One of the main reasons for the spread of this phenomenon is that some parents oppressively prevent their daughters from marrying suitable young men, despite the fact that the Prophet, said: "If a man whose religion and manners you approve of comes to you (proposing to your daughter), then give her in marriage to him, otherwise, there will be turmoil on the earth and great corruption." [At-Tirmithi & Ibn Maajah]
The phenomenon of spinsterhood -II
Some fathers breached the trust from Allah which they have carried regarding their daughters by preventing them from marriage. It may be that a young man comes to them asking for their daughter and they delay or prohibit him for no reason, citing baseless excuses, it may be that their criteria for acceptance is trivial, such as how much his salary is, or what his career aspirations are, while at the same time totally disregarding his practice of the religion, manners and honesty. Indeed some fathers see their daughters as a piece of merchandise to be sold at an auction.
Such fathers do not realise that this is in fact oppression and betrayal. Are these fathers unaware of the painful real life stories that are widespread? These stories should act as a warning for all parents to stop their heedlessness and protect their honour and dignity before it is too late.
Where is their mercy? Do they not consider the consequences of their actions? How can someone who knows about the nature of a woman imprison her for life? If these people had used their minds then they would have looked for suitable husbands for their daughters, just as ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, offered his daughter for marriage to Abu Bakr and then ‘Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with them. Sa’eed Ibn Al-Musayyib give his daughter in marriage to one of his students, indeed this was the practice of our Salaf, may Allah be pleased with them. Indeed making marriage difficult results in destroying homes, killing chastity, ruining morality and spreading evil.
Rejecting suitable men and delaying women from marriage jeopardises and endangers men, woman and indeed the community as a whole. Suitable men are those whose practice of Islam is sound, whose manners are good and who are kind, honest and from a good family. The Prophet,, said: “Marry the one who has religion (i.e., devout Muslim)” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
Another reason for the spread of this evil phenomenon is the exorbitant dowries that some fathers request, so much so that marriage becomes impossible for some people; in some countries dowries reach ridiculous and unimaginable levels, which results in a mountain of debt for anyone who tries to pay it. The greed which some people suffer from is truly saddening; they ask for amounts which the one proposing could never afford, even if he were to save for half of his life. Such people’s greed and lust for this life has resulted in making honourable women into pieces of merchandise, which they then sell. All this has resulted in a huge increase in the number of unmarried women.
The dowry in Islam is a mean and not an objective and inflating it has terrible effects on individuals and communities which are known to everyone. It prevents marriages from taking place or results in marriages to unfit or unsuitable partners from non-practicing communities, which results in regret and sorrow.
This greed which some people suffer from is completely the opposite of how our Salaf (predecessors) used to be, as ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Do not inflate dowries, because if it was good for ones livelihood, or righteous to do, then the Prophet would have done this". In fact, the Prophet , gave a woman in marriage to a man and the dowry was what he had memorised from the Quran, and he said to another man regarding the amount of dowry to give: “Give her a ring made from iron” and ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn ‘Awf, may Allah be pleased with him, gave a golden coin as his dowry.
After hearing all this, how can people ask for what they do? Do they not know that they will be questioned about that which they are entrusted with? Do they lack any mercy whatsoever? Moreover, the tradition of excessive expenditure on weddings which some people impose upon the groom only adds to the problem, and it is only done in order to show off and boast.
Scholars, wealthy people and people who hold a respected position in their community must address this issue and set an example for the Muslim nation. The media should educate people, highlight the solutions and offer them to the people.
Brothers and sisters who are suffering from this problem should persevere, remain steadfast and chaste and be content with the decree of Allah because what He has for them is better.
After knowing about the disease, comes information about the cure. The cure for spinsterhood lies in strengthening the foundation of faith in the Muslim nation and raising this coming generation upon the correct belief, while emphasising on morals and principles in our Muslim communities.
We should also facilitate marriages, reduce dowries and marry our daughters to suitable young men based on the correct Islamic criteria for choosing a spouse. We should guide people to suitable young men and the wealthy should support those who wish to get married.
Finally, to comprehensively address the solution to the problem of spinsterhood, the Muslim community must give great attention to the issue of polygamy according to Islamic guidelines, because there are far too many women who are single, divorced or widowed. Having said this, those men who partake in polygamy must be just, merciful and wise when dealing with their wives, especially the first one, because we are always hearing complaints from sisters about their husbands being unjust to them. We must remember that the Prophet said: "He who has two wives and favors one over another (i.e., by being unjust to one of them by not fulfilling his duties towards her) will be on the Day of Resurrection with one side of his face cut and hanging (as a form of punishment)." [Ahmad]