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Are Presents Considered Part of the Bride`s Dowry?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
Are the presents given to the bride by the bridegroom`s family, on the wedding night, considered part of her dowry?

Answer:
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions. Presents offered to the bride on the wedding night aren`t considered part of the dowry because the dowry is documented in the marriage contract, as agreed by both parties. In general, if the bridegroom`s family gave them as presents, which become one's own property as soon as one receives them, then they aren`t permitted to take them back or their value since The Messenger of Allah said: "It is not permissible for anyone to give a gift then take it back, except a father with regard to what he gives to his son. The likeness of the one who gives a gift then takes it back, is that of the dog which eats then when it is full it vomits, then it goes back to its vomit."{Abu Dawoud}. However, if the gifts were considered part of the dowry then they become the bride`s own property in case marriage was consummated, but she gets half of the dowry if marriage wasn`t consummated. Moreover, if any of the two parties backed out of the engagement on the wedding night, then that party is obliged to give those presents back, if they were considered part of the dowry. Article(4/b) of the Jordanian Civil Status Law stated: "If any of the two parties backed out of the engagement or one of them died, then the suitor or his heirs have the right to take whatever was offered as part of the dowry, be that cash or in-kind, if available, or its equal value. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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