ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has decided to advise parents not to make haste in marrying their children off soon after their engagement. The parents of daughters are particularly addressed by the council in its advice: “Such haste has often resulted in the divorce of women.”
Deliberating on the Model Bill for the Women Protection Laws, the CII has observed that a considerable break between engagement and Nikah can help parents reach a careful decision about a marriage.
“A well-thought out marriage may contribute to reducing the rate of divorce in the country. It is not only men who divorce their wives but in some cases women also seek dissolution of marriage after such weddings,” the council observed during a meeting Wednesday.
Dissolution of engagement before marriage will not cause any harm to any of the fiancé or fiancée, the council further observed while taking into account the emotional aspect of the issue. “It will protect couples against divorce and subsequent litigations,” it added.
Early this year, the governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had asked the council to prepare a model bill to be enacted as women protection laws in their respective provinces.
The two governments were forced to seek the council’s help after the advisory body rejected Protection of Women against Violence laws adopted by the Punjab Assembly in February this year.
The CII, after receiving requests from the two provinces, decided to offer a model bill to be enacted as laws to safeguard the interest of the women against any kind of exploitation.
A draft of the model bill comprising over 160 clauses is at the final stages and it is expected to be finalised during the next meeting of the council.
The issue of hasty marriages came under discussion on Wednesday when one of the CII members raised the subject of ‘chat mangni pat beyah’ (Quick marriage after engagement) and sought a guideline for parents that he demanded should be made part of the proposed bill.
“The guideline will further protect the women’s rights already envisaged in the bill. By all means the guideline will be in accordance with the spirit of Sharia,” a senior member of the council, Abdullah, told The Express Tribune.
“Every law that is made in Pakistan for the welfare of society and its people is Islamic. Sharia negates exploitation of women. It is a fact that women are subjected to oppression in our society,” he said.
Abdullah said the proposed model would provide full protection to the women against any exploitation and injustice. It would not only be a model bill for Pakistani women but it would be exemplary piece of legislation for the entire Muslim world, he claimed.
Another member of the council, Prof Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz was of the view that a considerable pause between engagement and marriage is necessary as it provides an opportunity to the parents to break the relation in case of a second thought.
“Dissolving engagement by either of the two parties with mutual consent or by one of the parties unilaterally (in case of a change of mind) is better (than divorce),” Shahtaz said.
Both the members were of the opinion that there is no binding in Sharia on the parents to marry their children soon after engagement. “In Sharia there is no time fixed for marriage after engagement, yet it is better for the girls’ parents to pause between engagement and marriage.”
However, engagement should not be considered a Nikah, Abdulllah made it clear.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2016.
Courtesy : Express Tribune