Would it be valid if a woman asked for a dowry and stipulated that it is conditional upon the husband’s death only?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

Would it be valid if a woman asked for a dowry and stipulated that it is conditional upon the husband’s death only? I.e., if he passes away, it must come from his estate as a debt, but if she passes away before him, he owes her nothing, and it won’t go into her estate.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to what pleases Him.

The described conditions are not valid, and Allah knows best.

Ownership of the Marriage Payment

The bride automatically possesses the marriage payment (mahr) when expressly stipulated in the marriage agreement, whether validly stipulated or invalidly.

If valid, she owns the amount stated, while if invalid, she owns the amount typically received as marriage payment by similar brides (for example, other women in her family). She may dispose of it when she accepts it, and her ownership of it is finalized when her husband has sexual intercourse with her, after which none of it is refundable, or when one of them dies before they have had intercourse. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

I pray that this benefits and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.