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Brides’ gifts remain theirs: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has restated that the bridal gifts given at the time of marriage are the property of the wife and remain hers. These gifts can be added to but not taken away, according to the Sharia law.

A 12-page judgment authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa after hearing a property matter said,

“Radical awakening was brought about by the Holy Quran and hitherto before unfamiliar women’s rights were established for the first time in the [Muslim] scripture.”

“[The Sharia highlights] a woman’s right to own and dispose of her property; her right to retain – both before and after her marriage – her income and property; her ability to do business without permission of her father or husband and keep and spend what she earns,” it stated.

It said men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn. Her entitlement to inherit from her parents and husband, the verdict said, is also precisely ordained in the fourth chapter – Surah Al-Nisa – of the Holy Quran.

“A woman also does not need permission to acquire or dispose of property; what she inherits is hers and hers alone; neither her husband, father, brother or son has any entitlement to it: [The Quran says] ‘Do not eat up (consume) one another’s property’,” said the judgment.

The court also recommended that husbands make wills to provide for their wives. The Holy Quran has mentioned in great detail the woman’s right to enter into contracts and to witness contracts.

The verdict noted with concern that in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the injunctions of the Quran are at times relegated in favour of retrogressive practices.

The court said it has already noted that a chasm existed between a woman’s status in Islam to what prevailed in Europe and America even less than a century ago. In the West, it said, a woman stood deprived upon the marriage of her property, which became that of her husband.

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