Dower: Failure to pay
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 )