DOWER under Muslim Law

DOWER under Muslim Law

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The concept of dower is found in chapter-4, verse-4 in the holy book named Quran. In that verse, Allahtala is saying that all men before marriage should give their wives dower as it is a condition of the marriage. In this article, we are going to discuss the concept of dower under Islamic Marriage because Muslim law and Islamic law are entirely different concepts.

Conditions for Islamic Marriage

Under Islamic law for a proper valid marriage there are 4 pre-requisites conditions which have to be fulfilled which are as follows:

  1. Proposal and Acceptance– Under Islamic law there should a proper proposal from the bridegroom side communicated to the bride side and after that, a proper acceptance from the girl’s side is a very important part of the marriage. The mode of proposal and acceptance should be very clear.
  2. Presence of witnesses- Under the Islamic law when the proposal and acceptance are made it also requires the witness so that everything is done without any fear or compulsion. Under Sunni law, it requires either presence of 2 males or 1 male and 1 female who are sane adults under Muslim law, whereas in Shia law no presence of witnesses is required but they are do required at the time of dissolution of marriage.
  3. Presence of a girl’s guardian- Presence of girl guardian is one of most important part of Islamic marriage when he is giving her hand to her husband’s hand. This is to provide security and safeguard the rights and interest of the girl.
  4. Determination of Mehr- Also known dower. Before the marriage the determination of Mehr always takes place to protect women in future, if in future the dissolution of marriage takes place then the women don’t become financially unstable and she can survive without any discomfort.

Types of Dower

Dower is nothing else but gift or token of love from a husband to his wife during marriage. Anything which has value in the society is regarded as dower/Mehr.  It is an act of love but most importantly it is given to women in order to secure her financial status in the worst times when she doesn’t have anybody to support her financially. In sunnis there is a minimum limit of dower which is ten dirham’s whereas in shia there is no such limit. But there is also no maximum limit in dower as the husband wants can give his wife. There are two kinds of dower:

  1. Specified Dower– As the name only tells, the dower before marriage is fixed i.e. calculated that how much the girl will be given dower when she will demand. In Sunni law if a marriage of minor boy takes place and contract of mehr is made by a father of boy then he is personally liable for mehr whereas in Shia law father is not liable. Specified dower is further of two types:
  • Prompt specified dower– This prompt specified dower means that whenever the wife demands husband is bound to pay her.
  • Deferred specified dower– Women is entitled to this dower when dissolution of marriage is there either by the death of woman’s husband or divorce is there, in these two ways a woman can ask for deferred specified dower.
  1. Unspecified dower– Also known as Mahr Mishr and again the name tells that in unspecified dower that dower is not fixed is before marriage. It is fixed only when a woman demands. But now the question arises that how this unspecified dower is settled, well it may demands on various factors like if there is any sister of women then what dower limit was set at that time, on husband financial status any more things.

Conditions for demanding Dower

  • If the marriage is consummated and it is dissolved by the death of the husband and the amount of dower was specified, then the woman is entitled to the whole amount of dower.
  • In case of proper unspecified dower if the marriage was consummated then also after settling the amount of dower then also a woman is entitled to the whole amount.
  • But in the case, if the marriage is not consummated and it is dissolved by the act of the parties then after the settlement of dower woman is entitled to half of the dower only.
This blog is written by Pragya Sharma, Amity University.

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