Giving Dowry is Obligatory
“And give the women their dower in good cheer. Then, if they give up some of it out of their own sweet will, you may have it to your advantage and pleasure.”
In the previous ayah, the objective was to remove the injustice done to women through the multiplicity of marriages. This ayah takes up a particular right of women and aims to remove the injustice practiced in this matter. This is the right of mahr (dower).
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported Ibn Abbas saying, Nihlah, in Allah’s statement,
وَءَاتُواْ النِّسَآءَ صَدُقَـتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً
“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Saduqat Nihlah” refers to the dowry.
As for the word, “saduqat” appearing in the ayah, it is the plural form of saduqah. The words, saduqah and sudaq signify the mahr of women.
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated from Az-Zuhri that Urwah said that A’ishah said that Nihlah means `obligatory’. Muqatil, Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj said, `Nihlah’ means `obligatory’ Ibn Jurayj added: `specified.’
Ibn Zayd said, “In Arabic, Nihlah, refers to what is necessary. So Allah is commanding: Do not marry unless you give your wife something that is her right. No person after the Prophet is allowed to marry a woman except with the required dowry, nor by giving false promises about the dowry (intended).” Therefore, the man is required to pay a dowry to his wife with a good heart, just as he gives a gift with a good heart. If the wife gives him part or all of that dowry with a good heart, her husband is allowed to take it, as it is lawful for him in this case. This is why Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said afterwards,
فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَىْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْساً فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئاً مَّرِيئاً
“But if they, of their own pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm.”
The words hanian and marian appearing at the end of the ayah are attributive modifiers. The word, “hanian” means something received without having to go through labor and pain. The word “marian” is also used in the same sense.