A Dower (in the form of Dower or Dowry Articles), also known as Haq Mehr, is the gift exclusively given to the wife by her husband. The gift can be given at the time of the marriage, before the marriage, or after the marriage.

It is important to note that although this can be given before or on the day of the marriage, the right of this gift is fulfilled on the consummation of the marriage. If a marriage or nikah doesn’t have any dower involved, in a legal perspective, it would be considered irregular, but not void.

Quranic Quote on Haq Mehr, Dower and Dowry Articles
The Holy Quran, Chapter 4 (Surah Al-Nisa), Verse 4:- “Give women you wed their due dowries graciously. But if they waive some of it willingly, then you may enjoy it freely with a clear conscience

Important of Dowery in Islam

If we turn to Islamic principles on Haq Mehr, Dowery, and Dowry articles, they are important. In Fatawe-e-Almgiri it is an obligation imposed by law on the husband, which accounts for the following:-

  • A level of respect towards a wife.
  • To govern the power of divorce that a husband has by default, and his ability to engage in polygamy.
  • As a source of funds for the wife if she is divorced by her husband.

Kinds of Dower which make Dowery, Dowry Articles and Haq Mehr

There are many forms of Dower, which we detail here:-

  • Dower
    In Sunni law, there is a minimum amount of 10 dirhams, and in Shia law there is no minimum amount. This Dower can be in cash, or any other form. Hence, when gifts are exchanged at the time of marriage to the couple, anything that is given as a gift falls into Dowery article, which belongs to the wife.
    • Unspecified Dower
      • This refers to a customary or Mahr i Misl, when the amount of dower is not fixed in the marriage contract (the nikahnama). In this instance, she will still have a right to claim mehr, which would be calculated based on fctors including circumstances and social status of the wife.
    • Specified Dower
      • This is the amount of Dower that has been agreed by both parties either before or at the time of marriage. This is further divided into 2 sections:-
        • Prompt (Mu Ajjal) which is paid immediately, or before the nikkah.
        • Deferred (Mu Wajjal) which is deferred, to be paid after the nikah.

There can be no marriage without dower

Statement of Hazrat Ali (RA)

Pakistani Law on Dower

As we have seen above, Dowery is considered a debt due from the Husband to the Wife. The wife (if the Dower is not paid) could retain the husband’s property until it’s been paid.

Not only that, she (or her heirs) may even sue her husband (and his heirs) to recover it. Dower is a vested right of the wife, which she (and her heirs) can claim, during the marriage or even after the death of either or both parties. These should be mentioned in a prenuptial agreement for overseas clients marrying in or within Pakistan.

Wife could refuse herself to husband and live separate from him until prompt dower was paid by husband to her. During such separation, husband was duty-bound to maintain wife

1985 MLD 310