Sunday, April 14, 2024
No menu items!

Unpaid mahr and court divorce

Fatwaa ID: 1065




A husband and wife were happily married, but they had severe interference from wifes family in marital affairs, then comes a point when the husband finds a job out of state, and plans to move not only to stay away from interference but also grow in career, wifes family seriously opposes relocation and threatens husband with filing for divorce if he moves, husband tries to reconcile to keep family together and explain reasons for his decision, eventually wife also gets concerned and due to family pressure leaves the husband alone at home and goes to her parents so he can change his mind, now the husband is all alone in his home, without anyone around, and his wifes also left, and asking husband to change his mind and not accept new job, husband still tries to reconcile and meet her family members, but they didn’t respond well, since wife has already left, and declines to listen further, eventually after severe distress of going alone through this, the husband decides to leave the city moved to a different state, he still tries to stay in touch with wife, but wife behaves rudely and does not respond good to messages/ any communication; now the question is;

Given above situation, the husband/wife had marital relation for 8-10 months, no kids, also husband did not abandon her, but she initially left the house, then her family doesn’t reconcile but threatened that if he leaves they will file a divorce in court, which they ended up filing after 6 months of separation in the court and sent husband the papers to sign, *now question is, *

Is husband obliged to pay her due mahar? None of the amount was paid.

They get a conflict of opinion, some scholars says half of mahar will be due since they lived together, some say, there is none due, since she initiated it and was her decision to separate and file divorce. Please advise the best answer with regards to quran/ sunnah in the context of given background.


In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

We take note of the details of your query. There are two aspects to your query: unpaid mahr and court divorce.

  1. We understand that the couple had consummated the marriage, i.e., khalwah saheehah was found. Accordingly, the wife is entitled to full mahr. The husband must pay her the agreed mahr in full amount and it remains a debt on him until paid. The future divorce or marital issues are irrelevant to this and would not absolve him of this, unless she voluntarily pardons him.
  2. In principle, a court or civil divorce does not constitute an Islamic divorce (talaaq). The judge presides over the rulings and implications of a civil divorce. He does not have jurisdiction over a Shar’ee divorce (talaaq) and neither is that his mandate. If the husband signed the civil divorce documents and also intended a Shar’ee talaaq, then only will talaaq take place. If he did not intend talaaq while signing the documents or did not utter any words of talaaq, then talaaq will not take place even if the husband initiated the divorce proceedings. The nikaah will remain valid despite the legal divorce decree. For talaaq to be effective, the husband must issue a talaaq to his wife, verbally or in writing.

In the enquired situation, the nikaah is still valid unless the husband signed the court documents with the intention of talaaq or he issued her a talaaq. Both families must fear Allaah Ta’aala and abide by the laws of Shari’ah. They may be able to get away in this world through legal law, but they will not be able to get away in the court of Allaah Ta’aala. If an Islamic divorce did not take place and the wife goes on to marry someone else in consideration of the legal divorce, she will be living a life of zinaa.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


Darul Iftaa New York answers questions on issues pertaining to Shari’ah. These questions and answers are placed for public view on for educational purposes. The rulings given here are based on the questions posed and should be read in conjunction with the questions. Many answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation. 

Darul Iftaa New York bears no responsibility with regard to its answers being used out of their intended contexts, nor with regard to any loss or damage that may be caused by acting on its answers or not doing so.

References and links to other websites should not be taken as an endorsement of all contents of those websites. 

Answers may not be used as evidence in any court of law without prior written consent of Darul Iftaa New York.