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Question:

Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. Regarding the matters related to dowry, there was a time where the memorization of the Quran is given as dowry. However, now dowry must be in the form of a property. What is your opinion regarding this? And what is the meaning of the memorization of the Quran as a dowry? Hope for an explanation from you, thank you.

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The author of al-Fiqh al-Manhaji state: Dowry or al-Sadaq (الصداق) is an obligated property given by a husband to his wife after aqad for marriage. It is named as sadaq indicating that the man really wanted to get married.

It is an obligation for a husband as soon as aqad is complete, whether the amount of the dowry is stated or not during the aqad. Even if it is agreed that there should not be any dowry, the agreement is void and the dowry is still an obligation.

This is in accordance with the statement of Allah SWT:

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً

And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously.

Surah al-Nisa’ (4)

Ibn Kathir said: According to Ibn Abbas, the word النحلة means mahar (dowry). Ibn Zaid further explains, it means something that is obligated to be given to the wife due to aqad for marriage. A man is obligated to give marriage gift to his wife graciously. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 2/235)

Is it permissible to give the memorization of the Quran as dowry?

For dowry or mahar, it is originally referred to something. For example, a person has the knowledge to teach others to recite the Quran and others, then it is permissible.

However, the condition for dowry is giving something. The Prophet PBUH said:

الْتَمِسْ وَلَوْ خَاتَمًا مِنْ حَدِيدٍ

"Go and search for something) even if it were an iron ring."

Sahih al-Bukhari (5135)

Even if it is an iron ring, it is something that we can see and this is the real meaning of dowry.

Referring back to the question of a dowry is the memorization of the Quran, it means a husband teaches his wife to recite the Quran until she is able to recite the Quran. This is stated in a hadith:

From Sahl bin Sa’ad RA, he said:

أَتَتِ النَّبِىَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ امْرَأَةٌ فَقَالَتْ إِنَّهَا قَدْ وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلَّهِ وَلِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ: مَا لِى فِى النِّسَاءِ مِنْ حَاجَةٍ. فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ زَوِّجْنِيهَا. قَالَ: أَعْطِهَا ثَوْبًا. قَالَ لاَ أَجِدُ. قَالَ: أَعْطِهَا وَلَوْ خَاتَمًا مِنْ حَدِيدٍ. فَاعْتَلَّ لَه. فَقَالَ: مَا مَعَكَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ. قَالَ كَذَا وَكَذَا. قَالَ: فَقَدْ زَوَّجْتُكَهَا بِمَا مَعَكَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ

A lady came to the Prophet () and declared that she had decided to offer herself to Allah and His Apostle. The Prophet () said, "I am not in need of women." A man said (to the Prophet) "Please marry her to me." The Prophet () said (to him), "Give her a garment." The man said, "I cannot afford it." The Prophet said, "Give her anything, even if it were an iron ring." The man apologized again. The Prophet then asked him, "What do you know by heart of the Qur'an?" He replied, "I know such-andsuch portion of the Qur'an (by heart)." The Prophet () said, "Then I marry her to you for that much of the Qur'an which you know by heart."

Sahih al-Bukhari (4741)

In a narration by Muslim, it is stated:

انْطَلِقْ فَقَدْ زَوَّجْتُكَهَا فَعَلِّمْهَا مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ

“Go, I have married her to you, and you teach her something of the Qur'an.”

Sahih Muslim (1425)

Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah said:

وَفِي هَذَا الْحَدِيث دَلِيل لِجَوَازِ كَوْن الصَّدَاق تَعْلِيم الْقُرْآن

“In the above hadith, there is a wisdom of which it is permissible to give dowry in the form of lessons of the Quran.” (See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 9/214)

May Allah SWT bless us with understanding in practising His commandments. Amin.