Married to the Quran

Uzma Mazhar © 2003

Recently I read about a most horrifying and despicable practice in Pakistan.  Equally if not worse than the practice of 'honor killings'.  

In a report titled 'Married to the Quran' in the Pakistani weekly newspaper 'The Friday Times' of Pakistan, it said:

"According to Khabrain, a large number of feudals in Sindh had married their daughters to the Quran. The ceremony took place after the girl of the family was asked to take a bath, after which a Quran was put before her as the men folk apologised to her for the ritual which would condemn the girl never to get married but to read the Quran every day. In Sindh, MPA Shabbir Shah’s sister, ex-minister Murad Shah’s sister and two daughters, three daughters of Mir Awwal Shah of Matiari, daughters and sisters of Sardar Dadan and Nur Khan of the Lund tribe, nieces of Sardar Ghulam of Mahar tribe, and the daughters of the Pir of Bharchundi Sharif, were all married to the Quran to prevent their share of the land going to them and thus avoid redistribution of land." (Jan 17-23, 2003 issue)

This is obviously abusive and unIslamic.  This has nothing to do with religion.  This is about power, control and greed.  Women are not valued enough to consider how their entire lives, and any dreams or hopes they might have had... are ruined by a 'tradition' that is inhumane and beyond any rational explanation.  Under the guise of devoting their lives to the Quran, these women's lives are obliterated and wiped out.  Trying to legitimize this barbaric behavior they abuse the Quran and Islam. Do they really believe that by giving it a religious twist it becomes an acceptable practice?  This is no different than the Jâhilîyah practices of burying the girl alive, that Islam fought against from day one.

Obviously this is not a recent practice, but must have been going on for God knows how long.  Obviously the men recognize that it is not right as they apologize to the woman before ruining her life.  Equally to blame are the mothers and other women of the family who allow this to continue... they are accomplices to this crime as well.  To imagine that a father, brother, mother or sister allows this to continue is beyond comprehension.  Obviously the society in which this practice continues is silent and are equally to blame.

Islam does NOT allow or encourage detaching from the world for the sake of religion.  When, in Islam, becoming a monk/nun is discouraged, nor is it seen as the height of piety or devotion... how can they claim it as right or permissible?  The names listed above are not those of uneducated people, but men who hold high positions of authority... and to trust them to make humane laws for women is ludicrous and terrifying.

Islam does NOT give men limitless power to abuse women when he is given the status of 'head of the household'.  As head of the household it does not allow them to legitimize their abuses.  It angers me that men abuse women, and it angers me even more when women buy into such stupidity and allow it to continue.  Islam does NOT want sheep for its adherents. As head of the household men are to protect women FROM abuses... not turn around and abuse them.  

Below is my letter to The Friday Times... please write to them denouncing such barbaric and unIslamic practices.  Their e-mail address is:

and the Islamic Human Rights Commission at:

I am extremely perturbed by an item titled 'Married to the Quran' in a recent issue of 'The Friday Times' about women who are being forced to live a life dedicated to reading the Quran.  Not only is this practice absolutely unIslamic but barbaric as well.  And to think these greedy, selfish, cruel and inhumane men hold positions in the Pakistan government and have the power to make laws that could affect thousands of women is beyond comprehension.  If they do not have the heart for their own family members they are absolutely incapable of any compassion or intelligence to make or uphold humane and sensible laws pertaining to women.  These men should be prosecuted for human rights violations and removed from their posts in the government immediately.

Uzma Mazhar

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