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Strong action needed to prevent adhl
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 01 - 2017


Al-Jazirah
MANY Saudi men have been doing injustice to their daughters by preventing them from getting married. At the same time, there are some young women who do injustice to their fathers and themselves by pretending that they are being subjected to adhl (the act of a male guardian preventing the marriage of female relative under his care).
The Justice Ministry recently announced its plan to open family courts in the evening hours to sanction the marriage of adhl victims whose fathers do not allow them to get married.
Adhl is an Islamic term that denotes the act of a father or guardian preventing a woman from marrying a man she likes without any legitimate reason. It's undoubtedly a big injustice toward women. The ministry should have explained the mechanisms it would apply to make sure that the woman was a victim of adhl so that the system would not be misused by rebellious daughters.
The prevailing system— which is quite reasonable — in our social setup is for young men and women to get married with the consent and support of all parties, including parents.
The ministry has not clarified whether it would act against the practice of arranging marriages based on tribal compatibility. I believe the issue of compatibility in lineage is behind most adhl cases in the Kingdom. The ministry should stop the tribal practice of seeking out the pedigree of the bride and bridegroom it really wants to address the issue of adhl and root it out from our society.
What is the use of a woman getting married in the courthouse if her guardian raises the issue of pedigree and demands a divorce because she had married a man who is presumed to have a lower pedigree? By that time the couple might have got children and this will virtually destroy that family for no reason.
Procreation is the nature of humans. Parents patiently bear many hardships throughout their life to bring up their daughters and the eagerly await the results of their patience on the day when they get married. I don't know how this nature got changed, prompting some fathers to bury the dreams of their daughters.
I believe that all parents are not the same and adhl should be the subject of a special research as the number of fathers who prevent their daughters from marriage is on the increase. We should find out why some fathers exercised adhl and did injustice to their daughters?
We should also study the arguments and complaints made by young women against their fathers and guardians to make sure whether they were genuine or not. Since I am engaged in looking into human rights issues of women I have seen so many cases of women facing injustice and torture.
I have also noticed that some daughters were just pretending that they were subjected to adhl. This is the reason I request the Justice Ministry that they should not allow such daughters to exploit the system. It should set out strong conditions and conduct studies to make sure these women are in fact victims of adhl.
At the same time, the ministry should not leave fathers and guardians who use adhl to continue their unjust and unlawful practice at the expense of their daughters and the law should specify deterrent punishments for such fathers who do not fear God.
The punishment should not be limited to allowing the woman to get married or withdrawing guardianship from her father because such individuals should not be allowed to continue their cruelty on other members of the family. I believe that a strong law would put an end to this spiteful culture in our society and reduce the number of fathers and guardians who practice adhl.


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