[W]ealthy foreigners, local agents and ‘Qazis’ — government-appointed Muslim priests — are exploiting poverty among the city’s Muslim families.
We learn how the scheme works from one of the quasi-wives — an underage girl not keen on being bedded by a “husband” older than her father — who came forward to tell her story.
She escaped from her home last month after her parents pressured her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle aged Sudanese man who had paid around £1,200 for her to be his ‘wife’ for four weeks.
She told police she had been taken by her aunt to a hotel where she and three other teenager girls were introduced to a Sudanese oil company executive. The ‘groom’, Usama Ibrahim Mohammed, 44 and married with two children in Khartoum, later arrived at her home where a Qazi performed a wedding ceremony.
According to Inspector Vijay Kumar, he [Mohammed] had paid 100,000 Rupees (around £1,200) to the girl’s aunt Mumtaz Begum, who in turn paid 70,000 Rupees to her parents, 5,000 Rupees to the Qazi, 5,000 Rupees to an Urdu translator, and kept 20,000 Rupees herself. The wedding certificate came with a ‘Talaknama,’ which fixed the terms of the divorce at the end of the groom’s holiday.
Local cops explain that
visitors want to marry because they believe prostitution is forbidden under Islam. Poor families agree to contract marriages because they have many daughters and cannot afford to pay for all their weddings. Instead, they have a series of one-month contract ‘marriages’ to fund their own genuine wedding.
Shiraz Amina Khan, of Hyderabad’s Women and Child Welfare Society, said there were up to 15 ‘contract marriages’ in the city every month and that the number is rising.
The practice, known as Nikah al-Mut’ah, is widely accepted especially among Shia Muslims. Quoth Wikipedia:
Nikāḥ al-Mutʿah (pleasure marriage) is a fixed-term or short-term marriage in Shia Islam, where the duration and compensation are both agreed upon in advance. It is a private and verbal marriage contract between a man and an unmarried woman and there must be declaration and acceptance as in the case of nikah. The length of the contract and the amount of consideration must be specified. There is no minimum or maximum duration for the contract, so it can be as short as a few minutes.