Holding back the mahr after talaaq

Q: I will try to make this as short as possible while putting an effort to relay the situation of my ex-marriage. I married a western European girl who claims to have reverted to Islam. Immediately after marriage, her behaviour started to change. On the 1st day of our marriage she took my laptop and locked herself up in the bathroom, later when she got out of the toilet with my laptop she explained to me that she was searching into my laptop for any evidences that I was talking / flirting with other girls. I told her that what she did was very bad and a form of spying and no woman would do this on her 1st day of her marriage. I thought I will forgive her and give her another chance. Later on, I discovered that she is addicted to some drugs that affects her sleeping pattern and behaviour. One of the drugs she used was sometime called “antidepressant” and another drug and is also very addictive. I was surprised at this as she never told me about her condition and never told me about her drugs issue. She refused to participate in some of the duties of the house, for example driving the car and doing the shopping on her own, this was opposite to my agreement with her before marriage, she claimed that as per Islam, a man is fully responsible to anything outside the house and she does not want to drive and that I have to drive her everywhere she wants to when she does shopping. This clearly made her an extra burden on me as she broke my agreement with her. Moreover, she started asking me to allow her to go out with her “friends”at least two times a week. I honestly did not like the idea that she goes out on a regular bases without me, and on top of this, she used to think that it is her right to go out away from the house with me in order for her to “relax” and “calm down”. I told her many times I am against this idea. I spoke to her psychologist about my ex-wife’s behaviour, and her psychologist confirmed that her condition was normal for a person who undergoes using these types of drugs and that she suffers from some conditions including anxiety. When I asked my ex-wife why did she hide her condition from me, she told me it was her personal problem and she will recover on her own. In the meantime, I felt like I was cheated by her when she did not tell me about this critical and hidden part of her personality. In short, if I knew she had them I would not have married her. After many arguments, one day, when I was out of the house, she insisted on going out of the house with one of her friends. I did not allow her. She told me that “it is not my business” and she can do as she likes. At that point, I realized that I have to put an end to her behaviour or the whole marriage all together. When I reached home, she was still insisting on going out with her friend. At that point I asked her to grab her clothes, and leave the house and go back to her mother’s house. My intention at that time was not to divorce her, but to give her time to think about her behaviour while she is with her mother and away from me. Strangely, she held my arm firmly, she looked me at the eye, and asked me to divorce her. I didn't divorce her immediately, she insisted and repeated that I must divorce her. At that point and based on both her challenge and request, I said divorce to her with the intention to divorce her. My ex-wife got what she wanted, to go out of the house with her friend, only this time her friend took her to the airport to leave for good. There was some money left that I did not pay her from her agreed Mahr. I feel that she cheated me in this marriage by not telling me about her secrets in which if I knew about them, I would have not married her in the 1st place. My question: do I have the right to ask for the Mahr money I paid her before? Do I have the right to ask her to give me back my pre-wedding ring that I gave her before marriage as a wedding gift?

A: The mahr is her right which has to be paid to her. It is not permissible for you to hold back the mahr amount. Similarly, you do not have the right to take back the gifts you had given her.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)