Mahr or dowry in Islam is one of the requirement when a Muslim couple is getting married. The husband should present mahr to his wife, to mark that they have become an official couple. Mahr has its own law in Sharia as it mentioned in the Holy Quran,
And give to the women (whom you marry) their mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart…” – An Nisa (4:4)
The verse above surely refers to dowry, and Ibn Katheer made summary of this verse as, “the husband should pay for dowry to his wife and he should not resent it.”
Even though it has clearly mentioned in the Quran, it never clear how much mahr to give in Islam. As not everyone could afford the same thing, so the amount of mahr in Islam is never defined.
Also read: Importance of Marriage in Islam
How Much Mahr to Give?
Upon dowry or mahr, Islam indeed has its own law. A husband should give dowry to his wife when they get married, but the amount is not defined, nor the form of mahr. Since it’s not the amount that is important, but the existence of the mahr itself. So that how much mahr to give in Islam when a Muslim couple get married is depending on how much the husband could afford.
Also read: Things to Know About Marriage in Islam
There’s a hadith that narrated from Sahl ibn Sa’d a Saa’idi:
“A woman came to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have come to give myself (in marriage) to you.’ The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) looked at her and looked her up and down, then the Messenger of Allah (SAW) lowered his head and paused. When the woman saw that he had not made a decision about her, she sat down. A man from among the Sahaabah said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if you are not interested in her, then marry her to me.’ He said, ‘Do you have anything?’ He said, ‘No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said, ‘Go to your people and see if you can find anything.’ So the man went, then he came back and said, ‘No, by Allah, I could not find anything.’ The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, ‘Look and see (if you can find anything), even if it is only an iron ring which you can give.’ So he went, then came back, and said, ‘No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, not even an iron ring. But (I have) this izaar (garment) of mine, she can have half of it.’ The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘What can she do with your izaar? If you are wearing it she will have nothing of it.’ The man sat down, then after a long time had passed, he got up (to leave). The Messenger of Allah (SAW) saw him leaving and called him. When he came, he said, ‘What do you know of the Qur’aan?’ He said, ‘Soorah Such-and-such and Soorah Such-and-such.’ He said, ‘Do you know them by heart?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Then go, you are married to her by what you know of the Qur’aan.’”
As marriage considered as one of the most sacred rituals in Islam, then it would not made difficult for two Muslims that want to fulfill half of their religions. The hadith shows that the amount of mahr is not defined,as it can be very little or a lot depending on how much the husband can afford.
Another example came from the Prophet (SAW) himself, when his own daughter Fathimah (AS) is getting married to Ali ibn Abi Thalib. As Ali was very poor and has nothing to be presented as mahr, the Prophet (SAW) asked him what property did he own. The one and only treasure of Ali ibn Abi Thalib was his armor suit. As he can’t afford more than it, the the armor suit became the mahr in the marriage.
Also read: How to Prepare Yourself for Marriage in Islam
The Reasons to Give Mahr
The fact the mahr or dowry is even mentioned directly by Allah SWT inside the Holy Quran, it means that mahr is not a little thing that could be ignored. The existence of mahr itself is not without reasons. Here are the reasons why giving mahr is important in Islam:
- Mahr or dowry is an obligation in Islam since it has been mentioned in the Quran.
- To protect the woman rights in marriage, so that the husband has fear to lose something financial when he’s not serious with the marriage.
- Not to take the marriage lightly or as a joke.
- To sanctify the marriage and act as protector from divorce.
- To protect the rights of the woman in the marriage contract.
Even though how much mahr to give in Islam is not defined, it doesn’t mean that it’s not necessary. Mahr is one of the requirement in marriage, and it has an important purpose to protect the rights of the wife in marriage.