The simplest definition of crime (which one can get on Google) is an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law. When we talk about crimes in our society the offences or crimes which come generally in people minds are murder, hurt, kidnapping, assault, rape, theft, robbery, dacoity etc. Maybe because these crimes are very common and we read about these offences in newspaper or heard about them on television daily. Anyway, there are a lot of other offences which are common in our society but people barely heard about them. Among such offences, I want to discuss 3 offences in my essay; these are
- Marriage with Holy Quran
- Contract Marriage (so-called Halala)
Marriage with Holy Quran:
Marriage with Holy Quran (also known as Haq e Bakshish) is taking place in several provinces that dispossesses a girl of her social rights (specially property rights). This practice is very common in Sindh region. In this type of marriage, girls/women are asked to bestow themselves to learn the Holy Quran by heart. The families hold a ceremony and girls/women take vow on Holy Quran in front of people that she is wedded to it until expiry. Such women are not allowed to have a relationship with anybody till death. Not only this, even men fear being cursed and vexatious if they have a relationship with such women. This kind of marriage is very common among rich and feudal families specially in Sindh province.
According to a sovereign report, nearly twenty thousand girls are married to Holy Quran in Sindh province. The sole purpose of this marriage is to repudiate girls/women their rights of inheritance and fear of property being delivered on to outside family.
As I mentioned earlier that this marriage is popular among rich and feudal families (specially in Sindh) that’s why nobody lodged FIR (First Information Report) against such people. According to penal law of Pakistan, the punishment of this offence is just 3 years and 500,000 Fine which is like a drop in ocean because this offence is heinous not only legally but also religiously, morally and socially.
The second heinous offense which I like to discuss is “Ghag” which is a Pashto word which roughly interprets as “aaz lagana” or in English “to make something known”. This custom or practice is common in tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK). According to this custom, a person forcibly and powerfully demands or claims the hand of a girl without her consent and her parents’ approval. This demand or announcement can be done in many ways but the following two ways are very common. Often the men sent a messenger to the girl’s house to notify her family that man in question has decided to marry her.
The man (groom) has to fire gunshots (Aerial firing) from the stoop of Mosque (entrance of Mosque) while shouting his selected bride name which means that girl is betrothed to him and no one else shall make a marriage offer/proposal.
Willy-nilly of how “ghag” is declared, the impact of “ghag” is so vicious and harsh on the life of girl, her family and future. It takes nothing from man but the whole thing from woman. That’s why sometimes “ghag” is called as badal (retaliation). The sad point is this, after announcing “ghag”, it is not obligatory on man to tie the knot that girl and that declaration of ghag is just all the payback.
In 2013, the Kpk government passed “ghag act” and under this act, the punishments which were fixed are 3 years minimum and maximum 7 years imprisonment and with 500,000 fine. But despite passing this ghag act, according to a 2016 report, 20 women committed suicide because of this practice.
Contract Marriage (so called Halala):
Before I write about how halala is offence in modern world and how people are committing it, let me talk about Mutah marriage first.
Mutah marriage is an agreed sexual relationship, a quasi-marriage agreement with a consideration, entered amongst a man and woman with intention and purpose of enjoying sexual intercourse with the woman for a fixed period of time
- There are four pillars of Mutah contract
- There should be an open declaration of marriage.
- The woman married maybe either Muslim, Kitabia, or Majoosiah.
- The dower must be fixed. (Marriage without dower is Invalid and unlawful)
- Period must be fixed, for example, 1 day, 1 month, or 1 year. (Marriage contract will be considered permanently if no time period is fixed).
In earlier days of Islam, this marriage was permissible but later on, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) prohibited Muslims from it. Imam Muslim has reported a Hadith, The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said: “O, you people, I had permitted you to make use of woman temporarily but Allah has now forbidden it till the day of resurrection. Hence who have such woman must give them up and whatever has been given to them must not be taken back”.
So the question is how people are committing Halala as an offense? The answer is simple, actually, Nowadays when the couples, after divorce, wants to reunite or wants to restart their life as a couple again, they hire a person and sign a contract for 1 night and they called such contract halala but in fact, it’s not halala but a Mutah because such contract is completing all the 4 pillars of Mutah especially the 4th one i.e Time period.
Unfortunately, people are committing this offense without knowing the facts that our Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) has forbidden us from such kind of contract marriages. I think its fault of government because it’s not registered as a penal offense so far and there is no punishment fixed on it
Written By: Adnan Ali
Student: Stater Class