The Cruelty we call Adhl (عضل) in the Arab Society

In the Arab World, the act of male mahram to keep women forcefully single has a common terminology known as “Adhl (عضل)”. It is an inherent right of a woman to get married, establish her own home and to enjoy her independent life. According to Islamic rules, a male mahram is responsible for all kind of needs of her female mahram. Before marriage, she is the responsibility of her father or brother or any other male mahram. After marriage, these responsibilities are transferred to her new mahram (husband) according to Shariah. In the Arab World, a stigma of Adhl (عضل) is very common, where male mahram forces his female mahram to stay single for a lifetime.

This is a strange situation which raises many questions in minds of people. Why would a mahram not prefer getting rid of responsibilities of his female mahram by marrying her to another reasonable man? In Saudi Arabia during 2010, 30 cases were officially reported on this matter. The fact is that UN official cases of Adhl (عضل) range from 80,000 to 800,000. Such a huge figure of single young women in Arab society is a worrisome factor for masses. Islam has introduced a sacred relationship of marriage for human beings for the betterment of society. The concept of Adhl (عضل) is actually a diversion from Islamic rules.

Reasons behind Adhl (عضل): There are several reasons for which a male mahram commit Adhl (عضل).

In Arab culture tribe and caste system is of grave importance. Even elite families prefer blue blood over money or status of a proposal. In some cases, reasonable proposals are not available from same tribe or caste. This lack of the desired proposal makes a male mahram to commit Adhl (عضل) in regard of his female mahram.

Saudi government pays allowance for family members of poor families in Kingdom. In the case of the marriage of a female member of family allowance allocation stop to the respective family. This money greed becomes another reason of Adhl (عضل).

In Arab World, sunni and Shia creed has separate masses and these groups never allow inter-religious marriage with each other. This comes out as another reason of Adhl (عضل).

Those male members who are a widow or single due to any reason also become a reason for committing Adhl (عضل) for personal reasons. They consider it difficult for them if their daughter or sister would marry or leave the home, they will not be able to take care of themselves. These personal concerns make them move towards such a cruel decision of Adhl (عضل) of their female mahram.

Some female members of the family have good earnings from their jobs or businesses. It is considered as a great loss by male mahram to let his mahram get married. As she would be married he would be deprived of a free source of income.

In case women try to take stand against this act, they have to face cruel suppressions from mahram. This issue has become a point of focus in Arab society. Ministry of social affairs should take notice of Adhl (عضل) on an `emergent basis for a safe and prosper society.