Concept and Importance of Mahr in Islam

by  Adv. Rupa K.N  




3 mins


Mahr in Islam


Mahr in Islam is a gift offered by the husband to his wife or given to her at the moment of marriage or after some period of marriage. Mahr in Islam and sharia law is a fundamental right of every woman. Mehr may exist in both material and intangible forms. It is derived from an Arabic word that means “dower.” Mahr is a type of dowry in Islam that is mentioned in the Quran and hadiths to denote dower or marital due. A dower is a reward that a man gives to a lady when they marry. 

What is Mahr in Islam?

Mahr in Islam is a religious commandment. Mahr, sometimes also referred to as Sadaq, is a mandatory payment in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, or by the groom’s father, to the bride.

It’s essentially a gift to the bride that becomes her own personal property. The amount or value of the mahr is decided by mutual agreement between the families involved, but it’s typically set at a level that reflects the groom’s financial status.

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What is the Purpose of Mahr in Islam?

The purpose of the mahr is to give the woman financial security and independence within the marriage and in case of divorce or the husband’s death. It is a fundamental part of the Islamic marriage contract and is considered an obligation for the husband to fulfill.

The importance of mahr lies in its symbol of respect towards the woman and it is seen as a sign of the husband’s willingness and ability to support his wife. The mahr in Islam would be distinct from the inheritance money the wife is already entitled to.

When is Mahr Paid? or Can Mahr be Paid in instalments?

Mahr is paid at the time of marriage in Islamic tradition. Some mehr contracts are structured in such a way that a portion is given upon the marriage contract, and the remainder is a delayed mehr that the bride receives later.

Types of Mahr in Islam/Muslim Law

1. Specified Dower- A specified dower is an amount of money or valuable property agreed upon by the spouses at the time of marriage or afterwards. In the case of the dower, the husband is obligated to give his wife the agreed-upon monetary sum or specified property.

2. Unspecified Dower- If the value of the dower has not been agreed upon by the parties prior to, during, or after the marriage, it is known as an unspecified dower. In such a circumstance, the wife is entitled to a fair payment.

3. Prompt Dower- prompt dower is the one that is paid that the woman demands immediately after the marriage; the husband provides it to her. If the husband fails to pay the wife, she may refuse to marry him. The wife has the right to reject cohabitation with her husband until the dower sum is paid.

  • If the wife is a minor, the father of the minor may refuse to deliver his daughter to the husband until the dower is paid.
  • Only after the dower has been paid may the husband assert his conjugal rights. However, once the marriage has been consummated, the woman cannot deny cohabitation.

4. Deferred Dower- Deferred dower is a dower or a portion of dower that is payable on an agreed-upon future date but becomes due and payable upon dissolution of the marriage by divorce or death; So if the couple divorces or the husband dies, the woman receives the deferred dower.

  • Any agreement that states that deferred dower would be paid before the dissolution of marriage is binding and will not be considered void.
  • The wife cannot seek payment of delayed dower throughout her lifetime or during the subsistence of the marriage, but the husband can regard it as prompt dower and pay or transfer property, and such payment will be legitimate and will not be considered fraudulent preference unless the husband is actually insolvent.

5. Muta Dower- Muta marriage is only for a limited duration. If this marriage is not consummated, the woman is only allowed to accept half of the mahr. And if the marriage between the husband and the wife has not been consummated, then the wife is entitled to the man’s full mahr. However, if the wife leaves the marriage before the term or limits of the marriage, the lady is not entitled to the mahr 

6. Proper Dower- When the amount of dower is not established at the time of marriage under the contract, it is referred to as a suitable dower.” Mahr in Islam was paid to female relatives of the father’s family, such as her father’s sister, which later changed over the years. If the parties agreed that no mahr should be provided to the wife, she might later decide what the right mahr should be.

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Kinds of Mahr in Islam

1. Tools for prayer: In Islam, items such as clothing, prayer beads, and rugs are frequently used as mahr. The groom wants to invite the bride to pray with him by giving her the necessary equipment.

2. Money: Money is typically used as a mahr in Islam, but the exact amount depends on the ability of the prospective husband-to-be. If we analyze how money is used in practice,

3. Gold: Another sort of mahr that is frequently utilized in Islam is gold. The worth and attractiveness are thought to complement a bride or woman’s appreciation.

4. Land: A land may occasionally serve as a mahr. The groom’s ability to construct a household and provide for his family financially is shown by the gift called mahr. For his wife, a piece of land can also be the ideal investment and savings vehicle.

5. Livestock: Although it is uncommon to utilize cattle as mahr, in some regions, it was the ideal thing to be given to the bride as a dowry. A mahr might be made from animals, including cows, bulls, goats, sheep, and others.

Amount of Mahr in Islam or What is the Minimum Mahr in Islam?

Although there is no minimum or maximum amount for the mahr in Islam, different schools of Islamic thought to provide specific amounts by altering past amounts for their present-day equivalents. However, that is a discussion best left to experts, far beyond my modest scope. This is not to say that the bride or her wali can seek an absurdly large sum of money.

Mahr in Islam might range from a symbolic piece of jewellery to a significant sum of money. Muslim scholars universally agree that no one, not even the state, may set an upper limit on mahr, as is the situation in many Muslim nations, but they have agreed on a minimum. 

Possession Rights of Mahr in Islam

Islam strictly prohibits anyone from taking possession of a woman’s property without her permission or knowledge, not even her husband or parents. The real owner of Mehr, the wife, only has the right to take possession of the Mahr in Islam. The woman can inquire about her means if any amount cannot be fixed, as Mehr has done. If there is any confusion regarding the portion of mahr or unpaid mahr, the woman can seek the help of the right kind of family legal advice regarding this dispute.

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In light of the aforementioned facts and circumstances. Islamic law’s notion of mahr is advantageous for women. It provides financial security so that she is not left defenseless once her spouse passes away or the marriage is ended. The various mahr in Islam and forms of payment guarantee that Muslim women do not face excessive problems in life and are properly supported after marriage, whether there is a divorce or the husband has passed away.

It is the wives' right to claim possession against the husband's heirs until their dower is paid or they take legal action. Connect with family lawyers for legal advice.

Adv. Rupa K.N

Adv. Rupa K.N


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Advocate Rupa K.N, with over 24 years of independent practice, specialises in providing legal expertise, advice and guidance to a broad range of customers. Having been practising law independently for several years after doing her B.A. LLB from Bangalore University and PGDM from the National Institute of Personnel Management.

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