With this point in view, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) says: “Amongst my followers, those women are excellent, who are beautiful and their Mehr is also less.” (Wafi, Kitab-e-Nikah p. 15).
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says that the enormous Mehr is the main drawback of a woman (Wafi, Kitab-e-Nikaah p. 15).
Islam believes that a higher Mehr makes a man's life miserable, and creates many awkward situations in the lives of the faithful. Marriage problems should be made easier, so that the youth can think of getting married and settle for a good family life. This saves them from many social and spiritual evils.
Any unreasonable demand of Mehr makes a man's life unsound on economical and financial planes, in the very beginning of a married life. It also dissuades them from getting married.
Therefore, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has practically set precedence for the followers by giving away his own beloved daughter in marriage to Hazrat Ali (a.s.) on a very nominal dowry.
Not only this, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), did not even take any promise for anything from his prospective son-in-law, Hazrat All (a.s.) in this regard.
The Dowry of Fatema Zahra (s.a.) :
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) told Hazrat Ali (a.s.) to go and sell the Armour that was kept aside for Fatema (s.a.) and give him its sale proceeds. So, Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), went to the market and sold it. Accordingy to various traditions, the Armor was sold at 400 or 480 or 500 dirhams.
When Hazrat Ali (a.s.) brought the proceeds of the sale, the Prophet of God (s.a.w.a.) called for Abu Bakr, Salmaan Farsi and Bilal. He gave some money to them and ordered to get the basic utility items for Janabe Fatema (s.a.). He then gave some money to Asma and told her to get some perfume or any other similar substance of fragrance for his daughter. He (s.a.w.a.) then gave the remaining amount to Umme Salma (s.a.) for other miscellaneous expenditures. Abu Bakr says, 'When I counted that amount, it was 63 Dirhams. With this amount, we bought the following things:
1. One white dress,
2. One big piece of cloth for preparing the head gear.
3. One black towel, made in Khaiber,
4. One mattress, made from the fiber of a date tree,
5. Two cotton mattress, one of goats fleece, and the other was filled with the fiber of date tree,
6. 4 Pillows made of goat's hide, filled with Azkhar grass,
7. Two pieces of Hajari Mattresses,
8. One manually operated Grinding Mill Stone,
9. One cup made of Pewter,
10. One musk (leather water container),
11. One big tray for washing clothes,
12. One bowl for milk,
13. One water pot,
14. One earthen glass,
15. One woolen curtain,
16. Two earthen goblets,
17. One hide for spreading on the floor,
18. One shroud,
19. One lotah (a multi purpose vessel).
When the dowry of Fatema Zahra (s.a.) was presented before the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) tears rolled down his cheeks. He then raised his head and prayed to Allah to bless this wedding, whose dowry comprised mainly of earthen wares.
A Lesson For All Muslims :
The marriage of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and Janabe Fatema Zahra. (s.a.) is a very sensitive and important model of Islamic marriage. Here, it is to be noticed that the father of bride was a person commanding great esteem and respect not only in the Arabian peninsula but in the entire Muslim world and was also the Messenger of God (s.a.w.a.).
The bride was also not only the brightest and most intelligent woman of Islam, but was also a highly groomed and pious figure and the cream of all the women of the Islamic world. She was highly respected and was counted among the four greatly honored women that have ever existed.
The bridegroom was also from the Arab nobility. He was a man of immense knowledge and learning and was the bravest of all the braves. Legally, he was the successor and heir to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He was a most trusted minister and an advisor to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He was a brave and forceful commander in chief of the Islamic army. The marriage of such a renowned person ought to have been solemnized with great pomp and grandeur. But as the world witnessed, the entire marriage ceremony of the most important personalities of Islam, was performed in a most simple and modest manner. This was a model for all the faithful to see, and was a perfect example of an Islamic marriage.
If the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) had wished, he would have performed this marriage on a lavish scale, befitting his social and religious status.
So simple and ordinary was the dowry of the Prophet's (s.a.w.a.) daughter. If the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had wished, he would have celebrated this marriage on a grand scale by raising funds from some source or by borrowing.
After all, it was the marriage of his only daughter. Being a Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he could have claimed "I am a messenger of God and my daughter Fatema (s.a.) is a matchless and infallible woman. I must arrange her marriage as per her virtues, value and status." But he (The Prophet(s.a. w.a.), did not do so.
Not only this, he could have thought that my prospective son-in- law is not an ordinary man, but a well known personality in the Islamic world. His crusades, acts of bravery and tireless endeavors in the way of God are quite famous. Considering all this, I should arrange for a grand marriage. But he (Prophet ((s.a.w.a.)) refrained from doing so. It was because of the fact that the prophet (s.a.w.a.) was fully aware of the evils of an enormous and substantial dowry and a high profile marriage.
As a matter of fact, he wanted to scrap this evil system of dowry in the land and save the Islamic society from innumerable economical and financial strains, hardships and woes. He harnessed the evil monster of dowry and performed the marriage ceremony of his daughter (Fatema Zahra, (s.a.)), in the simplest manner. Otherwise this monster of dowry would have frightened away all young people, from getting married. The dowry system, if allowed to remain unharnessed, would have brought havoc among young men and women.
To eradicate this evil, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has knowingly and purposefully performed the marriage of his only and matchless daughter in a simple way and has given a very meager dowry. Thus the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has set an example for us to fall in line.
On the other hand, Ali Bin Abu Talib (a.s.) was not an ordinary man to yearn for a substantial dowry. Neither was he interested in amassing wealth, nor was he among those young men to press his wife to go to her parents for money. Nor was he a sadist (may God forbid) who would behave with his wife in a tyrannical manner and convert a happy home into a living hell, just because of dowry. Moreover, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was to become a Leader and Imam in future.
He had all along discouraged this harmful trend, and waged a relentless war against it. He was not interested in worldly comfort and wealth.