Weddings! The one word that gets almost every Pakistani excited and ready to celebrate. Here, it’s like the most important season of the year is “Shaadi season“. You’d think that being a nation that’s so obsessed with weddings that many people have their entire weddings planned out before they ever even meet a potential spouse, we’d do all the essential things perfectly. But we don’t.
In Muslim weddings, the actual signing of the marriage contract is the “real wedding”, the Nikkah. Receptions and other small functions are just events that we hold because of our culture. It should be safe to assume that we at least do the Nikkah right, right?
Most married women in Pakistan confess that they didn’t read their Nikkah-nama. Many even said that they were so nervous they signed in the wrong place! This might sound cute to some people – but this is cause for concern.
You should never sign anything in general without reading the whole document (preferably multiple times) beforehand, especially not your marriage contract.
The Nikkah-nama has 2 pages, the 2nd page is entirely dedicated to the rights of the woman. Her right of divorce, her mehr and a whole section left empty which she can fill with any further conditions. In most Pakistani weddings, this whole page is crossed out. Many Qazis refuse to even oversee the wedding if the section isn’t crossed out.
This means that one of the most important rights of a woman, the right to divorce, is taken away. This forces her to apply for a khula which is a painstakingly long and difficult process, instead of a simple divorce – keeping many women trapped in abusive marriages. If a woman asks to not cross out this right, the common saying of “Haw! Shaadi waley din talaaq ka soch rahi ho? Humarey yahan aisa nahin hota” and she’s brushed off.
Maahin Zafar is a Pakistani bride that decided that this isn’t okay with her. She researched the clauses of the Nikkah-nama and decided that she’s not going to let the “Ghar ke admi” fill the contract for her – she was going to do it herself.
So, there she was, all done up as the bride with a pen in her hand, she filled her Nikkah-nama herself. Only then, the wedding was allowed to proceed.
I filled my nikahnama myself, wrote all the details of gawahs myself. I wanted to own that piece of paper, like it was MY life contract, it was MY right to write whatever I wanted in that paper, it was MY discretion that would be exercised, it was ME who was the concerned party regarding terms of the nikahnama. Each clause of that legally binding contract was filled, by no third person, but by one of the concerning parties with the consent of the other party.Maahin Zafar
She revealed that as she signed it, she heard lots of Haw hayes. She heard comments that called her besharam. How is someone filling out a marriage contract shameless?
It’s sad that women are still dealing with absolutely baseless stigmas, even in 2020. Isn’t it about time we stop letting them run our lives and start doing things differently? The way that benefits us, not the logg? The way it should’ve been all along?