Q: what is the maximum time to give mehr to one’s wife and is it compulsion to give?
Time: Wednesday February 23, 2011 at 5:11 am
A: Allah (SWT) has awarded woman certain rights. These rights are to honor and cherish the wife and assist in building her self-esteem at the time of her departure from her home. When a woman leaves her home, the mehr functions as security and respect for her essence, it also conveys the trustworthy nature of her spouse.
Mehr is of two types:
- An agreement takes place wherein the mehr amount is agreed to be given over a period of time. To avoid a dispute, it is best to fix the amount and time period at the time of nikah in the presence of witnesses. It is not recommended to keep the wife in suspense regarding her religious rights. For a person to delay payment to the one s/he owes is Zulm (hadith paraphrased,) oppression would function as darkness of the day of Judgment (hadith paraphrased) by the perpetrator.
- Mehr that is to be given immediately — upfront. If the husband refuses to give the mehr upfront as agreed, she can deny him adult relations. The wife can also choose to not be under the Musafir status during travel or at her parents’ home under the conditions of travel if her mehr is not given to her. This shows the severity of not giving that which has been promised to her without valid reason. As in the case of adult relations, if she did succumb to adult relations prior to the awarding of mehr, for her to thereafter refuse adult relations would not be appropriate under the conditions of her not have valid justifications.
General (surface) rules as they relate to mehr in line of your query:
- The sooner he pays the better.
- If she forgives the mehr or reduces its amount then it would not be compulsory for him to give the original stated amount. Likewise, if a mature (in the full sense of the word) woman reduces the amount under the preferred state of witnesses, the reduced amount would qualify — this reduced or eliminated amount best be agreed upon in the presence of witnesses so as to eliminate a future dispute. These witnesses should be preferably those that were present at the time of nikah, or those individuals that have her best interest in mind.
- Mehr is compulsory (wajib) to give, one cannot deny its giving to the bride (if she seeks it/demands it.)
- If not given to her and she dies, it would go to her estate.
- If he dies prior to her, the mehr would be deducted from his estate and given to her.
- If he dies without leaving assets and intentionally did not pay it when Allah (SWT) blessed him with wealth and she does not forgive him, the man would be viewed as a sinner. The senior imams of the area can (and should) refuse to perform the janazah salah upon his body.
- To prevent his punishment, someone should pay it to her on his behalf.
Allah Certainly Knows Best.