The dowry is the right of the wife, not the husband
Fatwa No: 245665

  • Fatwa Date:29-3-2014 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 28, 1435
  • Rating:

Question

assalamu alaikum my husband's parents promised their son in law that my husband would build a new house for their daughter after he marries her. this was part of the dowry which also included another house.my father in law is unemployed. he only has 2 children- my husband and a daughter.he has given everything he owned including the house and a land to his daughter and my husband paid cash and jewellery and wedding expenses as per dowry system. this was before our marriage. when we married my husband had absolutely no money or job but i was employed until he got a job. his family demand that all his earnings go to them to build the promised second house of daughter. we had no home of our own and lived on rent.(which i paid).my husband went abroad and whatever he earned went entirely to his parents upkeep and building the promised second house. he returned when half the house was complete and his current job salary was not enough for his parents,wife children upkeep and to build a house.he also studied islam and realized he had responsibility to have a home for his own family and pay towards their expenses. he also came to know that the dowry system is haram. the financial burden of building a house for someone else who already has a house when he didnt was too much and we think that since the promise was for something haram it is not binding now that he knows it is wrong. his parents have not given him anything of their wealth and they have nothing left if they die. my husband looks after them well. his parents say that he must keep the promise even if it is beyond his means and even if it means not to pay towards his own family or buy his own home and say since i am employed i don't need his money anyway. they even suggested we stay apart until he completes the house. i am worried. will it be a huge sin on him if he says he cannot fulfill the entire promise that his father made even though he completed half of it?please reply. jazakallah

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The wife is entitled to a dowry from the husband and not the other way around. Allaah says (what means): {And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.} [Quran 4:4]

The system of dowry that is recognized in India is invalid as we have already clarified in Fatwa 85873.

Based on this, the family of the wife are not obliged to build this house or give any money to the husband as a dowry. Also, it is not an obligation to fulfill the said promise, and the parents have no right to oblige their son to build this house. The son is not obliged to obey his parents in this.

On the other hand, obedience to parents is obligatory only in what benefits them, provided there is no harm in it for the child. Please refer to Fatwa 131695.

Therefore, your husband should be courteous with his parents and at the same time relieve himself of the burdens that they are forcing on him without displeasing them.

Finally, it should be noted that the wife and children are entitled to a house from the husband, but he is not obliged to build it from the ground up – although it is better for him to do so. It is enough for him to rent a house for them, and he will have met his obligation by doing so.

Allaah Knows best.

Related Fatwa