Husband stole the dowry and refuses to pay for Iddah maintenance

27 Dec 2020 Ref-No#: 2546

Assalamu alaykum warahmatulahi wabarakatu,

A girl was divorced because the husband and his family were abusing the girl, she had to be escorted out of their home at midnight with the help of the police.
This was in Ramadan this year. Her mahr has been stolen by her ex-husband,  and they are not paying the maintenance for her iddat

Please can you tell me what is the consequences of a person who steals his wife’s mahr and then divorces her and refuses to return it?

Also since a man is supposed to pay maintenance for the iddat period and he refused to pay it, does he automatically get absolved from his duty because he refused to pay her maintenance at the time of the woman sitting in her iddat? Or does it become a debt on his head which he owes her?

His Muslim lawyer is stating to our non Muslim lawyer that according to Islam the iddat period is over, so he does not need to pay her the maintenance which he refused to pay at the actual time of iddat. And since iddat is over he is now absolved of his duty.

Also the talaq was 1 irrevocable talaq
Not khula.

I would be very grateful if you would be able to assist us in providing us with the Islamic fatwa regarding this matter, as they are dragging on this matter since June when he gv the divorce.
And trying to bamboozle our non Muslim lawyer with false Islamic laws.

I want him to understand that Allah will not forgive him.

So he might get away here, but he will never be absolved in the court of Allah.

And his lawyer is not going to lie and say according to our religion he is absolved, which is what he is claiming.

So instead of arguing and wasting our time further, we will just give him the fatwa according to Islam and leave Allah to deal with him, therefore I wanted an official email, that our lawyer can give his lawyer on Monday.
And also we wanted it clearly stated the punishment Allah has decreed for such a person, so that they both fully understand the consequences of their actions..

What does Islam say regarding a man who steals his wife’s mahr, gives her 1 irrevocable talaaq and then doesn’t pay her maintenance for the required 3 months iddat period?

What does Allah say regarding such a person and the consequences of his actions?

Also what is the punishment for a person who intentionally helps an individual to oppress another Muslim unlawfully?


Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

  • Islamically, the dowry is from the most integral conditions of marriage. A marriage will not be valid without the dowry. It has been categorically stipulated in the most authentic source of Islamic law, the noble Quran, that the husband has to willing pay the dowry. Allah says: (interpretation of the meaning):

وَآتُواْ النِّسَاء صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً  (سورة النساء – 4)

“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “This refers to the Mahr (dowry).”

Due to the great emphasis on dowry, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) has warned about the great sin and punishment for not discharging the dowry. A companion of his said:

عن ميمون الكردي عن أبيه قال : سمعت النبي لا مرة ولا مرتين ولا ثلاثة حتى بلغ عشر مرار أيما رجل تزوج امرأة بما قل من المهر أو كثر ليس في نفسه أن يؤدي إليها حقها خدعها فمات ولم يؤد إليها حقها لقي الله يوم القيامة وهو زان (أخرجه الطبراني في المعجم الأوسط – 2/ 237)

“I heard the Messenger saying, not just once or twice, but tens of times: ‘Any person that gets married agreeing to pay the dowry, irrespective of whether it was a little or a lot, but then he does not  pay the dowry and deceives his wife, he will be regarded as a fornicator in the court of Allah, the almighty.” (al-Mu’jam al-awsat, 2 / 237)

In our classical books of Islamic rulings, it has been explicitly mentioned that the marriage is not even valid without dowry:

فلا جواز للنكاح بدون المهر عندنا…… قال أصحابنا : إن المهر شرط جواز نكاح المسلم  (بدائع الصنائع – 2/ 559)

“Nikah is not valid without dowry……Our companions state: ‘Dowry is a fundamental condition for the validity of a marriage” (Badaa’i as-Sanaa’I, 2 / 559 – Please bear in mind that this was used as an authoritative book for a student of law under the Ottoman Khilafah)

Such stress has been placed on the dowry, that in an unlikely situation if there were any invalid clauses in the contract of marriage (and hence the marriage is invalid), then too the average dowry is binding:

قوله ( وفي النكاح الفاسد إنما يجب مهر المثل بالوطء ) لأن المهر فيه لا يجب بمجرد العقد لفساده وإنما يجب باستيفاء منافع البضع وكذا بعد الخلوة لأن الخلوة فيه لا يثبت بها التمكن فهي غير صحيحة (البحر الرائق – 3/ 181)         

Being of this nature, when there were countries which followed the Shari’ah constitution, if a female did not receive her dowry, she had the option to sue her husband.

Even in present day Muslim countries, the wife may take the matter to court. Kindly refer to article 19 of the following paper which has been drafted by a certified United Nations agency:

Leading authorities in Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have clearly declared that it is the wife’s right to receive her dowry:

The leading scholar of Syria, Ibn ‘Abideen ash-Shami ruled:

فإن مهر المثل يجب بالعقد فكان حكما (رد المحتار – 3/ 100)

“The average dowry is compulsory as soon as the contract of Nikah takes place.’ (Radd al-Muhtaar, 3/100)

Shaykh Yusuf Ludhwani of Pakistan has declared that a husband who does not discharge the dowry is an oppressor and tyrant, and the government should use force and assist the wife in getting her rights. (refer to Aapke Masaail aur un ka hal, 5/285)

The aforementioned refers to a situation where the husband did not discharge the dowry, to begin with. Regarding the issue at hand, the husband gave the dowry and actually stole it. That essentially means he stole what belongs ENTIRELY to the wife. The obligation of returning the stolen with is emphasized much more.  

  • After divorce, a female has to remain in ‘Iddah (waiting period). The objective of this is to determine that she is not pregnant and carrying a child of the ex-husband. Since she is confined to the home, it is mandatory on the ex-husband to take care of the needs of his ex-wife during this period. This is also established from an emphatic commandment of the Noble Quran.

If the husband failed in his responsibility, the ex-wife can claim back the money which she spent on herself, if the following conditions were met:

  1. She did not refuse to stay at place the ex-husband has stipulated for her, and there was no valid reason for this rejection.
  2. She constantly demanded that he pays (can also be done in the form of sending statements, invoices etc)

If she did not demand or even request for her expenses to be paid, the ex-husband is then not obliged to pay back anything.

والمطلقة إذا لم تطلب نفقتها حتى انقضت عدتها سقطت كالمنكوحة (الاختيار لتعليل المختار- / 9)

If she spent the ‘Iddah in a place that he stipulated for her (or she had a valid reason not to stay there), and did request for her expenditure, but the husband did not discharge it, then the expenses remain as a debt on the husband.

والمعتدة إذا لم تأخذ أو لم يعط الزوج لها النفقة المفروضة حتى مضت العدة قال الإمام الحلواني المختار عدم السقوط (الفتاوى البزازية – 2/ 27)

It is obvious that even if the ex-husband does not take care of her maintenance, she will have to make her own means to survive. Therefore, the obligation does not fall away.

We conclude with a narration of Prophet  Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), where he said:

فلا بأس ولينصر الرجل أخاه ظالما أو مظلوما إن كان ظالما فلينهه فإنه له نصر وإن كان مظلوما فلينصر (أخرجه مسلم في صحيحه – 4/ 1998)       

“No matter, let a man help his brother whether he is wrong or being wronged. If he is oppressing others, then stop him, for that is supporting him. If he is being oppressed, then support him.”

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