Muslim marriages come with a set of customs, traditions, and laws that must be met. There are a number of things, including mahr (dowry,) that have changed in concept with time.

According to several hadiths, Prophet Mohammad stated the dowry - a mandatory payment in the form of money or possessions given by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage - could range from a "simple iron ring to a piece of gold."

However, the prophet has mentioned that "the best of [dowries] is the simplest [or most affordable]."

Today, families are demanding much more, as mahr has become a safety net for women prior to marriage. Society believes the higher the mahr, the more committed the man is. 

In reality, dowries have become a source of problems prior to marriage. In 2014, over 2,000 families in Sharjah fought over demands for high dowries, according to The National.

Source: Ajel

It has even caused problems prior to divorce. 

When a Muslim woman forcefully divorces her husband - also known as kulh in Arabic - she does have to remunerate him with money he paid as dowry. 

According to the Egyptian Dar Al-Ifta, this is "because the mahr (dowry) is paid by the husband to his wife in return for a gain or benefit he receives as a result of the marriage. When the marriage is terminated at the wife's request, that benefit or gain ceases to exist and he is therefore entitled to compensation."

From a legal aspect, Saudi lawyer Bayan Zahran has said that while many husbands can cash back on their dowries when their wives file for divorce, there are conditions to that. 

Speaking to Sayidaty Magazine, Zahran explained that if a woman can prove she was mistreated during her marriage, she doesn't have to pay back her dowry. 

This week, an Arabic hashtag titled "how much do you demand as dowry?" sparked a discussion online, drawing polarized reactions from women in the Arab world.

"I am not for sale" is being reiterated

"First of all, I'm not a gift"


"What's more important than dowry is a man who lives up to his word"

"Marriage is not an ATM so we shouldn't demand money from it"

"Marriage is when two souls meet, when comfort becomes everything, and when responsibilities are shared and taken seriously."

Quality > Quantity

"Marriage is not about the value of money paid, but the quality of the person you are marrying. It all comes down to your partner being mature, cultured, and sane."

Some believe "mahr" to be a form of prostitution

"The dowry is a form of prostitution. You [women] take money in exchange for sexual intercourse [with a man]. Shame on you."

"It's degrading and objectifies women"

Some believe women "misunderstand" the concept of dowry

"Mahr as a gift"

"Stay away from hefty dowries"

"Before you demand the dowry, ask God for success, satisfaction and happiness. The dowry is a right, however one must be reasonable when discussing the amount. You're better off staying away from hefty dowries." 

Some women believe they "deserve" a certain amount

"Honestly I deserve 200,000 riyals ($53,327) and whoever isn't happy with that can bang their head against a wall."