Is this the best mahr in the world?

Muslim woman signs marriage contract

Muslim bride signs the marriage contract.

Hiba Ammar writes:

When my father proposed to my mother, he dedicated Surah Al-Imran, which he memorized by heart, as her “Mahr” (dowry).

Many years later, when my husband proposed to me, my father told him that he would have to memorize a surah of the Quran as my mahr. The wedding would not take place unless I received my mahr.

I was asked to pick one of the surahs. I chose Surah Al-Noor, for all the laws that surah contained within it and for the fact that it seemed hard to memorize on my behalf.

Before our wedding day, besides being busy preparing for our “newlywed nest”, my husband was constantly memorizing Quran. The Quran did not leave my husband’s hand an entire month as he was memorizing the surah.

A few days before our wedding day, my husband came to recite to my father the surah which he had completed.

My father told him every time you make a mistake, you must start from the beginning all over again :))

My husband began reciting Surat Al-Noor with his calm and gentle voice in such a beautiful scene which I will never forget. My mother and I would look at one another and would smile awaiting my husband to make a mistake so he would have to start all over again and by that increase my reward.

But my husband – may Allah bless him – had memorized the surah by heart and didn’t forget one single verse.

Once he finished my father hugged him and said to him: “Today I shall marry my daughter to you, for you have fulfilled her mahr and your pledge to me.”

He didn’t pay me a financial mahr… And we didn’t buy gold worth tens of thousands. He sufficed me with Allah’s words as an oath/contract between us.

The question is…. I wonder what surah my daughter will chose as her mahr in the future? Editor’s Comments:

What do you think of this practice? Some have pointed out that the mahr is required in Islam because it provides some financial security to the bride in case of divorce. Therefore reciting a surah a as a mahr bypasses this important function.

Also, a substantial monetary mahr may restrain the husband from divorcing too quickly or in a moment of anger, as he will lose his investment, so to speak.

Others feel that in a world consumed by materialism and greed, this practice reminds us of what is truly important. It also avoids placing an undue burden on a young groom who may not be wealthy or who is just getting started in his career.

What do you say, readers?

Wael Editor

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  1. AsSalaamu Alaikum,

    I think the idea may be good in some cases, as it may reveal some covers to know serious men, and plus it may take only a serious Muslim man to agree to memorize a surah from the Holy Quran. Perhaps, the father was testing the brother to see how serious he is.

    However, this may depend on two things:

    -1- The nature of the woman. If she is the type that is rich already, then something other than money may be beautiful for her, and there is nothing more beautiful than the Holy Quran in the sight of a good Muslimah.

    -2- The nature of the mahr in the country. In some countries, the mahr may be less expensive. In this case, it’s not a matter of money that can support the woman after divorce, and therefore accepting the Holy Quran as a mahr sounds good for many Muslimah.

    When the mahr is less expensive, it opens doors to many divorces in the society since no one paid much to marry the woman. So in this case, marrying a man who will teach you a surah that he has memorized sounds great for some Muslimah, since that indicates his closeness to the Deen, which may also prevent him from divorcing his wife for no reason.

    In the end, it’s the right of the woman to reject any Mahr that she is not pleased with, regardless of whether it’s the Holy Quran or anything else. Allah Has allowed her this right, and it must be accepted and respected by her Wali (Guardian) and her prospective husband.

    Allah knows best.

  2. i received a financial mahr that would protect me in the case of divorce which i think islamically is there for good and practical reason. i would have added the surah as a stipulation as well but i always believe a man should provide a financial safety net for the woman to marry period.

  3. This should not be the practice of Mahr. Because Rasool Allah PBUH established the practice of giving monetary Mahr.

    If a person wants this kind of thing, than this can be added as a condition in Nikah contract itself., outside of Mahr.

    • There is a Hadith to support this practice. A man wanted to get married but didn’t have anything to give as a maher, So he was asked by Prophet (Peace be upon him) How much of the Quran he knew? He can give it as the maher

  4. i think this is actually a example of a gud marriage. ok if its in quran and hadees to pay mehr in amount ( currency or gold or something else) i wont deny. but dont u think that if a woman is such pious that she ask groom to recite the surah as mehr and the brother he accepted that and learn & recite with out any mistakes, he is also such pious man. and if there is love between wife and husband for the sake of ALLAH. then i think divorce matter wont rise between such couples..
    n who love for the sake of ALLAH they support their spouse in every each way.
    i think divorce are for them who indulge themselves in world desires leaving behind the Islamic teaching.

    • The last sentence hits the nail on the head. If people have Iman, divorce is impossble.

  5. Assalamu’alaykom!

    I am SO glad I stumbled upon this. I’m a nineteen year old girl and I think this idea is wonderful. I grew up with a rather strong dislike of the whole dowry business and years ago I came to the realisation that I don’t want one. I’ve always thought that if someone ever paid a dowry for me, it would feel as if I’m being bought, as if once he has paid it I am his (property) to do with as he pleases and that I would have no freedom to walk out on the marriage in case I found my husband to be unsuitable. And I never liked it.

    But this seems lovely! It wouldnt make me feel trapped, or the man in question (in case he decides he doesn’t want to live with me). And I would not in any way feel as if I’m being bought. Furthermore it would show that he is serious in his intention to marry me and it would show good religious character, which for me is a must.

    Jazakomu Allahu Khairan for posting this and the sister for sharing her story.

  6. I think this is an unbalanced approach to the fiqh of marriage in Islam.
    This mahr of teaching the surah to the bride advised by the Prophet was because the bridegroom had nothing “material” to offer to the bride as her mahr not even a brass ring.
    Now here also it should be according to the merit of the situation which is that bridegroom must try his best to give a mahr acceptable to the bride without any thirdparty intervention b/w them.
    Any any sort of otherwise will be misunderstanding of the figh of islamic marriage as i’ve mentioned earlier !!

  7. Prophet said : “most blessed of the weddings are those with low mahr”.

    but this must be with the mutual consent by heart of both bride and bridegroom.

    Also there are no hard and fast rules to specify a “good” mahr
    as it is evident from the versatlity of the marriages akin to mahr in Prophets time and the best generations who followed.

    And we should never forget the incident in Omar’s reign when once he decided to make a law of establishing a fixed amount of mahr that all types of people in society would have to abide by..

    Whereby an old woman whom ALLAH told the true understanding of the matter said :

    “O Omar ! How can you fix it when neither ALLAH nor HIS Prophet fixed that.” and ALLAH says :

    “… whoever is given expanded provision should spend accordingly”.

    On hearing this Omar said:

    “Surely Omar was wrong and this women is right”.

    In the end best of muslims are those who lead a life balancing in materialism and spirtuality in the light of essence of islamic teachings.
    And ALLAH knows best !!!

  8. which surah is best to memorize as mehar?

    • Javeria, the best mahr is something of actual material value. It is a gift given to honor the wife, and is also intended to provide some financial security to the wife in case of instability in the new marriage, or divorce, or the husband’s passing. The scholar Nilofar Ahmed writes, “These days, marriages are being conducted with great pomp and show in which a great deal of wealth is squandered. If, instead of spending so much on unnecessary items, top priority is given to the payment of mehr, it would mean fulfilling a religious obligation. It would also be more in line with the Quranic injunctions and the example of the Prophet, and could provide some security to the bride, especially if she can invest the amount profitably.”

      Wael Editor

  9. When planning to memorize and recite a surah as mehar, can a monetary amount be also added at the same time as mehar?
    For example, can mehar be in the form of a surah + cash, or does it only have to be one of those?

    JazakAllah khair

    • It can be both. And while it is acceptable to recite a surah as mahr if the husband is penniless, it is much better to offer something of monetary value.

      Wael Editor

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