Expecting the wife or her guardian to provide the dowry or accommodation is a custom that is contrary to sharee‘ah

A fatwa,issued from the supreme council of Islam,Saudi Arabia..

Question :

Its been a customary practice in my locality that during the time of marriage the girls parents build a house for their daughter and that both couples may live in that house.But in future if any problem occurs between husband and wife then the wife could still have her house while the male has no right to claim the house.This system was made lawful in my place to give security for females.

Now that am going to be engaged my Dad said that the fiancee’s family haven’t built a house yet.And dad fears that the fiancee’s parents haven’t come up with good security even for their daughter and he fears in future I might not get a good security from them as well.And dad said he will ask them for the house for both(me and fiancee) to live in.

I said since it is the husband who should give security to his spouse then it is not necessary for the fiancee’s parents to build the house.But i also said if they build it without our own demand let us take it and i said that after reading the following verse of the quran from surah Nisa 004.004 And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, Take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.

But in my situation I fear falling into dowry.Please sheikh kindly clear this doubt.Under the circumstance i have said is it right of my father to ask the fiancee’s parents to build the house for the girl so that we both can live in it?

Please reply shiekh for a long time i haven’t got any reply from u. But Allah knows hw busy u are.But please take some time to clear this for me.

Answer(Fatwa) :

Praise be to Allaah.

The dowry (mahr) is a right that the wife has over her husband, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allaah has made it lawful)”

[al-Nisa’ 4:4].

Al-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: What Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, meant by that is: Give the women their dowries as a gift that is required and obligatory.

And he said: It was narrated that Qataadah said, concerning the words “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart”: As an obligation. And it was narrated that Ibn Jurayj said concerning the words “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart”: As an obligation that is named (specified). And it was narrated that Ibn Zayd said concerning the words “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart”: al-nihlah (translated here as “with a good heart”, in the language of the Arabs, refers to something that is obligatory.

End quote from Tafseer al-Tabari, 4/241.

So it is not permissible to force the wife or her guardian to provide it, but if the wife takes it and then gives some of it to her husband or gives some of her wealth to him, it is permissible to her to do that, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allaah has made it lawful)”[al-Nisa’ 4:4].

Accommodation is also a right that the wife has over her husband, so he is obliged to provide her with separate accommodation according to his ability; that is part of the maintenance that he is obliged to provide. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Lodge them (divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means” [al-Talaaq 65:6]. If this applies in the case of a woman who is divorced, then providing accommodation for a woman who is still married is more appropriate. Moreover, Allah has enjoined kind treatment between spouses, as stated above. Part of the kind treatment that is enjoined is providing her with accommodation in which she and her wealth will be safe. The wife cannot do without accommodation in order to conceal her from people looking at her and so that she can settle down with her belongings. Hence accommodation is a right that she has over her husband.

The same may be said about accommodation as may be said about the dowry: it is not permissible to force the wife or her guardian to provide it.

Based on that, if the wife does not give accommodation, there is no room for demanding it from her. You should explain that to your father and not go along with the custom that is contrary to sharee‘ah. Allah has made the man the protector and maintainer of the woman, and one of the reasons for that is that he spends on her.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means” [al-Nisa’ 4:34].

See also the answer to question no. 45527.

And Allah knows best.

Source :  http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/145619

@ Indian Muslims,shame on you…I am 99.9% sure that even the suprememost Muftis and so-called champions of Islam was,is and will be religiously following the evil of dowry,all in the holy name of culture..But when it comes to other areas,like following culture as to chooce women’s attire,they turn away their face against  the very same culture..Then they are bothered about living in India,but following Saudi’s black gown.But for dowry,they are happy and do insisit on living in India and not following Saudi’s (muslims world’s in general) custom of not taking (grabbing) dowry,but instead give meher to wife.

I used to wonder watching the difference between Indian muslims and Arabian muslims(whome I have interacted with closely) ,in their attitude towards born girls and boys..For them, boys means expenditure and girls means revenue…

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  1. Hypocrisy exists in every society in the world, garbing unacceptable rituals in the the cloth of religion and sayings from scriptures.
    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post that brings to light the prevalent rituals and mindset of the people involved.
    A very sad scenario, but unfortunately law too has failed to get them in control despite the countless efforts made.

    • sunder
    • May 30th, 2010

    May be the Indian Muslims are influenced by Hindu custom of dowry….

    But let me tell you that the problem remains the same..whether you call dowry or meher….

    Many men are not able to get married because they dont have the money to give it to girls father…banks provide loan specifically for this too….the girls father on the other side always lookng for more money and hence doesnt care of the girls wishes….and father will say yes to person who gives more money….

    and subsequently you can see the effects of men not able to get married……..prostitution, crimes against women etc..

    • sunder
    • May 30th, 2010

    well my above comment is based on what i hear or listen to the frustrations we hear from locals in Oman, where most them have to work and not as wealthy as their counterparts in GCC…

    on the other side, men who are wealthy goes adding his partners….

    End of the day, be it meher or dowry ..only the men enjoy..be it husbands family in India or the girls father in arab countries…..

    I have this doubt, since you write lot about sharia law….Islam allows a person to marry 4 wives provided he gives equal right to all of them..to put it shortly….

    but according to me it is possible if a person who marries 4 at the same time…so that whatever is there can be equally shared..but when you marry one after another..the second one gets a share of what the first was enjoying? ….

    this is the thought i come across whenever i hear anything about marriage in Islam community…

    • That’s really sad. Why don’t the father’s keep in mind that a Muslim daughter has a right to choose who she marries? I blogged about this – some amazing, informative dialogues (relevant quotes) in Khuda Ke Liye.

  2. No religion follows its rules to the dot. Everyone takes a leaf from their books and change it to their likes and dislikes. Here, in India, Muslims and Christians follow the local rituals – they have blended it with their religion.

    I like muslims giving meher to the girl’s father and so the girl has an upper hand, unlike our Hindu religion. And nowhere in Hindu religious books, we are asked to take dowry from the girl’s parents. All these rituals are followed according to their wishes. Most of them are misused. Because of education, this dowry business is coming down.

    Thank you for the information about muslim rituals, I didn’t know these things in such detail.

  3. You’ve interpreted the Quran very well I must say…
    It’s a great idea that muslims give meher to the girl’s father. It provides complete security to girls.
    Here in India it’s the other way round, with all religions… The boys side take mercilessly from the girl according to their whims and fancies.
    It’s nice to see you write such nice things about Islam, very informative as I know particularly little about your religion.

  4. Nimmy, such useful information! :)
    Thank you for sharing this…

    I agree with what the others have said – most of the customs are inter-linked and have blended with the region its being practised in… so, we have people of all religions, walks of life taking Dowry and exploiting the system!

  5. I agree with Sunder. I loved what Naseeruddin Shah quoted in Khuda ke liye – a girl’s wish and the boy’s wish should be primary. The amount given to the girl as Meher should be kept safely for the girl – it’s true that it provides security to the girl, but it can mean that she gets the richest, not the most suitable husband :(

    Religion everywhere is strongly influenced by local customs – and always those in position of power interpret rules to suit themselves :(

  6. This was quite an eye-opener!! Religion has always been conveniently moulded to suit people’s needs! Nice post!!

  7. I think our society adopts whatever suits them and then changes interpretations of religious texts to suit them :(

    Sad, isn’t it, that an evil like dowry gets adopted so easily :( It is good that you put up these pieces of information.. Am sure it will percolate across slowly.

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