Holy Quran says:-
“If you separate yourself from wives send them away with generosity. It is not permitted to you to appropriate the goods you have once given to them”
The dower (Haq-e-Mehr) is an important thing for the contract of Muslim marriage and without the fixing the haq-e-mehr marriage cannot be solemnized.
Types Of Dower:
- Maher Mua’jal (Prompt Dower):
This is the type of Dower which has to be paid to the wife before marriage is consummated or on wife’s demand and if the husband refuses to pay such dower then wife can refuse to live with the husband and can approach court for a decree for payment of the same. In case the wife lives separately from husband due to non-payment of dower she would be entitled to maintenance by the husband. Where if the husband fully and finally refuses to pay the dower the wife can seek divorce on its basis and her such act would not dis-entitle her from her right to dower amount. In case the husband dies the wife’s right to claim her dower amount would be at the top of priority of any other loan on the deceased husband’s property. According to decisions of superior courts where in the Nikkah form the mode of payment of dower amount is not mentioned then such dower amount would be considered Maher Mua’jal (Propmt Dower).
- Maher Mova’jal (Deferred Dower):
This type of dower is the one wherein the payment of zar-e-maher is deferred to be paid at later times. The whole or a part of the dower amount can be deferred to be paid later in marital life. In the case when marital life comes to an end due to divorce or death of the husband the payment of dower amount has to be paid. Usually deferred dower is considered a guarantee for the marital life for the reason that when and if the husband decides to divorce the wife he would have to bear the extra burden of payment of dower amount. According to section 6 of Muslim Family Laws 1961 if the husband marries another without the prior permission of the wife the amount of deferred amount has to be paid immediately.
- Maher Missal (Customary Dower):
If dower amount is not fixed at the time of Nikkah and it is agreed between the parties to Nikkah that amount of dower will be fixed at some later time then according to Hanfi school of thought such a Nikkah is valid and both parties of Nikkah, during subsistence of marital life, themselves or though their agents can fix the amount of dower. In case some dispute erupts then court can also fix the dower amount. Where the court has to fix the dower amount, it keeps in view the following;
- Dower amount fixed at the Nikkah of females of the wife, for example, her aunts, sisters etc.
- Wealth status of the husband.
NO ONE IS EXEMPT FROM PAYING DOWER IN ISLAM
No one is exempt from paying the mehr. Even the Prophet (PBUH) has been told, “O Prophet, We have made permissible for you the wives whose dower you have paid….” (33:50). When Hazrat Ali came to the Prophet to ask for the hand of Bibi Fatima, the first thing the Prophet asked him was, “Do you have anything to give as mehr?” He said he had a horse and a saddle. He sold his saddle for 500 dirhams and according to some other quotes he sold it for 480 dirhams and brought it to the Prophet. The immediate needs of the bride and the new household were met with this amount. The concept of jahez, or giving endless amounts of household goods and gifts by the bride’s family, does not exist in Islam.
In Surah al-Nisa, it is said, “Give to the women their agreed dowers [willingly]….” (4:4) and, “…as an obligation….” (4:24). According to Imam Malik, if the parties agreed that there would be no Haq mahr then the nikah would not be valid. But according to Imams Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i and Ahmed the nikah would be valid, but the Haq mahr(Dower)would still remain an obligation.
Nowadays, marriages are being led with extraordinary ceremony and show in which a lot of wealth is misused. But no one among the family members think seriously about fixing the dower amount.
According to the Shari`ah, the Haq mahr should also be reasonable. There is no fixed amount of Haq mahr in the Shari`ah. It should be given according to the financial status of the husband and according to the time and place.
ISLAM HAS NOT FIXED THE VALUE OF THE DOWER AND THERE IS NO EXAMPLE SET BY ISLAM ABOUT SHARAI HAQ MAHAR
In Islam it is only said that the reasonable dower should be paid and its value should be fixed according to the financial status of the husband/ groom.
Some people, in trying to be pious, say that they are willing to fix the Haq mahr of their daughters at the rate of the sharai Haq mahr, which some elders have worked out to be the unbelievable amount of 32 rupees only. It is difficult to say where they got this figure from. The Sharia, or Islamic law, has not fixed or even recommended any amount which could be called the sharai Haq mahr.
“The writer Jaweria A. Kashif is Advocate High Court, Lahore. Her Facebook profile here.”