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Jahez is the wealth the bride brings to the groom on their marriage. This cultural practice is prevalent in South Asian weddings. In some weddings, the current practice of jahez is a cruelly oppressive custom rooted in polytheistic societies. The bride’s family is made to endure financial hardship to meet the expectations. Some will use their life savings or sell their property to pay for the jahez.
In some cases, the fear of not having their daughter married will drive the parents into debt to meet the groom’s implicit or explicit demands. This practice has evolved into an oppressive custom, victimizing girls and their families. Expecting the bride to bring over some gifts is a shameless act. Some will have the audacity to ask for it after the nikah. To insult her for not bringing any gifts (or not bringing enough) is emotional and verbal abuse, and far too many have become victims of domestic violence. This experience has been traumatic for many women, sometimes leading to death.
The gifts our Noble Prophet ﷺ gave to his daughter Sayyidah Fatimah رضى الله عنها at the time of her marriage to Sayyiduna Ali رضى الله عنه is presented as evidence to support this cultural practice.
Sayyiduna Ali رضى الله عنه said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ gifted to Fatimah a blanket, a container to hold water and a pillow filled with Idhkir leaves.” [Sunan Nisai, hadith 3384]
Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ had four daughters. In the hadith literature, there is no established narration of him giving jahez to any of his other three daughters. He only gave it to Sayyidah Fatimah
رضى الله عنها. The Noble Prophet ﷺ taught equality between children when giving gifts. Also, there is plenty of hadith on raising daughters and being kind to them. The question is, why only Sayyidah Fatimah رضى الله عنها? The Noble Prophet ﷺ was the fairest and just person ever to come on earth.
According to one report, the money used to purchase the jahez for Sayyidah Fatimah رضى الله عنها was the money Sayyiduna Ali رضى الله عنها received when he sold his armour upon the Noble Prophet’s ﷺ instruction just before the marriage.
Secondly, the Beloved Prophet ﷺ was a father to Sayyidah Fatimah رضى الله عنها and the guardian of Sayyiduna Ali رضى الله عنه. He lived in our Beloved Prophet’s ﷺ home from a very young age, going back to before prophethood. Sayyiduna Ali رضى الله عنها was poor. Aware of his condition, the Noble Prophet ﷺ supported this new couple by providing some basic household needs so they could settle down in their new home after marriage.
His other daughters:
- Sayyidah Zainab رضى الله عنها was married to Abul-A’as ibn Rabee’ رضى الله عنه. He was a wealthy merchant.
- Sayyidah Ruqayyah رضى الله عنها and Sayyidah Umm Kulthum رضى الله عنها both married Sayyiduna Uthman رضى الله عنه one after the other.
Some parents, out of sheer love for their daughter, sincerely desire to give some gifts. The preferred method is to stay within one’s budget, give it privately without show and display, and give it sometime after the wedding.
- Sunan Nasai
- Rahmani, Khalid Saifullah. Oct. 2008. Halal wa Haram (Urdu). Karachi: Zamzam Publishers
by Mawlana Mushtaq Shaikh