Examining men’s complaints about rising dowry in Kuwait

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: In Kuwait, the topic of dowry, also known as ‘mahr,’ has become a subject of heated discussions and complaints among men. Dowry, a longstanding tradition in many cultures, refers to the financial gift given to a bride by her husband at the time of marriage. While it holds value in celebrating the union of two individuals, there has been a growing concern about the escalating dowry amounts demanded in recent years. To explore the complaints made by men regarding the excessive amounts of dowries and to consider the underlying factors contributing to pushing women towards asking for such amounts, Kuwait Times interviewed two young men and a woman.

Ali Ibrahim, a newlywed young man and a father-to-be, shared with Kuwait Times his thoughts regarding excessive dowries. “In my opinion, a high dowry decreases the blessings of marriage and increases its difficulties. On the other hand, the bride’s family believes it increases the value of the bride. Others consider it as trading the girl for a large sum of money, which is considered – forbidden. In my opinion as a father, I believe it is important to know the qualities and financial capabilities of the potential husband before determining the dowry, based on mutual agreement.” Ibrahim perceives the increased amount of dowry as a financial burden.

“Excessive dowry demands may have negative effects on both the man and the woman. It reduces the chances of marriage and discourages men from getting married. This can lead to unofficial marriages, such as kidnapping the girl from her family’s home or civil marriages,” he added. On his part, Mohammad Al-Ansari said that the dowry is an essential component of the marriage contract in communities where Shariah Law is practiced. Within this context, the bride has the power to determine the mahr at her discretion – whether in monetary or other terms. Regardless of one’s financial situation, Islam promotes justice and moderation and encourages sensible and affordable mahr.

The basis for a happy and respectful marriage is laid by this practice, which encourages respect, understanding, and open communication between the couple and their family. Al-Ansari also highlighted how cultural and societal expectations influence the size of a woman’s dowry in Kuwait. He said that Kuwait is a collective society with various communities. Some of these communities are status-driven, ultimately influencing the dowry. It is completely saddening to see families nowadays treat their own children like assets to be bought. It is disheartening how dowry is viewed, where the more money you offer, the higher the social status. He explained that marriage should, by no means, be about who has the capability of spending the most money.

It is supposed to be a special connection between two people who want to build a family, experience love, feel safe and valued, and find a place where they can call home. Al-Ansari supported his stance with an example of a beautiful marriage that shows exactly what he means – the marriage of Ali and Fatima (two main figures in Islam). Fatima’s dowry was no more than a mere shield, mind you, even as the daughter of the prophet (peace be upon him), it was not fancy or expensive. Their marriage gave birth to the purest people to ever: Ali and Fatima’s bloodline. Ali’s love for Fatma and their love for each other were extraordinary. They were each other’s everything, and their bond was a shining example of what a marriage should be based on—pure love, loyalty, and a shared journey through life.

Not how large one’s pocket may be. He also spoke about the potential consequences of a large dowry for women and their families, saying that large sums for dowries are problematic because they – not only prevent the probability of two souls connecting on a spiritual and physical level, but they can also lead both parties to succumb to whims and desires that Allah forbids. Al-Ansari also expressed that setting a minimum for dowries is an insult to low-class income earners, as they may be applicable to people who cannot afford such payments, thereby preventing them from pursuing their dreams.

However, Lama, a young lady in her mid-twenties, told Kuwait Times that one of the key factors influencing the increase is the pressure and societal expectations. In Kuwait, marriage is highly valued, and weddings are significant events celebrated by the entire community, especially among women. Consequently, families often feel compelled to adhere to traditional norms and offer substantial dowries to maintain their social status. Many men feel some women are focusing on material gains rather than the love and commitment shared between partners while others feel they are being financially exploited. The real reason (most times) is to adhere to societal expectations, especially in a collective community where people affect each other’s choices.

The post Examining men’s complaints about rising dowry in Kuwait appeared first on Kuwait Times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Contact us for news, article submissions, and SEO services.