Two-third of the brides do not know what is there in their Nikah Nama.
Nikah Nama the most vital aspect of the concept of marriage. It is a civil contract between a groom and a bride in which both parties mention specific terms which are important for spending life together. In Pakistan there are at least two-third of the women who doesn’t get to know what is there in their Nikah Nama.
Experts underline how unfortunate it is that most of the brides do not, or are not allowed to, read this paper, which carries immense significance for the rest of their lives. In our societies, the majority of the girls are brought up with the point of being becoming a wife, a mother and they are trained to mold themselves as per ‘after-marriage’ circumstances. The commonly called ‘arranged marriage’ is top choice in our society, meaning women seldom know enough about her to-be husband and in-laws, where she is supposed to spend the rest of her life. And yet she is not allowed to, or in many cases cannot, read the Nikah Nama.
Several critical points, which can go in favour of women, are either not discussed or struck down by the family of the bride. The first one such issue is of mehr, an amount given to the bride by the groom. There are two kinds of mehr i.e., moajal and gher moajal. The first one is given to the bride before consummation of marriage and second after a fixed time period, mentioned in the Nikkah Nama. However, the bride is seldom asked about it.
“An upper middle class, or even lower middle-class woman is not going to be forthcoming about how much mehr she demands or if she even wants any because you know ‘log kia kahaingay’. And the women who really could use this protection such as those from rural areas or the working class, they don’t even know their rights,” said Neel Shahnawaz, a lawyer and social worker.
In most of the cases, mehr is considered as a formality and both families set a very low amount, which can be a huge loss to the bride in future because mehr is kind of a protection to the woman, especially in case of divorce. She could have a much needed amount in her hand to tackle monetary issues.
The second one and most ignored one is the right of divorce to the bride. Observers note that unfortunately very few brides know that the state of Pakistan gives the right of divorce to women. The Clause 18 of Nikkah Nama clearly asks, “has the bridegroom give the right to divorce to the bride? If given, on what conditions?”
Observers maintain that this is a major condition but seldom heard of, and this clause is usually struck of by the family or the cleric officiating over the nikkah. And it is also considers against the ‘norms’ of our society because it is “not a women’s right to end the marriage, only a man can do it”. Although women still hold the right of Khula but it is a very long and tiring process, under which women will lose her right of mehr, property and even lose custody of children. As per Sara Malkani, a Supreme Court lawyer, “To include your right to divorce is extremely crucial because in the event that you want to dissolve your marriage, it will streamline the whole process.”