What is dower and also describe its different kinds?

(1) Introduction

Dower right of women is mandatory in Muslim marriage. Dower is a gift, which a husband pays to his wife. It is not essentially to be money, but it can be a valuable thing like property, ornaments or else, which is agreed between Muslim marriage partners. It is, in fact, a financial gain or gift, which any anything wife receives as a respect by virtue of marriage contract.

(2) Definition Of Dower

Dower can be defined as a sum of money or other property, which wife is entitled to receive from husband in consideration of marriage.

(3) Kinds Of Dower

Under Muslim law, dower is classified into following manner:

  • (i) Classification of dower according to fixing of dower-amount
  • (ii) Classification of dower according to payment of dower-amount

(i) Classification Of Dower According To  Fixing Of Dower-amount

As far as fixing of dower-amount is concerned, there are following two kinds of dower:

  • (a) Specified dower
  • (b) Proper dower

(a) Specified Dower

Specified dower can be defined as that amount of dower, which husband settles according to his liking. Even such amount can be beyond his means, and of such dower leaves nothing for his heirs.

(b) Proper Dower

When amount of dower is not fixed, wife is considered entitled to proper dower. Even wife remains entitled to such dower when marriage is contracted through this contract that wife will not claim any dower. In case of proper dower, dower-amount is determined according to that dower-amount, which has been given to wife’s sister.

(ii) Classification Of Dower According To Payment Of Dower-amount

As far as payment of dower-amount is concerned, there are following two kinds of dower:

  • (a) Prompt dower
  • (b) Deferred dower

(a) Prompt Dower

Prompt dower can be defined as that dower, which is payable on demand.

(b) Deferred Dower

Deferred dower can be defined as that dower, which becomes payable on dissolution of marriage either through death of husband or through divorce.

(4) Under What Circumstance Right Of Dower Is Established?

Under following circumstances, right of dower is established:

  • (i) Consummation of marriage
  • (ii) Valid retirement
  • (iii) Death of husband or wife

 (i) Consummation Of Marriage

Both Sunni and Shia schools of thought agree that right of dower is established through consummation of marriage. Wife becomes entitled to full dower after consummation of marriage. However, if wife is divorced before consummation, she remains entitled to half dower. But if husband dies before consummation, wife remains entitled to full dower.

(ii) Valid Retirement

Right of dower is established through valid retirement. However, Shia school of thought does not agree that right of dower is established through valid retirement.

(iii) Death Of Husband Or Wife

Both Sunni and Shia schools of thought agree that right of dower is established through death of husband or wife.

(5) Conclusion

To conclude, it can be stated that father of minor son can make a contract of dower and such contract remains binding on such son. In addition to this, dower can also be fixed after marriage, and wife possesses right to remit dower or any part of dower in favor of husband or his heir.

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