Haq Bakshish-The Holy Brides of Pakistan

'Haq Bakshish': A taboo where young women are married off to Holy Quran by devoting their lives to it and being born to serve the family.

The ancient tradition of ‘Haq Bakshish’ is widely practiced in the Sindh province and in some parts of Punjab. ‘Haq Bakshish literally means “renouncing the right to marry”. Instead of marrying men, women in such places are forced to marry the Holy Book of Islam, Quran.

The practice is prevalent among the families of huge land-owners. When a suitable husband is not found for their women among the family members. In order, to keep her portion of land under the protection of father and brothers it is preferred to follow the practice of ‘Haq Bakhsish’.This is due to the fact that they do not want to divide their land by giving the girl her portion in assets in dowry and letting her marry an outsider.

They are separated after the practice of ‘Haq Bakshish’ and supposedly live segregated lives. Here, they learn the Holy Book’s content by heart and they have to tie the writing around their waist too. No men older than fourteen years is allowed to approach them.

‘Haq Bakshish’ practice is adopted mainly by “Syed” families in Sindh- ‘Syeds’ usually consider themselves as upper-caste and pure-blooded.  The practice is banned in Pakistan but still prevalent. Under the law of Pakistan the tradition of ‘Haq Bakshish’ is punishable by 7 years in prison. Due to power and religious factors it is very rare for such cases to be reported.

The origin of ‘Haq Bakishish’ is more economic than religious. Islamic law on women’s share in lands are very much clear. Therefore, this practice cannot be welcomed or accepted just because of the religious turn. Government of Pakistan should really take some serious actions regarding to this inhumane tradition, which not only tear down women’s life but it is also an insult to the Holy Book and religion.

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