Excessive demands for dowry and “Ponte” parties … A wall before marriage

On Friday, May 25, 2022, the Ministry of Islamic Leadership in Mauritania called on imams and preachers to unite the Friday Sermon, and to speak on “the Islamic decision on excessive dowry and extravagance at wedding parties,” ‘ a call that provoked debate and controversy on social networks between Marhab With the idea, it encourages, and refuses to interfere in people’s desires, and those who see that the issue is not a priority and not the main obstacle among the obstacles to marriage and the formation of families are not. Their evidence is that the dowry, or which is spent at the marriage ceremony, is not the reason for unwillingness to marry, but rather unemployment and poor economic situation. Marriage is not only the expenses of the marriage contract, but also responsibilities and obligations towards expected individuals in a fragile economic environment.

“We are in a movement, yes, to lower the price of dowry. We welcomed this idea and this decision taken by the Ministry of Islamic Leadership,” activist Nasser Bebeh told Raseef22. To explain the reason for the welcome, the speaker adds: “We welcomed the decision because we believe that a society like the conservative Mauritanian society should have a role in Friday sermons, and its most prominent role is to educating people, even from a religious and legal point of view, there is an insistence not to exaggerate the dowry and excessive wedding expenses. ” .

Bebe goes on to explain: “When you ask the majority of Mauritanian youth, you find that the first hurdle for them is the dowry issue. And when they find families that will not cost them a large dowry, they will definitely be connected , and we have noticed that there are tribes and families who have encouraged the reduction of dowry, and many different tribes have become preferable This approach is in marriage.Of course the problem is always financial but the dowry and the expenses of the wedding ceremony are the first obstacle, and the biggest obstacle for Mauritanian youth. “

“With regard to the unification of the sermon, the state is always increasing to enforce some kind of control over religious discourse and use it for other purposes, and it is not a democratic method,” says feminist activist Noura Al-Talba, and she adds. to Raseef22, on the step: “This is how you can divert the citizen’s attention from The real problems, which are economic problems, poverty and the high prices of the basic principles of life, also force the imams a united discourse which they may not have. adopted if it were not for his intervention.

In recent years, Mauritania has developed a set of uses, such as the “Bonti” custom, which took its name from a brand of a type of candy known in Mauritania. This new use consists of the man who quantities sweets, drinks, good biscuits, luxury chocolates and shipping tickets Phones and other gifts, which are handed out to the woman’s friends and acquaintances of neighbors, friends and family, as this gift is placed in a large box and taken to the bride’s house be brought. family so one of the bride’s friends calls to the women and invites them to hurry up and get the “Bride’s Ponte”. They harvested their share of “Bonte” in a battle to reap the most important part, in addition to other emerging habits, such as the purchase of expensive electronic devices, such as the latest versions of “iPhone” for the bride by the groom, and the presenting the dowry to them.

In recent years the “Bonte” custom has developed, and it got the name of a brand of a well-known kind of candy. This new habit is for the man to buy quantities of sweets, drinks, good kinds of biscuits and luxury chocolates. which is handed out to the woman’s friends and acquaintances.

With the penetration of the culture of social networks, families have become proud of what the man offers to his bride, and display the amount of dowry through these networks and platforms, as well as the gifts offered by him, and it is done in a showy atmosphere characterized by pomp.

Activist Noura Talaba says of customs: “For me, customs are in and in them. There are the first habits, which are original, and the modern ones, which are capitalist habits. What is happening now is not a custom, but rather a marketing, as the new habits are capitalist habits, as happened in the period of Ramadan, as it became a market and an opportunity to highlight the capabilities and boast of money, such as Christmas for Westerners, such as the capitalist system used to increase sales.The first uses were simple and represented traditional societies, such as henna and “dhafeer” and such as “Trawag” and “departure”, in which What is religious and what is social in it is inherited from what was before Islam .These are customs of a matriarchal society, and we share them with some inhabitants of our region, such as the Tuareg, and they are customs that reflect the nature of the reality of women in the matriarchal society. n I it. see no harm in them, because they reflect the nature of the conflict between The male and female components, as it appears that there is a conflict between the female and male components, and among these practices is the custom of “trouag” ( hiding)), because the bride’s family does not like to leave her without much effort and effort, and the habit of leaving is that the woman leaves her family only after years of the marriage contract “.

The custom of “trouag” is that the bride’s friends hide her from the groom in an unknown place, so that the groom, accompanied by his friends, looks for her everywhere until he finds her, and when he finds her, he brings her in the winner’s dress. .

The first uses of marriage were simple and represented the traditional society, like henna and “dhafir” and like “al-tawag” and “al-rahil”, and there is what is religious and what is social is inherited from what was for Islam

Another traditional custom is that the bride’s family known as the duty to the groom’s family, such as his own family, uncles and aunts, and others provide, such as to provide camels, rams, money, clothes and precious gifts offer.

Noura Talaba says: “There are many practices that show that there is a desire to ensure the continuity of the conflict between women and men or to show it, and it is a struggle that women do not want to give up, and of course matriarchal societies are not complete societies, and they are societies in which an important position for women and power is not theirs, But in it she has a specific position, and she has a kind of relative freedom, and she can make some decisions and she has some respect she deserves for herself. Women in traditional society have taken their rights by uniting and inheriting them from generation to generation, and once they are isolated, they lose that characteristic.”

The spokesman believes that “the traditional dowry costs were not high for both parties, and there was cooperation between the two parties and between the two families. The tribal community is working together in such costs. But little by little the matter is becoming more expensive.” “

You often find that a woman and her family spend everything on the man’s family and provide and cover it for him, but apparently he is the one who spends

And she believes that “most of the expenses of a woman’s family come from the husband and his family, because the wife’s family bears a lot of costs, but the high price of the dowry is the apparent and the one about which boasted, and the real problem is poverty, and one of the problems is that we, in addition to a tribal community, are a class community, and it is not without a tribe from all classes, there is no tribe, otherwise it’s a bourgeois class and elements of the ruling class and elements of the toil and elements of the poor and marginalized class.The people of so-and-so have done it and we must do the same, even if we do not have the capabilities. We are striving for something like this and they are trying to emulate. ” Currently, we quote daily from other countries, such as the Emirates, the Maghreb and the Levant, and we introduce daily customs, and each new habit is more expensive than the other, Such habits carry spread on social media, and of course the rich are those what they precede, and the poor try to imitate, and much spending takes place and the door is opened for debt. ”

The spokesman claims: “You often find that a woman and her family spend everything on the man’s family and provide it for him and cover it up, but apparently he is the spender, and it continues even after marriage. How many women spend on the family.and apparently it is left as if the spender is the man, it general and not unusual.

The speaker concludes: “The responsibility here is that of the state, because it must provide jobs for young men and women, so that marriage can truly be an economic and social partnership, as well as study opportunities, and the real problem is really one unemployment, poverty and a lack of opportunities. “

Some talk about the fact that marriage in Mauritania has turned into an investment and a financial transaction, and that there is a clear process to commodify women. Noura Talaba says: “With regard to marriages that are financial and sexual transactions, they are two sides of the same coin. It is about financial independence, and they are not given or encouraged to study and work opportunities, or even as long as they be prevented from studying and working, the marriage will not be a partnership and financial transactions will remain on the one hand, and sexual transactions on the other. ”

She adds, “Even early marriage is the first reason to commodify, anthropomorphize and then destroy the life path of girls.”

Nasser Bebeh believes that the current situation entrenches that “the idea of ​​marriage is an investment and a financial project for Mauritanian families, because they prefer those who have financial capabilities and pay more, and according to these customs and traditions they have become women” a commodity and the man comes while he is undertaking a material project on the basis that he has paid the money and they look at him on the basis of It is an investment. ”

The speaker concluded: “The most complicated marriage in Mauritania is the traditional marriage, where the choice is based on kinship and without love, so this type of marriage always has a negative end. The lack of mutual love is one of the reasons for divorce., which is a major problem, as well as the lack of cooperation Between spouses, traditional marriage is distinguished by the fact that the husband marries at the request of the parents, and the wife does not choose her husband freely, but is obliged to accept exclusively a fiancé from her family environment.

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