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January 20, 2012

Mahr - Dowry

Mahr - Dowry

1. Once a nikah is performed, it will be valid irrespective of whether mention of any mahr was made or not. Despite it being valid, one will have to give the mahr. In fact, if a person makes the condition that he will not give any mahr and that he is marrying the woman without any mahr, he will still have to give the mahr.

2. The minimum mahr is 10 dirhams and there is no limit to the maximum amount of mahr. The woman can stipulate as much as she wishes. However, it is not good to stipulate a very high figure. If a person gives an amount less than 10 dirhams or its equivalent, he will have to give the balance as well because mahr cannot be an amount less than the minimum. If the husband divorces his wife (in this case) even before she can come and live with him, he will have to give half of the minimum.

3. A person stipulated R20, R100, R1000, or any other amount according to his financial position. The woman thereafter came and lived with him. He also had sexual intercourse with this wife of his. Alternately, he did not have intercourse with her, but he and his wife were able to meet in privacy where no one or nothing stopped them or prevented them from engaging in sexual intercourse. In both these cases, it will be wajib on the person to fulfil the full amount of the stipulated mahr. If none of the above transpired between them, and one of them passed away, it will still be wajib to fulfil the entire mahr. Furthermore, if none of the above transpired between them, and the man divorced her, it will be wajib on him to fulfil half the stipulated mahr.

In short, if the husband and wife meet in privacy, as mentioned above or one of them passes away, the entire mahr becomes wajib. And if the husband divorces her prior to them being in privacy and seclusion, it will be wajib to fulfil half the stipulated mahr.

4. If one of them was ill, keeping a fast of Ramadan, in the ihram of hajj, the woman was in her hayd or there was someone who was peeping at them or intruding on their privacy, and they met in private or seclusion in any of the above situations, then this privacy or seclusion of their's is not considered. If they meet each other in any of the above situations or circumstances, the total amount of mahr will not become wajib. If the husband divorces her, it will be her right to receive half the total mahr. However, if the fast was not a fast of Ramadan, instead it was a qada, nadhr, or nafl fast, and this was being kept by one of them, then in such a case if they happened to meet in privacy and seclusion, the wife will have the right of receiving the full amount of the mahr. It will be wajib on the husband to fulfil the full amount.

5. The husband is impotent, however, both of them met in privacy and seclusion. The wife will still receive the full mahr. Similarly, if the husband is a hermaphrodite and they meet in privacy and seclusion and thereafter he divorces her, she will receive the full mahr.

6. The husband and wife met in privacy and seclusion but the wife is so young that she is incapable of sexual intercourse. Alternately, the husband is so young that he is incapable of sexual intercourse. If they meet in privacy and seclusion in such a case, the full mahr will not be wajib.

7. If no mention whatsoever of the mahr was made at the time of the nikah, or the nikah was performed on the condition that the woman will not receive any mahr, and thereafter one of them passed away or they met in privacy - that is regarded as a valid privacy in the Shar i ‘ah - even then the mahr will have to be fulfilled. However, in such a case, the mahrul mithl will have to be paid.

In the above case, if the husband divorced his wife prior to being in seclusion with her, she will have no right to receive any mahr. Instead, she will only receive a set of clothing. It is wajib on the man to give this to the woman. He will be sinning if he does not do so.

8. When giving this set of clothing, only four items are wajib on the man: a dress, a scarf, a pant, and a sheet, which can cover her body from head to toe. Apart from these items, it is not wajib to give any other clothing.

9. The clothing that the man gives should be according to his financial position. If the man is poor, he should give cotton clothing. If he is of a middle class, he should give silk that is of an inferior quality. If he is very rich, he should give silk clothing that is of a very high quality. However, it should be borne in mind that in all these circumstances the clothing that is given should not be more than half the mahrul mithl in value. At the same time, it should not be less than five dirhams in value.

In other words, it is not wajib on the man to give clothing which is very expensive and which exceeds half the mahrul mithl in value. However, it is permissible for him to give clothing that is more than the stipulated amount provided that he gives it happily and out of his own will.

10. At the time of the nikah no mahr was stipulated. However, after the nikah, the husband and wife agreed upon a specific amount as mahr. In such a case, mahrul mithl will not have to be given. Instead, the amount that they had agreed upon will have to be given. But if the husband divorced his wife prior to their meeting in privacy and seclusion, she will not have any right of receiving any mahr. Instead, she will only receive the clothing that had been mentioned previously.

11. A person stipulated R100, R1000 or any other amount according to his financial position. Thereafter the husband decided to give more than the original amount that was stipulated. This he did voluntarily and out of his own good will. For example, the stipulated mahr was R100, but he decided to give R150. Whatever additional amount he decides to give will now become wajib upon him. If he does not give it, he will be sinning. But if he divorces her prior to meeting in privacy and seclusion, he will have to give half of the original amount that was stipulated. The additional amount that he had decided to give will not be calculated.

Similarly, if the wife happily and willingly reduces the amount of mahr, it will be considered to be reduced. If she absolves him from paying the entire amount, it will be absolved. Now she has no right to claim it.

12. If the husband pressurized her into reducing the mahr or instilled some fear into her so that she reduces the mahr, then by her reducing or forgiving her husband, it will not be considered to be forgiven. It will still be wajib upon him to fulfil the mahr.

13. No cash, gold or silver was stipulated for the mahr. Instead, a small village, a farm or some land was stipulated. This is permissible. The farm, land, etc. that was stipulated will have to be given.

14. A horse, elephant or any other animal was stipulated as mahr. However, a specific horse or a specific elephant was not stipulated. This is also permissible. In such a case an average horse which is not too cheap nor too expensive will have to be given. Alternatively, it's value in cash could be given. However, if an animal was stipulated without specifying the type of animal, this will not be valid. Mahrul mithl will have to be given.

15. A couple got married in an unlawful way and the husband and wife were therefore made to separate. For example, they got married in secret without the presence of two witnesses. Alternately, two witnesses were present but they were deaf and were therefore unable to hear the words that make a nikah valid. Alternatively, a man had divorced his wife or he had passed away. Prior to completing her iddah, the woman married another man. Or some other form of unlawful marriage had taken place and the husband and wife were therefore made to separate. However, in all these cases, the man did not have any sexual intercourse with this woman. In such a case, she will not receive any mahr. In fact, even if they met in privacy and seclusion, she will still not be eligible to receive any mahr. But if sexual intercourse had taken place, she will receive mahrul mithl. However, if at the time of nikah some mahr had been stipulated and this mahr is less than the mahrul mithl, then she will receive the mahr that had been stipulated at the time of the nikah and not the mahrul mithl.

16. A person had sexual intercourse with a woman after mistaking her for his wife. He will have to give her mahrul mithl as well, and this intercourse with her will not be regarded as adultery (zina) nor will there be any sin. In fact, if the woman falls pregnant, the lineage of the child will be in order. It will not be tainted and it is not permissible to label the child as being illegitimate. The moment the man realizes that this is not his wife, he should immediately separate himself from her and it will not be permissible for him to continue with the intercourse. It is also wajib on this woman to observe the iddah. It is not permissible for her to stay with her husband or to engage in sexual intercourse with him. The rules related to iddah will be mentioned in a later chapter - Insha’ Allah.

17. If in a certain place or country, the norm is that the entire mahr must be given on the first night, then the woman has the right to demand the mahr on the first night. If she does not ask for it on the first night, she can ask for it whenever she wishes and it will be wajib on the husband to give it to her. He cannot delay in fulfilling the mahr.

18. The practice in India is that the paying and receiving of mahr is undertaken after divorce or after death. When the woman is divorced, it is only then that she claims her mahr. Alternatively, when the husband dies and leaves behind some wealth, she takes her mahr from this left over wealth of his. If the woman dies, her inheritors claim the mahr. As long as the husband and wife are living together, no one pays the mahr nor does she ask for it. In such a situation, the woman cannot demand the mahr before divorce. However, it is wajib on the man to give an amount that is normally given in that place on the first night. But if all these practices are not found in any place, these rules will not apply.

19. If the husband does not give the amount of mahr that is normally given beforehand, the wife has the right to refuse him to engage in sexual intercourse with her until he pays that amount. If they engaged in intercourse once, she still has the right of refusing him the next time or the following time if he does not pay the mahr. If he wishes to take her to another city or country, she has the right of not going unless her mahr is paid. Similarly, if the mahr is not paid and the woman wishes to travel to another city or country, or wishes to go to her parents home, and there is a mahram who can take her, then the husband does not have the right to stop her. But once he pays the mahr, she does not have the right to do any of these things without her husband's permission. It is not permissible for her to go anywhere without his consent. As for the husband, he can take her wherever he wishes. It is not permissible for her to refuse him.

20. The husband gave some item (or cash, gold, silver, etc.) to his wife with the intention that it is mahr. Whatever he gives will be regarded as part of the mahr. It is not necessary for him to inform his wife at the time of giving it to her that he is giving her mahr.

21. The man gave an item to his wife. She claims that the item was given as a gift and not as mahr while the man claims that he gave it as mahr. In this case, the husband's claim will be considered. However, if the item was such that it is consumed as food or drink, it will not be considered to be mahr and the husband's claim will not be considered.

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