What is the definition of Mahr (dowry)?

Question:

What is the meaning of a mahr. Is it compulsory to be given. Is a nikaah possible without a given mahr or how long should the nikaah prolong without the proposed mahr. what should be the value of mahr..must the female be pleased with the mahr n can she request accordingly? 
جزاك الله خيرا

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

May Allah Ta’ala reward you for your interest in seeking guidance and upholding your Deen.

The Mahr or Sadaaq is the dowry given by the husband to the wife at the time of Nikah. The Mahr is one of the rights of the wife and should be given to the wife at the time of marriage. Mahr is obligatory, and will remain a debt upon the husband until he fulfills it, or unless the wife by her own will and without any pressure excuses the husband from giving it. Allah Ta’ala says in the Quran,

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِيئًا

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).(4:4)

The general practice of the Sahaba (radiallahu anhum) would be to give Mahr to the wife before consummation of the marriage. However, due to financial constraints, the husband may ask the wife to delay it until a later time. If someone is unable to give the entire stipulated Mahr at the time of Nikah then it is better give a small portion of it to the wife at the time of Nikah, and request the remaining to be a debt for a later stage. Since Mahr is the right of the bride, her consent is essential in making the Mahr into a debt[1].

If the Mahr was not stipulated before Nikah, the Marriage will still be valid. However the Mahr will still be obligatory upon the husband[2].

The dowry is the right of the bride by which she is honoured and formally entered into the Nikah. It is exclusively the woman’s right to stipulate the amount of Mahr.

The minimum amount for dowry is ten Dirhams (30.6 grams of silver, approx. TT$109) and there is no maximum limit[3]. Thus, the bride and groom may mutually agree upon whatever sum they desire. However, it is inappropriate to fix a large sum as dowry, especially when the groom is not financially capable of paying the amount.

Consider the following Hadith,

قَالَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الخَطَّابِ: أَلاَ لاَ تُغَالُوا صَدُقَةَ النِّسَاءِ، فَإِنَّهَا لَوْ كَانَتْ مَكْرُمَةً فِي الدُّنْيَا، أَوْ تَقْوَى عِنْدَ اللهِ لَكَانَ أَوْلاَكُمْ بِهَا نَبِيُّ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، مَا عَلِمْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَكَحَ شَيْئًا مِنْ نِسَائِهِ وَلاَ أَنْكَحَ شَيْئًا مِنْ بَنَاتِهِ عَلَى أَكْثَرَ مِنْ ثِنْتَيْ عَشْرَةَ أُوقِيَّةً.

Umar ibn al-Khattab (Radiallahu Anhu) said: “Do not stipulate excessive amounts as dowry for women. If (doing so) was a token of honour in this world or a source of piety by Allah, then the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) would have been more worthy of it than you….” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 1114)

In another Hadith,

قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” خَيْرُ الصَّدَاقِ أَيْسَرُهُ “

The Prophet Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam said, “The best of mahrs is the easiest (most affordable).” (al-Bayhaqi 14332)

Similarly it is also preferable to stipulate that amount of Mahr upon which the daughter of The Prophet (Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam), Fatima Radiallahu Anha was married. This Mahr is commonly referred to as Mahr Fatimi. This amount of Mahr is approximately 1469.60 grams of silver (approx.TT$5230)

A woman may ask for something other than currency, gold/silver as her Mahr, e.g. furniture or accommodation etc. if its value is equivalent or more than the minimum amount of Mahr.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net

 

[1] وذلك لأن العادة عندهم تعجيل بعض المهر قبل الدخول حتى ذهب بعض العلماء إلى أنه لا يدخل بها حتى يقدم شيئا لها تمسكا «بمنعه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – عليا أن يدخل بفاطمة – رضي الله عنها – حتى يعطيها شيئا فقال يا رسول الله ليس لي شيء فقال أعطها درعك فأعطاها درعه» رواه أبو داود والنسائي، ومعلوم أن الصداق كان أربعمائة درهم وهي فضة، لكن المختار الجواز قبله لما روت «عائشة – رضي الله تعالى عنها – قالت أمرني رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أن أدخل امرأة على زوجها قبل أن يعطيها شيئا» رواه أبو داود فيحمل المنع المذكور على الندب؛ أي ندب تقديم شيء إدخالا للمسرة عليها تألفا لقلبها وإذا كان ذلك معهودا وجب حمل ما خالف ما رويناه عليه جمعا بين الأحاديث.(الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (3/ 101))

 

[2] المهر واجب شرعا إبانة لشرف المحل فلا يحتاج إلى ذكره لصحة النكاح وكذا إذا تزوجها بشرط أن لا مهر لها.  (هداية ج1,ص323)

وإن تزوجها ولم يسم لها مهرا أو تزوجها على أن لا مهر لها فلها مهر مثلها (هداية ج1,ص324)

 

[3] ولا مهر أقل من عشرة ” ولأنه حق الشرع وجوبا إظهارا لشرف المحل فيتقدر بماله خطر وهو العشرة استدلالا بنصاب السرقة.

” ولو سمي أقل من عشرة فلها العشرة ” عندنا الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي(1