By Osheela Hussaini
This article is based on an interview with my father and my personal experiences in Pakistan. Islam is a dominant religion in Pakistan. Islam has very different traditions around marriages than western countries. Dating, finding a right person on your own to marry and love marriages are not allowed in most of the strict cities of Pakistan like Quetta, Khuzdar and Peshawar. In Islamic traditions marriages are mostly arranged by the parents of the girl and the boy, meaning that those boys and girls who have no parents or relatives to find them a life partner are unable to get marry.
Most of the orphans living in orphanages remain bachelor for all their lives. In 2007, due to increased war in Quetta, Pakistan many young girls and boys were left with no parents or guardians and had to live in the orphanages. In 2008 Haji Eesaq, the head of the Local Islam mosque with volunteers of the mosque including my father, came together and formed a group. Their goal was to find suitable boys for the orphan girls and pay for their marriages.
Some extra money was also given to them so that they can start a living. The money was donated by individual people of the community and some of the money was given by the mosque. Some gold shop owners played an important role in donating money to orphans for their marriages. Most of the boys selected were also unable to get marry and were from the male orphanages in Quetta. My father also mentioned that after finding suitable people for the marriage the girl and the boy were asked to see each other and decide if they agree to marry. According to Islamic rules and regulations asking for the permission from the girl and the boy is a mandatory part of an arranged marriage. In Islamic traditions marrying poor women is considered a highest good deed and supporting them for all their life is considered being thankful to Allah and passing on the blessings of Allah to the rest of the community. Some boys who came to the mosque to marry some of the orphan girls were from very rich families and they considered it giving back to their community by marrying orphan girls.
Haji Eesaq was killed in 2013 in a bombing by Taliban and the group was shattered. Now the mosque is trying to reunite the people and reinitiate a group to help orphans.
Hussaini, K. M. (2014, 01 28). Orphan Marriages. (O. Hussaini, Interviewer)