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Mahr (Wedding Dowry) in Islam

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Mahr (Wedding Dowry) in Islam

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur'an:

"And give women their dowries with a good heart..." (Noble Quran Surah 4, Verse 4)

Mahr (Dowry) is considered very component of Nikah. Allah has used the word “Faridah” for it. It means something fixed, decided and obligatory. It is obligatory on the husband to pay mahr to his wife unless she expressly by her own will without any pressure forgives him or returns the amount of mahr to him. Mahr belongs to the wife and it is to be given to her only. It is not the property of her parents or her guardian. No one can forgive the husband to pay the Mahr except the wife herself. If a husband dies without paying mahr to his wife, it will be an outstanding debt on him and it must be paid before the distribution of his inheritance among his heirs.

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated:

Whoever marries a woman with a fixed dowry, whether the amount is small or substantial, while in his heart there is no intention to give her the dowry, he has cheated and deceived her. If he then passed away without having paid the dowry, he will meet Allah on the Day of Judgement as a Zaani (adulterer). (Targhib)

Mahr is not a bride price. It is a woman’s right and it signifies a husband’s love and appreciation for his wife. In the Quran it is called “Nihlah” which means “a nice gift or present.” Mahr also signifies a husband’s commitment to take care of his wife’s financial needs.

According to the Shariah, the mahr amount should be reasonable. It should be given according to the financial status of the husband and according to the time and place.

Umar bin Khattaab Radhiyallahu Anhu said: “Do not go to extremes with regard to the dowries of women, for if that were a sign of honour and dignity in this world or a sign of piety before Allah, then Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have done that before you. But he did not give any of his wives, and none of his daughters were given, more than twelve uqiyah*.” (Ibn Maajah)

*An Uqiyah equals to 40 Dirhams (Silver coins). Twelve uqiyahs equal to 480 Dirhams. This amount is commonly termed as Mahr Fatimi, the current Rand equivalent as of today (5 Feb. 2014) is R 11 652.81.

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

Council of Muslim Theologians

223 Alpine Road, Overport, Durban

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