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It is generally observed that exorbitantly high mehr/sedaq/alimony are set as the condition for marriage by the bride (or her family who represent her).

This thing has the potential to set forth the idea of marriage primarily for the sake of material benefits rather then spiritual ones, coupled with the possibility of breading social wrongs and disrupting it's very fabrics, cynicism etc.

Although, the wife has the right to get her alimony. But is it permissible to set forth demands, in the prenuptial, so exorbitantly high that marriage tends to become a cause for bad rather then good?

Is there a suggested/advisable alimony that should be demanded?

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It is permissible to demand an exorbitantly high amount of mahr.

The evidence is the verse of the Quran which mentions a husband having given excessive dower to his wife:

وآتيتم إحداهن قنطارا فلا تأخذوا منه شيئا

And you have given one of them a great amount [in gifts], do not take [back] from it anything.

Quran 4:20

There is a tradition that Umar ibn al-Khatab once gave a sermon in which he imposed a limit on Mahr, but then he changed his opinion when a woman disputed with him and presented this verse as proof.

Following are some extracts from the exegesis of the verse:

قوله تعالى : وآتيتم إحداهن قنطارا الآية فيها دليل على جواز المغالاة في المهور ؛ لأن الله تعالى لا يمثل إلا بمباح

The saying of Allah: "And you have given one of them a great amount" is evidence for the validity of excess in Mahr, for Allah does not give a (positive) example except of a permitted act

Tafsir al-Qurtubi

وفي هذه الآية دلالة على جواز الإصداق بالمال الجزيل

This verse is evidence that is permitted to give excessive wealth as mahr

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

It has been mentioned that there is no disagreement on it being permissible:

وقد أجمع العلماء على ألا تحديد في أكثر الصداق ؛ لقوله تعالى : وآتيتم إحداهن قنطارا

There is consensus of the Ulema that there is no upper limit on Mahr, because of the saying of Allah: "And you have given one of them a great amount"

Tafsir al-Qurtubi

ليس للمهر حد أقصى بالاتفاق

It is agreed upon that there is no upper limit on mahr

الفقه الإسلامي وأدلته

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Islam treats a family as in institution. This institution comes into existence when a man and woman decides to live together as a husband a wife. Each one has his rights and responsibilities. As with any other contract, any terms of contract can be negotiated.

In Islam, a husband takes care of all the financial responsibility of the family. As a token of this responsibility, he gives "mehr". Asking for a large mehr may indicate that the wife will be making similar demands later on.

If the husband thinks that he can fulfill her and family's demands, he may choose to his commitment by giving a large mehr.

There is no limit, but of-course, everyone has to give it according to his own circumstances. The important thing to know what mehr represents and what it means if a man agrees to give it.

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