Men cannot afford their brides!
If you haven’t been to a wedding in Kurdistan or in Iraq, you are missing out. Wedding ceremonies in our regions can be a mixture of traditional dancing and a contemporary style, or fully traditional depending on where you are.
Whether in a village or in a city, weddings have their fixed steps and rituals to follow Islamic Sunna and Shariaa, which is fair and I personally respect. Many of which, relates to the man and woman, yet, there are is a materialistic side for it. Men are not the ones to blame this time, but rather women, more specifically the family. I am talking about the wedding dowry!
A wedding dowry is an essential part of the marriage. The man is obligated by the religion, to offer the bride an amount of money. The dowry in many places is represented by the gold. Day by day, and being more traditional than religious, people tend to higher the dowry of their daughters. The more gold the groom offers, the better “option/choice” he becomes, and the more proud the bride’s family, (relatives, first and second class cousins) are.
There are men who have been trying to marry girls they cannot afford. Yes, it is that superficial and this is how it really sounds. How many of you know of a man who wished to marry a woman but he was unable to pay 2 Daftar (20,000 USD) to buy gold? Too many we would say.
Unfortunately, it has reached the level of “it’s all about what people think”. For some families, and in one part of the wedding ceremony, the brides’ mother or sister has to show the guests how much gold the bride has got as her dowry. The more impressed people are, the more confident the woman would feel about her choice. Hey, that’s a good deal; we can marry a poor man, get some fake gold, impress those dancing at our wedding, and we live happily ever after! You think it never happened? Yes it did!
I know a family who asked some of the bride’s aunts to lend her gold so she can show it off to the guests. Is this is really the point? Is this how much your daughter worth? Do you think, if your daughter got a whole bunch of gold; she will live with a man that values her as a human being? Do you know that every time your daughter feels sad, she will get gold, probably fake, rather than a man that listens to why she is sad? I do not want to generalize. There are men who would still respect their wives regardless of the family traditions, but how many are they?
The idea of dowry in religion is basic. It is the gift given to the woman to show a sincere/honest desire of marrying her. One of the names for it in Islam is “Al-Sadaaq”, which is taken from the word Sidiq, which basically mean honesty.
I want to briefly summarize how religion explains the dowry.
Wedding dowry must be paid by the man. It has to be fair. The man and the woman, NOT the family, are mutually able to make changes to the amount of dowry to be paid. That’s basically it.
I hope that families value their daughter higher than some gold ounces. It is not how much gold she gets, it is by how much he values her. I am not asking to disregard the wedding dowry; I am claiming people to be fair and rational.
Speaking to some citizens about the dowry I got the following responses:
“Too much gold as a dowry can ensure the future of a woman in case she wanted to get a divorce, or her husband passed away, this dowry will enable her to start over”. Wait! Why don’t you get a job instead and start over?
You, my dear woman will probably complain about your traditional family who do not let you work after getting a divorce, or what our community considers, the “stigma”. It is worth mentioning that dowry comes in two parts. The first is the prompt dowry which must be paid during the ceremony. The second is the deferral dowry which is paid after divorce or the death of the husband. This deferral dowry can help a woman become financially stable in case her marriage was over or not successful.
What I am really trying to say, asking for higher dowry is not going to make your proposing husband a better option. Base your choice of marriage on his mentality, confidence, self esteem, and respect to you before anything else. 200 ounces of gold in your drawer is not going to replace your desire of having a caring loving husband.
Families must realize that religion has given us rules to live by. Rules that are suppose to make our lives easier. Life is simple, if we only loved each other for WHO we are rather than WHAT we are.