When the marriage vows are recited in the Muslim religion, the husband promises
to give or gives his wife a gift, that is known as Mahr, in other words also
known as dowry or sadaq. It is an amount settled by the husband with the prior
consent of the wife. It can be anything & can be in any form like property,
money, gold, silver, ornaments, clothes etc , it is anything which can be owned.
It is indirectly can be termed as dowry which the husband pays to his wife in
return of marriage, as the women is marrying him, he have to pay or give her a
gift in lieu of marriage which is a gift to her. It is not fixed that everyone
have to pay that much of amount or property to her wife , it is decided by the
wife that what she wants , whatever the wife wants the husband have to give that
otherwise the wife can refuse to marry.
There is no minimum or maximum amount
fixed for Mahr. The women should demand that much of Mahr which the husband is
capable of paying, women should keep in mind the condition, status, financial
situation of the husband & his family.
Concept Of Mahr
There are arguments against Mahr that, what is the reason behind Mahr , why it
is necessary, Some thinks that it is like buying a slave for the fulfilment of
desires. Men & women both need each other physically, this is natural that both
desire each other. One quality of a women is their beauty which attracts men the
most. Second is that, even the women's have the similar sexual desires but they
are good at hiding off their desires, but men are weak at this issue and they
show their love & affection & to prove this, he buys gifts & spends money.
the Mahr is also a form of showing love, to prove his affection, to show honour
for his wife. Mahr makes the life of the women easier & peaceful, at the time of
marriage men promises to wife that he will take care of her & their children,
but in some cases the men's are seen running away from their duties & doe not
perform their part, this leaves the women helpless. After the pregnancy & having
a child, the women cannot leave her child anywhere, to nurture he child she
needs home, money, food, clothes etc.
Types Of Dower
Specified dower is an amount of money or any valuable property which is fixed by
both the parties, at their own wills, at the time of marriage or afterwards. In
case of dower, the husband is under an obligation to give the amount of money
agreed upon or specified property to his wife.
Many Muslim Jurists have divided specified dower into two categories, they are:
Unspecified Dower/Proper Dower
- Prompt dower
This is payable on demand by the wife which means prompt dower is payable at the
time post the marriage . Prompt dower is payable immediately by the husband to
the wife as and when it is demanded. The wife can demand the sum of money before
the consummation or afterward.
- Deferred Dower
Deferred dower is payable at the happening of an event or after the expiry of a
particular time period. The deferred dower cannot be demanded by the wife. The
wife is not entitled to demand dower before the dissolution of marriage or
happening of the said event.
If the said event didn't take place or the time period fixed for the payment of
dower has not expired in any case, then it is payable at the termination of
marriage or after the death of either of the parties.
If the value of the dower hasn't been settled by the parties before or at the
time of marriage or after the marriage, then it is known as unspecified dower.
In such case, wife is entitled to get a reasonable amount. Such dower is not
specified by both the parties at the time of marriage but such type of dower is
settled by the court taking into
Rights And Remedies Of Dower
In the Muslim law, the concept or Mahr was evolved for the women's, so this
provides them some rights also which are essentials to them & are available to
them before & after marriage & after divorce or separation or after the death of
the husband. Mahr is not just a gift or a price to be paid by husband, it is a
safety provision for her, right given to her by the law.
It is upto the women what she choose as Mahr to be given by her husband before
the marriage & the husband have to give it at the decided time. She can choose
whatever she wants, but she had to keep in mind the financial status or the
husband & his family.
The Muslim law mainly confers these rights to women to compel her husband for
- The right to refuse for cohabition: if at the time of marriage it was decided
that the husband will pay the Mahr after the marriage, the wife could restrain
her husband to not cohabit until the payment of Mahr in the case of a minor or
an insane, the guardians have this right.
- Right to dower as debt: The Mahr is like a debt on the husband, which he have
to pay on the demand of the wife. If the husband is not performing his promises,
the wife can file a suit if the husband is alive & if the husband is dead, then
she is entitled to the share in the property of the husband. The rights which
are provided to the women are also the remedies which can help her to gain her
The rights which are provided to the women are also the remedies which can help
her to gain her Mahr.
Difference between the Shia & Sunni law relating to dower (Mahr)?
In Shia sect, law relating to dower (Mahr) are as follows:
There is no minimum limit to Mahr is prescribed by the law in Shia sect, the
proper dower cannot exceed 500 dirhams. In the case where the husband died
without consummation there is no due left on the husband in regard to Mahr. The
agreements for no Mahr or no Mahr left by the sane & adult wife are valid in
this sect. If the marriage is settle without deciding any dower (Mahr) then the
whole of the dower is considered to be prompt.
In sunni sect, law relating to dower (Mahr)
There is a minimum limit which is prescribed for the specific dower that is 10
dirhams. For the proper dower there is no maximum limit. There is also no
maximum limit for the specific dower. If the husband dies, whether consummation
takes place or not, there is always a debt left in part of the husband & it is
always proper in nature. The agreement for no dower at the time of the marriage
is held to be void. If the proper agreement was not made then only a reasonable
amount of dower will be considered to be prompt.
Issues Of Mahr In Indian Legislation
In context to the Indian legislation, the Muslim law is having a different place
in the Indian judiciary. In India Muslim law is not codified, while other
personal laws are codified. The peoples of Muslim religion in India are governed
by The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937
. The law deals
with the matters of Marriage, Inheritance, Charities, Succession etc. The
Dissolution Of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939
This act deals with the situations in
which a Muslim women can obtain divorce. “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights
on Divorce) Act, 1986
.” , this act deals with the rights of the women who had
been divorced by their husband.
The section 125 of “The CPC OF 1973
”, provides a minimal amount of protection to
all the divorced women's. But this does not solve the problem of Mahr. It gives
only a kind of protection to the matters of divorce. Mahr and maintenance is
also covered in this act. The concept of Mahr in India is so much confused,
people's think of it as dowry, though dowry is a far away other concept from
Mahr, even some people regard it as shameful.
Mahr is a
In the case Bai Tahira v. Ali Hussain
, supreme court held that after paying all
the Mahr the husband is not free for divorce. In the famous shah bano case, it
was held that the amount of Mahr could not conclude as the amount of divorce.
Mahr is a gift which the wife was already getting & the amount for maintenance
in divorce is a different thing.
In Muslim marriages an compulsory gift is given by the husband, that is Mahr.
Unlike a price paid to bride, however, it is gifted directly to wife and not to
her father. Although the gift is often money in common, it can be anything
(valuable properties) agreed upon by the bride and groom such as a house or any
business that is put in her name and can be run and owned entirely by her if she
As there are many Islamic laws ,there is no fixed minimum or maximum limit for
dower, so there is always a chance that the groom might settle the Dower with an
unfair amount, it happens in most of the cases. It may at times lead to
cancelling of the marriage if both parties can't agree upon Dower as it is
mandatory for both the parties to be in an agreement with the amount of Dower.
Therefore, I, hereby conclude by stating that although Dower is a security
provision for married women in Islam, there is no fixed amount of dower, which
is one of the drawbacks in Muslim law. In fact, all personal laws must be
scrapped and UCC must be implemented. This way our society will exist sin a
state of perfect peace and harmony.