Question # 151: Is a marriage valid without a Mahr? No Mahr was ever decided upon or mentioned at the time of the Nikah?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The mahr is a woman’s right. Although, it is valid to do the marriage contract (nikah) without mentioning the mahr or mentioning it without specifying the amount, the wife is entitled to a mahr like that of her peers by virtue of the marriage contract, and the amount is to be specified by the judge. If the husband and wife agree upon something before that, that is permissible as well. Furthermore, if a woman of sound mind and of full legal age wants to waive this right of hers, there is no objection in that at all. 

Long Answer: Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni: Marriage is valid without stating the dowry according to the opinion of most of the scholars. That is indicated by the verse in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet you have not touched (had sexual relation with) them, nor appointed unto them their Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage)” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:236). It was narrated that Ibn Mas‘ood was asked about a man who married a woman but did not state what her dowry would be (did not “appoint unto her mahr”), and he did not consummate the marriage with her before he died. Ibn Mas‘ood said: She is entitled to a dowry like that of her peers, without exaggeration or falling short, she has to observe the ‘iddah and she is entitled to inheritance. Ma‘qil ibn Sinaan al-Ashja‘i stood up and said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) issued a verdict concerning Birwa’ bint Waashiq, one of our womenfolk, that was similar to your verdict. (Narrated by Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhi, he said: A hasan sahih hadith)”

It says in Zaad al-Mustaqni‘: “It is valid to do the marriage contract without mentioning the mahr or mentioning it without specifying it. The wife is entitled to a mahr like that of her peers by virtue of the marriage contract, and the amount is to be specified by the judge. If they agree upon something before that, that is permissible.”

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The words “If they agree upon something before that, that is permissible” mean: if they agree on it without referring to the judge, they have the right to do that. In other words, there is nothing wrong with that. So if they say: Why should we go to the qadi? Let us agree on something between ourselves, and the husband offers a mahr of one thousand, and she asks for two thousand, and some people intervene and suggest one thousand five hundred, and so on, there is nothing wrong with that, because they have the right to any agreement they reach. (ash-Sharh al-Mumti’)

(The above answer is based on answer provided by Islamqa.info on similar topic)

Al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “…When a man marries a woman without a dowry, then the woman must be given a substitute for a monetary dowry: It is permissible (for example,) to marry a woman on the understanding that he will teach her something from the Qur’an or Hadith, or some kind of useful knowledge. This is because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) married [Sahl bin Sa’d (رضي الله عنه)] to the woman who offered herself to him, on the understanding that he would teach her something from the Qur’an, when he could not find any wealth. The dowry is a woman’s right; but when she waives this right, if she is of sound mind and of full legal age, that is correct, according to the Words of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى): “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr 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 Allah has made it lawful). (Soorah An-Nisa, 4:4) (Fatawa Islamiyah)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam