Dower: Failure to pay dower

Q179 :Is it necessary to pay the dower in full to one's bride at the time of the wedding, or can a woman waive it in full or in part? Is such a waiver enough to free the husband from paying it? If a man has not paid the dower to his wife and she has not waived it until she died, should the husband pay it to her parents?

A179 : The dower is one of the conditions of a valid marriage contract. It is money payable by the husband to his wife and it becomes her own property and she has sole discretion to dispense with it the way she likes. The amount of the dower should be specified at the time of the marriage. It becomes due and payable the moment the contract is made. If it is not mentioned or agreed at the time of the contract, it remains due. The husband and wife could agree on its amount at any time. If they do not agree, and the wife claims it, an Islamic court will judge in her favor. It will order the payment of a dower equivalent to what women in her social status normally receive. Payment of the dower, or part of it, may be deferred if the two parties agree. In this case, it becomes a debt owed by the husband to his wife which she may claim at any time. If it remains unpaid, the husband must pay it when she dies and it becomes part of the estate of his wife. It thus goes to her heirs according to their shares. As you know, a husband receives one quarter of the property of his deceased wife, if she has a child. If she dies childless, he inherits half of her property. If she foregoes the dower in part or in full, the husband may accept that waiver without any hesitation. This, however, must be done of the wife's free choice. She must not be pressured into it, nor can this waiver be extracted from her in ignorance. She must be told that it belongs to her and the waiver must be by her own free will.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )