“ ... And give the women their mahr as a gift...” Suratun Nisa’ - 4:4
In the aqd of nikah, the husband undertakes to present a suitable gift to his wife. It is not ‘bride price’, nor is it a recompense for her services and neither is it something to fall back on in future in the case of separation or death.
The moral significance of mahr is a symbol of the man’s respect and love for his wife. It is recommended that the mahr be kept low.
It is a gift which must have some monetary value. Once mahr is agreed, it becomes a debt on the
husband. The wife can specify whether she wishes it to be paid immediately (mu’ajjal), at a later date (muajjal) or whenever she demands it (‘indal talab).
There are 3 types of ‘mahr’:
i) Mahrul Sunna - This is the mahr given to Sayyida Fatima Zahra (AS) 500 dirhams.
ii) Mahrul Mithl - The mahr that is traditional inthe family.
iii) Mahrul Musamma - That which is mentioned in nikah and agreed by the wife.
If no mahr is fixed, the marriage is valid but if at any time the wife claims mahr she will be paid mahrul mithl.
If a woman forgives and forsakes her claim of mahr then the man is absolved of his debt. However, it is recommended that the wife divide the mahr into 3 parts to gain the maximum benefit from it:
i) She should forgive her husband one third.
ii) Use one third as an investment in her husband’s business.
iii) Use one third to buy honey as a cure for those
who are sick…
It is reported that a man once came to the Prophet (SAW) complaining about his failure in business. The Prophet (SAW) asked him if he had given his wife her mahr. He said that he had already given it to her. The Prophet (SAW) asked him to borrow the money of mahr and invest it into a business for that money was blessed.
Similarly, a man who complained to the Prophet (SAW) about his illness was asked by the Prophet (SAW) to borrow the mahr money from his wife to buy honey. It proved to be a cure for his illness.
Adapted from the book: "Nikah & Beyond" by: "qfatima.com"
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