Interpretation of Sura an-Nisa - Verse 4
4. " And give women their dowries as a free gift, but if they, of themselves, be pleased to give up to you something of it, then consume it with pleasure and wholesomely."
Concerning the above verse where this term has been applied, it can be explained that the Arabic term /nihlah/, as Raqib Esfahani has said, is derived from /nahl/ in the sense of 'bee'. Since a bee gives honey to people and expects nothing, so, a present is also called /nihlah/. An Islamic tradition indicates that the finest properties should be used in three occasions: 1. Dowry - 2. Hajj pilgrimage -3. Shroud. If you spend your best properties in paying dower, your offsprings will be of the righteous. 3
1. Paying dower of the wife (which is her right) is obligatory.
2. Dower sum is not the rate of a lady, but it is a wedding gift and the sign of affection and friendship.
" And give women their dowries as a free gift, ..."
3. Dowry is the gift of man to the woman, and never it is her cost. However, we must know that dower is a financial support for the woman at the probable time of separation and as a compensation of her damage.
4. A woman has the right of possession of her dower. Thus, the parents and relatives of the lady have no right at all to take it for themselves.
5. A woman is free to take her dowry or donate it.
"... but if they, of themselves, be pleased to give up to you something of it, ..."
6. A wholesome wealth is that which whose owner bestows willingly and pleasantly.
"... but if they, of themselves, be pleased to give up to you something of it, then consume it with pleasure and wholesomely."
7. The extrinsic consent is not enough, but heartily consent is essential when the Qur'an says: " of themselves". Then, unwillingly given or compulsory remits are not valid.
3. Atybab-ul-Bayan, commentary, vol.4, p. 12
Adopted from the book : "The Light of the Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Surah an-Nisa" by : "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars"
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