piece of news surfaced on social media, reporting a bride to have demanded books, worth Rs 100,000 as a Haq Mehr. the couple was highly qualified holding some able fields. Having a personal penchant for books, although I cherished the gesture, I was mindful of the perspective/trend that it could give rise to. — As expected, I was asked by someone on social media, inquiring if it was a prudent decision for a woman to make, given the fact of how they are exploited in marriages. For instance, what if it sets a trend and women started demanding such things in Haq-Mehr leaving them vulnerable in the future? Even, in the past, we have been aware of the instances, where women were found to have asked for Quran Pak, Surah Ikhlas or any other thing as Haq Mehr. Apparently, I used to be the first picking on them. Decidedly, the question was valid. Why women would demand such things in Haq Mehr that could prove to be disastrous in future? When ideally, they should be propelling to warrant their protection.
Mere Haq-Mehr cannot guarantee her security. Share in property or something equal would have the same consequences.
Haq-Mehr in Islam is an obligation, that grooms pay to the brides at the time of the wedding. Mostly, it comes in the form of money but it could involve even things other than money, namely land, property and whatnot. From the Islamic point of view, Haq-Mehr, guarantees a woman’s safety, in case the husband dies or he divorces her, Haq-Mehr would give a semblance of security in terms of finances. Obviously, no woman gets married while bearing divorce in her mind but as a matter of fact, nothing could be predicted. Then why not equip for any such situation? Even I remember telling women to set a substantial amount of money as a Haq-Mehr to protect themselves against any crisis in the future: once you are financially stable, you could handle any disaster. However, there is a catch. While observing and experiencing some of the harsh realities of our society, I was confronted with a new predicament. The negative consequences of getting a sizeable Haq-Mehr.
We have seen women demanding a sizeable Haq Mehr at the time of marriage what even was accepted but later they were either made to forgive or it was turned into manacles of the women. Promising a huge sum of Haq-Mehr but later urging wives to forgive it, is one of the most prevalent practices of our society. Whether forcibly or with persistent emotional blackmailing, women are left with no option but to let go of Haq Mehr. In case, women refuse to forgive, even then they are not paid.
I am yet to see a single woman who has been given her Haq-Mehr. Then there comes a point where the couple feels no more connected to each other and starts thinking of separation. In an ideal situation, the man simply should give the woman divorce and her Haq-Mehr, unfortunately, in Pakistan it’s not the case. Although, from the Islamic point of view, if a man is unable to keep in his relationship and not even divorcing his wife, the woman could file for ‘Khula’ (a form of divorce initiated by the wife, which is affected by the return of her husband’s wedding gift). However, with ‘Khula’ a woman would have to surrender her Haq-Mehr (if a woman wants a divorce for no reason). It’s the point that I called a cul-de-sac.
To safeguard the life of your daughter, you must have to educate, empower and make her financially independent. Demanding a sizeable Haq-Mehr for safety should be a secondary choice for her safe future.
Having realized that woman could not stay in the marriage and demands a divorce, she is faced with two conditions: either to let go of Mehr and take divorce or move for the ‘Khula’ and legally lose her right on Haq-Mehr. In both cases, she will have to incur the loss of her Mehr. Obviously, what husband would want to divorce his wife worthy of such an amount? Consequently, the woman capitulates, remaining in an abusive relationship for her life or the alternative, simply forgives her Haq-Mehr lingering financially compromised. The lose-lose situation, right? Ultimately, we could say that the amount of Haq-Mehr cannot guarantee her security. Share in property or something equal would have the same consequences. So, what should we do to safeguard the lives of our women?
In my opinion, there is only one solution; — Make your daughter financially independent and for that women need to be given an education. They will have to be made aware of their rights. Unfortunately, not everyone could afford and then we have people who for no reason, want to equip their daughters with the weapon of education, enlightenment. So, If you cannot afford her education, if you think, education is not for the girls then you could go for a sizeable Haq-Mehr. You will have to demand a Haq Mehr to protect your girl. But wait. Besides, Haq-Mehr, at the time of marriage, the man will have to surrender his right of divorce to his woman as well. It’s an observance that mostly in the document of Nikah-Nama, the clauses that restrict man’s right to divorce are usually crisscrossed by the Molvi to invalidate the use of those clauses. Women will have to reclaim them, keeping the validity of those clauses. if in case, he wants to restore his right to divorce, he will have to yield Haq-Mehr first.
You do not want her financially independent then why not at least protect her this right?