Mahr is often money, it can also be anything agreed upon by the bride such as jewelry, home goods, furniture, a dwelling or some land. Mahr is typically specified in the marriage contract signed during an Islamic marriage, Mahr also can be classified as a form of “bride wealth”.
Mahr is paid directly to the bride and not her parents. In fact, as her legal property, Mahr establishes the bride’s financial independence from her parents and in many cases from her husband, who has no legal claims to his wife’s Mahr.
The Mahr is for her to spend as she wishes. It can be cash, jewellery or any other valuable gift. In some cases, one can use an Iron ring as Mahr, see..
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 5126 (Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah))
In-book reference:Book 67, Hadith 62
The word Mahr implies a gift given voluntarily and not as a result of a contract, but in Muslim religious law it was declared a gift which the bridegroom has to give the bride when the contract of marriage is made and which becomes the property of the wife. According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammad stated the Mahr could be “one gold piece”. Mahr is a religious requirement according to Sharia. Every marriage without mahr is null and void.
The requirement of a mahr is mentioned several times in the Quran and Hadith.
Unfortunately, the huge demand of money and clothing for women from young men by some parents has become the main obstacles to get married these days which is against the recommendations of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
Some parents are failing to know that hasten to offer their daughters out for marriage causes lots of fitnah or trials to the family with possibilities of our young and growing sisters falling into Zina or which is now widespread in our communities today.
To all parents, please note that our children are a trust from Allah and we are accountable for their smooth upbringing till they attain adulthood. If we manage them well till they get married off our hands Alhamdulillah but if we put obstacles on their ways with huge demands of things from a brother before they can be married then we are causing our own fitnah in life. Let’s offer our daughters in marriage in the Sunnah way with whatever the brother can afford without any unnecessary activities towards the marriage. Please note that if you make marriage expensive, Zina becomes cheap and even free ( AstagfiruLLAH).
The Prophet is reported to have said that the best of marriages are those with least expenditure and he warned that if a believing Muslim man comes for your daughter for marriage and you refuse with wrong excuses such as tribal issues or demanding stuff above the man’s abilities, then you’ve actually invited fitnah to the family from Allah.
We all know that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) enjoined young men who can afford it to get married, yet Islam did not neglect to give advice to those who cannot afford it as such do not base on the mistakes of some parents to start committing Zina. We are advised in the Qur’an to maintain chastity, and are advised in the Sunnah to fast, so as to attain taqwa (piety, mindfulness of Allah) that will protect us from committing haraam actions and teach us good manners and behaviour. Marriage and having children are not only Sunnah but obligatory for those who cannot afford but remaining chaste or total obedience to ALLAH is obligatory on us without any excuses to fall into any disobedience.
It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood said: We were with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) when we were young and had nothing with which to get married. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said to us: “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a shield for him.”
وَأَنكِحُوا۟ ٱلْأَيَٰمَىٰ مِنكُمْ وَٱلصَّٰلِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَآئِكُمْۚ إِن يَكُونُوا۟ فُقَرَآءَ يُغْنِهِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِۦۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
And marry the unmarried among you (I.e a man who has no wife and a woman who has no husband) and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
That is because of the great interests that are served by marriage, such as increasing the numbers of the ummah, and causing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to feel proud before the other Prophets, and protecting both husband and wife from falling into haraam among other great benefits.
But some guardians (walis) put obstacles in the way of marriage, which prevented those under their care from getting married in many cases, that is because they exaggerate concerning the Mahr, and demand huge dowries which a young man who wants to get married cannot afford, until marriage becomes something extremely difficult for many of those who want to get married.
The Mahr is a right that is given to the woman, as enjoined by Islamic sharee’ah, as an expression of the man’s desire to marry her. Allaah says
وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلنِّسَآءَ صَدُقَٰتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةًۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَىْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيٓـًٔا مَّرِيٓـًٔا
And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.
This does not mean that the woman is a product to be sold, rather it is a symbol of honour and respect, and a sign that the husband is willing to shoulder his responsibilities and fulfil his duties.
Sharee’ah does not stipulate a certain limit for the Mahr that should not be overstepped, but it does encourage reducing the Mahr and keeping it simple.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of marriage is that which is made easiest.” Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ , 3300.
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of Mahrs is the simplest (or most affordable).” Narrated by al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ , 3279
In Zaad al-Ma’aad (5/178), Ibn al-Qayyim quoted some of the haadeeth that indicate Mahr should be reduced and that there is no minimum amount. Then he said:
These haadeeth indicate that there is no minimum amount for the Mahr… and that exaggerating concerning the Mahr is makrooh, and it reduces its barakah (blessing).
Hence it is clear that what people do nowadays, increasing the Mahr and exaggerating concerning it, is something that goes against the sharee’ah.
May ALLAH keep guiding us all and Grant our brothers and sisters good partners…
Nafysah @ .Knowislam.com.ng.