The Minimum Dower in four Madhabs

In the name of Allah,


Dowry is given to a woman by the man to legitimize the consummation of the marriage through sexual enjoyment with her. Mahr has different names namely, As sadaaq, a-mahr, al nihlah, al-fareedhah, al-hibaa, al-ajr, al-iqr, al alaaiq, al sadaqah, al-taul (bounty or gift), al-kharas(feast), and al nikaah( marriage)[I]. Mahr is the sole right of the woman.

Islamic Law has neither set a minimum nor a maximum for the dower. There are four different opinions with regard to the minimum amount of dower.


According to the first opinion, a dower must have at least 10 dirhams. The Hanafis have this viewpoint. They base their opinion on a weak hadith:

“There is no mahr less than ten dirhams.” [ Recorded by Al Bayhaqi with a weak chain]

This hadith was deemed weak by Hanafi scholar Al Zailai. Its weakness and inadequacy as evidence are confirmed by Ibn Rushd.  They also draw a comparison between the dower and the lowest amount for which a thief can have his hand cut. That must be the smallest amount that permits one to have sex with a lady since that is the lowest amount for which one would risk losing a limb. It is a “weak analogy,” according to Ibn Rush. He said:

‘This is a type of analogy that is rejected by traditionalists.’[ii]


The Second Opinion: According to the Malikis, the minimum required for a dower is three dirhams.

Imam An Nawawi said: All these opinions are not in agreement with the majority and contrary to Sunnah, their argument is invalid..’[iii]

The Third Opinion: According to this viewpoint, any type of “wealth” that the parties acknowledge is acceptable as a dower. In essence, this ruling states that there is no minimum amount necessary for a dower. This is the view of the Shafis, Hanbalis, Dhahiris, ibn Wahb of the Malikis, Ishaq ibn Rahuyah, Abu Thaur, al-Hasan al-Basri, al-Thauri, al-Auzai, and Saaed ibn al-Musayyab.

Imam al-Shafi’e narrated in his book al-Umm from Abu Yahyah that he said: ‘I asked Imam Rabeeah about the minimum Mahr, he said, any amount that is agreed on by both parties.  I said, ‘If it is only a Dirham?’  He said, ‘Even if it is half a Dirham.’  Then I said, ‘If it is less than that,’ he said, ‘Yes, even if it is a handful of wheat or a seed of wheat’. [Islamweb]


The Fourth Opinion: Anything of worth, whether it be anything tangible or immaterial, is accepted as mahr. This is the strongest viewpoint, in accordance with Ibn Al-Qayyim. In fact, it appears to be the only viewpoint that takes into account every relevant hadith.[iv]


Allah knows Best

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[i] The Fiqh of marriage in the light of the Quran and sunnah Covering the Dower, Wedding Night, Wedding Feast, and Rights of the Husband and Wife. Dr. Saalih Ibn Ghanim al-Sadlaan, Translated by Jamal-ad-din Zarabozo.

[ii] The Distinguished Jurist’s primer, Bidayat al Mujtahid wa Nihayat al Muqtasid, Ibn Rushd Vol 2- page 23

[iii] Sahih Muslim With Full Commentary By al-Nawawi, Vol 6 English, Al-Minhaj Sharh Sahih Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Sahih Muslim, With Full Commentary By Imam Al-Nawawi, Translated And Edited By Adil Salahi, The Islamic Foundation & Islamic Community Milli Gorus (ICMG), Australia​ Distributed By  Kube Publishing

[iv] The Fiqh of the Family, Marriage and Divorce, Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, page 143


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