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Some women feel that giving them money as part of the dowry is offensive in the sense of that the husband appears to be "buying" the wife, which is not true, but given today's society and how the world thinks (wrongly)... this is what we have to work with.

What is permitted as dowry, besides money, for the bride?

Sunni school of thought.

  • Anything which has a value see for example what I've quoted here islam.stackexchange.com/questions/25811/… some scholars even accept it if the husband offers to memorize the Quran or parts of it. – Medi1Saif Sep 26 '16 at 8:06
  • Dowry is the wrong word. Dowry is what a woman gives to the man. Ajr is what's given to a female. – Sayyid Sep 27 '16 at 2:25
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Darul Ifta Birmingham estimates the mahr of the daughters of the Prophet as £1146.28 and the minimum mahr as £23.88, based on calculating the then-current value of 10 dirhams (another estimate is given by fatwa.ca).

So if the wife doesn't want mahr, she can accept a nominal amount (and Islam Q&A says reducing it is the sunnah). However, mahr is considered compulsory for a valid nikah (IslamWeb).

Darul Iftaa Trinidad describes some alternatives to money:

A woman may ask for something other than currency, gold/silver as her Mahr, e.g. furniture or accommodation etc. if its value is equivalent or more than the minimum amount of Mahr.

Fatwa.ca cites Qur'an 4:24 (...[provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property...) in support of saying the mahr must be "wealth". I'd personally like a ring (which IslamWeb indicates is possible).

There's some uncertainty about the hajj pilgrimage being mahr, as described by IslamWeb.

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