Dower: What dower to
Q180 :Could you please let me know what is the
actual amount of dower, or meher, prescribed by Islam.
A180 : This question has been coming up time after
time. What I find strange about it is the request for an exact figure.
Islam does not prescribe a particular amount which must be paid as a
dower, or meher, to be given by the prospective husband to his
prospective wife at the time when their marriage contract is made. In
establishing the right of the wife to have complete say in what she may
do with her dower, Allah mentions in the Qur'an " And if you give any
of them (i.e. your women) a large amount, you may not take anything out
of it. Would you take it when it is an absolute injustice and a
clear sin? " Only if the wife willingly and with clear mind and free
choice forgo part of her dower to her husband, he may take it. The
above quoted verse, which is No.20 in Surah 4, makes it clear that the
dower may be a very large amount. In this connection, it is useful to
quote the famous report that Umar, the second caliph, wanted dowers to
be moderate, he advised people while he was addressing them, before a
Friday prayer not to let dowers exceed what the Prophet paid to his
wives. A woman in the mosque objected to him and quoted this verse. The
caliph acknowledged that the woman was right and he was wrong. [Added:
This follows, therefore, that it is proper for women to attend prayers
in mosques.] Having said that, I should perhaps remind you of the
Hadith which states that the best women are the fairest looking and
cheapest in dower. This Hadith is taken as an encouragement to make
dowers small so that they do not represent an impediment to marriage.
It is often the case that young men have to delay marriage in order to
raise funds to meet the expenses of establishing a new home. When
dowers are cheap, the task is made that much easier. If they are
expensive, marriage maybe delayed. This is bound to lead to results
which Islam does not welcome. In short, a dower may be as little as one
rial, or even less, provided the bride willingly accepts that. On the
other hand, it may be any amount the two parties agree between them.
The dower must be of benefit to the woman and this benefit may be a
moral, rather than material one. One of the companions of the Prophet
was married in return for teaching his wife the surahs of the Qur'an he
had learned. This is an educational benefit which is certainly
valuable. No money was paid. That represented the dower, and the
Prophet approved that.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )