Wisdom in Paying Dowry to Wife
Fatwa No: 409633

  • Fatwa Date:25-12-2019 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 28, 1441
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Question

Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saying to the invokers of curse: Your account is with Allah. One of you must be a liar. You have now no right over this woman. 'He said: Messenger of Allah, what about my wealth (dower that I paid her at the time of marriage)? He said: You have no claim to wealth. If you tell the truth, it (dower) is the recompense for your having had the right to intercourse with her', and if you tell a lie against her, it is still more remote from you than she is. Zuhair said in his narration: Sufyan reported to us on the authority of 'Amr that he had heard Sa'id b Jubair saying: I heard Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) saying that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said it. In this hadith it is said mahr is paid as recompense for sexual right. Why is it so?. Why is mahr paid in return for sexual relation? . Is it like prostitution where you have to pay for sex. And also why should husband pay mahr because wife also enjoys sex . So when both husband and wife are enjoying each other then why should husband pay mahr to have sex with wife?. Please clarify

Answer

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

The mentioned Hadeeth, as well as similar Ahadeeth that included this meaning do not mean in any way that the wisdom behind prescribing the dowry in marriage and making it obligatory on the husband is just for it being compensation in return for the husband’s sexual enjoyment of his wife. Rather, there are many pieces of wisdom other than this one. We will summarize some of what the scholars mentioned in this regard in the following points:

First: the dowry is an indication of the woman’s honorable status in Islam and a manifestation of the husband’s desire to marry her.

Second: it emphasizes the seriousness and significant status of the marriage contract.

Third: if the Sharee‘ah did not make the dowry obligatory on the husband, he could hasten to divorce and dissolve the marital bond for any slight reason, and this contravenes one of the most important objectives in Islam in prescribing marriage, namely continuity and stability of the marriage. On the other hand, the Sharee‘ah did not give the woman the right to issue a divorce so that she would not hasten to dissolve the marital bond for an insignificant reason, since women are mostly dominated by their emotions.

Thus, it becomes clear that there are many pieces of wisdom for deeming it obligatory on a husband to pay a dowry to his wife. This is proven by the fact that had the dowry been merely a compensation for sexual enjoyment, the woman would not have been entitled to half of the specified dowry if her husband divorced her before the consummation of marriage, and she would not have been entitled to the whole dowry if her husband died before the consummation of marriage. A Muslim, who submissively surrenders to Allah, The Exalted, has to listen and obey upon knowing that Allah, The Almighty, has made something obligatory, like paying a dowry to one’s wife. This is among the requirements and implications of true belief. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.} [Quran 4:65]

For more benefit on the wife’s right for dowry, please refer to Fatwa 398278.

Allah Knows best.

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