Can the mahr amounts due upon death and divorce be different?

Given the fact that if I die and the woman is still my wife she will also inherit from me.

A man wants to marry a woman. And what he says is, I'm going to marry you and pay a mahr.

Part of that mahr is going to be given at the time of the marriage, traditionally known as muqaddam, which means forwarded or up front. And there's a mu'akhr mahr which many families stipulate to be due upon death or divorce.

Can the amounts due upon death and divorce be different, given the fact that if I die and the woman is still my wife she will also inherit from me.

I'm going to say that would not be allowed, and the reason being is that mahr cannot be an indeterminate amount.

Whenever it is an indeterminate amount, it reverts to being mahr al mithil, or the mahr of the like thereof of a woman's family.

So by saying that let's just use numbers. I'll give you $5,000 as upfront mahr and if I divorce I will give you $10,000.

And if I die, I will only give you another $5,000.

Here, the total amount of mahr is either $10,000 or $15,000.

But it's indeterminate.

And the law of contract in Islam states that a contract's price, the amount that's due in a contract, must be known, must be designated, and determinable before that contract ends.

And the normative basis for all contract law is the sales contract in Islam, not that marriage is a sale, but that the idea of contract theory comes from a sales contract to begin with.

The prophet said in the Hadith of I believe it's narrated from Simak ibn Harb from I want to say Abu Huraira in the Sunan of Abu Dawood rahimahu allahu ta'ala, that the Prophet alayhi salatu wa salam said whoever sells two sales in one must take the lower of the two sales or it is riba. Meaning that a man goes and he wants to buy a car or he wants to sell a car and he says, look, I'll sell it to you for $5,000 or $6,000.

And they, the guy takes the car and he agrees. He goes back later on to give him the money. He's going to give him $5,000.

The seller says no, where are you getting $5,000?

You said $5,000 or $6,000?

He goes yes, or $6,000.

So, I'm going to demand $6,000.

Here, the price of the contract was indeterminate from the time it was formed.

Therefore, the person has to take the lower of the two amounts.

Or the extra that he has taken would be riba.

So in order to avoid this you should make sure that the amount of mahar is reasonable, also that the amount of the muakhar is not an unreasonable amount.

It's not punitive to simply try to prevent divorce because you certainly don't want to prevent divorce in the instance where it's a bad marriage.

That's why divorce was legislated.

At the same time, you want to make the mahr enough to be seriously considered to be weighty and so that the husband takes it serious.

I've seen lots of men, the moment a woman mentions a very low mahr to them, they don't take it serious. So the mahr should be substantive enough to be taken serious, should be easy enough for him to actually be able to pay it. And it has to be determined in it's amount and price and times it would be paid. And so having a different price for death and then for divorce would not be allowed.

Allah knows best.

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