Exploring the Age Old Tradition of Haq Bakshish (Marriage to Quran) in The Holy Woman by Qaisra Shahraz
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Qaisra Shahraz’s The Holy Woman explores the tyrannical patriarchal customs and
the appropriation of Islam to gratify and serve feudalism in the modern-day Sindh,
Pakistan. A woman as represented by Shahraz in her fiction is likely to confront the
precarious chemistry of religion, traditions and female subordination. This research
study provides an in depth discussion on the age old tradition of Haq Bakshish or
marriage to the Quran prevalent in Sindh and some parts of Southern Punjab in
Pakistan. Marriage to Quran is a hushed up tradition primarily practised in the elite
feudal families of Sindh, where marrying women to the holy book of the Muslims
instead of men is a way to preserve and keep the ancestral land within the family. This
tradition is unIslamic to the core but is practiced in the name of religion (Chaudhary,
2011), where women are made to renounce the right to marry by their own fathers,
brothers and grandfathers. The women in this context are, “shackled to the centuriesold
traditions and customs” and have no say in such matters (Shahraz, 2001, p.69).
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