Sr. Sofia Nabi has raised several pertinent points in her message to Yahoo! Group.
I just want to elaborate some of her points.
This dowry system is a social curse and all the sections of society suffers from this scourge. But believe me, this dowry problem has crept-in so much in the society that only a sort of revolution will weed it out. Yes we at personal level have to keep on trying and preaching against the dowry system. Obviously it has to start from our home. We have to promise ourselves that we wont allow this to happen in our family. We are over 1500 members in this group and that way at least 1500 family could be freed from this anti-islamic and/or anti-social practice. Plus we may influence our relatives and/or neighbors as well.
The education among muslims has raised the standard of dowry. Earlier they used to ask Rs. 20,000 or a motorcycle but now the same family after getting education is demanding dowry in lacs with a car and other accessories. Aligarh and Hyderabad (Deccan) has the two most literate/educated muslim community in our nation and they have the highest rate of dowry. It doesn't mean we shouldn't acquire education. The real need is the scientific/professional education blended with islamic values. The grooms mother (I repeat mother!) must be inculcated a sense of fear from Allah. How will this happen?? This wont happen in this generation. The need is the education (obviously blended with islamic etiquettes) of current generation girls and that will produce god fearing mothers in next generation and insha-Allah then we can expect a sort of change vis a vis dowry system and other stupidity involved.
"Quote": Another imp criteria is dat the girl shud b very beautiful, tall, slim, professionally qualified, Islamic n shud belong to a reputed and decent family. These r just a few qualities to list for the girls. N yes, the girl parents shud b rich (imp criteria for the parents……… to take the matter further). How many of us has all the above criteria ????? "Unquote"
None of the girls have all the above mentioned criteria. In fact none are expected to have else they will be angels. Similarly none of the guys will have all the criteria. Atleast I don't possess all the criteria and don't expect my prospective bride to fulfil all the above mentioned criteria. It has been recommended by Prophet (pbuh) that the Deen ("religion") should be the criteria for marriage.
Of course there are other factors which are looked into and it depends upon existing culture in different countries. Although most of these factors are anti-islamic. For example, in united states the girls parents look the pay-package of the prospective grooms. Similarly in UK its your nationality status and your status in the society (eg. business guy, doctors, advocates, professors etc...). In Germany the muslims just look if you are religious and educated irrespective of your background. In India we have multiple types of preferences. Majority of the people look for two factors, the paramount important factor is caste ("I don't understand why at all people are still hanging on with this hindu system") while the other factor is the dowry capacity of the brides parents. Some of the family look for good tahzeeb and good khandan. But this group is always unable to define what is good tahzeeb and good khandan. My family falls in this category.
"Quote" from sister Sofia: Lets also give up the habit of visiting so many girls for the marriage purpose, looking them , judging them n then denying them later on.Lets b very clear abt the type of girl each of us wud want to have as the better half ...then things wud really b very easy. Lets respect others sis ,daughter also as we do to ours. Let's not make marriage a business .We do not realise the pangs n the agony of others until things happen to us. "Unquote"
This is a very serious problem and is even worse than the dowry. I heard from some people that many a times the prospective bride is tortured inhumanly by the prospective grooms family. The grooms family goes and checks the length of the hair, counts the teeth, checks the body size of the girl and then the girl has to do some catwalk as well. Its a total torture and is mostly done by women on women. Hence there is urgent need to educate our current generation girls so that they can behave sensibly in next gen..
But above all, the greed factor has to go and only then this dowry system can be eradicated.