A prominent Indian social activist in Saudi Arabia has launched a matrimonial website to help South Asian expatriates, who are against the dowry system, find suitable matches.
Aleem Khan Falki, the founder of the Jeddah-based Socio Reforms Society and who has been actively campaigning against the dowry system for a long time, has launched the unique matrimonial service website, simplenikah.com, for dowry-free marriage seekers, the Arab News reported Monday.
Falki said the main intention behind establishing the website was to provide non-commercial, economical service with the ultimate purpose of eradicating the dowry system.
"This form of blackmail has increased so much that it has taken the shape of a social blackmail," Falki said.
"Asian fathers looking to marry off their daughters are obliged to pay their dowries, since customs in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh dictate that dowries in the form of money and property be taken from the bride," Falki added.
He said there were many cases of grooms not wanting any dowry but the bride's parents forcing them to accept it for fear of being chastised later by the groom's family.
Falki said, in addition, the bride's father is being required to host the wedding dinner party. It has become compulsory, he added.
"The groom does throw the 'walima' (the marriage banquet, which is the second of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding), but the bride's side has to first host hundreds of guests from the groom's side by serving a number of dishes at a full-fledged marriage hall."
He said, because of such traditions, the bride's parents' lifelong savings get exhausted.
Falki emphsised that the Socio Reforms Society would bring together suitable matches through the website to help people who want to marry purely according to the prophetic tradition.
Falki said both sides would pledge to refrain from any extravagance and paying dowry that are not required in Islam.
"This will help many widows, divorcees and poverty-stricken girls who are helpless due to lack of sources to get married," he said.
Besides matrimony, the website will provide counselling for couples facing marital problems so as to reduce the divorce rate among South Asian communities in Saudi Arabia.