A Saudi father of a bride has challenged local ostentatious dowry practices by asking the groom to give only two riyals . “I do not look at the dowry as significant,” Abdul Hakeem Ahmad Haddad said. “We want our son-in-law to protect and care for our daughter. This is what Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has preached and we should follow this. In fact, if all Saudi families took a more compliant view with dowries, the issue of spinsterhood would be settled in our society,” the aviation forces retiree told local Arabic daily Al Yowm.
Father says his main concern is daughter’s well-being
The father’s decision is a rare exception in the demanding communities of Saudi Arabia as well as the Gulf and Arab countries that have been hard hit by inflated dowries that grooms have to offer to brides.
Islam requires the payment of a small dowry as a token of care and compassion between the bride and groom and their families. In Tunisia, considered to be one of the liberal countries in women’s rights, the dowry is symbolic and is usually less than one US dollar.
However, in many other Arab countries, increasingly ostentatious practices have caused the dowries to shoot up steadily.
The average dowry in Saudi Arabia amounts to SR30,000 ($8,000) for middle class families and in the hundreds of thousands of riyals for the wealthier. The wedding bills are inflated by ornate clothes, lavish receptions and dinner banquets.
The situation is similar in neighbouring Bahrain while the costs are higher in other Gulf countries.
Several Gulf nationals, faced with the onerous costs, have opted to take wives from other countries, mainly Egypt, Syria and Jordan among Arabs, India, Pakistan, Thailand and The Philippines.