This is a guest post by Ayaz R. an Electrical Engineer based in Islamabad.
* A true account. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.*
Fareeda bibi refused to give the dead body of Kausar, her daughter. She stood in front of a fleet of village elders who had come along with Zahid, Kausar’s husband, to take the body to Zahid’s home. Kausar had been living at her parent’s home since three months, after Zahid forced her out of his house. She was six months pregnant then.
When she reached her parent’s home she had told them that she feared her child had died in her womb because Zahid beat her so severely every day. Her fears had been right. This was to be her second consecutive child to die in the womb. The first one was killed days before it was born. Zahid refused to take her to the doctor, so the dead flesh of human kind came to the earth at his home. The same day it was buried; sent back to where it came from.
Soon after that, Kausar got pregnant again with her second child. She became weak because of malnutrition. Her hostile husband didn’t feed her. Although her neighbors smuggled food for her but it had not been enough. Beatings were regular. And so her second child expired within the womb too.
She notified Zahid of the fact but he could not care less. Zahid’s mother was a cold woman and refused to empathize with her daughter-in-law`s plight. Zahid’s brother, a religious operative, was another silent spectator, as he himself was treating his own wife the same way. Now that she was six months pregnant and carrying a corpse within, it had to be either miscarried or aborted. But that was not to be. Days after that Fareeda bibi took her daughter with her. She could not afford any medical or travel expenses so she tried all the traditional remedies.
Nothing worked. Infection had spread inside Kausar’s body and it was getting worse. Fareeda bibi did everything in her power but to no avail.
Finally, three months after Kausar left Zahid’s home, she died.
Moments after her death, Zahid came to the house of Kausar’s mother, accompanied by the village elders. The elders were insistent that Fareeda bibi give the body to Zahid because it was against the customs and if she didn’t, Zahid’s good name would be tainted. Fareeda bibi stood in front, with both hands in the air and cried as loud as she could and swore if anyone took her daughter from her she would take her own life. With this, the villagers retreated.
Kausar was buried the same day at 9pm in her family graveyard. She was only 21. Kausar is just one of the many faceless women who suffer at the hands of our degenerating society, by the callousness of their own kin. Unfortunately the debate over the equality and rights of women is taken on only in the elite class of the country where ‘rights’ mean daughters getting the same phones as the sons, and ‘equality’ refers to allowing the girls to also sit on the front-seat of the car.
I am not an advocate of feminism or an anti-elite commentator, nor do I support any right or left wing, I am but only trying to guide the liberal horses and conservative bulls to the real problem.
Pakistan has no practical law preventing men from mistreating women. If there is some sort of law, it`s buried deep within the dusty books of the law.
Religious clerics would never question Zahid for his misconduct because for them his wife was his property and it was no one’s business what a married couple was doing. Those clerics would stand in front of armies and guns but would never stand in front of a sole person killing his unborn children and his wife.
The courts and police would not interrogate Zahid because no complaint was ever filed and since no complaint would ever be filed it`s not in their jurisdiction. So it’s no one’s matter.
Zahid is ready to re-marry and his mother is on course to find a girl. There is no doubt she will succeed. And there is no doubt that there would be willing parents out there.
Editor`s Note: While it is true that clerics in villages (and otherwise) unfortunately do as the story depicted YET this does not absolve us of change. It is time, high time to take responsibility of our own actions (or lack thereof) as well! It is our own fault that religion has been left to the poor man, the illiterate man. A hungry man is not a shame to himself, but a shame on society!
At the same time, we must NOT dump all religious scholars in the same heap! Scarred as you may like to believe that you are, you owe it to yourself and society to find the right kind of people and learn about this Deen. Our salvation lies in following the word of Allah s.w.t. and following the laws therein. For who can be more just then the Creator Himself?
“…When the baby girl buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed…” – Surah Al-Takwir
The parting message of Rasul ullah s.a.w at Hajatul Widah: “O People! With regards to your wives, Fear Allah!”