Question 10: Some villagers, especially in the Al-Hijaaz, have a binding agreement among themselves that they call the “collective adversity.” The agreement includes many conditions, one of which is that if any of them wants to give his daughter in marriage to someone from outside the village, he has to pay a sum of money ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 Riyals, which is called the “breaker”. This money is added to the community fund, along with the amount they pay annually, which they use for any financial liabilities – may Allaah prevent them! – such as Diyah (blood money), compensation, or the like.
This sum of money is paid by the Waliy (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage) either from the bride’s Mahr (mandatory gift to a bride from her groom) or his own money. Sometimes, the groom is asked to pay it in addition to the burdens of the Mahr, clothing, jewelry, and other costs, even if he is poor. Some people abstain from paying this moneythat has been agreed upon, when giving their daughter in marriage to a man from outside the village, due to reasons of poverty or other social reasons. In such a case, the following sanctions are applied:
1. Cutting of friendly relations with the person, sometimes to the extent of not giving them the Salaam (Islaamic greeting of peace) if he has no rights on them.
2. His right to the collective fund is forgone, even if he had paid something into it previously.
3. They carry no liability for him and he carries no liability for them whatsoever.
4. If the reason behind the man abstaining from paying this money is due to a personal dispute between himself and another member of the community, the community will examine the dispute and rule that the one at fault has to slaughter a number of sheep for the one who has been wronged, in order to satisfy him. However, if there is no reason behind abstaining from paying the money that entails the abovementioned sanctions, the man has to either submit and pay the money, or suffer permanent isolation.
My questions are:
A. What is the ruling on taking this money from the bride’s Waliy or the groom to be paid into the community fund?
B. We know that ruling that the one at fault has to slaughter a number of sheep is invalid, as it runs counter to what Allah has revealed. Although it is called a reconciliation, it is in fact using rulings from Taaghoot (false gods), so how should a reconciliation be made between the two parties? If the situation is just that one of them has insulted the other, neither of them would want to bring the matter before the court, as it may rule that the one at fault should be jailed, and they do not want that to happen as it may lead to more bigger problems than they are already facing.
Answer: This practice is a grave act of Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islaamic law and Muslims of sound intellect). This agreement is null and void and it is obligatory that it should be abandoned and not applied and refuted, as it contradicts the orders of the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him). It may also lead to some women from the tribe or village remaining unmarried if no man from the tribe or village proposes to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said… read more here.