Dowry System In Saudi Arabia

Dowry System In Saudi Arabia

Author: Subhashini.S, SASTRA, School of Law.


Dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly by one party to a marriage to another party to the marriage. It is usually the bride’s family giving dowry to the groom. But in the case of Arab people it is the opposite. The groom has to pay a big sum of money demanded by the bride’s family after which the marriage is said to happen. This is a religious practice which is still being followed by many Arab people. However Arab people in general are not accountable to law for either offering or accepting dowry. It is a common social practice in which women feel privileged to be offered.

Dowry- The Purpose

In Saudi, generally the bride’s family checks the status of the groom and the capability of him spending for the dowry process before that thy don’t get into the contract of marriage. The dowry system is a tradition which is being followed for a long period. The average dowry for a Saudi women is around is SR40000 – SR50000. The countries highest dowry up to date is SR100000. The dowry is generally given in cash but if the bride’s family insist upon any other kind other than cash then it’s also provided by the groom; mainly gold.

Many of the bride’s family are trying to stop this tradition by not asking for dowry but to keep some part of their tradition, they ask for a very limited amount of SR100 or lesser than that or doing of an event so that the dowry is accounted. One of of the major example is that, where a bride’s father asked for a dinner and he also gifted the newly married couple a villa as he said he didn’t want the newly married to be in debt when the couple started their life). One of the strange dowry requests came from a Saudi girl who asked the man who proposed to her to bring 300 spiny-tailed lizards. She also asked him to bring them on his own without anyone’s help. The groom managed to bring 100 lizards during three months. The girl said the aim of this request was to test how much the groom was attached to her. Apparently, the groom had a phobia from lizards but he overcame it to meet her demand. So, in the present era many of the bride’s father are trying to stop this tradition of not getting dowry of but due to the social pressurization they are forced to collect but even if they do they ask for a very minimal amount from them just for the sake of getting dowry.

Dowry in India Vs Saudi

In India the dowry system is quite opposite. The bride has to give dowry for the groom’s family and this is also a tradition which is being followed for generations together. The common thing between both the countries in this issue is that both want to stop getting dowry from the other party to the marriage but, since it’s being followed for generations the receiver of the dowry asks for something else other than money. Some people are still asking money as dowry in various places in India but there are Acts which is formed by the legislator to protect the bride and her family from being harassed. The government has formed a law which basically protects the bride and her family, it’s the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961.

The original text of the Dowry Prohibition Act was widely judged to be ineffective in curbing the practice of dowry. Moreover, specific forms of violence against women continued to be linked to a failure to meet dowry demands. As a result, the legislation underwent subsequent amendment.

Amendments to the original Dowry Prohibition Act also established minimum and maximum punishments for giving and receiving dowry and created a penalty for demanding dowry or advertising offers of money or property in connection with a marriage. The Indian Penal Code was also modified in 1983 to establish specific crimes of dowry-related cruelty, dowry death, and abetment of suicide. These enactments punished violence against women by their husbands or their relatives when proof of dowry demands or dowry harassment could be shown.  But in the case of Saudi Arabia there are no such laws which are prevailing in order to protect the interest of the groom.

An important point which is to be noted in the Saudi dowry system is that in case if the bride is a widow then the rule under the tradition is that the dowry amount should be less than SR10000 in case if she is going to remarry.


The people in the Saudi are trying to bring a change in the system of dowry and they are also trying to abolish the system. Many of the Saudi family are changing the way of getting dowry which is a drastic change which the people are looking forward. So, the system of dowry is not wrong but asking too much money will amount to a serious problem which results in many Saudi men are marrying women from different countries and not from their own due to the excess of dowry demanded.  


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