Islam talks about justice and freedom for its followers. It talks about kindness and love. But when I read the Holy Quran and then compare it with the way some Muslims act, I find the Quran’s commandments are not often reflected in their actions. Islam focuses on peace, unity, humanity, kindness, and justice. But many Muslims are betraying themselves and others with their behaviour.
I want to describe the biggest deception.
In the Quran, Allah says marriage must not be done with force or in ignorance.
Yet Afghan people often treat their daughters and sisters in many ways that go against this Islamic rule. Unfortunately, some Muslims believe one thing and do another.
Afghan girls often get married at a young age, even at 10 years old, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the parents think if a young girl doesn’t marry, it can bring shame to the family, so they send their girls to Khanaye bakht - - or House of Destiny - as they believe they should.
Afghan people believe when a girl gets married and leaves her father’s house, she goes to her House of Destiny.
Unfortunately, the House of Destiny, which is her husband’s family’s house, can become a hell for the girl.
She faces many new problems. For example, she may not know how to be a “good” bride or how to behave with her in-laws or be a good mother. Then her husband’s family might start to punish her physically and mentally.
It is not unheard of that a mother in-law will put the girl in a dark room without food.
Sometimes a husband will divorce the girl. This has very bad consequences. In other cases, a divorced girl will stay in the home of her ex-husband’s family and work as servant until she dies because the people of the village will treat her even worse if she leaves the home.
Another deception takes place when families find themselves in a bad social situation.
For example they might have enemies or be impoverished. To solve their problems they decide to marry off their girls for money or to keep her away from their enemies, even if it is to men they don’t know or who are old enough to be the daughter’s father or grandfather.
The girl's parents assume she is happy and safe in the House of Destiny, when in fact, they forced her to marry only to decrease the dangers and risks from their enemies. Now, they no longer have a young daughter to be kidnapped.
She cannot tell them that she is unhappy or in danger, because she has no choice but to be married.
The families also will benefit from getting paid. They take Toyana - money from the grooms before the wedding - and additional payments for things like the week-long wedding party, which requires expensive clothing.
Another deceptive practice is the way some parents of young girls marry their daughters to foreign grooms. The parents trust a matchmaker to choose a groom without knowing his background. The boy’s family makes promises and tells many lies to convince the girl’s family that she will have a good life or continue her education.
The parents don’t listen to their daughter’s appeals; they force her to accept a wedding with the matchmaker’s chosen man.
It’s a frightening time for the girl. She forgets her dreams and worries about a dark future lying ahead. But her relatives and family are happy thinking about how having a rich groom in the family will improve their social situation.
These kinds of marriages do not end well, if they end at all. Sometimes, girls are forced into running away and disappearing, or committing suicide.
Sometimes a girl will steal money to leave the house or find someone who promises to take her to a safe place, but instead sells her to smugglers or a brothel. If this happens, the bride’s family and the groom’s family will become enemies. This leads to more problems. They might kidnap each other’s daughters, not as replacement brides but as bondwomen or prostitutes.
When this happens, people think badly of the girl’s family and penalize them – and sometimes excommunicate them from society. People feel they can’t trust them anymore.
The family can do nothing; regrets have no meaning.
This kind of treatment of our daughters is not what Islam teaches. Girls have the right to make decisions about their lives. But many parents think that it’s their right to decide. And forced marriages are haram; they are legal.
Islam teaches justice, freedom, fraternity, alliance, kindness, good behaviour, and morality. It does not condone marriage by force or ignorance. Marriage must be based on kindness, agreement, and love, the Holy Quran says.
Muslims who treat girls and women this way have attached the wrong meaning to Islam.
When families get a true Islamic education, abandon its harmful customs and respect all people, then society will be ready to fix this, the biggest deception.
YWC bloga are a platform for women and their supporters to share their thoughts and stories. Young Women for Change organization does not necessarily agree with content of all blogs.
Young Women for Change is an independent non-profit organization consisting of dozens of volunteer women and male advocates across Afghanistan.
It was established to empower women across Afghanistan and recruit them to the struggle for gender equality.