Even though Muslim parents are well-aware of Mahr of marriage, there are some misconceptions and bad practices regarding this. As a result, the bride and groom have to go through difficult things related to Mahr.
Mahr in Islam is the sole right of the wife. Muslim men have to pay the Mahr to their wives for marriage. The amount of mahr is not something fixed or certain. Depending on the financial condition of the groom and the demand of the bride, an amount or any particular thing is fixed before the marriage contract takes place.
It is not that the wife has to pay some dowry to the husband, which is widely practiced in many Muslim countries.
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A man gives mahr to a woman as an expression of his desire to marry her. And it is done in a respectable, yet affordable manner.
However, it does not mean that the woman is a product, and the man is paying her price. Rather, it is a symbol of honor and respect prescribed by the Shariah.
Allah SWT says in the Quran –
“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” [al-Nisa’ 4:4]
Mahr can be given in the form of wealth or benefit (service) that has usual value or people charge money for it.
You can give mahr in the form of money, gold, silver, property, teaching Quran, and the list goes on.
Just make sure that whatever you want your wife to give as a mahr, that thing has a real value.
When it comes to setting an amount for mahr, there are no hard and strict limitations. From the sahaba generation, we can see big amounts of mahr as well as very little amount.
However, reducing the mahr is highly recommended in several hadith. But, the amount should not be too low. It should be as per the husband is able to pay to his wife, meaning according to the financial condition of the husband.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said –
The best of marriage is that which is made easiest.
Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan.
He ﷺ further said to a man in another hadith –
Look (for something to give as a dowry), even if it is a ring of iron.
So, Islam simplifies marriage by simplifying the amount of mahr. It should not be something overburdened to the husband. He should be able to pay it off easily according to his financial condition and income.
Umar ibn Al-Khatta said regarding the amount of mahr –
“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 Allaah, then Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah 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. A man may increase the dowry until he feels resentment against her and says, ‘You cost me everything I own, and caused me a great deal of hardship’ “
Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 1532
The Prophet ﷺ even gave a man marriage to a woman with a mahr that he (the sahaba) would teach her (the wife) several Surahs from the Quran that he memorized.
The Prophet’s ﷺ daughter, Fatima, the leader of women in Jannah, her mahr was very simple, Ali (Ra) could easily afford to give her that.
Ibn ‘Abbaas that ‘Ali said:
“I married Faatimah (may Allaah be pleased with her) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, let me go ahead with the marriage.’ He said: ‘Give her something.’ I said: ‘I do not have anything.’ He said: ‘Where is your Hutami shield?’ I said, ‘I have it with me.’ He said, ‘Give it to her.’”
Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 3160
Fathers of daughters should keep in mind that increasing the amount of mahr does not have anything to do with honor and pride. If this was the case, then the amount of mahr for Fatima, who is the leader of women in Jannah, could be much higher that what she was given.
Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman said:
“I asked ‘Aishah, the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), what the mahr given by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was. She said: ‘The mahr that he gave to his wives was twelve uqiyah and a nashsh.’ He said, Do you know what a nashsh is? He said, she said it is half of an uqiyah. That was five hundred dirhams. This was the mahr given by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to his wives.”
Sahih Al Muslim
Based on that amount, 500 dirham is equivalent to 1487.5 grams of silver or approx 1487.5 riyals. Convert the amount of riyals to your currency, and this would tell you the exact amount of mahr that Prophet ﷺ gave to his wives.
The decision for demanding an amount of mahr must come from the bride and her guardian. If any disagreement between the bridge and her parents occurs, then the mahr should be of a woman of similar standing.
If the parents want more than that amount for a woman of similar standing, but she demands less, then the priority would be given to the bride’s decision.
You can give mahr immediately, or delay the entire amount. Also, it is permissible to give some portion of the mahr and delay the rest of the portion. This fatwa is given by scholars of early ages as well as scholars of this generation.
However, sahaba (Ra), all of them gave mahr immediately. There is nothing found in hadith that any of them delayed giving mahr. Therefore, giving the mahr immediately is sunnah, and highly recommended.
Whether due to the fact that the amount of mahr is way too much, which the husband is unable to pay off, if his wife wills, she can reduce any portion of it, or let go of the mahr entirely. There is nothing wrong with it.
Allah SWT says in the Quran –
“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)” [al-Nisaa’ 4:4]
But, husbands should not take this as an advantage to let off paying the mahr to their wives. Mahr is a right of wives, and it should be given. However, the shariah allowed exceptions for various cases. But, it should be in a proper way, not like taking any advantage out of this ruling.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Mahr-E-Fatemi?
Mahr-E-Fatemi is the amount of mahr that Ali (Ra) gave to his wife Fatima (Ra) for marriage. This amount is approximately 1.74 kg of silver or its equivalent amount. Some say it is 1.46 kg of silver or its equivalent amount.
2. Is nikah valid without mahr?
A nikah is valid even if there is nothing mentioned about mahr at all. However, the mahr will be automatically similar to her peers, and it will be decided by the Muslim judge. However, the husband and wife can agree upon a mahr without going to the judge after marriage.
3. Is mahr given after divorce?
If the mahr is paid, and the husband gives divorce, the wife does not have to return the mahr. However, in the case of Khula, where the wife gives a divorce, she may give the mahr back to her ex-husband. See the fatwa in detail.
What is the minimum amount of mahr?
The minimum amount of mahr is teaching a surah from the Quran. This is based on the marriage of a sahaba.
Mahr by no means is the price of the wife. Rather it resembles a respect in the form of something that is valuable for the wife.
As Prophet ﷺ recommended marriage with simple mahr, it is highly suggested to make sure that the mahr should not be too high for the groom to pay off that he feels discouraged to get married in the first place.