If a woman demands divorce before consummating the marriage, does she need to return the Mahr?

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In Islamic jurisprudence, the situation where a wife requests a divorce from her husband is known as “khula.” In a khula divorce, the wife seeks to dissolve the marriage, and in most cases, she must return the Mahr (dowry) or provide an agreed-upon compensation to the husband.

The concept is derived from the Quran and Hadith. The Quran mentions khula in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:229):

“And if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself.”

This verse implies that if a woman wants to end the marriage and fears that she cannot fulfill her duties as a wife, she can offer compensation to the husband, typically the Mahr, or a mutually agreed amount.

Furthermore, the Hadith also supports this practice. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is narrated that the wife of Thabit ibn Qais came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and said:

“O Messenger of Allah, I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or religion, but I, being a Muslim, dislike to behave in an un-Islamic manner if I remain with him.” On that, Allah’s Messenger said to her, “Will you give back the garden which your husband has given you (as Mahr)?” She said, “Yes.” Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Thabit, “O Thabit! Accept your garden, and divorce her once.”

This Hadith illustrates that the wife returning the Mahr is a condition of the khula.


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