Mahr / Dowry continued

Mahr / Dowry continued

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
e 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.


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.