In Islam we know the concept about dowry or Mahr in Marriage. The concept of Mahr itself is an amount of payment or possesion given by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage that legally become the bride’s property. It can took place in the form of jewelry, property, land, house, furniture, or even just an amount of money or prayer tools. There are so many types of mahr in Islam.
Mahr is part of marriage contract, which means it is part of things that makes marriage became legal according to Islam. Even the Mahr is small and not to expensive, but if both the groom and the bride accept it, it can be used as Mahr.
“And (also prohibited to you are all) married women except those your right hands possess. (This is) the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, (provided) that you seek them (in marriage) with (gifts from) your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy (of marriage) from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
- An-Nisa : 24
From the above verse it explained that Mahr is the right of woman (bride) and must be fulfilled by man (groom).
The Reasons for Mahr in Islam
But, do we really understand of what is the reasons for mahr in Islam. Why man should provide mahr for his bride? And why it should be part of marriage contract. Mahr play significant part in Islamic marriage for so many reasons, that will be explained in this article. Read about the order of marriage’s guardians in Islam.
1. It’s the command from Allah SWT
Of course the first reasons of why we should give mahr to the bride is because it’s the command from Allah SWT. It is an obligation that directly given by Him. As mentioned in the following verse,
“And give the women (upon marriage) their (brida) gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.”
An-Nisa : 4
That mahr or dowry is also a form of gift from man to woman, it should make both part happy and respect each other. Read also about the law of marriage without mahar in islam to understand more about the importance of mahr.
2. Mahr is the right of woman (or wife)
As explained before that mahr is a right for woman, or wife given by the man or husband. No one could not take it from her, even it’s her father or mother or brother.
“When a man married off his daughter, he would take her mahr away from her, but Allaah forbade them to do that, and gave women the right to the mahr they received.”
Tafseer Ibn Katseer
Mahr is used to protect the right of woman or wife, and the symbol of obligation for husband or man. To avoid marriage as a game or joke for man, therefore mahr is needed, since when man or husband play with the marriage they will get at least financially lost in the form of mahr.
3. In order to value more of woman or wife
Well it might sounds strange but mahr is also used to make man or groom value his woman or bride more. Just imagine if we want to achieve or buy something, the more hard to get the more we appreciate it. When we have to pay, sacrifice, spend, or even work hard to acquire something, and when that things comes to our live, we will value it more and trying hard to treat it well. Compare it to something that we got is so easily like free meal, without sacrificing a large amount of sweat, toil, or money we will see the different clearly. Even though not all people doing that things, but mostly our reaction will be the same. When we lose something that we got it for free, it will be easier than what we gain by effort. You might want to read about the effects of late marriage in Islam.
To prevent women from being acquired so easily for marriage, to be cheapened, undermined, abused by men, that is the reason for mahr in Islam. Allah SWT wants all men to maintain, protect, honor, and value their woman or wife as if they were the one and the last woman on earth.
4. To protect the honor of woman
Another reason for mahr in Islam also to protect woman’s honor. It means that, woman is very delicate and priceless, it should be protect by man not to be abused or to play with. When man seriously want to get engage with a woman he should offer mahr as the symbol of his seriousness unless he wants to play with. Here is a hadith to be concerned for,
“He said: Messenger of Allah, what about my wealth (dower that i paid her at the time of marriage)? He said: You have no claim to wealth. If you tell the truth, it (dower) is the recompense for your having had the right to intercourse with her.”
Narrated by Muslims
And Imam Ali ever stated as follow,
I do not like Mahr to be less than ten dirham, so it does not resemble the payment of a prostitute.
As mentioned above that there is no specific amount of mahr actually, but aside from that the intention of mahr itself to protect woman honor, that they are different from prostitute. That they were married because of an intention to perfect the religion of Islam.
5. To sanctify the marriage
Marriage is very sacred, and muslims are encourage to do it only once in a lifetime, to protect it, to guard it, since this bond is holy and blessed by Allah. The marriage contract is very serious in Islam, when a woman and a man decided to marry in should be based on the intention to stay in love, peace, and harmony. Therefore the reasons for mahr in Islam is to protect it’s sanctity, and to avoid eassy divorce from both part. When the man initiate the divorce then he lost the mahr he gave to his wife, while if women initiate the divorce, she should give back the mahr.
Mahr is a symbol and form of generosity as well as goodwill before both partners enter their marriage life. It is a great deed since there are virtues of getting married in Islam, therefore we should appreciate it.