Fiqh Series: Rulings on Mahr (Dowry)

Mahr (Dowry)

vAllah says:

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِنْ طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَنْ شَيْءٍ مِنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَرِيئًا

“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful).”[1]

Anas narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) saw Abdur Rahman ibn Awf wearing dyed clothing. He asked him, “What is this?” He answered, “I married a woman with a nawah (equivalent to 5 dirhams or five gold pieces at that time) amount of gold (as the dowry).” The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) told him, “Give a wedding party, even if with just a sheep.”[2]

The Dowry is the right of the woman upon the man. It is obligatory for him to give her a dowry. She is the sole owner of it. No one, not even her father, may take any of it unless she consents to such taking out on her own free will.

The Sharia has not put a minimum nor a maximum for the dowry. What is encouraged is to lighten this burden and avoid any extravagance so that it will be easier for the marriage to take place and also the young men are not burdened with a great expanse.

  •  It is permissible to pay the entire dowry in advance or to delay all of its payment or to pay some in advance and to delay the rest.
  • It is permissible for the man to consummate the marriage (i.e. have sexual relations with her) without him giving the woman anything at first, but he must give her dowry when he possesses the amount which they agreed upon
  • The wife is allowed to lessen the Mahr if it is too much of a burden on her husband:

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِنْ طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَنْ شَيْءٍ مِنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَرِيئًا

“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allâh has made it lawful).” Surah Nisa: 4

References: 

[1] Surah Nisa: 4

[2] Recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah and Nasa’i

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