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Mahr (Arabic: مهر‎; also transliterated mehr, meher, or mahrieh) is a gift, mandatory in Islam, which is given by the groom to the bride upon marriage in Islamic cultures.[1] (in contrast to other cultures' bride price, which is paid to the bride's father). It is considered to be a form of appreciation, as well as providing certain guarantees for the woman.

The gift can be intangible or negligible, it can take the form of investments or real property. The mahr may also be divided into portions, one to be given to the bride at marriage, the other to be given to the wife if she is widowed or divorced.[2] It should be given according to the social status of the bride.[3]

Islamic scholars consider it as a way of emphasizing the importance of the marriage contract and preparing the husband to fulfill his marital responsibilities.[4] It also can be a form of protection against arbitrary divorce.

References in Islamic texts & of modern Muslim practices

Mahr is mentioned in the Qur'an, verse 4:4. The Encyclopaedia of Islam's entry on mahr states: "According to a tradition in Bukhari, the mahr is an essential condition for the legality of the marriage: 'Every marriage without mahr is null and void'."

Also, a narration in Sunan Abu-Dawud (a lesser collection of Hadith, as it contains some narrations of weaker verifiability) suggests that the mahr must be given prior to consummation:

  • Narrated a man from the Companions of the Prophet: Muhammad ibn Abdur-Rahman ibn Thawban reported on the authority of a man from the Companions of the Prophet: When Ali married Fatimah, daughter of the Apostle of Allah, he intended to have intercourse with her. The Apostle of Allah prohibited him to do so until he gave her something. Ali said: "I have nothing with me, Apostle of Allah." The Prophet said: "Give her your coat of mail." So he gave her his coat of mail, and then cohabited with her.[5]

In 2003, Rubya Mehdi published an article in which the culture of Mahr among Muslims was thoroughly reviewed [6].

See also

References

  1. ^ Qur'an, [Qur'an 4:24]
  2. ^ "Mahr" in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  3. ^ Joseph Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic Law, 2nd impression, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 167
  4. ^ Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i-Qur'an, 2nd ed., vol. 2, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986), p. 278
  5. ^ Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 11, #2121
  6. ^ "Danish law and the practice of mahr among Muslim Pakistanis in Denmark". International Journal of the Sociology of Law (Elsevier) 31 (2): 115–129. 2003. doi:10.1016/j.ijsl.2003.02.002.  
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