Date : 21-05-2012

Question :

My husband passed away after concluding marriage contract, but before consummation of our marriage, and we had no privacy together. My advanced portion of the dower is three thousand JDs while the deferred portion is five thousand. Upon conclusion of our marriage contract, the Ma`adoon Al-Chari (The individual authorized to certify marriages and preside over divorce by mutual consent) asked me: "Have you received your dower? I replied: yes, I have," However, the fact is that I haven't. Moreover, my late husband had a car and bought me Shabak (Jewelery traditionally presented by the groom to his bride), which is worth (1214 JDs). In light of the above, what are my rights in my late husband`s estate?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

A wife is entitled to all her dower (Advanced and deferred portions) upon death of her husband, whether he died before or after the consummation of marriage. Moreover, she is entitled to receive her dower from the husband`s estate before the division of the inheritance because it is a debt owed by him to her. Regarding division of inheritance, Allah says, " (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debt” [An-Nisaa`, 11].

It is stated in Moghni Al-Mohtaaj, V.15:205: "When someone dies, the first thing to be done is paying the funeral expenses from his estate, then his debts." Al-Shirbini says, "The first thing to pay from the deceased`s estate is funeral expenses, then debts owed by him to Allah (E.g. Zakah, obligatory fast, obligatory Hajj….) or to people, because they are rights for which he is liable. This whether he-while alive-gave permission for this or not." {Moghni al-Mohtaaj, V.3:4}. This is stipulated in Article (43) of the Jordanian Civil States Law, and it states as follows: "If a dower is specified in a valid marriage contract, it must be paid upon death of either spouse, even before consummation of marriage, Khilwa (privacy)or upon divorce after valid privacy with wife and enjoyment of Mufakhaza "Khilwa Sahihah"." As for Shabka which is worth (1214 JDs), if it is part of the dower, then it is deducted from the wife`s share in the dower. If not, then it takes the same ruling of gift.

However, the wife whose husband dies is entitled to a share in his estate after she receives her dower. This is whether he died before or after the consummation of their marriage. The evidence on this is that Allah the Almighty says {What means}: " In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by God; and God is All-knowing, Most Forbearing." {An-Nisaa`, 12}. As stated in this verse, the wife`s gets a fourth if husband had no child.  

As for acknowledgement of receiving the dower, this is the competence of the Sharia court. And Allah the Almighty Knows Best.