What are the types of Mahr for Nikah and how is it calculated?

Q. What are the types of Mahr for Nikah and how is it calculated?

A. One of the many rights of a woman upon a man at the time of Nikah is Mahr (Dowry). Allah Ta’ala states in the Quran, “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (Dowry) with a good heart.” (Surah Nisaa; V: 4)

Hereunder are three types of Mahr (Dowry):

1) Minimum Mahr: The minimum Mahr stipulated for a woman is 10 silver coins (dirhams). This is equivalent to 30.615 grams of silver and R405 (as of November 17, 2020). A man cannot give a woman less that this amount as Mahr. Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “There is no Mahr less than 10 silver coins (dirhams)” (Baihaqi)

There is no maximum limit for Mahr. However, it is disliked in going to extremes in asking and giving exorbitant amounts of Mahr.

2) Mahr of the wives of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam: The Mahr that Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam gave to most of his wives was 500 silver coins. This is equivalent to 1530. 9 grams of silver and R20 100 (as of November 17, 2020). It is preferable (Mustahab) for a man to give a woman 500 silver coins at the time of Nikah if he can afford it.

Sayyiduna Abu Salama Radhiyallahu Anha says that she asked Aaisha Radhiyallahu Anha: “What was the amount of dower of Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam?” She said: “It was twelve ‘uqiya and one nash (Islamic measurement).” She said: “Do you know what is a nash?” I said: “No.” She said: “It is half of an ‘uqiya, which amounts to five hundred silver coins (dirhams), and that was the dower given by Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam to his wives.” (Sahih Muslim)

3) Mahr of Fathimah Radhiyallahu Anha (Mahr Fathimi): This refers to the Mahr given to Sayyidatuna Fathimah Radhiyallahu Anha by Sayyiduna Ali Radhiyallahu Anhu. One view holds that the amount given was the same as the Mahr of the wives of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam (500 silver coins) while another view holds that its amount is 480 silver coins.

N.B.  Several Ulama bodies use the former view in calculating the Mahr Fatimi. In doing, the practice of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in giving Mahr is incorporated as well.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa