By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, June 17 2005: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has unanimously approved a draft bill aimed at eliminating the inhuman customs of marrying a woman to the Holy Quran and “Haq Bakhshwan” by declaring them un-Islamic. The council in its 157th meeting recommended to the government to award life imprisonment to those who married their sisters and daughters to the Holy Quran by amending Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The draft bill, to be called Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment Act) 2005, seeks to abolish the un-Islamic custom of such marriages and the practice of Haq Bakhshwan, under which a woman is made to swear on the Holy Quran that she would never marry in her life.
Marriage to the Holy Quran is a common custom in Sindh, especially among the feudal lords to avoid transfer of property out of family hands at the time of marriage of their daughter or sister.
The council has declared that this practice amounts to defiling the Holy Quran, desecrating the Islamic institution of marriage and denying a woman of inheritance as well as her right to choose a life partner in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.
The amended Section 295-B suggests: “Defiling of and marriage with Holy Quran; whosoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or an extract therefrom or directly or indirectly allows the Holy Quran to be used for purpose of its marriage with a female or fraudulently or dishonestly induces any person to swear on the Holy Quran never to marry any one in her life time or knowingly uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.”
Muslims are obliged to order their lives, individually and collectively, in accordance with the injunctions of Islam,” the draft bill said.
The so-called marriage with the holy book bears no legal consequences as per Shariah and the act of solemnising such marriage of a female with the holy book constitutes an offence punishable under Shariah law, the bill said.