Thursday, 27 January 2022

classification of dower


Classification of Dower/Types of Dowers 

Dower maybe classified into:

  1. Specified Dower (Mahr-i-Musamma): (dower amount mentioned in the Nikahnaama. No amount less than 10 dirhams, but in Shia law the amount of dower is not specified) 

If the amount of dower is stated in the marriage contract(nikahnaama), it is called the specified dower. Dower maybe settled by the parties either before the marriage or at the time of marriage, and in some cases even after marriage. The husband cannot pay dower less than 10 dirhams according to the Hanafi Law and 3 dirhams according to the Maliki Law. However, the Shia Law doesn’t fix any minimum amount of dower. For those Muslim husbands who are very poor and are not in a position to pay even 10 dirhams as dower, the prophet has advised them to teach the holy Quran to their wife in exchange of dower. 

Specificity dower can further be subdivided into:

  1. Prompt Dower (Muajjal Mahr): (wife has every right to refuse for consummation until the dower amount is paid. If consummation happened and the dower is not paid yet the wife can leave the matrimonial house, then the husband is not entitled to restitution of conjugal rights)

It is payable immediately on the marriage taking place and it must be paid on demand unless a delay in it is agreed upon by the parties. The wife will refuse herself to the husband until the prompt dower is paid. If the wife is a minor her guardian may refuse to allow her to be sent to the husband’s house until the dower is paid. In such circumstances, the husband is bound to maintain the wife, although she is residing apart from him. A prompt dower doesn’t become a deferred dower just because the marriage has been consummated. It is the absolute right of the wife to sue the husband even after consummation. 

However, if the marriage has been already consummated, and the wife has withdrawn herself from the society of the husband, the court may pass the decree of restitution of conjugal rights only after the dower has been paid.

  1. Deferred Dower (Muajjal Mahr): This is the dower amount which is payable on the dissolution of marriage either by death or by divorce. But if there’s an agreement between the parties for pre-poning the deferred dower, such an agreement would be valid and binding. If the wife dies before receiving the dower amount, the legal heirs shall be entitled to claim the dower amount. A widow on the death of the husband may relinquish her dower before the husband’s funeral, but such relinquishment should be voluntary.

  2. Proper or Customary dower(mahr-i-misl): (no max limit in Sunni Law. Shia Law says not more than 500. Dirhams) If the amount of dower is not fixed in the marriage contract or even if the girl states that she will not claim any dower, still the wife shall be entitled to proper dower. The amount of proper dower is decided taking the following factors into consideration: 

  1. Personal qualification of the wife, her age beauty and understanding and virtue.

  2. The social position of her father’s family.

  3. Dower given to her female paternal relations.

  4. Economic conditions of the husband.

  5. Circumstances of time

Amongst the Sunnis there is no limit to the maximum amount of dower that can be paid. But under the Shia Law the dower amount should not exceed 500 dirhams why, because this was the amount that was given to Prophet’s daughter Fatima and the Shias consider it as a point of honour not to take a sum higher than this.

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