(MENAFN - Arab News) A prominent Jeddah-based Indian social activist has launched a matrimonial website with the aim to help South Asian expatriates, who are against the dowry system, tie the knot.
Services will be available to South Asians living in any part of the world.
Aleem Khan Falki, the founder of the Socio-Reforms Society, has been actively campaigning against the dowry system for a long time.
Falki told Arab News that the unique matrimonial service website "SimpleNikah.com" is for dowry-free marriage seekers.
According to Falki, the main intention behind establishing the website is to provide a non-profitable, non-commercial, economical service with the ultimate purpose of eradicating of the dowry system.
Falki said, "This form of blackmail has increased so much that it has taken the shape of a social blackmail."
"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," said Falki.
"There are many cases in which the grooms do not want to take any dowry, but the bride's parents force them to accept it for fear of being chastised by the groom's family."
"In addition, the wedding dinner party has become compulsory on the part of the bride's father," said Falki.
"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."
Because of such traditions, the bride's parents lifelong savings are exhausted, he said.
Falki explains that the Socio-Reforms society will mediate through the website to help people who want to marry purely according to the Prophetic tradition. "Both sides will pledge to refrain from any extravagance and dowry-paying that are not required in Islam. This will help many widows, divorcees and poverty-stricken girls who are helpless due to lack of sources get married."
"People have to merely open a profile and wait for a counselor's call," added Falki.
"Besides the matrimonial, the website will also provide counseling for couples who have problems after marriage."
"Since the divorce rate in the society is less but the ratio of strained relationship among couples is very high in the sub-continent, promoting counseling is inevitable. While divorce rates among Asian societies are low, there is a high number of strained relationships," explained Falki.
"As a result, domestic violence, divorces, police and court cases are on rise. The Socio-Reforms society is establishing counseling centers and training people to join this faculty."