Monday, September 9, 2013

The Practice of 'Girls' Marriage to the Quran' Is Still Prevalent in Pakistan

The provinces of Sind and the Punjab have certain areas where this type of marriage is still continuing

According to several websites, a traditional practice of giving one’s daughter or close female relatives in marriage to the Quran is still persistent in parts of the Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan.

The Syeds (also written as Saiids or Sayyids) – a high-caste Muslims – who claim descent from Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam in Saudi Arabia and consider themselves superior to other Muslims, still continue this un-Islamic practice without impunity. These Muslims are rich and own large tracts of land in those two provinces of Pakistan. 

This exploitative custom is also known locally as haq bakhish, haq-baksh-wai or haq bakhashwain. In English, this is termed as ‘Quran brides’ or ‘brides of the Quran.’
When suitable husbands are not found according to the liking of the fathers or male guardians, they force the girls to commit the Quran, the holy book of Islam, to memory and hang parts of the Quranic verses around their waist with a cord before they are given in marriage to the holy book. 

This is done not because of the males’ love for religion but for their selfish ends: that is, preventing their lands to be subdivided by way of giving dowry to the outsider husbands of their girls. The undivided lands continue to give them profits.

These ‘Quran brides’ then serve as life-long slaves in their own families working as waitresses and child minders as well as doing all kinds of household chores.

This practice not only goes against the teaching of Islam but also is criminal in nature under Pakistan’s laws. If convicted, the perpetrators are liable to get a seven-year imprisonment. Those who commit this crime is so influential and powerful that none dares complain against them or punish them.

According to the Asharq Al Awsat, an international Arabic newspaper, there were about 10,000 Quran brides in Pakistan in 2007.

The honour killing of girls is another form of exploitation of and violence against women in Pakistan.

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