Unpaid mahr after divorce
Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam
>There is a couple that has divorced Islamically. He has not paid mahr to
>her as of yet as they agreed to have it delayed. Now they are divorced and
>seeking the civil divorce at this time, he is preparing to pay mahr. Within
>the five years of marriage, he has given money to her father not as zakat or
>a loan but as sadaqa or simple charity. Does this amount count as towards
Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The marriage payment or dowry (mahr) is the right of the wife/bride by which she is honoured and formally entered into wedlock (nikah).
Allah Most High says:
“Give them (women) their dowers.” (Surah al-Nisa, 24)
Hence, the husband is obliged to pay off this dowry, especially after divorce. If the marriage was consummated, then the full amount will have to be paid, otherwise the husband will have to pay half of the stipulated amount.
Allah Most High says:
“And if you divorce them before consummation, but after the fixation of a dower for them, then the half of the dower (is due to them), unless they remit it” (Surah al-Baqarah, 237)
This dowry is the right of the wife and must be paid to her and not her family. What the man gave the girl’s father as gift will not form part of the dowry, for it was not given to the girl, and also because it was given as gift. However, if the man clearly stated at the time of giving the money to the girl’s father that this is the dowry for his daughter, then it will be considered as dowry.
Therefore, you state that over the period of five years he gave his wife’s father money as simple charity (which in effect is a gift), hence this money will not form part of the dowry, and the husband will have to give his ex-wife the stipulated amount of dowry.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
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