What is Mahr/dowry?
Mahr is an obligatory gift from the husband to the wife (usually of monetary value) for the wife to use as she pleases.
What is the minimum Mahr that must be given?
There is room for discussion as to what a bare minimum may be but there is some consensus that is should be no less than 10 dirhams (currently circa £200).
Does the Mahr need to be given at the time of the Nikkah?
No. The Mahr can be immediate, deferred or a mix of the two. It is however, deemed practice, to give something to the wife before the marriage is consummated.
If there is no Mahr stipulated in the Nikkah, will the Nikkah be invalid?
No. Mahr is a condition in a marriage contract. It does not affect the validity of the Nikkah contract itself.
What if Mahr was stated in the Nikkah but the husband hasn’t paid it?
The answer to this will vary depending on whether the parties have been alone together and whether the marriage has been consummated:
- If the marriage has been consummated, the wife is entitled to the full Mahr amount.
- If the parties were alone together but did not consummate the marriage through mutual choice then full Mahr is payable.
- If the parties were alone together but did not consummate the marriage due to obstacles beyond their control e.g. health conditions, then half Mahr is payable.
- If the parties were never alone together, then half Mahr is payable.
Where the wife is asking for a khula that is not due to the behaviour of the husband, then it is normal for the surrendered or paid back to the husband.
How much Mahr should be expected if no amount was stated in the Nikkah?
The customary dowry given to female members of the bride’s family should be used as a comparative figure for entitlement.
What are the legal remedies if the husband fails to pay the Mahr?
If the husband refuses to pay the Mahr, there is cause for a breach of contract claim, especially where there is a written Nikkah contract with a stipulated sum.
Where there is a legally recognised marriage in England and Wales, the Mahr can be considered as part of the financial divorce settlement.
If you need help with your financial settlement resulting from a breakdown of your marriage, we would suggest you contact Madia Aslam or one of our specialist Family team.