The Mahr is meant to offer the bride a financial security within and after the marriage. It is a divine order by the Almighty Allah. The giving of Mahr to the bride is an important and mandatory part of the Islamic terms of marriage. According the Islamic rules, the Mahr may be paid earlier to the bride as soon as possible at the time of marriage or deferred to a later date or a compromise of both. Mahr is a gift from the husband to his bride at the time of marriage. The terms ‘dowry’ and bride gift are sometimes used to translate Mahr. In Islamic marriages, such assets brought into the union by the wife may only be accepted by the husband after the Mahr has been paid by him to her. The requirement of a Mahr is mentioned several times in the Quran and as a Sunnah. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) has explained the full right to the woman in Sunnah. The following Hadith enable us to understand the word Mahr as per Shariah laws. In the Hadith of Uqbah ibn Aamir (RA), the Prophet (SAW) said: “The best dowry for woman is that which is easy and he (SAW) said; the best of Mahr is the simplest (or most affordable)”. Narrated from Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) what Hazrat Ali (RA) said; I married Fatima (RA) and said ‘O messenger of Allah, let me go ahead with the marriage. He said; ‘Give her something.’ I said; ‘I do not have anything.’’ He said; ‘Where is your Hutami shield? , I have it with me. ‘He said, give it to her. This reinforces the fact that in Islam, the Mahr is not something that is sought for its own sake. Ibn Mazah narrated that ‘Umar Ibn al-khattab said; ‘‘Do not go to extremes with regard to the dowries of a woman , for if that were a sign of honour and dignity in this world or a sign of piety before Allah, then Mohammad (SAW) would have done that before you. A man may increase the dowry until he feels resentment against her and says, “You cost me everything I own, and caused me a great deal of hardship.” Whoever thinks of increasing his daughter’s Mahr and asking for more than the daughters of the messenger of Allah were given when they were the best women in this world in all aspects – then he is an ignorant fool.
It is one of the fundamental rights of every woman. It is intended to please the wife, so that she feels appreciated and more willing to bring and share a new life with the husband. Nevertheless, Islam recommends moderation and not setting a rate that is too high or low. The Prophet (SAW) has encouraged us to simplify the giving of Mahr.
This applies even if one is well off and can afford it. With regard to one who is poor, he should not give a Mahr greater than he can afford to pay without any hardship. Mahr is to be paid by the husband to his wife as early as possible as it is a pre-requisite for a marriage. It should be equitable. The husband and wife can mutually make any adjustment to the dowry and the future owner of a Mahr is only the wife. It is as a sort of protection for women. Mahr cannot be something that does not have a monetary value. It cannot be only love, honesty, being faithful, etc. which are anyway traits of righteous people. The Mahr is one of the wife’s rights that is sincerely given by the husband to the wife, without exception, as an expression of his love and responsibility. In Islam, the concept of Mahr is more effective, comprehensive, vital and sacred than any other religions. It is one of the fundamental rights of every woman. It is intended to please the wife, so that she feels appreciated and more willing to bring and share a new life with the husband. Nevertheless, Islam recommends moderation and not setting a rate that is too high or low. The Prophet (SAW) has encouraged us to simplify the giving of Mahr.