Dower is an obligation imposed upon the husband as a mark of respect for the wife. According to Mulla, a dower is a sum of money or other property which the wife is entitled to receive from her husband in consideration of marriage.[1] Dower when fixed by mutual consent after the marriage is known as mahr-i-tafweez. When fixed by the court, it is known as mahr-i-takkim.[2] The expression consideration is not to be interpreted in its general sense as used under Indian contract law because jurists consider it to be a token of love and affection towards the wife.

Hedaya defines Dower as a token of respect given by the husband to the wife as the time of marriage.[3] “Dower is also called as Mahr”.

Abdul Rahim, in his book Muhammadan Jurisprudence, states that “Mahr is either a sum of money or other form of property to which becomes entitled by marriage. It is not a consideration proceeding from the husband for the contract of marriage but it is an obligation imposed by the law on the husband as a mark of respect for the wife.[4]

Dower is considered to be an essential part of marriage. It may be settled prior to or at the time of or even after the marriage. Non-specification of dower at the time of marriage does not alter its validity.


The significance of dower lies in the fact that it provides protection to the wife against the inconsistent exercise of the power of divorce by the husband. Since Muslim law allows the husband to divorce the wife at his whims, the dower seeks to put a check on the arbitrary exercise of such power. It also acts as a check on the husband’s recklessness while having more than one wife.


  • An important part of women’s wealth, including the land
  • Declined in importance as a social institution.
  • Women may relinquish all part of the payment or discharge a husband from his obligation
  • Significant in the event of a divorce, for any deferred dower must be paid in full where the husband repudiates his wife.
  • If a wife seeks a judicial divorce, she is likely to lose any dower payment.

The term ‘consideration’ here is not used in the same sense as it is used in the Contract Act. In Mt. Fatima Bibi v. Lal Din, it was stated that under Muslim Law, dower is an obligation imposed on the husband, which he is bound to give as a mark of respect to the wife. This consideration is also called as ‘Mahr’ or ‘Sadak’ in legal treaties, and in common parlance ‘Dain Mahr’, dower debt.[5]


  1. Imposing an obligation on the husband as a mark of respect towards the wife.
  2. Placing a check on the capricious exercise of power of divorce by the husband.
  3. To provide for the subsistence of the wife after the dissolution of the marriage.


After the marriage, the right to dower immediately vests upon the wife Nevertheless, after such rights vest on their wife, it is up to her whether she enforces it on her husband or not. She has the power to remit or relinquish such right to the husband. So, a wife may be out of love or to gain the affection of her husband can remit such right to the husband.


Dower is an essential concept under Muslim Law. It can be concluded that dower is the mark of respect given to the wife by the husband. A Dower strengthens the position of a Muslim woman in society. Under the circumstance where the husband passes away the wife is entitled to the proper lien over the property this is often to make sure that her dower is paid by the legal heirs by way of their share to the property which is inherited by them from the husband. Hence, these are several modes of payment of dower to make sure that the Muslim woman doesn’t undergo too many hardships in life and is correctly supported after the marriage either when there’s a divorce or the husband passes away. Dower is an obligation under Muslim law, imposed upon the husband. Major object of the dower is to provide a wife for her subsistence after the dissolution of her marriage so that she may not become helpless after the death of the husband or termination of a marriage by divorce. Dower is considered to be an essential part of marriage. It may be settled prior to or at the time of or even after the marriage. Non-specification of dower at the time of marriage does not alter its validity. Therefore Dower is not a consideration for marriage, rather it is a token of respect from the husband to the wife.


[2] Id.


[4] Id.


Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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