For many bride hunters, an extra ordinary beautiful girl has become a status symbol. There are marriage centers in Mumbai.. where the match makers charge higher fees for finding out a very good looking girl !There was this sister who attended Islamic classes which were conducted for college girls during vacations. Somebody spotted her taking contact numbers of fair and slim girls from the crowd. Some one asked her the reason. She replied, "I am looking for some good girls for my nephew...!" One of the lady rightly protested " Excuse me! Kindly dont do this hunting here.. there are other girls here who may not be very beautiful and they may get terrible complexes for not being good looking."
A very rich person I know, stays in a south Indian Metropolitian city, has a daughter, and when she was around 20 they started looking for a rich boy to suit the status of the family. His girl, probably, was average looking as almost all of the girls in the world are. Many rich families discarded the proposal upon finding the girl to be average looking and found her too orthrodox in hijab. They wanted a girl who wore colourful hijab and could look good even in hijab. That was the status factor perhaps they were also looking for.
The hunt went on for two and a half years, and the more proposals got rejected the more worried the girl's parents got. Some well wishing females advised her to wear colourful hijab and scarf and apply some good make up while attending some one's marriage so that she can be spotted by women looking for daughters in law. The girl was simple so she choose simplicity. One day she announced before her parents : Daddy Mummy ! I give you two months to find out a prospective groom for me, after that I will give my bio data to so and so Dawah Center and I ll get married to any good guy without asking how much he earns, if I find him on deen.. The shocked parents speeded up the search and today the girl is married to a very good boy from the richest family of another city in South India. The family is on Qur'an and Sunnah. I am not mentioning even the name of the cities , to hide the identity of the family and the girl.
Many boys choose girls with a vision of displaying them like trophies where ever they go, be it a marriage ceremony or some other social gathering. A boy would be happy to note that other females in the gathering found his wife to be the most beautiful in the crowd! Some mothers of grooms love for comments like " Wow you daughter in law looks like .......!" Some one once passed a comment after recieving compliments about her daughter in law " She looks awesome like "Aishwariya Ray". This reflects that even wives and husbands arebeing taken up like status symbols.
This is one of the reasons that make me uncomfortable when I happen to find my self in a wedding reception where the husband and the wife sit together and all types of men come on the stage and look at the bride and congrajulate the husband. Then there is a camera man standing on the stage recording all these happenings as if the angels Kirman kateibeen are not recording anything. These camerman's lens move on the bride with close ups and other angels and the husband, nor the Wali of the bride nor any person among the crowd get a feel of gheerah (self respect). I would say this is a sin in congregation, or rather sin approved as normal culture.
Some one rightly said to me, " if you want to judge the attitude of Muslim families towards the deen attend their marriages"
The most common places people look for grooms and brides are marriages of other people. They say," In one marriage there are many marriages taking place..." It is right. Men look for good looking young men for their daughters and neices and women look for young girls appearing pretty (yes appearing pretty through the layers of make ups) and moving here and there being introduced to other ladies. The message though un announced yet very clear, "my daughter is very smart and beautiful and we are looking for some awesome guy for her...."
My words of advice to my brothers who are getting ready for marriage or ready for marriage but not yet getting ready.... Selection of your spouse should not be on the basis of what people will say but it should be on how much peace will you get and affection will follow in our marriage life. As the Qur'an says : And among His signs are, He created spouses for you in THEM YOU FIND SOLACE AND HE HAS MADE AFFECTION AND MERCY BETWEEN THEM... IN this are signs for people who reflect (Surah ar Room ch 30, verse 21).. Will you reflect in this?
Author : Nisaar Nadiadwala writes and speaks on socio-educational issues from Islamic view point. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org