In Islam, the dowry (known as ‘a mahr’) is a mandatory payment paid by a groom to his intended bride. The dowry could be in form of money or possessions paid or promised to be paid by the groom or his father to the bride. It would, in that case then become her property.
Dowry giving is an important, if not required, part of a marriage contract; it shows honor and respect to the woman being considered to be a bride and spells out a serious intent on the part of the groom to marry her.
A raid on Sirte, a former Islamic State stronghold in Libya, revealed some hitherto unknown aspects of life under the Islamic State fighters rule. While fighting the terrorist group for control of the Sirte city pro-government forces uncovered a stash of documents. Among the stash of documents recovered were marriage certificates which showed the Islamic State fighters unique items of dowry.
The Islamic State Fighters Unique Items of Dowry
According to AP reports, the Islamic State fighters offered explosive belts and guns as dowries for their wives. The documents, which were posted on the Facebook page of a Libyan anti-IS operation known as al-Bonyan al-Marsous, allegedly belonged to the Islamic State’s “Judicial and Complaints” department and were recovered from a courthouse in Sirte, which has been under the group’s control since August 2015.
The surnames of the brides and grooms suggest many were from African countries such as Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, and Tunisia. Quartz sites two of the instances of this unusual dowry giving;
“Miriam married Abu Mansour, a Tunisian who, rather than pay a dowry in accordance with Islamic customs, promised compensation “in form of an explosive belt.” Fatima, another Nigerian bride, was promised a gun in the event of a divorce or her husband’s death.”
In May, a Human Rights Watch report gave another type of insight into life under the Islamic State in Sirte. At the time, they showed how food, medicine, and fuel were diverted to the Islamic State fighters, leaving residents starving and sick. Executions and an adoption of the Sharia law ensured that life in the city was unbearable.
The group is fast losing hold in the city of Sirte as pro-government forces in Libya have been engaged in a battle for control. Military officials say that in the past few months, with support from the US, Libyan militia have reduced the Islamic State held area in the city “to a single square kilometer.”