Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Question: Assalamu alaykum
What to do if a husband does not want to pay a dowry signed in a marriage contract?
He cancelled my return flight to him so now he can keep ignoring me. The source of the marriage conflict is the fact I didn’t find comfortable living with his brothers in the same 2 bedroom flat (aged 40 and 35) and the fact that I couldn’t find a job.
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakauh.
I pray you are well.
The dowry is owed to you, and is seen as a debt due to you in the Shariʿa. Financial rights are treated with the utmost seriousness in Islam. So much so that a shahid – someone who sacrifices his life for Islam – is not pardoned the debts he owed people; and he will be kept from entering Paradise until he compensates the people he owes somehow.
The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Allah will pardon everything for the shahid – except debts.” (Muslim). This is the scenario for someone who has a high position with Allah. What about everyone else?
Enforcing the Law
In a Muslim state the judge can make the husband pay the dowry if he is refusing to do so. This may not be possible in your scenario. The best option would be to ask people who he respects to speak to him, and to try and persuade him to give you what is yours. If there is a legal route available to you, you can also try to get your right from him that way.
Should he fail to do so, know that he won’t get away with it; neither in this life, nor the next. If he does not return it then the best thing for you to do is to pardon him for the sake of Allah. This will cause you to be raised up – so you will get more than mere money. And if that money is part of your rizq, it will come to you no matter what.
Consult With Family
Given the difficult situation you are in, perhaps it will be better to consult with family and friends regarding the best course of action. Given that he has threatened to divorce you it may be more appropriate to consider where the marriage is headed, where you want it to be. That should be made a priority over recovering the dowry.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.
Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.
His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.
When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.